Welcome to Foreign Language House

July 14th, 2012
  • Training & coaching personnel
  • Presenting & teaching instructional best practices
  • Curriculum and materials writing for all ages of world language learners

We also offer

  • Culture and language training for professional environments and relationships
  • Cultural communication skills for the professions- Spanish & French
  • Curriculum and materials writing for diverse professions with expertise in Spanish and French



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Free Cinco de Mayo 2014 Teaching Materials

May 4th, 2014

Cinco de Mayo is here! Americans get so excited about it, but be sure to students that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. That celebration is on the 16th of September. Cinco de Mayo is still fun and a great opportunity to bring in Mexican geography, history- The Battle of Puebla- and culture in to your classes.

I’m a lover of content based lessons and activities so I take Cinco as an entre to do content lessons for all levels. But, if you don’t have the time, use a Cinco de Mayo activity as a warm up or as the class-closer or reward.

To Do’s

  • Project a map of Mexico and teach geography basics and the location of the Battle of Puebla
  • Practice Days, months, dates and years.  Birthdays are great lead- in to the dates of Mexican history
  • Plan a virtual Cinco de Mayo fiesta with an invitation, a list of foods, decorations, music, and dancing. Bring clothing in too.
  • For more advanced students, bring in Mexican history internet summaries
  • For more advanced students, do a lesson on the French influence on Mexican history and culture

Cinco de Mayo: Unity & Patriotism- a General Overview

Cinco de Mayo honors the victory of the Mexican army over the most elite army of Europe, the French.   The unity of the many indigenous groups and the energy of the young country came to vanquish the  French. It’s a day for celebrating Mexican culture, the diversity of Mexico’s native peoples, and the drive of the Mexican army.

Cinco de Mayo People
Here are the movers and shakers of 19th century Mexican history and Cinco de Mayo:

  • Benito Juárez: The popular Mexican President of the Mexican Republic who inspired Mexican Independence from European domination. Juárez was a Zapotec Indian.
  • Ignacio Zaragoza: The Mexican general who won the Battle of Puebla.
  • Emperor Maximillian: The puppet of the French government who was placed as the Mexican Emporer
  • Empress Carlota: Maximilian’s wife

Content from Culture

A national holiday is the best way to bring several aspects of Spanish into the learning experience: language, culture (food, music, art) and one of our favorites, geography. So many tangential units can come form Cinco de Mayo: the history of Mexico, the French in Mexico, French cultural influences there, and most importantly the vast indigenous cultures of Mexico. Here are some Cinco de Mayo activities for a variety of ages.

Full Selection of Cinco de Mayo Materials

Free Cinco de Mayo Materials

Cinco de Mayo Bundle of Activities & Materials

Cinco de Mayor Lessons for Grades 6-12 Novice Learners

Simple Cinco de Mayo Information & Reading for Novices

 



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Earth Day 2014

April 18th, 2014

Excellent Earth Day is here! It’s a global movement, & Earth Day brings in practical, recycling vocabulary and basic ecology. All ages can do Earth Day in the target language from coloring and singing, to reading and writing.

Earth Day is one of our favorites for bringing Content and Culture in to our Spanish and French classes. Teach simple earth science content about the planet Earth on April 22. Review the weather, some simple world geography, and introduce the easy verbs for Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  For our VERY  young learners here are some coloring sheets:

Free French Earth Day Coloring SheetFree Spanish Earth Day Coloring Sheet.  

And for the older set in grades 6-12 here are some word searches.  French Earth Day, and Spanish Earth DAy

Earth Day Vocabulary Basics in English-French-Spanish

  • Earth – la Terre – la Tierra
  • globe – le globe – el globo
  • planet – la planète – el planeta
  • land – la terre – la tierra
  • water – l’eau – el agua
  • sky – le ciel – el cielo
  • blue – bleu – azul
  • green – vert – verde
  • brown – brun/marron - café

Materials- Props & Activities

  • I (Diane) cannot imagine teaching without my soft globe ball.  It’s perfect for rolling, tossing, identifying land, water, continents, countries, cities, and more- ALL IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE.   If you know of some great globe games, I’d love to hear from you!
  • Plastic bottle, newspaper, glass bottles.  Bring them in to class! Bring in a set for groups of four to use for hands-on, listening and speaking activities. Be careful of that glass if you bring it!
  • Categories- To Reuse, To Recycle, or to Throw Away. Create these 3 categories. Call out items, or project pictures with the target language label and ask the class or groups or partners to put them in the correct categories.

Free Spanish & French Earth Day Materials

Spanish Earth Day Collection- Grades 6-12

Spanish Earth Day Matching Handout

SpanishEarth Day Simple Reading – A Guoin Series
French Recycling Worksheet for Earth Day

French Song sand Chants for Earth Day

French Earth Day Bundle Secondary

 



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Going to Mexico City- Xochimilco

March 21st, 2014

Let’s go to Mexico City- Vámanos a la Ciudad de México.  And let’s go to Xochimilco- Vámanos a Xochimilco.  Xochimilco (Soh-chee-meel-koh) is an ancient site made up of lakes and canals and an outdoor market place. The canals were used by the Aztecs and other ancient indigenous peoples way before the Spanish came to Mexico City. Today you can go out on the canals at Xochimilco in the colorful boats- or trajineras.  The boats are for hire and as they are rowed for you, mariachis play traditional Mexican fold music and you can have snacks too.

The Aztecs and others constructed chinampas- or rafts of earth or sod- for growing crops and flowers. The chinampas were constructed well enough to hold parts of the ancient city Tenochtitlan too.

Xochimilco Lesson Materials

1. Fotos de las chinampas

2. Fotos de las trajineras

3. Precios de las trajineras

4. Reading- Xochimilco Reading & Activities

5.  Readers Theatre on Going to Xochimilco- for 4 novice level students- To Be Completed

6.  Unit Plan with Materials in a Word Doc- Going to Mexico 4 & 5 March 21-2014



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Making a Voice Recording in Garage Band & Uploading it to your Stie

March 15th, 2014

What a great group of participants today at Classroom in the Cloud at SCOLT in Memphis, Tenn!  Here is a short explanation of how to make a PODCAST or simple Voice Recording in Apple’s Garage Band.  AND– if you have the iphone 5 the very latest OS 7 update includes FREE GARAGEBAND & other software.  You need enough space on your iphone– I don’t have enough on mine right now.  :(

Here is an example of super simple podcast on one of my sites.

The Basics You Need to Know:

  1. You create the podcast in Garage Band
  2. You then export it to your own ITUNES LIBRARY.  Important- The Itunes podcast is now in an MP3 file that is REQUIRED by your site. A Garage Band file can’t be uploaded; has to be SHARED AND EXPORTED in to iTunes.
  3. You upload the ITUNES mp3 file on to your website or wiki

Make a Podcast or a Voice Recording

  1. Open up the Garage Band Application on your laptop, tablet, or iphone.  (Buy it or download if for free; it doesn’t come automatically w the device.)
  2. Select New Project
  3. Push the PODCAST button
  4. Save it with a VERY SPECIFIC NAME. The title of a reading or list of interview questions, Oral Exam Part, Unit, Lesson, Topic, etc.
  5. Push Create
  6. In the far LEFT MENU BAR/COLUMN- select your gender
  7. ON THE VERY BOTTOM select the RED BUTTON to record. This starts the microphone so you and anything else will be recorded.
  8. **THE SPACE BAR IS THE STOP BUTTON
  9. Go to the SHARE pull down menu at the top.
  10. Select SEND PODCAST TO ITUNES
  11. Name the Playlist very specifically– for a class section, grade level, unit, or lesson

Uploading the Podcast- Voice Recording to your Website

  1. Log in to the back end of your website or wiki
  2. Go in to a specific Post
  3. Select the MEDIA ICON button above the formatting tool bar.  Press that icon.
  4. Upload the podcast; either drag it from your ITUNES LIBRARY  in to the box or use the BROWSER UPLOADER.
  5. Insert it in to the Post and Save it.
  6. Voila!



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Teaching Grammar, Vocabulary and Content in CONTEXT- The Gouin Series

March 14th, 2014

Thank you SCOLT workshop attendees this morning!  You made Targetlanguageapolooza fun.  :) We tackled a humongous set of topics– how to determine which technology to use for our students. I had a few requests for some explanation and examples of how to teach grammar or vocabulary in CONTEXT without reverting to English.  We have found the Gouin Series to be the best tool for all of this. Check out the explanation and examples in the uploaded document below.

Gouin Series Explanation and Examples

More Free Materials and Activities requested at today;s workshop-Gouin Series Write Up & Examples, Target Language Practice Activities- Lists of 4 Skill Independent Activities, Dialectical Journal Entries for Upper Levels, Spanish Differentiated Activities for Upper Levels



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Protected: Targetlanguagapolooza

March 13th, 2014

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Task Analysis- in the Target Language

March 10th, 2014

How we know and love the organization CASLS (Center for Applied Second Language Studies) and in their awesome newsletter Julie Sykes, CASLS Director, writes about the Three Steps of Task Analysis. This frames a language task- a reading, listening, speaking or writing activity- for the learner to ensure that the learner understands what he or she just did. I know that sometimes I skip over this step because I’m in a hurry or just not mindful of it at the time.  Sometimes we think that Task Analysis can’t be done in the Target Language for students below the Intermediate levels.  BUT—I’ve figured out how to do it with beginners. Be creative and use lots of images, gestures, and minimal, but effective TL.  Here is how you can do the Three Steps of Task Analysis in the Target Language– even for novices.

1. Pre-Task Activities.
So, so important. This is Brain Activation Time to primer your learners’ target language bank. Ensure your students understand the language input- listening, reading, speaking, or writing– that you will present to them. Present vocabulary, phrases, verbs, and even content with:

  • images, dramatic presentation with gestures, target vocabulary or verbs embedded in short phrases that are 85% comprehensible, review of previous language or content, guided information gap speaking activities for partners using review language related to new material, teacher talk presenting the previously learned material with images.

2. Language Task. Make sure that this is useful, everyday target language with a COMMUNICATIVE PURPOSE.  Grammar description— for Intermediates and above– comes way later in 5 minute increments. :

listening to songs, directions, teacher descriptions, reading signs, websites, lists, stories, non-fiction readings, speaking to fellow students about daily topics, information gap activities, surveys, ASKING QUESTIONS, copying directions to a place, writing lists, writing short bullet points, labeling, jotting down ideas, writing summary-notes of readings.

3. Reflection/Assessment.

Formative-  or in the moment informal assessments– are best for Novices to Mid Intermediates. This can be done in the TL-

Simple TL forms and rubrics that the students can check off, simple checklists that partners can do together about the Task, Teacher writes her own feedback on the form filled out by student, more advanced students can write simple bullets or phrases describing their experience with the task. No matter how advanced the student, provide a framework of evaluation with a guided form.

Questions?  Let us know at foreignlanguagehouse@gmail.com

 



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Protected: Classroom in the Cloud

March 6th, 2014

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Carnaval 2014

February 25th, 2014

Now it is Carnaval’s turn, the Hispanic sister of Mardi Gras. There is so much cultural fun and excitement that you and your student’s shouldn’t miss it.  Students love the general idea- Carnaval is  the last time to have fun before the circumspect and contemplative season of Lent that lasts until Easter on the Roman Catholic calendar.

Bring Carnaval in to your classes . . . .

For All Levels . . . . show a video of last year’s carnaval parade in a Hispanic country. ***Make sure that the footage is appropriate for your age group. Lots of skimpy costumes.

  • Show the iconic video of Celia Cruz singing La Vida es un Carnaval. Be sure to tell students that she is near 90 in the video!
  • Post a world map of Hispanic countries and indicate the big cities that put on a big Carnaval parade: Sevilla, España, Santo Domingo de la República Dominicana, Veracruz, México.
  • Play Carnaval music. You can create a Carnaval playlist on Pandora or Spotify.
  • Images. Search for images of parades, floats and costumes.  Select some— that are classroom appropriate— to project and describe.

Carnaval For Novices

1. Spanish Carnaval Vocabulary

2. Carnaval Sopa de Palabras- Word Search

Carnaval Intermediate Activities



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Mardi Gras Free Activity 2014

February 20th, 2014

Mark your calendars–March 4, 2014 is MARDI GRAS!

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.” How can a day be fat? And why all the French? Let’s look at a little history to learn about Louisiana’s French Connection. You can absolutely teach the following Mardi Gras facts in French for all levels if you simply the French suitably for your learners.  See Diane’s French Mardi Gras Materials.

Mardi Gras is a carnival or festival that takes place for a few weeks between Epiphany (January 6) and Ash Wednesday. In New Orleans, the festivities include parades, costumes, and balls. The events are staged by Carnival Organizations called krewes. The official Mardi Gras colors are purple, green, and gold.

For Beginners

Celebrate French in honor of its heritage surrounding Louisiana’s Mardi Gras. Make sure your beginning French learners of all ages learn and know  following. But, make sure to present the vocabulary with visuals and gestures and NO ENGLISH. Then play age appropriate matching or bingo games:

  • Bonjour – Hello
  • Au revoir – Goodbye
  • Merci- Thank you
  • S’il vous plaît – Please
  • Oh là là! – Oh my!
  • Vert – Green
  • Violet – Purple
  • Or – Gold
  • Laissez-les bons temps rouler! – Let the good times roll!

For Intermedite + French Proficiency

Here is your chance to use the ACTFL “C” for Content for your French II’s Plus. Translate the following bullets in to French they can understand. Create a time line with dates to practice higher numbers. Then, play question and answer games based on the historical content– all in French.

  • A French King, Louis XIV, sent explorers to the Mississippi River. In 1682, one of these explorers reached the river’s mouth, claimed it for France, and named the area Louisiane or Louis’ land.
  • A subsequent expedition was led by Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville in 1699. The day before Mardi Gras, he established a camp about 60 miles from present-day New Orleans. In honor of the holiday, this spot was named Point du Mardi Gras.
  • In 1718, another French explorer founded New Orleans as a permanent settlement. This colony was named in honor of the Duc l’Orleans.
  • In 1803, France’s Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States in what is known as the Louisiana Purchase.
  • Other settlers to Louisiana were the Acadiens, or Cajuns. The Cajuns were also French, but they had originally settled in Nova Scotia, Canada. They were forced to leave as a result of the French-Indian War in 1755, and eventually settled in the rural areas of Louisiana, such as the bayou or marshes.
  • French is the second most spoken language in Louisiana and traditions such as Mardi Gras have taken on a life all their own.
  • Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The forty days of Lent is a serious time of fasting and prayer in preparation for Easter. Mardi Gras is the last night of eating rich, fatty foods. Get it? FAT Tuesday!

We’ve  prepared a FREE Mardi Gras conversational activity for BEGINNERS  to INTERMEDIATES.   Cheers!

 

Alligator image by clipart.com



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