The Digital Polyglot

A publication of the Inland Empire World Language Association since 1985

May, 2013


  • End of the Year Activities
  • AP Summer Activities
  • Le Tour de France
  • Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla
  • Honors Reception
  • Dear Poly
  • Summer Seminar, Santa Barbara
  • Tech Corner
  • YouTube Clips of the Month
  • Mother's Day Activities
  • Calendar of Events

End of the Year Activities

It’s that time of the year where everyone is tired and working hard to keep students engaged and focused as they head to the end of the year.  Here are some great ideas:

Jeopardy Game

Create a Jeopardy game on any (or all) of the topics you’ve studied.  Better yet, have the students create the answers and the questions.  Use one of the Jeopardy Powerpoint templates.  (There’s a nice selection here, but you can Google “Jeopardy Powerpoint Templates” if you don’t find one you like.)

Class Yearbook

Create a class yearbook.  Have students bring pictures or draw pictures from throughout the year and write captions.  Have a tech savvy student put all of the pictures and captions together into a digital file.  It’s amazing what sticks out in students’ minds.

Create Dialogue

Choose a short clip of a movie and have students write the dialogue.   This Oktapodi from les Gobelins de l’école would be fantastic for any language.


Do Improv!  Use a list of improv scenarios (or create your own- example:  two gardeners talking to a flower about why it isn’t growing or two fish in a fish bowl trying to get out.)  Divide the class into small groups of 2-3 people.  Have each group pull out of a hat their scenario.  (It works best if the scenarios are based around themes you’ve done in class.)  Give the students two minutes to come up with a plan outside the classroom and then give them two minutes to do their “improv.”   Read the situation to the rest of the class before they start.  Hilarious!  A true assessment of what your students can do on the fly.  You can have one group of students outside preparing while another is going. 


Have students do a sketch. (Via FLTeach)
 Give the kids (in groups of 3-5) this list of requirements:
1.  Write a story that can be acted out effectively to illustrate the meanings of words used.
2.  In your story, everyone must act and narrate.
3.  Use a minimum of 20 verbs in at least 4 different persons
4.  Use at least 2 exclamatory phrases
5.  Include a surprise ending.
6.  ALL in Spanish!!

Write to themselve in the future

Have students write a letter to their future selves 15(?) years in the future.  Give whatever parameters you think they can successfully talk about.  (If you have access to technology, have students film themselves talking to their future selves.)  In lower levels it could just be a prediction in the future and in the upper levels than can give themselves advice.  Alternately, have students write a letter (or do a movie) to incoming Freshmen to tell them how they should navigate high school. 

AP Students Write to Next Year's Students giving them advice on how to survive AP Spanish.

AP Students can write predictions where classmates will be in 10 years.

summer reading


AP Summer Activities

AP Summer activities are a must for students who are serious about taking the test.  Here are some ideas:

  • Have students read the exam description.
  • Use Google Docs and have students share a ‘summer journal’ with you.  They can write every week and you can log on once a week and respond to their writing.  This is a great way to ensure that students are doing something every week.  Have students let you know in advance if they will be away from a computer or if you will be away for a certain period and not responding.
  • Start a Youtube channel or keep a list of links of short films, documentaries that students should watch.
  • Use or Google voice to have students record themselves periodically over the summer.
  • 7 jours sur la planètes at and Le Fait du Jour from are great resources.  Students can choose their own level and the activities guide them through the reading and listening.
  •  is website for Spanish readings.

tour de france

Tour de France June 29-July 21
Three weeks of international awesome!

Le Tour is celebrating its 100th race this year and you can too! 

  • Host an Alp d’Huez party on July 18.  Once you see who the contenders are choose teams and root them on.
  • Time trial with your friends.  See who can ride (run, walk, crawl) up and down the street the fastest.  Award the yellow jersey to the fastest person.
  • Follow le Tour every day.
  • Wear yellow every day.  Present it to yourself every evening after a hard day’s work.  If you’re under 25, present yourself with the white jersey for the best young rider of the day.
  • For the hardcore fan, fly to France, and participate in the Randonnée du Tour and ride your bike on the Champs-Elysées.

Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla

(Description from Fandango) Opened May 3, 2013 (Limited)
2 hr 5 min
R | Battle Violence and Some Language

On May 5th, 1862, a few thousand Mexican soldiers put their lives on the line against the world’s largest and most powerful army in one legendary battle for freedom and for México. Cinco de Mayo: La Batalla chronicles the story of Mexico’s Battle of Puebla, the most important battle in Mexico’s history. When the unbeatable French army invades Mexico to set up a monarchy, General Ignacio Zaragoza played by Kuno Becker (Goal!, From Prada to Nada), must defend the city of Puebla, commanding a poorly armed and outnumbered troop of men. Meanwhile, two young Mexican lovers manage to find love amidst the chaos of war. Cinco de Mayo chronicles the bravery of a people pushed to the limit, fighting for their nation, their families and their pride.

Find movie times and locations at


Honor’s Reception

On April 24 IEFLA together with CASLA (Center for the Advancement of Second Language Instruction) hosted its 14th Annual World Language Honor’s Reception.  Over 190 students from all over the Inland Empire were honored and celebrated at Cal State San Bernardino.  Thank you to everyone who nominated students and a special thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put the event together.  These are the schools that participated:

AB Miller High School
Adelanto High School
Banning High School
Bloomington High School
California State University, San Bernardino
Chino Hills High School
Citrus Valley High School
Claremont High School
Colton High
Desert Mirage High School
Eisenhower High School
Encore High School
Fontana High School
Granite Hills High School

Heritage High School
Hesperia High School
Ontario High School
Palm Springs High School
Patriot High School
Perris High School
Public Safety Academy of San Bernardino
Ramirez Intermediate School
Ruben S Ayala High
Temecula Valley High School
Valley View High School
Victor Valley High School
Yucaipa High School

Dear Poly

Every month Poly responds to your questions.

Assessing Oral Language Skills

Dear Poly,

Like many teachers, I will give my Spanish 2s a final exam.  The dilemma I encounter each year, however, is how to best assess oral skills. I am looking for something that will demonstrate what the students know and are able to do, and that relies on their own efforts. In other words, students are fully accountable, and are not riding on the work of other students, as is common with group work.

What do you do with the other students while you are conducting the oral phase of the exam?

Marcy Webb


Dear Marcy,

IEFLA has compiled a list of suggestions from classroom teachers. You can see their responses at


Make up work drives teacher crazy.

Dear Poly,

Every year at the end of the grading period I am swamped with students and parents asking if they can turn in make-up work or do extra credit to bring up their grade.  I usually end up caving because I want students to have a good grade and then I am bombarded with work at the end of the semester.  How can I manage this problem that makes me into a monster?

Buried in Beaumont


Dear Buried in Beaumont-
We’ve all been there.  It’s important to establish early on in the school year what your late work policy is.  Some teachers accept absolutely no late work and others establish a “one letter grade/per day late” policy.  For next school year you’ll need to decide what you think will work best for you and then train students (and yourself) of that policy and procedure.  For right now as you head to the end of the semester, create a “last day for make-up work/extra credit” day and start telling students now that it won’t be accepted.  If you give students and yourself enough lead time before grades are due then you should be able to reduce your workload.  Extra credit is a bit more tricky.  Some teachers don’t believe in it and some teachers just don’t want to create extra work for themselves, by providing extra credit.  If you want to provide extra credit opportunities for your students, but don’t want to have to constantly create activities, you can try using a web based activities.  Try your textbook website or  Show students how to find activities on the subjects you’re working on and then tell them that they can do extra credit at any time by going there.  You don’t have to create anything and the opportunity is always available.  You can have students write down what they did and get a parent’s signature or have them take a screen shot and email it to you (or print it out.)   Take back your inbox!



Dear Poly,

I didn’t have a problem with students wanting to turn in late work to improve their grades.  There are three reasons:  1. I didn’t accept late homework.  2.  When a student missed the third homework, we called the parent right then and there – quietly over to the side.  The student told the parent about the missing homeworks. 3. Therefore, I had few students missing homework assignments that needed to be made up.  Most parents are very supportive. It's amazing the power that most parents have.

Victorious in Victorville


Do you have a question for Poly?  Submit your question by filling in the form here.


Summer Seminar - UC Santa Barbara

July 19-24, The annual Summer Seminar for World Language Teachers at UC Santa Barbara from July 19-24.Presented by CLTA and CWLP. You won't want to miss this exciting and rewarding opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues, learn more about what is happening in the field, and grow as a professional. Don't forget:  the themes of Common Core and 21st Century Skills should be the key that opens the door to funding support from your school or district.  Download the Program Brochure from: and register online at

Tech Corner 

Each month we will explore a different aspect of technology that can help you in your classroom.  This month Discovery Education.  Discovery Education has been around a while, but has amazing resources for teachers – even more if your school subscribes to it.  Click on the above link to take you directly to the puzzle maker page and amp up some of your activities.  Choose the math puzzles to have students practice numbers.

YouTube Clip of the Month

Como hacer una ensalada de frutas para el Día de las Madres.

Histoires Jeunesse: Un ogre qui avait peur des enfants.
A Children's Story: An orgre who was afraid of children


Mother's Day

A Mother's Day Lesson Plan for Spanish 3 and 4.

Looking to celebrate Mother’s Day with your French students?  Voici un carnet de fête des meres from Crapouilleries a French blog.

Calendar of Local Events

May, 2013

May 14, "Academic English for English Learners Through the Listening and Speaking Common Core Standards," 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., Almansor Court Banquets and Restaurants, Alhambra. $185 early bird registration. Register online: For additional information call 562-983-1333 or email

Cal State Long Beach
May 18, First Annual Celebration of Arabic Language Programs, 12:00 noon - 3:00 p.m., CSU Long Beach, Student Center - Beach Auditorium. 2:00 p.m. Cultural Show. For additional information contact Hadia Attat at or by visiting the Council website at: Hosted by the Southern California Arabic Language Teacher Council.

CSU Fullerton
May 28, Student Hall of Fame and Teacher/Administrator Awards, 7 pm, RCG Building - Room 019, Nominate up to 10 students (any level) for this honor!  Come and present this award to your students.  Parents and families welcome.
Download information or contact:  Nadine Elwood (President-FLAOC) at

June, 2013

UC Santa Barbara
June 21 - REGISTRATION DEADLINE, The annual Summer Seminar for World Language Teachers at UC Santa Barbara from July 19-24.Presented by CLTA and CWLP. You won't want to miss this exciting and rewarding opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues, learn more about what is happening in the field, and grow as a professional. Don't forget:  the themes of  Common Core and 21st Century Skills should be the key that opens the door to funding support from your school or district.  Download the Program Brochure from: and register online at

June 24, Launch date for 2013 Preparación Online. Improve Latino enrollment, persistence, and completion rates at the secondary and post-secondary levels. The University of Arizona National Center for interpretation is launching its first Preparación Online in-service Training Program. It is a comprehensive, multimedia translation and interpretation (T&I) curriculum, designed for integration into existing Spanish curriculum at the high school levels. Cost for the in-service $495. Contact information, Paul Gatto, Assistant Director,

June 25 - July 25, High School Summer Language Institute at UCLA offers Beginning Russian and for heritage speakers offers Arabic, Armenian, and Russian. The cost is $100. For additional information go to, call (310) 825-2510 or email

July, 2013

San Diego, California, Mission Bay HS
July 9 – 12; 8:00 – 4:00 daily, International Forum on Language Teaching, Best Practices of Teaching with Comprehensible Input. Observe master teachers implementing the best practices of TCI as they teach elementary through 12th grade students. Learn to develop measureable proficiency through culture-based and content-based comprehensible input with a variety of strategies: fresh and innovative techniques, stories, reader's theater, story telling, story asking, and more.
For additional information and registration go to

UC Santa Barbara
July 19-24, The annual Summer Seminar for World Language Teachers at UC Santa Barbara from July 19-24.Presented by CLTA and CWLP. You won't want to miss this exciting and rewarding opportunity to collaborate with your colleagues, learn more about what is happening in the field, and grow as a professional. Don't forget:  the themes of  Common Core and 21st Century Skills should be the key that opens the door to funding support from your school or district.  Download the Program Brochure from: and register online at


The Polyglot is a publication of the Inland Empire Foreign Language Association. For questions or comments, contact Bethany Thompson, editor, or Trini Avalos, Trini Avalos, Would you like to help with the Polyglot? Contact Bethany Thompson, editor, at