Monday, January 31, 2011

Portuguese Videos: Conversaçãos 2

Hello all, Chris here. Today we present the second video in our Portuguese conversation series! Many thanks to Cezar and Christiane for helping out! A worksheet of comprehension questions will follow soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

News: SCFLTA Conference 2011

Hello all, Claudia here. Today I would like to share some information with you on the upcoming SCFLTA conference in South Carolina. Read on for more information:

The South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers' Association presents
The SCFLTA Conference 2011
World Languages: Meeting New Challenges

February 12, 2011 Brookland Conference Center

West Columbia, SC

Graduate Symposium on Second Language Studies

The Purdue University ESL Graduate Student Organization (ESL GO!) is currently seeking proposals for the 3rd annual Purdue University Graduate Student Symposium on Second Language Studies/ESL to be held on Saturday, April 2nd in Stewart Center.

To reflect our program's recent name change to SLS/ESL, this year's event will focus on foreign language teaching, research, and theory. However, any topics regarding second language studies, including ESL, are welcome.

Presentations will be 20 minutes. If interested, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to Crissy McMartin-Miller at: by Friday, March 4, 2011.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Japanese Christmas

Hi all, Junko desu. Today I wanted to share some Japanese reading material for the intermediate and advance level. I found this article on Yahoo Japan and thought it was very interesting. Christmas in Japan is very unique, and in this article, they are talking about differences between American Christmas and Japanese Christmas. After reading the material, students are to answer the questions below.

1. Nihon de wa kurisumasu wa dareto sugoshimasuka?
2. Nihon de wa kurisumasu ni naniwo tabemasuka?
3. Amerika to nihon no kurisumasu wa naniga chigaimasuka?

News: NABE 2011 - 40th Annual Conference

NABE2011 - 40th Annual Conference | February 16-18, 2011 | New Orleans, LA

BILINGUAL EDUCATION: Celebrating 40 years of Educational Excellence in Reforming, Renewing and Achieving Equity through Bilingual Education and Biliteracy

News: TexFLEC and SoCALLT 2011 - Call for proposals

This year, TexFLEC (Texas Foreign Language Education Conference)
will be held in conjunction with the SoCALLT (South Central Association for Language Learning Technology) Conference at the University of Texas in Austin, April 14-16 (Thursday – Saturday), 2011.

SOCALLT - South Central Association for Language Learning Technology
"Language Teaching and Learning in an Open World

The South Central Association for Language Learning Technology invites SOCALLT/IALLT members and other language teaching professionals who use instructional technologies (including foreign languages, heritage languages, ESL and ASL) to participate in our next annual meeting.

TexFLEC - Twelfth Annual Texas Foreign Language Education Conference
"Language Education Across the Academic Pipeline"

The "academic pipeline" is a metaphor that education researchers have used to describe the flow of students progress from primary schools through higher education. The theme of this year's conference addresses crucial questions about that pipeline for ELLs and foreign language learners: To what extent does K-12 language education prepare students to transition smoothly to college and higher education opportunities? What practices provide continuity and support for students as they navigate through elementary, secondary, post-secondary, and continuing education contexts? What factors cause students to "leak out" of the educational system and/or out of language studies?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

News: Article on Learning Languages in the U.S.

Hello everyone! Becky here.

I am here to share with you yet another article about language learning in the U.S. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

News: Michelle Obama Urging Students to Study Abroad

Hello everyone, Becky here!

Here is the Washington Post's coverage of the First Lady's speech on studying abroad delivered last Wednesday at Howard University.


German: Currywurst Activity

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share some links, videos, and an activity you can do relating to Currywurst! Part of our chapter on Berlin focuses on Currywurst and its origin. We have previously posted on the Curryswurst Museum in Berlin. First, I would like to share a fun cultural activity that your still will enjoy.

In order to allow students to see what the Currywurst craze is all about and to experience the taste firsthand, I offered students the chance to make Curryswurst for the class as an extra credit activity. Of course, there had to be a language component to it, and so students were required to explain which ingredients they used and how they prepared their Currywurst. Students were divided into small groups (2-3 ea.) and were given a week to prepare. On the assigned day students presented their versions of Currywurst in front of the class and everyone was able to sample them. You could also add in a judging component where each student could fill out a pre-made scorecard with various categories such as taste, presentation, etc.

Here is a link to a short news report on a specific Currywurst locale:

To provide students with further background information and ideas for recipes, the following websites may be useful:

The Currywurst even has a song dedicated to it. Check out Herbert Grönemeyer's 1992 song:

(Currywurst image at the top is the property of Wikipedia. All rights are theirs)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

News: JELENS 2011

Hello all, Claudia here with some information about the JELENS 2011 conference:

XIII Jornadas de Enseñanza de las Lenguas Extranjeras en el Nivel Superior

Hacia el plurilingüismo: políticas, didácticas e investigaciones
Autorizadas y auspiciadas por Resoluciones F Nº 1194/10 y 1405/10

Organizan: Centro de Lenguas Extranjeras (CELEX) y Área 10 Lenguas Extranjeras de la Facultad de Ciencias Humanas de la Universidad Nacional de San Luis

Lugar: Universidad Nacional de San Luis- Ejército de los Andes 950. 5700 San Luis Capital. Argentina

Fechas: miércoles 19, jueves 20 y viernes 21 de octubre de 2011

Comité Organizador: Está integrado por docentes del Centro de Lenguas Extranjeras (CELEX) y del Área 10 Lenguas Extranjeras de la Facultad de Ciencias Humanas de la Universidad Nacional de San Luis.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

News: Summer 2011 FL Teacher Travel Opportunities

Hello everyone, Becky here! I'm passing along opportunities for FL teachers to travel and earn graduate or professional development credit this Summer (2011). Enjoy!

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that runs professional development travel programs designed for teachers.

GEEO is offering 13 different travel programs for the summer of 2011: India/Nepal, China, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey/Syria/Jordan/Egypt, Ethiopia, South Africa/Mozambique/Zimbabwe/Botswana, Morocco, Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala/Belize/Mexico.

Educators have the option to earn graduate school credit (3 credits through Indiana University) and professional development credit while seeing the world.
The trips are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. GEEO also advises teachers on how to find funding to subsidize the cost of the trips. GEEO provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom.The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and University educators and administrators, as well as retired educators. Educators are also permitted to bring along a non-educator guest.

Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found at GEEO can also be reached 7 days a week, toll free at 1-877-600-0105 between 9AM-9PM EST. To sign-up for GEEO's listserv, please send an email to with the subject line "subscribe."

News: Video of the Week Moved

Hello all, Chris here with a quick update. The template just would not cooperate with the width of the Video of the Week so it has now been moved below the posts where it once again can be viewed in regular width. Thanks for your patience with the site updates!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

News: Another Interesting Article on FL Study

Hello again, everyone! Becky again. :)

We have come across yet another interesting article about language study and enrollment. Check it out here:


News: 8th TALGS (TESOL/ Applied Linguistic Graduate Students) Conference

Hello everyone, Becky here! I am forwarding info about a conference you may be interested in attending. Enjoy!

The 8th TALGS (TESOL/ Applied Linguistic Graduate Students) conference will be held at East Carolina University on Saturday, February 19, 2011. All conference information is available at

TALGS aims to provide graduate students and TESOL/other Foreign Language professionals (including ESOL, TESL, EFL, ESL, TEFL, Spanish, French, German, DLI, etc.) a forum to showcase their research and successful teaching practices. This year’s plenary speaker will be a distinguished scholar and educator, Dr. Ofélia García, Professor of Urban Education at the City University of New York. The conference will feature paper, workshop, discussion, and poster presentations on a variety of topics related to language use, language learning, and/or language teaching. Continuing Education Units for NC public school teachers will be available.

Advantageous "Early Bird" Conference preregistration at
ends January 19, 2011; all preregistration ends February 1, 2011. Registration on site will be available.

Please share this information with your colleagues, students, and/or contacts in K-12 schools.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tying Linguistics to Holidays

As an elementary school teacher now I find myself doing something I never really used to do as much when teaching linguistics: tying my lessons to current holidays. However, I was struck watching one of my colleagues show a video of Walter Cronkite's report of Martin Luther King's assassination to her class.

If this is your first or second week back in the semester and you are still introducing concepts to your students about what linguistics is and what studying its various branches entails, there is a lot you could do with this video to hook your audience by bringing in something that is meaningful and timely to them. First of all, you could introduce the concept of semantics by pointing out the subtleties of some of the words Cronkite uses: "Negro" could open up a wide discussion about what words have historically been appropriate or inappropriate, and students may have a variety of personal experiences with and opinions about racial terms that they may be willing to open up and talk about; you could also tie this in with recent outrage over censorship of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, making parallels between the question of "who has the authority to decide matters about language" and the distinction between prescriptivism and descriptivism. There is also a more hidden bit of intrigue in the Cronkite report when he uses the word "murder" to refer to the assassination; you could discuss the implications of using words such as "murder" rather than "killing" or "shooting" and talk about what attitudes they reveal about the speaker towards the topic he is talking about.

You could also use a comparison and contrast of speakers in the clip to illustrate points about sociolinguistics and dialectal difference. All three of the main speakers in the clip (Cronkite, Johnson, and King) are southerners, and two of them (the former) lived all or most of their youth in Texas. You might point out the differences in occupation that contribute to what the viewer hears in these clips (newsreader speech and the so-called "broadcast standard," King's experience as a preacher), but you can also use Cronkite and Johnson to showcase the fact that language is much more complex than just being a matter of regional differences. For example, Cronkite was born in Missouri and grew up in the more urban Houston area, attending a larger university (the University of Texas at Austin), while Johnson was from a more rural background and went to a slightly smaller college. If you have more time, considering the popular opinions that people once had about Cronkite and LBJ may give you the opportunity to discuss whether prestige is based entirely, or even in part, on the way people talk, or whether people who disliked LBJ were able to base those opinions solely and without linguistic bias on his policies. These kinds of tie-ins would not only help students to connect the discipline of linguistics to something that is more real to them, but would also enrich younger students' grasp of Cronkite's and Johnson's respective places in our understanding of political history. I'll be trying to think of more ways to connect linguistics to the calendar, and if you come up with any more, I encourage you to share!

Bordeaux : cours académie du vin

FR300 & higher: this is an introduction to the world of (one of the finest) wine.

Picardie: quiche aux poireaux

ingrédients pour quiche aux poireaux
Pour la pâte :

Jaune(s) d'oeuf(s) : 1 pièce(s) Farine de blé : 200 gramme(s)
Beurre doux : 100 gramme(s) Sel fin : 6 Pincée(s)
Eau : 2 centilitre(s)

Pour la garniture :

Poireau(x) : 4 pièce(s) Beurre doux : 40 gramme(s)
Noix de muscade râpée : 1 Pincée(s) Sel fin : 6 Pincée(s)
Moulin à poivre : 6 Tour(s) Crème liquide entière : 20 centilitre(s)
Emmenthal râpé : 40 gramme(s) Jaune(s) d'oeuf(s) : 1 pièce(s)
Oeuf(s) : 1 pièce(s)

Recette : Quiche aux poireaux
Pour la pâte
Mélanger la farine avec le beurre à température ambiante, jusqu'à obtenir la consistance d'un sable grossier. Ajouter le jaune d'œuf, la pincée de sel et l'eau, puis mélanger rapidement sans trop travailler la pâte. Laisser reposer 1 h au frais.

Préchauffer le four à 200 °C.

Étaler la pâte et foncer le cercle préalablement beurré, recouvrir d'une feuille de papier cuisson puis garnir de lentilles ou de légumes secs. Cuire la pâte à blanc (c'est-à-dire sans garniture) pendant 20 min à 200 °C.

Pour la garniture
Éplucher et tailler finement les poireaux puis les laver. Faire fondre le beurre dans une poêle et ajouter les poireaux. Les cuire sans coloration à feu doux pendant 10 min environ, puis assaisonner de sel et de poivre

Mélanger la crème, les œufs entiers et les jaunes d'œuf, puis assaisonner de sel, de poivre et de noix de muscade.

Sur le fond de tarte cuit, disposer les poireaux, saupoudrer de gruyère, ajouter l'appareil à flan et cuire 25 min à 180 °C.

Laisser reposer quelques minutes à la sortie du four et servir.

Le plus du chef pour réussir votre Quiche aux poireaux:
Vous pouvez utiliser une pâte prête à l'emploi mais pensez toujours à bien cuire la pâte à blanc.

French Video: Alsace - son monde artisanal no.2

(All image rights belong to

La maison des goûts et des couleurs from Ecomusee d'Alsace on Vimeo.

Hello everyone, Johanne here with the second part of the Alsace video. Enjoy!

FR102-202: the French teacher will provide a few questions pertaining to this cultural-geographic aspect of (French) society of the 21st Century.

French Video: Alsace - son monde artisanal

(All image rights belong to

En compagnie d’artisans, venez vivre une expérience nouvelle, à la découverte de savoir-faire rares et de secrets from Ecomusee d'Alsace on Vimeo.

Hello everyone, Johanne here. Today I would like to share another video I found with my fellow French teachers. This one is about Alsace. Enjoy!

FR102-202: the French teacher will provide a few questions pertaining to this cultural-geographic aspect of (French) society of the 21st Century.

French Video: Comment faire une crepe!

(All rights to the picture belong to

Bonjour everyone, Johanne here. Here is an interesting video I found for crepes. Comment faire une crepe!

Creperie bretonne a Saint-Malo en Ille-et-Vilaine (Bretagne) from Hautebretagne on Vimeo.

This video is more suited for intermediate French learners, approximately 3rd-4th semester university level French (FR201-202): the French teacher will provide a few questions pertaining to the cultural-geographic aspect of (French) society of the 21st Century.

...bon appétit!

News: The AAFLT Conference 2011

 Hello all, Claudia here with some information for the upcoming AAFLT conference:

Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers
2011 Conference
Languages: Gateway for Global Communities
University of Montevallo
BB Comer Hall
February 4 – 5, 2011
• Earn professional development hours.
• Make professional contacts and share ideas with other colleagues.
• Learn about new materials and technology.
• Shop for new foreign language supplies.
• Get information on educational tours as well as university language and study abroad programs.
• Recognize dedicated colleagues and deserving students.
• See old friends and make new ones.
For more information, contact
Marlin Harris, AAFLT First Vice-President

Portuguese: Conversaçãos Português 1

Hello all, Chris here! Today we're proud to release the first video in our Portuguese conversation series! A worksheet will soon follow! Many thanks to Cezar and Christiane for helping out! Comments welcome. Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Group Activities: Ice breaker - How to introduce Yourself (Beginners)

Hi everyone, Aurore here! This ice-breaking activity is the English translation of an activity that I have done in French classes. What you can do is copy/paste the following sentences on a power point and have the students work by themselves or in small groups (and help them finding new words) and then they introduce themselves directly in front of the class. This way they all participate, they all get to know each other, they also speak and read!! All this is basic vocabulary. Enjoy your first class!! :)

How to introduce yourself?

What's your name and how old are you?
-> My name is XX and I am XX years old

Where do you live?
-> I live in/at XX

Do you have brothers and sisters? How many?
-> I have XX brothers and sisters/ I have XX brothers and no sister
-> I am an only child? I don't have brothers of sisters

What is your major/minor?
-> My major/minor is XX

Where did you learn English? At school, at university, somewhere else?
-> I learned English at XX

Have you ever visited the US? or an English-speaking country?
-> Yes, I have already visited XX
-> No, I have never visited XX

Do you have a job? Where do you work?
-> Yes I have a job/I work at XX
-> No, I don't have a job/ I don't work

What do you want to do after your studies?
-> I want to XXX
-> I would like to XX

What do you do when you have free time?
-> I like to do XX
-> I love to do XX

What is your favorite dish?
-> My favorite dish is XX
-> My favorite type of restaurant is XX

What is your favorite movie?
-> My favorite movie is XX

What is your favorite singer/band?
-> My favorite singer/band is XX

What did you do during the break?
-> During the break I did XX/ I went XX

Saturday, January 15, 2011

News: Interesting Article on FL in the U.S.

Hello everyone, Becky here!

Check out an article in "Diverse Issues in Higher Education" on the Foreign Language Summit sponsored by CIA Director Leon Panetta and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Interesting stuff!!!


News: Language Teaching Technology - Audacity

(Picture is the sole property of the Audacity developers. Used only as a reference here)

Hello everyone, Becky here!

Below is some information obtained through the Ohio Association for Foreign Language (OFLA) listserv regarding a software you can use with your FL students. Enjoy!
Here are the highlights and most important issues when using Audacity:
· Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
· You can download Audacity from:
· Save your project often!
· To export as an Mp3 fro Audacity – you will need a LAME encoder installed on your computer. This can be downloaded and installed free of charge from:
· If you start a project on a certain computer, you should finish it there by exporting it as an Mp3 or wav, so that it will play anywhere. If you move the project to another computer, that computer has to have Audacity, and you have to move the .aup file AND the data folder.
· Mp3 is the best format for export as it is a small file size and pretty universal, but .wav works as well (no LAME encoder required).
· You will need a headset with mike for best recording – mikes alone will work buy can impede listening if several students are working on files at the same time.
· Music added to Audacity creates another track, and then it is combined with the narration when saved as .mp3/.wav.
· Once you save the project as an .mp3 or a .wav, you cannot edit that file, but you CAN go back to the project file and edit it.
· Mp3 or wav audio files created in Audacity can be imported into Windows Movie Maker and IMovie as well.
Pedagogy applications using Audacity:
· Students tend to adapt very quickly to this type of software as they are already used to the player controls.
· START SMALL! Short recordings are best for language learners. It is the process that is most important, therefore they can spend time planning/editing/proofing their narration before recording the final product.
· Erasing is an easy as a click!
· Students can choose the preferred language to use for the Audacity menu and controls (great authentic practice)
· Project ideas:
o Radio broadcast recordings
o Interviewing another student
o Adding a music/song track (import music to their narration for a storytelling episode)
o A family portrait
o Vacation audio snapshots
o Weather broadcasts
o Pet Corner
Thanks to Rebecca Bias from OSU for sharing this information with OFLA members!

News: Conversations on English Learner Education

Hello everyone! Becky here with ways to get talking about your English Language Learners (ELLs). Enjoy!

Us Department of Education Sponsoring Regional
“National Conversations on English Learner Education”
On behalf of the US Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) is facilitating a series of National Conversations on English Learner Education. These National Conversations are taking place at three primary locations, including:
  • February 10 – 11, Dallas, TX
  • March 7 – 8, Los Angeles, CA
  • April 11 – 12, New York, NY
There will be secondary satellite locations for each event.
More information is available on the National Conversations is available on the NCELA website at
Please pass this information on to your colleagues and others who work with English Learners and multicultural students in our nation’s schools. For inquiries, contact or call NCELA at 1–800-321-6223.

News: Linguistics Institute For Language Teachers at OSU

Hello everyone, Becky here! Below I have copied some information for continuing education credits for FL teachers at OSU. Enjoy!

June 20-24, 2011
LILT is a weeklong summer program designed specifically for language teachers. The goal is to provide language teachers with greater linguistic awareness and understanding, with the ability to think critically about language, and with a deeper appreciation for all aspects of language and language study. The program is not a general introduction to language, nor is it an introduction to linguistics, nor is it about second language pedagogy. Rather, the philosophy behind the program is that language teachers and learners can be well served by knowledge that offers them insight into the structure and use of their own language, so that they will be able to see more clearly how the language that they are teaching or learning differs from it and be able to profit from this understanding. In short, the objective is to provide the teacher/learner with what s/he needs to know about language in general in order to study a particular language more effectively.
Course credit: 3 Ohio State University continuing education credits (CEUs)
Course times: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday, June 20th – Friday, June 24th
Tuition: $395.00, includes cost of five days of lectures, all workshop materials, 3 Ohio State Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and participation certificate.
Application deadline: Friday, April 30th, 2010

Useful Sites: Fun-etics!

Here's a link to a good visually- and aurally-informative website to help students work on sounds in American English, German, or Spanish:

It's especially useful in one-on-one tutoring sessions or for self-study

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Japanese: Learning Kanji through pictures

(Image belongs to

Hi all, Junko desu. Kanji(Chinese characters) is one of the most difficult parts in learning Japanese. What if you study Kanji using some pictures? Here is a good blog that I found about learning Kanji. Check it out!

Japanese: Clip Art Website

(Image from the Nakama website)

Hi all, Junko desu. Today I wanted to share a useful clipart website. This is a website for a Japanese textbook called Nakama, but illustrations can be used for other languages as well. Check it out!

French Music: ZAZIE - Être et avoir (Clip Officiel)

(Image from

FR101-102: this will be a great vocabulary builder by blocking parts of the lyric.
FR201-202: the French teacher will provide questions pertaining to the social-sociological aspect of (French) society of the 21st Century.

ZAZIE- Etre et Avoir

Des chaises, une table, un lit, un toit c'était tout ce qu'on avait.
Vingt ans, pourtant, des rêves en grand c'était tout ce qu'il nous fallait.
Voiture, maison, c'est sûr c'est bon maintenant qu'est ce que ça cache.
Ca nous remplit, ca nous rend pas meilleur pourtant que je sache.
Car tout ce qu'on est, pas tout ce qu'on a, tout ce qu'on est pas tout ce qu'on a.

Plus beau, plus cher, plus riche, plus fort voilà tout ce qu'on adore.
Autant d'efforts, tout ces trésors,on nous fait croire que quand on sera mort, que tout cet or en banque, ces hommes c'est tant que lors que cet amour que l'on manque.

Quel être humain l'est un peu moins depuis qu'il s'est fait avoir.
Car tout ce qu'on est pas tout ce qu'on a, tout ce qu'on est pas tout ce qu'on a.

Des chaises, une table,un lit, un toit, c'était tout ce qu'on avait. Il en faut peu pour être heureux moi c'est tout ce que je sais.

Tout ce qu'on est pas tout ce qu'on a, oui tout ce qu'on est pas tout ce qu'on a...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Enfoque: Latin America Coming Soon

Hello all, Chris here. With the new semester (or quarter) underway, I just wanted to remind Spanish teachers that our first release, Enfoque: Latin America will be coming out in approximately three weeks! Full details can be found below:

German Word of the Year

Every year the Gesellschaft für deutsche Sprache (Association for the German Language) puts out a top ten list of the word of the year. These words are meant to reflect significant cultural or historical turns and trends in areas such as the worlds of finance and technology. Words from recent years include the verbs "twittern" (to tweet) and "googeln" (to google), as well as "Finanzkrise" (financial crisis).

Ask your students which words they would vote for the Wort des Jahres 2010, and compare the lists. You might be surprised at the similarities.

So take a look at the picture gallery for the GfdS's 2010 Worter des Jahres to see which words made the list this year. While many of these words and their cultural contexts may be challenging for students, particularly in beginning classes, you can still work through challenging words (Eurorettungsschirm, Stuttgart 21) to give students an idea of what words are shaping the German language today.

Visual Vocabulary Aids

Greetings everyone, this is Jason. We all know that learning and engaging vocabulary can be a tedious and challenging task in the foreign language classroom. Sometimes visual aids can be useful to present words in a visually captivating and challenging way. Using the website, you can create word images from vocabulary lists, such as the these two examples using vocabulary from chapters on Salzburg and Köln in GER 202.
Once you enter in your selected words, or have provided a link to a webpage, Wordle will compile your word image, which you can post to Wordle's public gallery, or take a screen shot to save the image to use in class. These images can work well with introduction and review of key terms/concepts from chapters and texts, for having students provide genders, or plural forms of nouns.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

German Video: Ruhrdeutsch Lernen

Hello all, Chris here. Today I have another funny German dialect video to share. This time it's all about learning Ruhrdeutsch! This video does a nice job by presenting the dialog both in Ruhrdeutsch and in standard German. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


This is a very simple, but interactive, activity. As you know, students often ask the same questions over and over again: “Where are you from? What do you do? Do you like pizza?” This will get students to ask interesting questions, which should result in more lively discussion.

Here are the rules:

1. Make a lot of small cards with interesting topics written on them, such as: LOVE, JEALOUSY, MONEY, SEX, DRUGS, CLONING, FRIENDSHIP, GAMBLING, etc. Look for topics that make students want to speak – even controversial ones.

2. In groups of 4-5, students will take turns selecting a card. Each student will talk a little about the topic on the card selected. For example:

MONEY: “For me money is very important, but it is not the most important thing. It is only a way to reach a goal. Success should not be measured by the money you can make.”

3. The other students should ask questions of the speaker and also express their own feelings on the topic. There is no limit on the length of discussion.

4. When a group feels that it has exhausted the topic, they should alert the teacher, who will then let another member of the group choose a new topic.

German: Marek's Game

This is a game using locations on maps with prepositions and conditional situations.

A student is provided a virtual representation (picture) of a type of location (e.g. Grandma's house, Berlin, Soccer field), and a conditional situation (e.g. driving to, living/being at, or coming from given location). The student must provide the correct prepositional phrase using each of the following: correct preposition, correct grammatical case, and the correct vocabulary.

The way this is done is by presenting the Power Point, identifying the locations and meanings of the situational icons. Once the introduction has been made, a randomly selected student will be chosen to provide an answer. The instructor points to a location icon on the map and then the situation icon next to the map. The student then provides the answer.

This is a collaborative project that I created with the help of my colleague, Marek. My contribution to this game was to make it a Power Point and add some additional locations/situations.


Here is an activity that I like to do with my students after they've had a chance to get to know each other -- maybe right after midterms -- just to throw a little mystery and intrigue into the mix. It also gives them a good chance to work on their Q and A and Inferencing skills in a fun scenario:

A crime has been committed in this class. There are five suspects. The rest of the students are the investigators in charge of determining who committed the crime.

Suspects must leave the class to construct their alibis. They can use each other for their alibis if they wish.

Meanwhile, investigators (in groups of 3-4) must come up with a list of questions they want to ask the suspects about their whereabouts and activities on the day in question (10-15 min).

The teacher should provide some information about the crime to both suspects and investigators, but withhold some information from both. For example, tell the suspects who actually committed the crime. Tell the investigators about a key piece of evidence found at the crime scene.

Suspects return to the classroom and are assigned individually to a group of investigators for interrogation. After 5 minutes, suspects rotate to a different group for further questioning. Once all of the groups have interrogated each suspect (approx. 25 min), suspects line-up in front of the classroom while investigators confer. Each group of investigators then reveals who they believe has committed the crime and why. Finally, the teacher reveals who actually committed the crime.

Although I've only used this in an ESL/EFL context, I think it could be easily adapted to almost any foreign language classroom. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

News: FREE TESOL Journal Article

Hello all, Chris here. Today I would like to share a link to a useful article from the December issue of the TESOL journal. The article is entitled Family Projects:Empowering Students, Parents, and Teachers and was written by Joy Cowdery, Kelly Levi, Danielle Wells, and Susan Blauvelt.

More information as well as link to the article after the jump!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

German Video: Lern badisch!

Hello all, Chris here. There are several funny videos featuring various German dialects. These are a good opportunity to let your students here various types of German. See the video after the jump!

Update: Site Revamp In Progress

Hello all, Chris here. Welcome to the new look for The Language Teacher's Toolbox!  Learn about all the new features after the jump!

Site Maintenance

Hello all, Chris here. We are now working on the site which may cause certain features and/or content to be temporarily unavailable. The site should be down for no more than a few hours. Your patience is appreciated!


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