No Basic Differences in Modern Language Textbooks in 50 Years: Go Virtual

I examined two textbooks that are fifty years apart, a Spanish textbook from 1960 and one from 2010

Both:
– Teach the same grammar – present, present irregulars, preterite, preterite irregulars, imperfect, …..
– Teach the same basic vocabulary- family, occupations, house, …. The 2010 textbook does have more modern words such as cell phone, computer…
– Start each lesson with  a written dialogue
– Focus primarily on grammar- almost all the exercises are grammar focused
– Have images – The 1960 has black and white illustrations and the 2010 has many colored photos.
– Include cultural information
– Have dictionaries

Some differences:
–  The  1960 textbook contains 200+ pages while the 2010 textbook has 500+ pages.
– The 1960 has some testing/practice material while the 2010 textbook has  much online grammar practice.
– The 1960 textbook has a story line of a family with a father who travels to Latin America, however, the 2010 does not have a storyline.
– The 1960 textbook teaches practical vocabulary essential to daily living and traveling while the 2010 teaches specialized vocabulary such as words to describe art in a museum.
– The 1960 textbook follows the grammar translation methodology while the 2010 follows the grammar use methodology.

The 2010 textbook, once all the colored photos are removed, is essential the same as the 1960 textbook.  Do modern language teacher still want to focus primarily on grammar instead of communication?

How has the textbook, the staple of most classes, changed over the last 50 years?
– Does it scaffold information to make it easier for students to learn?
– Does it include strategies to help the students better learn the material?
– Does it organize information in a way to help students see similarities and differences?
– Does it build in self tests so students can measure their progress in a formative assessment manner? Does it provide formative feedback?
– Has it gone to the “less is better” with more concentration on critical learning  or has it gone to “the bigger is better” way of thinking?
– Has it incorporated spontaneous speaking or is the speaking still based on teaching grammar?
– Is the vocabulary being taught include verbs and adjectives about the topic instead of just nouns?  Can student talk in depth about a topic?

I’ve written several blogs about textbooks Smartphone (Mobil Learning Apps as Alternative Textbooks)  and Why a Physical Textbook?

Think of creating your own virtual textbook that truly matches the state goals and your district’s goals. Consider using QR codes to create your own textbook.

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (25+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask partner a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle. I have a series of modern language visual stories (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students. Can use in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook

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Cell and Smartphones to Improve Modern Language Learning

ACTFL Nov. 17, 2012

Rationale: World wide change;   QR codes

 Developing some language skills:
Speaking: their world, real things, apps → speaking, speaking eportfolio, peer assessment

Reading: authentic newspapers, TV website mini-articles, ereader for literature, create own readings
Writing: text teacher, text activity, twitter, wiki/blog
Culture: see actual up-to-the -moment culture, analyze cultural differences within the target countries

Assessment and formative feedback: short formative assessments, QR codes for differentiated feedback, Edmodo

Concern: Dumping textbooks, etc on mobile devices;

school can create QR code sheets per unit as their textbook.

Creating QR codes:

1) Shorten url by using bit.y  (https://bitly.com/). Type web address  in upper right.  If you accept their name or click on custom to customize your url.
2) Next go to http://createqrcode.appspot.com/, type in the URL (you can put more than one in), decide on your size, copy it.   I usually save it, then copy the graphic into my document or PowerPoint.

How do you use cell and smartphones to improve Modern Language learning?

Other resources:

My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (25+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask partner a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle. I have a series of modern language visual stories (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students. Can use in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

Free Flickr Images for common vocabulary collected by my students Blog, http://wp.me/p262R-De for full info. 1) Go to http://www.flickr.com, 2) click on the word Search, 3) click on Tags only, on the right side of the search box, 3) then enter spancon +(casa, clima, comida, deporte, descripcion, la hora, naturaleza, numeros, or trabajo- see the blog for the listing such as spancon +comida. No words, just pictures. Can be used in any language for quick vocabulary review using real objects and for speaking in short sentences. Click on Slideshow in upper right for pictures to show the pictures quickly.

Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment (Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education). For each of fifteen language functions such as socializing, asking for and giving information, explaining, etc., my book provides ten different speaking strategies to help students to improve. Also, includes a procedure to assess all students in just three minutes. http://bit.ly/flspeakfa. Also, have a book,Formative Assessment, Responding to Students.

Two Youtube videos on the importance of speaking in modern language class http://bit.ly/mlspeaking and of monitoring students’ speaking http://bit.ly/MLFAP2

Search for modern language on my education and technology blog bit.ly/hgtblog

(Am on EdTech’s “The Honor Roll: 50 Must-Read K–12 Education IT Blogs”). Am in the process of moving all modern language blogs over to this blog.

10 Seconds to Learn a Modern Language Vocabulary Word

Vocabulary is critical to language learning.  Some teachers believe that the students have to repeat and repeat the modern language word and the English word  many, many, many  times before the student will learn the word.  However,  according to Brian Nielsen (http://www.kushiro-ct.ac.jp/library/kiyo/kiyo36/Brian.pdf)  “mnemonic and non-mnemonic elaboration techniques involving deep semantic processing of target words have been shown to be more effective than memorization strategies involving only shallow processing, such as oral rote-repetition” Furthermore, he  states “There are two versions of the Keyword Method, one based on the construction of visual images and the other based on the construction of sentences. Evidence exists that the visual imagery version is superior to the sentence construction version in facilitating recall of words…“Consider, for example, the Spanish word carta meaning (postal) letter. Using the keyword cart, a learner might generate either an image of a shopping cart transporting a letter, or a sentence such as The cart carries the letter.”

In my class, I go over visualization techniques (the weirder and sexier the better according to Memory Experts such as Harry Lorayne).   When we learn a new word, the students have ten seconds to connect that modern language word to the English word meaning.  Once they have an image or use it an oral sentence, they review it to see if the image is hooked in.  I use the image of velcro; the image or sentence has to attach the modern language word to the English meaning. We review their connection over  the next few days;  if they cannot remember the word, then they need a better mental connection.

How do your students learn modern language words?

    My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask partner a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs), Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawings from 2-4 people), Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group), Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs), and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers: http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle.I have a series of modern language visual stories (the beach, the city, school, etc.) for two students to role play; the restaurant role play involves four students. Can use in any language since there are just visuals, no words.

My book, Improving Foreign Language Speaking Through Formative Assessment, and my book, Formative Assessment, Responding to Students, are available at http://is.gd/tbook

Modifying ACTFL’s 90% Guideline

“ACTFL therefore recommends that language educators and their students use the target language as exclusively as possible (90% plus) at all levels of instruction during instructional time. “ http://www.actfl.org/news/position-statements/use-the-target-language-the-classroom-0

ACTFL has a 90% guideline to indicate how much teachers should speak in the modern language in the classroom. However, I think that ACTFL should concentrate less on the teachers and more on the students. Basically, the question for a language classroom is “Who needs more language practice the teacher or the students?” if the students need more practice, then they should be the ones talking the most in the class, not the teacher.

I think that ACTFL should implement these student guidelines:

– Students’ modern language talking should be 70% of the total talk in each class.

– During each class students should talk at least once with at least five consecutive sentences.

– In each class, students should have at least one interactive  spontaneous speaking conversation with another student of three minutes.

– Each student should say at least 30 sentences in the modern language each class.

I do not believe that students simply saying grammar drills or doing vocabulary drills, no matter how fancy these drills are, constitutes real language use. I would not count those sentences as speaking the language. I would like students to move from practicing the language to using the language even at the beginning levels. I would them to communicate.

I originally posted this blog at my eduwithtechn site.  All my modern language posts will be at this site from now on.

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (21+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

Formative Assessment +Technology = Foreign Language Speaking Fluency ISTE 2012

Formative Assessment: continual improvement from where the modern language students are at present  to where we want them to be in their speaking through monitoring, giving feedback and providing time for improvement
Students speaking -> formative feedback ->  students speaking -> formative feedback -> speaking fluency

Technology: Motivates students since they talk about real things;  brings the  foreign language students’ world into the class and allows students to see the world of the new language area
Student talks about the teacher’s digital pictures or Flickr pictures  from target language area with question words data sheet
Student talks about the teacher’s digital pictures or Flickr pictures  from target language area  with a conversation data chart
Student talks about student taken picture posted to class Flickr account  for student’s number of consecutive sentences data list
Student talks about student taken picture  for conversation about last weekend with a conversation data chart
Student tells about his/her house using phone picture while partner monitors using a speaking chart
Student talks about a party, records it inVoki , moves it to wiki page where the student writes suggestions for improvement
Spreadsheet for analyzing students’ speaking per speaking function overtime.

Foreign Language / Modern Language Speaking Fluency (Spontaneous Speaking)  Students go from memorized sentences/dialogues to speaking spontaneously about common topics through scaffolded exercises that continually provide them with new speaking strategies. The students  demonstrate language fluency through speaking with minimal pauses about a new topic with no preparation.

Mobile learning (mlearning) Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL)

Two Youtube videos  on the importance of speaking in modern language class http://bit.ly/mlspeaking and of monitoring students’ speaking http://bit.ly/MLFAP2

A few technologies for modern language students to demonstrate their  speaking so they can receive feedback for improvement  Harry Grover Tuttle
http://eduwithtechn.wordpress.com
Pictures – on phone/mobile learning device
Picture + music Animoto
Picture + voice Voki (avatar), Fotobabble, Audioboo
Pictures + voice Yodio
Voice – phone call / leave a message
Voice recording – phone/ mobile learning device
Video recorded – – phone/ mobile learning device
Live video – Skype

Other resources:

Free Flickr Images for common vocabulary collected by my students for full info go to Blog, http://wp.me/p262R-De  1) Go to http://www.flickr.com, 2) click on the word Search, 3) click on Tags only, on the right side of the search box, 3) then, enter spancon +(subject) such as spancon +casa– search the blog for the full listing. No words, just pictures. Can be used in any language for quick vocabulary review using real objects and for speaking in short sentences.

I originally published this blog at my eduwithtechn site

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

World Language Speaking – The Power of Asking and Answering Questions

As I looked at a modern language  textbook, I saw that it had mini-conversations of 2-3 lines.  For example, “Who is looking at the car? ….. Chris is looking at the car.”   In reality, such conversations simply practice the recently introduced grammar of the unit. These conversations do not communicate anything other than grammar.

For me, the ability to ask and answer questions is key to being able to converse in a world language. However, students do need to practice in asking and answering questions.  They need not only to understand what the question word means but also to know how to answer the question word. For example, the Spanish question word, ¿Dónde ….?” means “where” and the student answers with a place.  My students practice in asking and answering questions.  During a recent summer school final, my students, working in pairs, asked  ten questions and gave ten answers based on a randomly selected  common topic in a three minute period; they had no time to prepare to talk. They just began their conversation.  To develop that skill, I have my students do activities like Spanish Question Words Speed-Asking Partner Speaking (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Question-Words-Speed-Asking-Partner-Speaking)  in which they practice seeing how many questions they can ask about a topic and Spanish Questions Modified Speed Dating Whole Class Speaking  (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Spanish-Questions-Modified-Speed-Dating-Whole-Class-Speaking) in which they ask a question from a card and their partner answers the question, then the partner asks a questions.  Students need much practice in asking and answering questions before they can do it spontaneously  to find out information from a partner.

How much do you have your students practice asking and answering questions about common world  language topics?  How well do your students communicate in a conversation?

I originally published this blog at my eduwithtechn site

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook

World Language Students’ Scaffolded Speaking Output With Substitutions

We teach world languages so that our students can speak it yet we do not teach them  how to speak.   Students identify  speaking in the foreign language as creating the most anxiety in language learning.    Young, D. (1990). “An Investigation of Students’ Perspective on Anxiety and Speaking.” Foreign Language Annals. 23:539-553

Krashen explained the importance of input, students listening to us as we speak the target language; however, he stressed that comprehensible output is the goal of language acquisition.  Krashen, S. (2003). Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use. Portsmouth: Heinemann.

The world language teachers’ overemphasis on input, their talking in the classroom, creates a myth of promoting  student speaking.

I watched many Olympic swimming events. I watched for many hours. Can I swim any better now than  before watching them? No!
I watch musicals on TV, go to musicals in theaters,  and listen to choral groups.  Can I sing any better now with all that input? No!
Every day I  watch marathon runners go past my house early in the morning.  Can I run faster and do a marathon from all their input?  No!

Input provides the initial sounds, sentence patterns, etc.  for students.  However, students have to move to guided  or scaffolded output so they can produce the sounds and,  more importantly, the sentences to converse with one another.  Students do not  magically go from hearing our speaking to their conversing in the target language.  We need to give them some assistance as they begin to put together sentences.

One technique is to provide the students with  modern language sentences which contain choices. They select what they want to say from the available words/phrases. They say what is meaningful to them through the selection of words/phrases. They do create sentences on their own.

Scaffolded sentences provide a starting point for narrating and conversing.  In one substitution  exercise, the students change an underlined word to be true for them  such as  “I live in Syracuse.”   For example, I have for Spanish students a “Tell Me about Yourself Activity” in which students say 13 changes, 22 or 34 changes to tell about themselves (Spanish Tell Me About Yourself Substitution Sentences).  In another variation, the students change a word in over 30  questions such as  “¿Te gustar jugar al béisbol?” in Spanish Conversation Questions Spontaneous Speaking Partners .   Once  students do these scaffolded sentences, they better understand how they can recombine sentences and questions to converse with one another. They move toward spontaneous speaking.

I originally published this blog at my eduwithtechn site

I have developed many  Spanish activities that allow students to begin to express themselves and to begin to move toward spontaneous speaking as in a natural conversation.  My Spanish spontaneous speaking activities (20+) includes Modified Speed Dating (Students ask  a question from a card-whole class), Structured Speaking (Students substitute in or select words to communicate in pairs),  Role Playing (Students talk as people in pictures or drawing from 2-4 people) and Speaking Mats (Can talk using a wide variety of nouns, verbs and adjectives to express their ideas- pairs or small group),  Spontaneous Speaking (based on visuals or topics in pairs),  and Grammar speaking games (pairs or small group). Available for a nominal fee at Teacherspayteachers:  http://bit.ly/tpthtuttle

My three formative assessment books:   http://is.gd/tbook