SCOLT 2017 Presentation

Below is my working script for my presentation at this year’s SCOLT conference.

The title of the Presentation is:

We Don’t Learn Anything Anymore: Moving Away From a Grammar-Based Curriculum

One note: There was a question about what I meant by Grammar-Based Curriculum. To clarify, I’m talking about curricula that are directly tied to a textbook and that follow the grammar points as presented in the text (only present tense first, then past tense, then direct objects, and students are not made to use any of these forms outside the order of the text.)

The Powerpoint presentation that goes with the script can be seen here.

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One Year Down…

Today marks 1 full year that I have been writing about teaching Spanish to K-8th graders. It has been great, filled with ups and downs, challenges and solutions.

Looking back on the past year, it has been a whirlwind of new ideas and new connections. Reflecting on all the things that I have learned and all the things that I have shared, I see that I am truly lucky to be in the position that I am in.

It has been hard, at times, to put myself out there, to make my activities and stories and failures and successes public. But sharing my reflections has forced me to think positively about failures and frustrations. It has forced me to look back at what was good about the day/lesson/activity rather than focus on what sucked. Framing failures and frustrations in a positive way has been the thing that has saved my career in teaching and without this blog and the support from the readers, I wouldn’t have had the outlet for doing it.

So, thanks to all you who follow this blog. Thanks to all the people who have reached out to me to make connections either through comments, emails, or twitter conversations. Thanks to all the people who have critiqued my stories and have made suggestions to improve them.

Finally, thanks to all of you who have inspired me to share my reflections and become a better teacher. Just looking at the list of blogs on my front page gives me strength to keep going and gives me daily inspiration. Knowing that I am not the only teacher who has bad days or lessons that don’t work is comforting. I’m not I. This alone. And knowing that my own struggles and successes might help someone the way that yours have helped me is what keeps me going.

Thank you for a great year.

Updates and the Black Box Project

Ok, I know what you’re thinking: my last post was 3 weeks ago and about 2 weeks before that I said I’d be posting a lot more, but I haven’t. I’m sorry for that, but I have a pretty good excuse. It’s been crazy for the last few weeks. School is winding down (or winding up towards final exam projects and then a quick slide down the other side) and will be over in 5 weeks. It has gone by so quickly that I have had a hard time keeping up with and reflecting on everything I’ve been doing.

Along with school, I have been working to put together a presentation proposal for the SCOLT 2016 conference in February of next year. The topic is related to the things that I have been talking about on the blog (not too much more information, though—you’ll just have to come and see me in NC 🙂 ).

On top of all that, I have had one other project that has been taking a lot of time and planning: the Musicuentos Black Box Podcast project.

Muscuentos Black Box Podcast

This is a really exciting endeavor that we’re taking to produce “freely available, easy-to-understand resources that get you the information you need about recent research in how people learn language.  You’ll get it fast and you’ll be able to see immediately how to implement it.  And you’ll get it regularly.” (quoted directly from Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell, our fearless leader and the brains behind Musicuentos and the Black Box Project).

I’m working with 4 other instructors and language professionals to produce these videos about current research about language acquisition and teaching methods. We are really excited and can’t wait to get started! If you’re interested in helping us get the project off the ground, go here.

So that’s about it for updates in the world of the fernster…I am not going to call myself that anymore…the name I use now is already silly enough.

More posts to come soon, Promise (and this time I’ll follow through…probably 🙂 )

I’m Still Here, I Promise!

Every once in a while, a blog I read goes dark, that is, there are no new posts for a really long time. As a blogger myself, I definitely understand how this can happen. It has currently happened to me! This post is just to let you know that I’m still here and I have lots of new content for you in the next few weeks.

Friday is the last day before our Spring Break. It feels so close and at the same time, it feels so far away. The run up to Spring Break is always hard–kids get antsy, teachers get burned out, and everyone is anxious to have some time off. Our break is based around the Easter holiday, so most of the other public schools in the counties/districts around us have already had their breaks and are back in school…and we haven’t left yet.

The hectic time of year plus a new part-time job have been taking their toll on me, time-wise. This accounts for the lack of posts, comments, and interactions in the world of TPRS/CI blogging.

Come Friday, though, my schedule will be considerably more open. You can look forward to posts about all kinds of things, including, but not limited to:

-New free stories that I have created to use in class (for various levels!)

-Reflections on assessment

-(More) Best practices that I have learned for using CI and storytelling in the FLES classroom

There is a lot of information to share and I hope to get it out as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading and thanks for your comments!

I am active on Twitter (@Mr_fernie) and Facebook and my email is Feel free to get in touch with me if you have comments, questions, or suggestions!

1000+ Views!

Good morning!

I’d like to start off by saying that I just made some updates to the blog and I hope that you like them!

Today is a big day because it marks the day that I reached 1000 views! I don’t honestly know if that’s good or bad, but I’ve only been writing for just shy of 5 months, so I’m going to call it awesome.

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