Friday, April 30, 2010

Spanish: 1ª Jornada Pedagógica ELE

Hello everybody, Claudia here,

I thought you might be interested in attending the 1ª Jornada Pedagógica ELE.
This will be the first of a series of free conferences for teachers of Spanish as a foreign language, it will be held on May 29th in Mexico city.

Follow this link for more information:

French Documentary: The Medina in Tunis (Intermediate-Advanced)

Hi all, Aurore here! This is a video on several medinas in Tunisia (a medina is the old part of the city, "vieille ville" in French). This is a great vidreo which introduces the students to the different cultures of the French-speaking world. We hear several speakers, all have a very good accent. This video shares valuable knowledge of Tunisian culture, enjoy!!

La médina de Tunis. Kairouan. Dougga. La Médina de Kairouan.

1.Quand est-ce que la médina a été construite?

2.Où la ville est-elle inscrite depuis 1959 ?

3.Quels détails sur la mosquée de l’Olivier sont-ils donnés ?

4.Que vend-on dans les souks ?

5.Quels détails pouvez-vous donner sur les shishas ?

6.Quel est le lieu incontournable ? Que vient-on y faire ?

7.Quelle magnifique collection le musée renferme-t-il ?

8.Que vend-on sur le marché ? Quand se tient-il ?

9.Quand est-ce que les fouilles de Douga ont-elles commencé ?

10.Citer quelques monuments que vous pouvez trouver à Dougga.

11.Comment les Belges disent-ils 670 ?

12.Pourquoi Kairouan est-elle connue ? (2 raisons)

13.Quel artisanat fait vivre les familles de Kairouan ?

German: Frankfurt Links

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a few links for Frankfurt as we are currently covering this city in our course. Enjoy! If you have any additional links you would like to share please feel free to comment or email us!

Spanish: WEIRDO Mnemonic - Subjunctive

Hi everyone, Claudia here,

I would like to share another mnemonic with you. This one is to help remember when to use subjunctive in Spanish. I hope you find this useful for your students! And please let me know of any other fun tools you use to teach the subjunctive!

W → Wish
E → Emotion
I → Impersonal expressions
R → Recommendations
D → Doubt
O → Ojalá

German: Ärztliches Deutsch

Hello all, Chris here. After seeing Claudia's recent post on Medical Spanish I decided to look for some similar German sites. I found the following three although they do not really provide any language learning activities, they are rich in information and could be used in beginner and advanced classes.

Beginner classes could utilize the sites to provide students with some extra vocabulary or role-playing situations or for additional pictures that one generally would not find in textbooks.

Advanced classes have more options and could base several activities or lessons around using these sites as well as setting up more complicated role-playing or conversational situations.

News: Indiana AATG

Hello all, Chris here with some news for fellow German teachers in Indiana. The Indiana chapter of the AATG has released the latest issue of Die Mitteilungen! Take a look at it here:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spanish: Medical Spanish

Hello all, Claudia here,

I would like to share a helpful site with those of you who teach Spanish for healthcare providers. This website provides medical terminology in Spanish, phrases, a few videos, and basic grammar excersises. You could share the Medical Spanish website with your students for them to practice on their own or you could use it as a resource in class.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

VW Factory - Germany

Discovery Channel has been doing a series of shows on Germany technology. The program is called Megaworld. This particular segment visits a revolutionary auto factory in Dresden and introduces the new "transparent factory," which has a low impact on the surrounding community and a high impact on its customers.

Spanish: Adivinanzas 1

Hello everybody, Claudia here,

Today I would like to share some Spanish riddles with you. I will be writing a series of posts with riddles to use in your class, you can find today's at the bottom of this post. Riddles are used as a teaching tool because they make students think about the clues and provide some challenge. So, what better way to make learning vocabulary really fun? Besides, who doesn't like riddles? You should try some in your classess and let me know how it goes!

Some activities you can do with riddles include:

- Starting your class with a riddle as a warm up activity.

- Divide the class in groups and give each group a riddle for them to figure out and try to come up with their own riddles.

- Divide the class in two, maybe three, teams and make it a race to see which team guesses the answer first to a list of riddles (you can either read or put on a screen for them).

- Bring lots of riddles and have your class try to categorize the riddles according to themes or types of riddle.

Can you think of any other possible activities where we can incorporate riddles?

Soy blanca como la nieve
y dulce como la miel,
alegro los pasteles
y la leche con café.

R: El azúcar

Vuela sin alas,
silba sin boca,
pega sin manos,
y no se le toca.

R: El viento.

Desde el lunes hasta el viernes,
soy la última en llegar,
el sábado soy la primera
y el domingo a descansar.

R: La letra S

German: Frankfurt Wordle

Greetings again, everyone. Here is one last Wordle™ image using vocabulary from a chapter on Frankfurt. Perhaps you've made your own by now? Let's see some more!

German: Vocabulary Wordle for Leipzig

Greetings Everyone. Jason here. Here's yet another Wordle™ image compiled from vocabulary on a chapter on Leipzig.

French: Les Guignols - Sarkozy and his wife(Intermediate-Advanced)

Hi all, Aurore here! This is a caricature of Sarkozy, his wife and his son. It reminds us of a show that was broadcast on TV years ago, my students loved it! Enjoy!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spanish: Para Todos Video

Hello everybody, Claudia here,

I would like to share with you a cool TV commercial you can use in your Spanish class. First of all, the video is in a Spanish dialect spoken in Argentina and it uses professions and categories of poeple. There are quite a few activities you can do with this video, here are some for you to try:

- Have your students identify a few of the types of people mentioned in the commercial.

- Ask them to explain what the connection between the image and the type of people it is used for is.

- Put them in groups and have each group come up with a differnt image + category for the commercial not necessarily using this specific product.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Japanese music video

Hi all, Junko here.

If you like Japanese pop music, you know that a lot of singers are influenced by western music. Most songs include lines in English, and titles are all in English. Well for this one, the video's visual style is inspired by 1950's American culture, which is really interesting.

In class, students will be asked...

1. What is this song about?
2. How is the singer different from the ones you know?
3. Is there anything you found interesting in the video?

Japanese: Useful Website

Hi all, Junko here.

Today I'd like to share a useful website for teaching Japanese. This is based on one of the most popular Japanese textbooks called "Genki". As for teachers, they have downloadable flash cards for teaching Japanese characters, many activities and so on. As for learners, they have some games and listening practices. Since the textbook I use does not have such a nice website, I sometimes "steal" some ideas from the website!

News: TPR Demonstrations Live

Hello all, Chris here. Time for some language teaching news. Many of you are likely to have some familiarity with Total Physical Response or TPR. Whether you are a long time practitioner of this method or completely new to it, take a look at the information below for a chance to participate in live demonstrations:

NEXT!   "Live" demonstrations in Arabic, Spanish and Japanese
by Dr. James J. Asher

Wounded Knee District School
Manderson, South Dakota
Monday, April 26, 2010
(a six hour TPR workshop
Please contact Wendy McNaughton-Apple:
Phone: (605) 867 4379
Cell: (605) 407 3965
Fax: (605) 867 5156
NEW!   Dr. James J. Asher and Todd McKay
will appear at a NSL/NL Conference
in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Friday May 14, 2010

To join us, please contact Jennifer Rissanen:
(807) 768-7284 ext 4578
COMING THIS FALL!   MEA-MFT's 2010 Educators Conference
Helena, Montana
Friday, October 21, 2010
"Live" demonstration in Arabic, Spanish and Japanese
by Dr. James J. Asher
(a six hour TPR workshop)
Please contact Mathew Lyng:
Phone: (406) 324 2543
Cell: (406) 437 1723
Sky Oaks Productions, Inc. P.O. Box 1102    Los Gatos, CA 95031 USA Phone: (408) 395-7600  Fax: (408) 395-8440

German: Wise Guys - Denglisch

Hi all,
I'm not sure where I came across this video originally, but it's great for showing students the influence of English on the German language. Much like what we have here in the U.S.--Spanglish, in Germany they have Denglish. Students could see how many English words and their German equivalents they can find in the song. It's also a great way to start talking about cognates, false-cognates (falsche Freunde) and other types of loan or borrowed words. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A picture is worth...

Alright. So it's not a thousand words, but it is a few hundred. This is the latest Wordle™ image I've made to for a comprehensive review of vocabulary in fourth semester German.

As a visual aid, an image like this is a great way to show students an overview of the vocabulary they have learned all semester long. Since our textbook is structured around different German cities in their cultural context, students can associate the vocabulary with content covered throughout the activity, i.e. Hamburg: Hanse (Hanseatic League), Hafen (port), Verlagswesen (publishing industry); Leipzig: Grunderzeit (Wilhelminian Style) , Burgerinitiative (citizens' group), Gewaltlosigkeit (nonviolence). It could also be used to practice noun genders, plural forms, or principal parts of verbs.

In this way, the image becomes more than something to look at, but rather something to explore and engage, reinforcing and refreshing both vocabulary but also relevant material covered in a new way.

Check out Wordle™ and create your own--to save the image just take a screen shot and edit down to size, or post to their public gallery.

German: Leipzig Links and Discussion Questions

Hello all, Chris here. Today we have a guest post from Christiane which features a thorough set of discussion questions.

The following questions should be assigned as homework with a discussion taking place the following class period.

Provide your students with the following link:

1) Warum nennt man Leipzig die „Bach Stadt“?
2) Wie lange gibt es die Leipziger Messe schon?
3) Was ist der Leitspruch (mission statement) der Leipziger Messe?
4) Woraus ist der Thomaner Chor hervorgegangen?
5) Wer war der berühmteste Thomaskantor?
6) Wozu trägt das Gewandhausorchester seit über 250 Jahren bei?
7) Wo spielt das Gewandhausorchester?
8) Woraus besteht die Oper in Leipzig?
9) Worauf gründet sich der internationale Ruf der Oper?
10) Was kann man im Mendelssohn Haus sehen?
11) Wodurch ist Auerbachs Keller weltberühmt geworden?
12) Wie wird Leipzig seit 1989 auch genannt?
13) Wie lange brauchte man für den Bau des „Alten Rathauses“?
14) Was erfährt man im „Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum“?
15) Woran erinnert das Völkerschlachtdenkmal?
16) Was wird im Leipziger Waldstraßenviertel sichtbar?
17) Was bedeutet der Name „Drallewatsch“?
18) Was kann man im Zoo von Leipzig bewundern?
19) Was Kann man im Vergnügungspark „Belantis“ erleben?
20) Wohin führt die „Seh-Reise“ des Asisi Panometers Leipzigs?
21) Welchen Weltrekord hält Leipzig?

Antworten (Answers)
1) Warum nennt man Leipzig die „Bach Stadt“?
Johann Sebastian Bach wirkte in Leipzig als Direktor und Thomaskantor in den Jahren 1723-1750.
2) Wie lange gibt es die Leipziger Messe schon?
Seit 513 Jahren.
3) Was ist der Leitspruch (mission statement) der Leipziger Messe?
„Messen nach Maß“.
4) Woraus ist der Thomaner Chor hervorgegangen?
Der Thomanerchor ist vor über 800 Jahren aus dem ehemaligen Augustiner-Chorherrenstift hervorgegangen.
5) Wer war der berühmteste Thomaskantor?
Johann Sebastian Bach.
6) Wozu trägt das Gewandhausorchester seit über 250 Jahren bei?
Es trägt zur Pflege und Entwicklung klassischer Musik bei.
7) Wo spielt das Gewandhausorchester?
Das Gewandhausorchester spielt im Gewandhaus ebenso wie in den Vorstellungen im Opernhaus und zu den Aufführungen der Bach-Kantaten gemeinsam mit dem Thomanerchor in der Thomaskirche.
8) Woraus besteht die Oper in Leipzig?
Sie besteht aus Oper, Musikalischer Komödie und Leipziger Ballett.
9) Worauf gründet sich der internationale Ruf der Oper?
Er gründet sich auf bedeutende Solisten, das Gewandhausorchester, einen preisgekrönten Chor und das Leipziger Ballett in der Kontinuität der Choreografien von Uwe Scholz.
10) Was kann man im Mendelssohn Haus sehen?
Hier kann man die Wohnstätte des Komponisten mit seinen originalen Möbeln sehen.
11) Wodurch ist Auerbachs Keller weltberühmt geworden?
Durch Goethes Faust.
12) Wie wird Leipzig seit 1989 auch genannt?
Stadt der friedlichen Revolution.
13) Wie lange brauchte man für den Bau des „Alten Rathauses“?
9 Monate.
14) Was wird im „Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum“ dokumentiert?
Es dokumentiert heute als Restaurant, Café und Museum die sprichwörtliche Liebe der „Kaffeesachsen" zu dem heißen Getränk
15) Woran erinnert das Völkerschlachtdenkmal?
An die Völkerschlacht von 1813.
16) Was wird im Leipziger Waldstraßenviertel sichtbar?
Eine einzigartige, denkmalgeschützte, zusammenhängende, gründerzeitliche Bausubstanz
17) Was bedeutet der Name „Drallewatsch“?
„etwas erleben" oder „auf den Schwof gehen“.
18) Was kann man im Zoo von Leipzig bewundern?
Hier findet man die weltgrößte Menschenaffenanlage „Pongoland", die Löwensavanne „Makasi Simba“, eine Lippenbärenschlucht, eine Tiger-Taiga, eine Afrika-Savanne.
19) Was Kann man im Vergnügungspark „Belantis“ erleben?
Man kann eine historische Reise durch die Zeit erleben.
20) Wohin führt die „Seh-Reise“ des Asisi Panometers Leipzigs?
Sie führt mitten hinein in die tropische Regenwald-Landschaft am Amazonas.
21) Welchen Weltrekord hält Leipzig?
Es hält den Rekord des größten frei stehenden Adventskalenders.

German: Leipzig Links - Berühmte Komponistin

Hello all, Chris here. Today we have another guest post from Christiane with a few more Leipzig-related links with a focus on famous composers. Take a look at the following and enjoy! Questions and comments welcome!

Johann Sebastian Bach: Prelude in C Major

Heifetz: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto E Minor (Op. 64) - 1st Movement

Here a few discussion questions to the above pieces with a special thanks to guest poster Christiane:

1) Beschreibe die Musik der Prelude in C-Dur von Johann Sebastian Bach!

2) Beschreibe die Musik des Violin Concerto E-Moll (Opus 64) von Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy !

3) Welches der beiden Musikstücke gefällt dir besser und warum?


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

French: Documentary - Shanghai Architecture (Intermediate-Advanced)

Hi everybody, Aurore here! This is a video my students particularly liked about the architecture in Shanghai. The views are amazing and the delivery of the speakers makes it easy for the students to understand. Enjoy!

Des Racines et des ailes. Shanghai, 2007.

1.Combien de migrants rejoignent la ville chaque année ?

2.Par quel mot est caractérisé Shanghai ?

3.Quel nouvel art de vivre Shanghai doit-elle inventer ?

4.Depuis combien de temps Margaux est-elle à Shanghai ? Quel est son métier ?

5.Quelle est la caractéristique principale du quartier qu’elle présente aux téléspectateurs ?

6.Comment la ville se développe-t-elle ?

7.Quelle est la hauteur de la 4ème plus grande tour du monde ? Combien d’étages comporte-t-elle ? Pourquoi ce nombre ?

8.Quelles sont les deux subdivisions de l’hôtel ?

9.Par quelle expression la vue panoramique de l’hôtel est-elle dépeinte ?

10.Combien de personnes travaillent dans l’hôtel ? Citez des noms de métiers relatifs à l’hôtellerie.

11.Quels services/prestations sont proposés par l’hôtel ?

12.Expliquez cette obsession de la hauteur qui imprègne la culture chinoise.

13.Quelle est la pièce-maîtresse de l’hôtel ? (+ détails)

14.Expliquez quelle est la « prouesse technique » évoquée dans le reportage ?

15.Quel est le défi que les tours chinoises doivent relever?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fussball Culture

I hesitate to share this idea. When a particulary good one comes to me I get a little selfish and proprietary. Anyone familiar with German, European--let's face it, anywhere other than the U.S.--culture knows that football ( is huge. The problem I've always had with presenting this piece of culture to my students is that it often only gets a passing mention and is quickly forgotten about. How can one convey to students the permanent persistance this sport has on the culture(s) we study? How can I find a way to discuss football ( with my students on a daily, class to class basis?

Fantasy Football (! I have been playing in a German fantasy league for the past two years. (Yeah, I can't believe this didn't occur to me earlier either.) I plan on implementing this with my students next semester. Rather than have the students create their own account and pay the membership fee--something which would be unfair to require as a part of grade--I would use my account to acces the info and share it with the class (players for sale, values, points, etc.) The students would be put into groups to manage their fantasy team. The info for the players, teams, points, and trades would be posted on BlackBoard and trades would be handled during class time set aside specifically for this semseter-long assignment (first of last 5 minutes of class). Grading would be based on participation and assessment of the students understanding of the sport and the rules of the fantasy league.
By involving students in an assignment that lasts the entire semester and/or year (the German season starts in August and ends in May), they would gain an appreciation for the scope and importance this sport plays in the culture(s) being studied.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Japanese: Welcome to Japan- Japanese Introduction Video

Hi all, Junko here.

Today I am sharing a video that introduces Japan. It shows the traditional and modern parts of Japan mixed well. Since most of the students I taught here have never been to Japan, this would be great for them to see what it's like.
Foe beginners, they can ask each other what there are as 「これは何ですか?(what is this?)」in the video , and have the answer ready by the next class.「これは〜というものです。(This is called ~.)」For intermediates, they can put their own narrations on the video.

Spanish: Colombian Dialects

Hello all, Claudia here,

I would like to share with you a video that shows some of the various dialects from Colombian Spanish. This is a fun video to show your students not only so they can hear different dialects but to show how different the dialects can be within the same country.

Here is the dialog interpreted in all the different dialects:

Oiga pero es que usted sabe que tenemos que contemplar todas las posibilidades que se nos puedan aparecer.
¿Le llegó mi correo ayer?
No hombre…
¿Cómo así que no le ha llegado? Pues ahí está mi posición en el asunto… Cuando le llegue se fija bien en la parte donde se expresa cómo meter los diferentes jugos de coco.

1) Rolo - Bogotá
2) Paisa - Medellín
3) Valluno - Cali
4) Costeño - Barranquilla
5) Santandereano
6) Llanero
7) Pacífico o Chocoano
8) Pastuso o Sureño
9) Boyaco o Cundiboyacense

Friday, April 16, 2010

French: Anthony Kavanagh - Funny Video (Intermediate & Advanced)

Hi everyone, Aurore here. This is a very funny and interesting video about the differences between movies from America, France and the West Indies. The humorist presents a scene of a detective movie from each country. The cultural differences presented there are really vivid and can lead to an interesting discussion about what is stressed/overlooked in each culture compared with others. You can also ask what type of movies the students especially liked, and which impression they preferred. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Spanish: Trabalenguas 2

Hello everybody, Claudia here,

I want to share a second set of Spanish tongue twisters for you to use un your classes. Enjoy!

Pancha plancha con cuatro planchas
¿Con cuántas planchas plancha Pancha?

Los cojines de la Reina.
Los cajones del Sultán.
¡Que cojines!
¡Que cajones!
¿En qué cajonera van?

Compadre, cómpreme un coco,
compadre, no compro coco
porque como poco coco como
poco coco compro.

Un burro comía berros y el perro se los robó,
el burro lanzó un rebuzno y el perro al barro cayó.

Yo tengo una cabra
ética, perética, perimpimplética,
peluda, pelada, perimpimplada,
que tuvo un cabrito
ético, perético, perimpimplético,
peludo, pelado, perimpimplado.

French: Documentary - Le Lavaux (Advanced)

Hi everyone, Aurore here. This is a documentary about the history of a Swiss village and its vineyard. It allows you to talk about wine, which is definitely a part of French culture, and you also discover beautiful landscapes.

Le Lavaux. Des racines et des ailes.

1.Combien il y a-t-il d’habitants au Lavaux ? Quelles sont ses 2 caractéristiques ?

2.Comment, quand et grâce à qui le village est-il né ?

3.Quelle est la profession de Bernard Bovy ? (2 noms différents)

4.Quelle distinction le Lavaux a-t-il reçu ?

5.Quelle menace planait sur le vignoble ? Comment le vignoble a-t-il été protégé ?

6.Quelle est la caractéristique de ce vignoble ?

7.Qu’est-ce qu’il y avait à la place de la vigne au temps où les moines sont arrivés ?

8.Pourquoi les gens disent-ils qu’il y a 3 soleils au Lavaux ?

9.Pourquoi utilise-t-on un hélicoptère et un petit train pour les vendanges ?

German: Leipzig Links - Auerbachs Keller

Hello all, Chris here. Today we have a guest post from Christiane with an excellent site to learn a little more about Leipzig. Take a look at the website for the famous Auerbachs Keller restaurant! The site is rich in information and contains several videos, including a scene from Goethe's Faust! The text for the Faust scene can be found on Projekt Gutenberg. Comments welcome!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

French: What really happened with Zidane during the World Cup (funny)

Hi all, Aurore here! This is a video of "The Guignols", a political and social cartoon that most people watch in France instead of reading/watching the news... just to give you an idea of how popular this show is! The video is understandable by all students, to a different extent of course, but at least you are sure that nobody is left behind.

Teaching Approaches: Content Language Integrated Learning

Hello everybody, Claudia here.

I would like to share a useful online workshop on Content Language Integrated Learning. This workshop is especially helpful for those who aren't very familiar with the term or haven't heard of it at all. It is a series of 7 very short videos explaining this teaching approach and it includes a few excercises to get teachers to think more about the method.

If you're looking for more about teaching approaches you should also check out Chris' post on Task Based Learning and maybe you can let us know which approach works best for you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Teaching Challenges: Dealing with sensitive issues - Dolphin hunting in Japan

It might be the best if one could avoid sensitive issues regarding the target country or culture, but I think it's also a great opportunity for students to express their opinions eagerly. When students have so much to say about a topic, they don't pay attention too much to the form, and I think it's a good thing here.

There are sensitive issues teachers face regardless of which language is being taught. German teachers must often deal with the Nazi Period and the Holocaust, French teachers have immigration issues, etc. 
  • Do we avoid the sensitive topics altogether?
  • How can such topics be covered to which students may have strong emotional reactions?
  • At what level(s) should such topics be discussed?
  • Should political issues be dealt with in class?
  • What opportunities can such topics present?
Here is a topic I recently had to deal with.

As you may know, Japan supports dolphin and whale hunting.

This is my personal opinion. →
"I understand that Australia is not happy about this, but they shouldn't interpret the news in a wrong way on purpose. The Japanese guys on the video are described as "crazy men", but all they are saying is "go back, it's not your business", which anybody would say when their work was interrupted. Personally, I think it is so wrong that the woman is crying over the dolphins, while Australians are consuming millions of cows' worth of "Aussie beef" back home. "

When having discussions in class, there are some points I want my students to talk about.
  1. Are you for or against hunting whales? Why or why not?
  2. Why do you think Japanese government allows fishers to fish them?
  3. Do you think the whale hunting in Japan is associated with Japanese culture?

Monday, April 12, 2010

French: Karaoke Song for Children

Hi all, Aurore here,

Here is a very old song all French children used to sing when they were little! The unfolding of the story is rather unexpected and funny! It is cute, and all my students loved it!

German: Leipzig Links Continued

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a few more useful links for Leipzig. These include the official Leipzig city website as well as cultural, historical, and tourist links. Enjoy!

Messe Info




Universität Leipzig

US Consulate Leipzig

Leipzig Tourism


Sunday, April 11, 2010

French: Documentary - "Culture Pub" (Advanced)

Hi all, Aurore here. This is part of a show that deals with the media and the commercials you can see on TV in various countries. This video is specifically on the commercials that have been censored in England. It is very funny, and you can create a discussion and talk about what shocked the students, what they thought would/would not be censored in their country, the commercial they found funny...

Culture Pub. Ces spots qui choquent les Anglais.

1.Par quoi le consommateur Anglais est-il choqué ?

2.Combien de plaintes ont-elles été déposées en 2008 ?

3.Quel est le problème du spot publicitaire sur la cigarette ?

4.Quels sont les problèmes concernant le spot publicitaire du chien ?

5.Quel est le problème de la pub Orangina ?

6.Pouvez-vous deviner ce que veut dire le mot « olé olé » ?

7.Que veut dire le mot « prude » ?

8.Qu’est-ce que les Anglais reprochent au spot publicitaire sur la Môme ?

9.Quel est le problème du spot concernant les violences faites aux enfants ?

10.Qu’est-ce qui est reproché au spot publicitaire montrant des nains ? En quoi cela est-il paradoxal ?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spanish: HELP Mnemonic - Ser y Estar

Hello everyone, Claudia here,

As a follow up on Dan's post on mnemonics I would like to share another easy way to help your students remember the uses of the verb 'estar'.

First, for those of you who aren't familiar with the term, a mnemonic device is a word, rhyme, acronym, etc., to help students memorize information. So, by giving your students a mnemonic you can make it easier and fun for them to learn what you want to teach them.

One mnemonic I use for teaching the uses of 'estar' is help and I present it to my class as follows:

H → Health → Estoy enfermo
E → Emotion → Estoy contenta
L → Location → Indiana está en EEUU
P → Progression → Estoy explicando la gramática

I hope you find this useful for your students! And please let me know of any other fun tools you use in your class either to teach the uses of 'ser' and 'estar' or any other topics!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Teaching Strategies: Mnemonic Devices for German

Dan here again. I'm playing catch up on adding useful tricks and tips. Here are some more mnemonic devices for remembering lists in German:

Accusative Prepositions to the tune of "Camptown Races":
Durch, für, gegen, ohne, um, doo-dah, doo-dah,
Durch, für, gegen, ohne, um, oh doo-dah-day.

Dative Prepositions to the tune of Strauss' "The Blue Danube":
Aus, außer, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu

Possessive Pronouns to the tune of "O My Darlin' Clementine":
Mein und meine,
dein und deine,
sein und seine, ihre, ihr,
unser, unsre,
euer, eure,
sein und seine, ihre, ihr

I'm a newbie at this blogging thing, so including mpegs is something I'll have to work on. Nevertheless, a quick search will turn up these melodies if they aren't coming to mind right away. The words for each will fall fairly intuitively into place.

Spanish: Mnemonic Devices

Dan here. I've recently started studying Spanish and I have a useful mnemonic device I got from one of my German students who is also studying Spanish. Spanish has two verbs for "to be" (estar & ser), which causes some confusion for those of us making regular use of only one--i.e. English speakers et al. My fellow Spanish student provided me with this device to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star": Twinkle, twinkle use estar for how you feel and where you are.

I know it's not much, but as with many mnemonics a little goes a long way.

German: Schnappi das kleine Krokodil

Hello all, Chris here. After seeing the recent song for children posted by Aurore, it reminded me of a German one from recent years. Take a look at Schnappi das kleine Krokodil! Enjoy!

German: Der Trabant & Wartburg

Hello all, Chris here. Continuing with the East Germany (DDR) theme from the previous post, here are several videos about East Germany's two iconic cars: The Trabant and the Wartburg! Use these to provide your students with a deeper historical and cultural background of East Germany!

As for activities, I have not created any detailed plans for using these videos as of yet, although I am leaning towards a role-play activity. In pairs or in small groups, students would take on the roles of customer and salesperson. This would provide a good opportunity to teach students 'car' and 'vehicle' vocabulary which is typically skipped in most courses. The salesperson would have to have a detailed knowledge of all the parts and features of the vehicles. Such an activity could also be applicable for business German classes. The teachers could also prepare pictures of several different car models which would allow for comparisons to be added to the activity. Questions and comments welcome!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

French: Song for Children - "Une souris verte" (Beginner-advanced)

Hi all, Aurore here. Here is a song for children with its lyrics. It can either be used with beginners so that they can sing, or with more advanced levels to share a bit of culture. The rhymes are funny, my students thought it was very cute and asked for more. Back to an age we all loved!

Une souris verte.

Une souris verte
Qui courait dans l'herbe
Je l'attrape par la queue,
Je la montre à ces messieurs
Ces messieurs me disent :
Trempez-la dans l'huile,
Trempez-la dans l'eau,
Ça fera un escargot
Tout chaud.
Je la mets dans un tiroir,
Ell' me dit :"Il fait trop noir"
Je la mets dans mon chapeau,
Ell' me dit :" Il fait trop chaud"
Je la mets dans ma culotte,
Elle me fait trois petites crottes.

Japanese: Music Video - Otaku

Hi all, Junko desu.
Every country has its own geeks, right? Well, these Japanese guys were so into this Japanese idol group, "パフューム(perfume)", and copied their dance perfectly!



Geeks in Japan are called オタク(otaku), and it is an interesting part of Japanese culture.
Well, let's talk about it in class!

French: List of verbs and their prepositions (Intermediate-advanced)

Hi everyone, Aurore here. Prepositions are just a nightmare for students, that is why I have tried to list down the most commonly used verbs. My students found that very helpful, and it is also useful to enrich their vocabulary.

Verbe + à + infinitif :

Encourager à
Enseigner à
S’habituer à
Hésiter à
S’intéresser à
Inviter à
Se mettre à
Réussir à
Tenir à

Verbe + de + infinitif :

Parler de
Refuser de
Regretter de
Remercier de
Rêver de
Se souvenir de
Tâcher de
Venir de
Avoir l’intention de
Avoir peur de

Verbe + à + personne + de + infinitif :

Commander à qqn de faire qqch
Conseiller à qqn de faire qqch
Défendre à qqn de faire qqch
Demander à qqn de faire qqch
Dire à qqn de faire qqch
Ecrire à qqn de faire qqch
Permettre à qqn de faire qqch
Promettre à qqn de faire qqch
Reprocher à qqn de faire qqch
Suggérer à qqn de faire qqch

Monday, April 5, 2010

Discussions: Teaching Large Classes

Hello all, Chris here. I'm happy to announce the start of our regular discussion series which is located on the Language Teacher's Toolbox discussion page! We are looking forward to lively and fruitful discussion on these topics which will all focus on challenges faced by language teachers. See you there!

German: Leipzig Links

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a set of video links that are themed around Leipzig, Germany. As we are currently covering a unit on Leipzig this is an opportune time to gather as much background information as possible. This will like be a multi-part post as I will add newer videos etc. for Leipzig as I come across them.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Japanese: Role-Play - at a Japanese Restaurant

I'm pretty sure that every textbook has a chapter on food from the target culture.
This is a good activity using authentic menus.


Your group owns a restaurant, but business is bad.
So some members of the group go to all the other restaurants in the classroom
to see their food and service. One member of the group stays at the restaurant and
waits for customers. When customers come, serve them!

Model conversation:
Waiter: いらっしゃいませ。Welcome to our restaurant!

Customer: ここは 何りょうりですか? What kind of cuisine is here?
W: ございます。polite way of あります。)It is ~.
C: そうですか。じゃあ、ここに します。I see. Then I'll decide on here.
W: ごちゅうもんは?What is your oder?
C: します/ おねがいします。I'll have ~.
W: (repeat)ですね。かしこまりました。You will have ~, okay.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

French: Documentary - Tunisia and the Media (Advanced)

Hi all, Aurore here. Here is a video about the role of the media in Tunisian politics. It is very interesting from a cultural perspective. Then you can start a discussion about the media in your students' respective countries. Are they biased or neutral? My students all took part in the discussion and had something to say !! Mission completed! :)

Arrêt sur Image: Tunisie, la main mise sur les medias.

1.Quelles élections ont lieu ? (2 réponses)

2.Que trouve-t-on à la TV tunisienne ? (3 réponses)

3.De quoi ne discute-t-on pas ? Pourquoi ?

4.Selon les journalistes, qui est responsable de la bonne sante économique de la Tunisie ?

5.Comment le président est-il appelé ?

6.Qu’est-ce qui est montre lors des déplacements présidentiels ?

7.Quel est le message adressé au peuple tunisien ?

8.Citez des exemples de chaînes TV accessibles aux Tunisiens.

9.Quelle est la place réservée aux actualités « du monde » ?

10.La Tunisie est-elle ouverte au pluralisme politique ?

11.En ce qui concerne les relations entre le président et les journalistes, quel fait n’arrive jamais ?

12.Qui sont les adversaires politiques du président ?

13.Comment caractériseriez-vous cette « fête de la démocratie » que constituent les élections ?

14.Quels sont les conseils de l’opposition pour bien voter ? Quel est le rôle de l’opposition ?

15.Quel parti ose critiquer le pouvoir ? Quel sont ses arguments ?

Local Events: Purdue University Graduate Symposium on ESL Research




8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:10 Opening remarks by Prof. Margie Berns, Purdue University

9:10-9:40 Invited plenary speech
Graduate Student to Faculty, and Local to Global: Two Transitions
Prof. Tony Cimasko, Miami University

9:40-9:50 Break

9:50-11:10 Session 1: English in the Global Contexts

11:20-11:30 Break

11:30-12:00 “Hot” Topic Round Table: All Cultures “BIG” and “small”

12:00-1:00 Lunch (provided by the Symposium)

1:00-2:00 Keynote speech
World Englishes, Globalization, and the Politics of Conformity
Prof. Rakesh M. Bhatt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

2:00-2:15 Break

2:15-3:35 Session 2: Second Language Writing

3:35-3:50 Break

3:50-5:10 Session 3: Application of SL Research to Instruction in a U.S. College

5:10 Concluding Remarks by Prof. Tony Silva, Purdue University

6:00-9:00 Dinner at Puccini’s

Plenary speakers: Prof. Rakesh Bhatt, U of Illinois Prof. Tony Cimasko, U of Miami

World Englishes, globalization, and the politics of conformity

Rakesh M. Bhatt
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

The sociolinguistic phenomena of world Englishes in the era of globalization is becoming less predictable and more complicated as translingualism, translation, and transmodality open up new semiotic spaces for discursive displays of identity and interpretation. In order for us to understand the various complexes of sociolinguistic nuances of the acquisition and use of Englishes worldwide, we need to accomplish the following:
1. liberate the field of world Englishes from the orthodoxies of the past by constantly examining expert discourses, old and new, on the structure and functions of world Englishes in order to move the field forward from a politics of conformity—uncritical acceptance of received wisdom—to a politics of possibility, of growth, and of dialogue across intellectual (and even ideological) fault-lines;
2. connect the field of world Englishes to a more general theory of the sociolinguistics of globalization (cf. Blommaert 2003, 2005, 2007; Coupland 2003).
In this talk, I will address these two issues by first offering a discourse-theoretic analysis of linguistic ideologies, following Irvine & Gal (2000), which captures the underlying political logic of conformity. I will then engage the study of world Englishes with the processes of linguistic globalization: the complexity and simultaneity of linguistic choices, the commodification of linguistic forms and functions, the worldwide patterns and stratifications of English language acquisition and use, and the creative potential of bilingual English users.

Graduate Student to Faculty, and Local to Global: Two Transitions

Tony Cimasko
University of Miami

Much has been said about how language and language pedagogy are affected by the broad contexts in which they exist, but less has been said about the effects that the same circumstances have on professional demands faced by recent graduates and new professors. This presentation will highlight the speaker’s professional experiences over the past year, first as a Ph.D. candidate in ESL facing both a dissertation defense and an increasingly difficult job market, then as a newly hired faculty member continuing to work for professional advancement in his university and in his field. All of this has happened in a context of rapid globalization that has dramatically affected his university and his position. The presentation will conclude with comments on what these experiences have to say for graduate students on the verge of transition.


Opening remarks by Prof. Margie Berns, Purdue University, 9:00-9:10

Invited plenary speech, 9:10-9:40
Graduate Student to Faculty, and Local to Global: Two Transitions
Prof. Tony Cimasko, Miami University


Session 1: English in the Global Contexts, 9:50-11:10
Session Chair: Cindy Torres, Purdue University

Emergence, Usage and Implications of Hinglish in Bollywood Films
Presenter: Suneeta Thomas, Purdue University
By observing the emergence of Hinglish in Bollywood, this study analyzes code switching and code mixing between Hindi and English and how it acquires the form Hinglish. Implying the adoption of Hinglish by the current Indian youth, the study questions the possibility of Hinglish usage in Indian academic contexts.

Japanese English Language Learners’ Attitudes Towards Native and Nonnative English Accents
Presenter: Masakazu Mishima, Purdue University
This quantitative study investigated the attitude of 195 Japanese High School students towards native and nonnative English accents in terms of their learning preference. Participants responded to four different English accents: 1. American, 2. British 3. Indian and 4. Japanese, which represent Kachru’s three concentric circles.

The Role of CALL Technology in ESL/EFL Global Contexts
Presenter: Aliel Cunningham, Purdue University
This paper surveys the relative usefulness of CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) activities and software programs in targeting speaking and listening skills in the ESL/EFL classroom. Under investigation are the computer-mediated strategies which have the potential to enhance EFL learner's opportunities to improve in pronunciation, prosody, and listening targets.

The sociolinguistic Reality of a New Branch of English Literature: World Englishes Literature
Presenter: Kinga Volkan Kacso, Purdue University
This research proposes a closer look at English literature from the angle of World Englishes asking questions like: besides native speakers (NS), who (else) writes creatively today in English? Why do these authors choose English as their communication tool? And, what are the consequences of this choice?


Hot Topic Round Table, 11:30-12:00
All Cultures “BIG” and “small”
Facilitators: Kyle McIntosh & Mira Bekar, Purdue University
The spread of English as a global language has brought renewed attention to the complexity and controversies surrounding the concept of culture. This roundtable addresses a number of these concerns, including the debate between “big” and “small” cultures, to determine what place, if any, culture has in second language studies.


Keynote speech, 1:00-2:00
World Englishes, Globalization, and the Politics of Conformity
Prof. Rakesh M. Bhatt, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


Session 2: Second Language Writing, 2:15-3:35
Session Chair: Fatima Essili
Examining Students’ Use of Their L1 During Idea Generation in a Free-Writing Activity
Presenter: Joshua Paiz, the University of Toledo
This pilot study examines ESL students’ use of their L1 during a free-writing activity designed to generate ideas for a writing task. The study investigates whether students generate more ideas when using their L1 compared to English. This study investigates what impact the free-write has on the final essay.

Comparing Comments in the L1 and the L2 During the Peer Review Process
Presenter: Terra S. Myers , the University of Toledo
This study investigates the use of ESL students’ L1 during peer review. For this study, we will examine whether ESL students produce more comments during peer review if they are allowed to use their native language, or if they produce more comments when they are allowed to only use English.

Suggestions in Teacher Written Comments on Freshman Compositions
Presenter: Lixia Cheng, Purdue University
Suggestions are complex yet common pragmatic choices that people make every day. This preliminary study explores whether there are significant differences between native and highly advanced non-native speaking instructors in the ways they realize the speech act of suggestion when they provide written feedback to their students’ compositions.

Let History Tell the Current: Aspects of Chinese Rhetoric in Contrastive Rhetoric Studies
Presenter: Xinqiang Li, Purdue University
This study aims to explain some much discussed (in contrastive rhetoric studies) Chinese writing features through a close study of historical development of Chinese rhetoric. In this way, a better understanding of these writing features as well as the formation of modern Chinese rhetoric could be achieved.


Session 3: Application of SL Research to Instruction in U.S. Colleges, 3:50-5:10
Session Chair: Haying Cao

Asian Interplay Between TAs and ESL Graduate Students at UIUC
Presenters: Qi-shu Liu and Katherine Wu, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
The number, as well as the contribution, of international ESL teaching assistants has been thriving in the U.S. Recent decades witness an increasing concern for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs) in various conferences. The aim of this presentation is to utilize students’ feedback, facilitating Asian TAs to become better instructors.

Instructional Choices: Sanctioning ELL’s Vernacular in the English Language Classroom
Presenter: Zaira R. Arvelo-Alicea, Purdue University
This working paper discusses an ethnographic case study done in a college level English classroom in Puerto Rico. It focuses on the negotiation an American teacher does regarding the uses of the target language (English) and students’ vernacular (Spanish) in two course components: the classroom and students’ blogs.

The ESL Student in a Community College
Presenter: Barbara Gilbert , Wright State University
ESL students in a community college are very different from ESL students in intensive English for academic purposes programs in four year colleges or universities. Most ESL students in a community college are either refugees or immigrants who face not only language issues, but other issues regarding work and family.

The Influence of Motivation within Second Language Acquisition
Ryan D. Wright, The University of Toledo
This study investigates the core factors that aid in explaining for the discrepancy in motivation among students who are learning second language (i.e. ESL students). I will review the research and determine the most significant factors that drive a student’s level of motivation during the process of second language acquisition.

Concluding Remarks by Prof. Tony Silva, Purdue University, 5:10

Dinner at Puccini’s, 6:00-9:00

Japanese: What Japanese Culture Surprised You?

A new movie called "ダーリンは外国人(my darling is a foreigner)" is coming soon in Japan. This was originally a comic book about this international couple living in Japan. The Japanese woman, Saori doesn't speak English, but her American husband, Tony, who is a "language geek" speaks Japanese super fluently. The story is basically their daily lives in Japan, but it's really funny.
Along with the movie, they interviewed some international couples in Japan.
The topic was "What Japanese culture " surprised you?

I can have my students catch what the people are saying, and have 
them talk about it. Also if there are some students who have been 
to Japan, they can share their experiences.

News: March Review

Hello all, Chris here. We have wrapped up another successful month with a strong series of high-quality posts! The quality and quantity of content available on the site continues to grow. Let's keep up the good work in April as we will see some of our newer contributors making their debut posts.



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