Saturday, July 31, 2010

Spanish: Trabalenguas 3

Hi everyone, Claudia here,

These are a few more trabalenguas you can use with your students. Enjoy!

Del pelo al codo y del codo al pelo,
del codo al pelo y del pelo al codo.

Comí chirimoyas, me enchirimoyé,
ahora para desenchirimoyarme,
¿cómo me desenchirimoyaré?

Pepe Pecas pica papas con un pico,
con un pico pica papas Pepe Pecas.

Buscaba en el bosque Francisco a un vasco bizco tan brusco,
que al verlo le dijo un chusco: - ¡qué vasco bizco tan brusco!

Han dicho que he dicho un dicho,
tal dicho no lo he dicho yo.
Porque si yo hubiera dicho el dicho,
Bien dicho habría estado el dicho
Por haberlo dicho yo.

News: JALT 2010

36th Annual International Conference on
Language Teaching and Learning
& Educational Materials Expo
19 – 22 November, 2010,
Aichi Industry and Labor Center, Nagoya.

Spanish: Refranes 2

Hello all, Claudia here,

Here are some more refranes for you, I hope you find these useful!

• La curiosidad mató al gato.

• En casa de herrero, cuchara de palo.

• Cuando veas las barbas de tu vecino arder, pon las tuyas en remojo.

• Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente.

• Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres.

• Perro que ladra no muerde.

Spanish: Adivinanzas 3

Hi all, Claudia here,

These are more Spanish riddles for you to add to your collection. Don't forget to check back on the activities you can do with these adivinanzas!

¿Qué será lo que es?
Que mientras más grande, menos se ve.

R: La oscuridad

como un ratón,
guarda la casa
como un león.

R: El candado.

A cuestas llevo mi casa.
Camino sin tener patas.
Por donde mi cuerpo pasa
queda un hilillo de plata.

R: El caracol

Friday, July 30, 2010

Japanese: Career Forum in Japanese

Hi all, Junko desu.

Today I wanted to share a fun role-play activity about having interviews in Japanese. First, each student writes a name of any company on a piece of paper. Then mix all of them, and distribute one to each student randomly. A student will be a CEO of the company (For example, if you get a piece of paper that says "SONY", you are the president of SONY!) Then half of the students become interviewers who want to hire smart students, and the others become students who are looking for jobs.


面接官(めんせつかん; Interviewer)
You are the president of a company and at a career forum. You want to hire qualified students for your company. You have only 3 minutes to interview the students. By asking questions, such as their majors, their interests, or what they have done so far, decide who the best to hire.

学生(がくせい; student)
You are a senior at Purdue and trying to get a job at the career forum. You are looking for a company where you can do what you want to do. Sell yourself and get a job!

Key vocabulary:
〜に 興味(きょうみ)が ある。Interested in ~
もう〜てある。Something is done already
〜ておく。Make preparations
〜ため:for the purpose of
まだ: yet

Interviewers and students can make their own dialogues using the key vocabulary.

Nice to meet you, my name is ~ from ~ university.

Okay, please have a seat.
What is your major?


News: ACTFL OPI Workshop

Hello all, Chris here with some news regarding this year's ACTFL conference. Registration for the Oral Proficiency Interview Workshop. The OPI is a four-day professional development workshop created to introduce language educators to the Oral Proficiency Interview, the ACTFL rating scale, as well as techniques for conducting and rating oral proficiency interviews.

ACTFL is offering the following language sections being this year: Arabic, Chinese, English (mixed-languages), French, German, and Spanish.

Participation is very limited so do not delay and register soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

German: Salzburg Links

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

German: Funny McDonalds Commercial

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a funny German McDonalds commercial I came across which actually includes some useful dialogue about ordering from a menu which would work well to introduce these structures and vocabulary to students:

After showing this video to students and introducing the necessary structures and vocabulary needed for ordering food, a good followup activity would be to provide students with sample menus, divide them into pairs and have them practice picking and ordering items from a menu while their partners take over the role of waiter/waitress who keeps track of the order and informs their partner if a particular item is unavailable. This activity could then build into a more involved role-play where students design their own restaurants and menus.
  • What types of food/restaurant activities do you do?
  • How do you teach the necessary grammatical structures for ordering items?
  • How and when do you introduce food vocabulary?

German: Bundestrainer Löw Receives Contract Extension

Hello all, Chris here with some post-World Cup news for German soccer fans. Joachim Löw, Germany's coach during the World Cup, will continue his duties for the foreseeable future. This will be important as qualifications for the European Championship begin later this year. You can read more here:,1518,706839,00.html

This could lend itself to an activity where students are asked to report on their favorite soccer teams and they must identify coaches, team owners, team locations, favorite players etc. This would be a good opportunity to introduce some specialized vocabulary as well.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

German Video: Funny

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a funny car-related commercial which is actually about ways to save on car expenses and help the environment. This video could be useful in a variety of units. Stay tuned for a short worksheet about the video. Enjoy!

Funny Video: German VW Commercial

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a funny VW commercial I found which can be shown during a unit on the various types of transportation or if you are discussing German cars in general. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Funny video- You must not laugh

Hi all, Junko desu.

Today I wanted to share a funny Japanese comedy TV program. The several comedians in the show, pretending high school students, must not laugh no matter what. If they do, they would be punished... Today I taught this "must not" grammar point, so students liked the video!! Enjoy!

Group Activities: Strip Stories Part 1

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to discuss a specific activity type which has several applications and variations in language teaching - Strip Stories. First off, what are Strip Stories? A Strip Story is a story which has been separated into smaller segments from beginning to end. These story segments do not have to contain much or any text at all. In fact, a Strip Story could insist entirely of pictures similar to what one would find in a comic book. The name for these stories comes from that fact that the various segments of the story are often given to the students out of order by cutting them into little strips of paper.

There are numerous formats in which one could present a Strip Story, for example:
  • A story which has been separated into either individual sentences or groups of shorter sentences
  • A story with pictures and limited text
  • A story consisting purely of pictures (comic style)
  • An audio text with several short tracks
  • A video which has been cut into its individual scenes
This activity provides a fun and useful way of introducing new texts and/or new vocabulary and grammatical items. There are several parts to a Strip Story activity including pre-, during, and post-reading activities. This is not purely a reading activity however, and there are several supplemental activities that can be done to enhance a Strip Story which will lead students having a greater command of the vocabulary, as well as improving their reading, writing, and oral skills.

I will now outline a basic Strip Story for you including various supplemental activities.

1. Pre-Reading Activities (Activating Background Knowledge/Preparation)

Before simply diving into a new text it is helpful to activate background knowledge that the students have and to prepare them for new vocabulary and grammatical structures they are going to encounter in a text. To do so, there are several possible activities. These include but are not limited to:
  •   Vocabulary Bingo
  •   Matching with vocabulary pictures and words
  •   Drawing pictures of important vocabulary and playing a Pictionary/Memory type of game
  •   Short interview activity to activate background knowledge of the subject area (partner or small group)
2. Reading Activity (The Strip Story)

The actual Strip Story can be done numerous ways and this will largely determine the types of activities you will do before, during, and after the reading. For this example, I will discuss two of the formats mentioned above:  
  • A story which has been separated into either individual sentences or groups of shorter sentences
  • A story with pictures and limited text
A story consisting purely of text works as well as any of the other formats. I have found that texts which feature some sort of riddle or puzzle typically add a good challenge for students as getting the order of the story right becomes all the more imperative in order to solve the puzzle. However, virtually any narrative text will do. First off, the story will have to be separated into various 'strips'. Depending on the level of the students, these can be limited to single sentences or slightly bigger chunks of text. As the teacher, you will have to determine what works best with a given text. It is helpful to create a digital version of the text you will use in order to make it easier to use as a handout later. I typically create a table in MS Word (any word processor will do) which has one column and several lines for the text. A 1x10 table is a typical size. Once a text is broken down into 'strips' you can then type these into the table. Whenever you wish to do the activity, simply print as many copies as you need. It is best to do this activity in small groups. Each group should receive a copy of the story which has been cut into its various strips and mixed up so as not to be in chronological order. Students should be made aware of the riddle or puzzle (if used) which needs to be solved. This can even be listed on one of the strips you provide the students which will require them to recognize it as the riddle to be solved and not as part of the story sequence.

Once each group has their materials they may begin by trying to place the story in the correct sequence which will not only test their puzzle solving skills but also their ability to correctly read and process information in the L2.

I will discuss the other formats for the strip story in Part 2 of this post along with the various post-reading activities that can be done. Stay tuned!

News: ACTFL Early Bird Registration

Hello all, Chris here. For those attending the ACTFL convention this Fall, this is just a reminder that the Early Bird registration closes Wednesday July 14th! To register, follow the Early Bird registration link!

Monday, July 12, 2010

French Documentary: Voyages en Méditerranée. (Advanced)

Hi everybody, Aurore here! Hers is an interesting video about the historical bonds between the countries of the Mediterranean sea. It is interesting on an architectural and historical perspective and the time frame of the video ranges from the Roman Empire to contemporary painters. Enjoy!

Voyages en Méditerranée. Des Racines & des Ailes.

1.Où les Phocéens débarquèrent-ils ? Qui sont-ils ? Qu’ont-ils fait ?

2.De quand le palais date-t-il ? Pour qui a-t-il été construit ?

3.Que s’est-il récemment passe à Arles ?

4.Qu’est-ce que les archéologues ont pu repêcher ?

5.Avec quoi Ephèse est-elle comparée ?

6.A quoi le temple d’Artémis servait-il ?

7.Quels peintres ont été inspirés par la beauté de Tanger ?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spanish: Un espía volador

Hi everyone, Claudia here,

This is a fun video to show your students when talking about technology. An advanced research center is working on the design of a special spy: a tiny, quiet, flying robot they call the 'hummingbird', el colibrí.

French Documentary: Les soirées françaises à Londres (Intermediaire-Avances)

Hi everyone, Aurore here! I'd like to share this video with you! It shows how international and cosmopolitan London is, with a special stress on the great number of French migrants living there. Indeed, many French have crossed the Channel. Here is the type of entertainment that has been developing steadfastly in London. Enjoy!

Les soirées françaises à Londres.

1.Quel est l’occupation d’Éric ? Quels détails apprenez-vous sur lui ?

2.Quel type de soirées organise-t-il ? A qui ces soirées s’adressent-elles ?

3.Quelles différences Éric note-t-il au sujet de la recherche de travail entre la France et l’Angleterre ?

4.Quel est le quartier de prédilection des Français à Londres ?

5.Que peut-on y trouver ?

6.Que dit Éric sur le pseudo « repli des Français » à Londres ?

7.Selon lui, pourquoi les soirées françaises ont-elles du succès ?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

World Cup 2010: Japanese Fans

Hi all, Junko desu.

Well, the world cup 2010 is almost over, but team Japan a.k.a blue samurai did a pretty good job! How were the Japanese fans?? Take a look at it.

1. How did the fans celebrate?
2.Does the way of celebration differ from your country?

Japanese: Cultural Activity - Tanabata

Hi all, Junko desu.

July 7th today was 七夕(tanabata) in Japan. Tanabata is a Japanese star festival, related to the Chinese star festival. It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). According to legend, the Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The celebration is held at night.

I showed this video in class today, and they had to guess what was happening in the video.

Here are the questions regarding the video.

1. How did the man and woman meet?
2. Why did she decide to get married with him?
3. Why did she leave him?
4. How did he get to heaven to meet her?
5. How did her parents like him?
6. What happened at the end?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spanish: La Feria de San Fermín

Hello everyone, Claudia here,

The opening of the Feria de San Fermín was marked today by setting off the pyrotechnic chupinazo. The festival of San Fermín is a deeply rooted celebration held annually from july 6th at noon to midnight july 14th in Pamplona, Spain.

This is a famous tradition you can share with your students, you can talk about the different activities held during the festival and compare them to any other cultural traditions they might be familiar with. You can check the link below to view the complete schedule of events and see some online streaming:

You should also check out this short video of the opening of the 2010 Feria de San Fermín:

Spanish: Centro de las Artes Indígenas del Parque Takilhsukut

Hi all, Claudia here,

Today I would like to share a video describing the different cultural activities in the center for the conservation of indigenous traditions in Veracruz, México. This video provides a brief view of the several classes offered at the Parque Takilhsukut and it is a great way to share some of the pre-Columbian traditions of Latin America.

Monday, July 5, 2010

News: ACTFL 2010 Convention Complete Schedule Now Available

Hello all, Chris here. Today I have a bit of news for the 2010 ACTFL convention. The complete convention schedule is now available for view! Please check out the following link for more information:

Sunday, July 4, 2010

News: XLV Congreso Internacional de la AEPE

Hi all, Claudia here,

I would like to call your attention to the XLV Congreso Internacional de la Asociación Europea de Profesores de Español: El Camino de Santiago: encrucijada de lenguas y culturas. The conference will be held in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, from the 25th to the 31st of july.

For more information follow this link:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Spanish: Catálogo de Voces Hispánicas

Hello everybody, Claudia here,

A friend recently shared a pretty cool site with me called El Catálogo de Voces Hispánicas, part of the Centro Virtual Cervantes. The site provides a wide selection of videos with samples of different dialects of Latin American Spanish. It not only offers provides linguistic and geographic information about the various regions, each video includes its transcription and is related to the culture and traditions of the specific locality.

El Catálogo de Voces Hispánicas is a great resource for Spanish teachers and students. I have not used the site yet but I plan to use it very soon. Please let me know if you like the site and if you come up with any fun activities for your students! Here are some of the activities I have thought of so far:

- You could use the videos to show your students the different dialects.
- You could use the videos to teach about different regional traditions.
- You could have your students listen and try to answer follow up questions.
- You could use the texts for reading comprehension and complement with the video.
- You could use the information in your advanced classes since it provides advanced linguistic information on the different dialects.

Friday, July 2, 2010

News: Congreso Virtual CLED 2010

Hi all, Claudia here,

The Congreso Virtual CLED 2010 started today. This is an online conference about free knowledge and education and will be held until july 16th. The Congreso Virtual CLED 2010 is designed to help teachers use online resources in their classrooms and is completely free.

For more information follow the link below:

CLED 2010

Spanish: El Mate Argentino

Hello everyone, Claudia here,

I would like to share a nice video on Argentinian Mate, a very important part of Argentinian culture. I am sure your students would enjoy learning more about this regional tradition.

All Languages: Playing Dice

      Hello all, Becky here. Below I have included an activity that you can adapt to get your students to practice any grammatical aspect you may be working on. Divide students into pairs and give them 1 die per pair. Roll the first time and the number you roll determines what form of the verb you will use. Roll the die a second time to determine the verb you will use. Write at least 10 complete sentences using vocabulary from the chapter based on the form and the verb you roll. I like for students to write true, meaningful and/or imaginative, creative sentences about real people whether famous, known at the institution, or known within the class to spice things up. I have also found this activity really helpful to practice commands. Turn in 1 sheet of paper per pair but both members of the pair must write sentences.

You (informal)

He/she [Insert friend's name]

You (formal) [insert name]

They [insert name]





To be...

To have...

To study...

To dance...

To work...

To like...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

French Documentary + worksheet. La France vue par une Colombienne. Upper intermediate/advanced learners

Hi everybody, Aurore here! Here is a video expressing the views of a Colombian student living in a French family. It's interesting for the learners because they can hear French spoken by a non-native speaker. It is also useful in terms of culture, since she points out things French people do that are very specific. Then you can launch a debate on the topics pointed out during her talk: how would your students have reacted??? Were they expecting some things that came out more than others??

La France aux yeux d’une étudiante colombienne. Documentaire France 24.

1.Comment s’appelle la jeune fille ?

2.Quelles études fait-elle ?

3.Dans quelle ville se trouve-t-elle ?

4.Quand est-elle arrivée ?

5.Quels sont les avantages de faire ses études en France (aux niveaux personnel et professionnel/académique) ?

6.D’où vient la salsa ?

7.Quel est le métier de Diana ?

8.Quels sont les avantages quand on habite dans une famille française ?

9.Quelle est son expression française favorite ?

10.Connaissez-vous la signification de cette expression ?

11.Quel est, selon elle, un geste que les Français affectionnent particulièrement ?


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