How I Teach
I provide affordable and engaging Spanish classes online with long-lasting results for homeschoolers, unschoolers, and online learners.
I offer group or individual classes during the school year or year-round.
What I Do:
My goal: Use Spanish as a means to communicate and interact with students as we build a story together
I am moving farther away from "getting through the material" and moving instead along the path of walking with students from being "weak and sick" in their use of the language (hesitating, lacking confidence) to "strong and healthy" so they CAN speak Spanish
C = Confidently
A = Accurately
N = No or little hesitation
We build a fun, engaging, interactive story together as a class using high frequency (highly used) vocabulary, especially verbs. I listen for when students are using the vocabulary confidently. Then we move on. If they're still struggling, we stay there and add fun, new details with the verbs to communicate and interact more until their brains are ready to acquire it.
Below you can learn even more about the methods and teaching philosophy I use:
Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)
American Sign Language (ASL)
High frequency vocabulary (HFV)
“Look, I Can Talk!” workbook series by Blaine Ray
Novels by Blaine Ray
Señor Wooly videos and activities
1. Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling) was created by Blaine Ray in the 1980s. His method married the ideas of Dr. Stephen Krashen and Dr. James Asher. Dr. Krashen is known for his Comprehensible Input strategies (more on that below), and Dr. Asher’s method was Total Physical Response (Where a word, i.e. jump, is introduced and then acted out).
With TPRS, High Frequency Vocabulary (most common words in the language) are a foundation on which engaging stories are created by the students with the guidance of the teacher. There is, therefore, a huge amount of interaction between the students and teacher.
“With TPRS®, the teachers promote language proficiency among students through contextualized, repetitive, and compelling CI, which can be in the form of children’s novels and interactive materials.”
The above information and quote were derived from the TPRS website, see the site for even more information.
2. American Sign Language (ASL)
I utilize ASL for vocabulary that we learn as a visual help to acquiring the words
I have never studied ASL, nor do I have a grasp on ASL grammar
I simply use an ASL dictionary to identify the signs for vocabulary words we are working on. I developed this technique when it occurred to me that, instead of making up a random (albeit logical) sign for vocabulary words, why not start on learning another language by utilizing ASL?
3. High Frequency Vocabulary (HFV)
In my classes, while we incorporate vocabulary that is of interest to students (and therefore highly engaging), we focus most heavily on commonly used words, based on TPRS recommendations and “A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish” by Mark Davies.
4. Look, I Can Talk! Series workbook series by Blaine Ray
These TPRS workbooks use engaging, often silly stories with high frequency vocabulary and provide many useful exercises and ways to evaluate student progress
5. Novels by Blaine Ray
These TPRS novels are CI-friendly (see above for information on CI), engaging stories, using HFV (see above), repetition, un-sheltered grammar, and sheltered vocabulary to bring students to a deeper acquisition of Spanish
6. Señor Wooly Videos and activities
These fun, silly, clean, engaging videos utilize CI (see above) and HFV (see above)
Most are geared toward middle and high school-aged students, but many are appropriate for a younger audience
The videos have subtitles in English, Spanish, both, or neither as well as highly engaging activities and video games