The Polyglot, September, 2013


The Digital Polyglot

A publication of the Inland Empire World Language Association since 1985

September, 2013

Editor - Bethany Thompson
Asst. Editor - Trini Editor


  • IE STARS Professional Development: Common Core State Standards
  • Back to School NIght
  • MCLASC and LA STARS Fall Conference
  • World Languages and Common Core: Orange County
  • Research on Effective Correction
  • Circumlocution
  • Overcoming Resistance to Target Language
  • La Dictée
  • Foreign Language as Core
  • Spanish Newspaper
  • Tech Corner
  • Teaching Accents in Spanish
  • Bullfighting in France
  • Dear Poly

IE STARS Professional Development Seminars

Focus on Common Core State Standards

California State University, San Bernardino
Four Saturdays plus an Observation Day
8:00 am – 3:30 pm

First Day, November 2, 2013


Three Difference Seminars to Choose From

Tier 1A - Standards-Based World Language and ELL Instruction to Address the Common Core and Today’s Students

Tier 1B - Using Stories to Enhance Standards-Based Foreign Language and ELL Instruction and to Address the Common Core

Tier 2 - Standards-Based Instructional Practices to Address the Common Core for Teachers of Advanced Spanish Classes

Dates:              Program will be offered on four Saturdays: November 2, 2013 and January 11, February 1, and March 8, 2014 and an observation day at a local school.*: Tiers 1A and 1B on December 5; Tier 2 on December 4, 2013.
Times:             8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.               Credit: Four units of credit will be available for an extra fee
Cost:               $595 per participant  (If your school is not able to send you, ask about our scholarships.)
Deadline for  enrollment:   October 20, 2013. Space is limited. Please respond promptly. 
Location:        Check in room: UH-042 California State University, San Bernardino

*Teachers who cannot attend the observation day can complete an alternate assignment.

Registration forms and program information are available online at

Download scholarship application form. Contact us for details: or
Lewie Johnson at 760-953-0659.

POSSIBLE FUNDING SOURCES: IDEA, Title I, Title II, Title III, Title V, Title VII, No Child Left Behind Funds, Innovation Funds, Imporving Teacher Quality Enhancement Funds, Charter Schools Funding, Program Improvement Funds, SELPA, Professional Development Funds, and Parent Teacher Organizations.

If your school cannot send you, we have partial scholarships available.

back to school

Back to School Night Ideas

Greet every parent at the door and shake their hand.  Be sure to have planned what you want to say.  This may be the only time you see parents all year. 

Have students “do” what they do in class.  Been working on a TPRS story?  Let the students know ahead of time that you’ll be asking them to show their parents what they can do.  Have students stand up and tell their stories.  (Great for level I so parents can see what they’ve learned already!

Do you do a bell work activity during class?  Have parents do one was well based on what you say in class.  They can turn it in as they leave as an alternative to having everyone sign in. 

Create a one-page summary of what your students will be doing in class or the most essential information including your contact information.

Give parents the tools to help their children “even if they don’t know” the language.  Remind them that just by asking questions they can help their learner at home.  Suggest that parents ask questions like, “What does this mean?  Spell this for me.  Why did you write this like this?  What’s this say?  What was this activity?  Tell me what you learned to say today.” 

Have parents write their name and address on an envelope and use those later to mail letters or projects that the students have written. 

Be positive and upbeat!

fall conf

MCLASC & LA STARS Fall Conference

Santa Monica College (Los Angeles Area) 
October 19, 8:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. $25 MCLASC Members, $40 non-members. Topics include: Technology, Common Core, 21st Century Skills, Cultural Practices, Film, Heritage Learners, Preparing for the AP Exams, and more. 

Additional information.
See sessions offered.
Download registration form.

Questions? Email: araceli.mclasc at



World Languages and the Common Cores: Preparing your students for life!,

Los Alamitos High School (near Long Beach)
October 12, Day 1 of 2, COACH Foreign Language Project invites you to its 2013-14 Workshop Series presents World Languages and the Common Cores: Preparing your students for life!, Learn how the Common Core affects world language teachers and how personalized comprehensible input and engaging 21st Century lessons can support student learning and success. Day 2 is February 1. For more information, log onto or contact Cynthia Leathers, 310-373-9919. Information. Registration.

Research on Effective Correction

When students make mistakes how should you correct them?  A recent article about English Language Development offers some guidelines and research about when best to use “recasting” (repeating the sentence with the correct answer) or “prompts” (giving the students the correct answer explicitly and asking them to repeat the utterance with the correct form.)  There is also a useful discussion of when implicit or explicit corrections work best.  Scroll down to #13 for the information on correction.  Since the article is for teachers who may not teach language learners, much of the article may seem like “no-brainers” for those of us who do everyday!



Everyone needs to know how to explain something when they either don’t know the word or they’re trying to explain an abstract concept to someone else.  Here are some ideas to get your students starting to circumlocate:

  • At lower levels (middle school or 9th grade) give students a list of words/concepts in English and have them explain what those are to their friends
  • Teach students useful phrases like:  it’s similar to, it’s like, it’s used for, it’s what, it’s when, etc. in the target language so they have the vocabulary
  • Play 25,000 pyramid often: put groups of four words on the board.  Students stand up and pair up.  They stand facing each other with one facing the board and the other with his/her back to the board.  Reveal the first set of four words and have the student facing the board describe these words to his/her partner.  Have partners switch places before you reveal the next set of words so that the partner who was guessing can see the new words.  Reveal the next set and now the person who was guessing is now doing the describing.

Overcoming Resistance to Using the Target Language 90% in the Classroom
The FLTeach Moderators Jean and Bob Ponterio have a new paper in the NECTFL Review about using the target language 90% of the time and why some people resist. Download NECTFL Review.

La Dictée: 
Is there anything more French than a dictation?  Bescherelle has many dictées online that you can use to give students an authentic French experience.  (May be a great choice for extra credit in upper levels!) 

Foreign Language As Core
Look for more reasons and research for why you should learn a language?  Tennessee Bob (Bob Peckham) has compiled and amazing clearinghouse of articles and research. 

Spanish Newspaper
Download full PDF versions of 20 minutos- a Spanish newspaper.  You can even choose a local Spanish city version or the USA version.  One teacher cautions to preview the advertisements because they may be more “risiqué” than is acceptable for school.


Tech Corner

Each month we will explore a different aspect of technology that can help you in your classroom.  This month:  PBS has thousands or resources available for free including video and original documents.  (Check out the Nova special about cathedrals.)  If you sign up for a FREE teacher account you can keep all of your resources in one convenient location.  There are even resources in Spanish.  This is a great website to supplement any history or science lessons you may be doing.

YouTube Clip of the Month

A young lady explains everything that’s in her pencil case and school bag. “Organization, fournitures, mon sac et ma trousse”

Teaching Accents in Spanish

Theresa Kelly (via FLTeach) has a great series of lessons on accents that are ready to use with students.

Download Partner Practice
Download Guided Notes
Download Powerpoint

Bullfighting in France

NPR has a piece on Bullfighting in Camargue, France that explains the tradition in this French down. 

Dear Poly

Every month Poly responds to your questions.

Dear Poly,

I want to show my students videos from YouTube.  But my school blocks YouTube access.  Is there a way that I can download the videos from YouTube at home and take them to school to show?

Puzzled in Palm Desert

Dear Puzzled-
YouTube has made downloading so much simpler.  Now underneath the video where it says “Share” there’s also a button that says “Download”.  Click on that button and a drop down menu will appear for you to choose what type of file you want and the size.  In general, you want to choose the largest number available for the format though you’ll want to consider where you want to store it.  Generally you’ll have the choice of these formats:

Mp4- For use with Quicktime on Macs
FLV - Can be used with Quicktime and some other video viewing software
Webm- This file will open in your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari) and play directly from there.

What to do if your video doesn’t have a “download” button?  Well, then the video is most likely copyrighted and downloading it could be violating copyright laws.  There are third party programs that will allow you to download videos, but you have be aware of the copyright laws that apply to that video.

-- Poly

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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