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: Make students strong and healthy with Spanish

In my classes, we build students’ vocabulary, and then use a workbook, novels, songs, and relevant assignments (all made for Spanish learners). 

 

In class: 

  • Build students’ vocabulary: We dedicate class time to developing a story using the learners and TPRSbooks materials using highly used vocabulary. I utilize American Sign Language (ASL) as the signs to learn vocabulary

    • This is done using a method called TPRS (see below)

  • Workbook: We use the engaging stories to prepare to read stories from the workbook

    • These workbooks are by Blaine Ray, the creator of TPRS

  • Novel: As students acquire the language, I pre-teach vocabulary for a short novel which students then read (in class and at home)

    • The novels are also written by Blaine Ray and correspond to TPRS

 

  • Songs/Storybooks: Fun, engaging songs and activities are used inside and outside of class for further acquisition

    • The songs and activities are by Señor Wooly, a Chicago-area Spanish teacher who makes animated and live-action Spanish videos for students 

    • I have a mini-library of Spanish books which we sometimes read in class

 

Below you can learn even more about the methods and teaching philosophy I use:

  1. Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS)

  2. American Sign Language (ASL)

  3. High frequency vocabulary (HFV)

  4. Look, I Can Talk!” workbook series by Blaine Ray

  5. Novels by Blaine Ray

  6. 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.  

In summary:

“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

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