The Digital Polyglot

A publication of the Inland Empire World Language Association since 1985

April, 2013


  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Dear Poly
  • Tech Corner - Vocaroo
  • Video Clips of the Month
  • Reading Activities
  • Mimi's Cafe
  • Latin American Studies Symposium
  • Chinese Baguettes???
  • Salsa/Jazz Workshop and Concert
  • Chicano Muralists
  • Calendar of Language Events


Jason Fritze Workshop - SOLD OUT

Over 40 teachers attended IEFLA's Jason Fritze workshop on Saturday, April 13. The response was so great that we had to close registration when the room was full.

Jason shared many strategies that support proficiency, strategies that support student engagement and address student interest.

One teacher said, "I am so inspired. I can wait to get back to my classroom and use these activities. This gives me a whole new perspective on language teaching."



Cinco de Mayo

It’s that time of the year to begin planning for Cinco de Mayo.  Here are some great ideas to celebrate in your classes.

Get together with the French teacher to “re-enact” the Battle of Puebla.  Give both the French and Spanish students the same text to read.  Students can battle it out in a jeopardy style game.  Teach each set of students the national anthem and have them sing before for the competition begins.  Give students who aren’t participating the French and Mexican flags to cheer on the different countries.  This is a great lunchtime activity. has a great lesson plan with goals, objectives and assessment.  The lesson plan is in English, but can easily be adapted to a Spanish classroom.

Spanish Language Discovery Chanel has a documentary on el 5 de mayo: Un Dia de Gloria.  Preview and choose sections to show to your classes.

Use this infographic with your students to discuss the day’s significance. has a great list of ideas for Cinco de Mayo parties that can be adapted to the Spanish classroom.


Dear Poly

Every month Poly responds to your questions.
Dear Poly,

I’m really tired of students who have missed a day of school, returning and then interrupting me by asking, “Did we do anything important yesterday?”  How can I manage this constant problem?

Fed Up in Fontana

Dear Fed Up in Fontana-

This is a constant issue and we are sometimes tempted to respond, “No, we did nothing.  Certainly nothing important.  Gosh, we just sat here and missed you for an hour.” Unfortunately sarcasm is never the most effective response. 

First, establish a procedure at the beginning of the year for when students should talk to you about these types of issues.  At the beginning of class?  At the end of class?  Before school?  After school?  Choose a time that will work best for you and set it aside to deal with student issues.  Second, train students on the procedure, so that they know when it is appropriate to ask questions like that.  If a student does interrupt the lesson with a similar question, remind him/her gently of the procedure.  Lastly, choose a way for students to get their work if they are absent.  Some teachers have a “While you were out binder” where students can find their own work.  Some teachers post assignments online with the worksheets.  Others put all of the make up work in a certain location.  It may take a bit of trial and error to find a system that works best for you, but you can do it.


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

Tech Corner  - Vocaroo

Each month we will explore a different aspect of technology that can help you in your classroom.  This month Vocaroo.   Vocaroo is a free, easy way for students or teachers to record their voice and save the file in a variety of ways.  Unlike other voice recording services there is no limit to the length of the recording.  Perfect for practice AP conversations!

How to use Vocaroo:

  1. Go to
  2. Click record.
  3. Allow Vocaroo access to your computer’s microphone.
  4. Save your recording.  You can email the recording or save it to a variety of forums (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)


Video Clips of the Month

Commercials in Spanish

Everybody loves a good cat video:  Les chats ninjas

Toutes les publicités du monde: This is a great site for commercials.  Though the interface is in French, you can find commercials from other countries to use in your lessons.

Fifth Grade Students of Japanese
Students practice vocabulary related to daily routines in Japan and in the U.S. First, Ms. Dyer uses Total Physical Response, authentic materials, props, pictures, pairs, drawings, Venn diagrams, and charades.



Reading Activities

Not sure what to do with students when you’re reading?  Here are some activities that are guaranteed to keep students engaged and focused. 

Reading activities are generally put into one of three categories:  Into (pre-reading), Through (during activities) and Beyond (post-reading activities)

Into Activities:

Make a list of high frequency words in the reading.  There should be words students are very familiar with and words that they are less familiar with.  You should have at least 20 words, but the more the better.  Put the words on the screen.  Put students into pairs and tell them to use the list to make as many different categories as they can.  A category must have at least two words and must have a title (in English or the target language.)  The categories can be as simple as “words that start with ‘c’” or as complex as “words that have a negative connotation.”  A word may appear in as many different categories as students can come up with.  This is a great activity to get students to think about the themes in a piece of literature and to think about all of the different functions of a word.  Give prizes/rewards for the students with the most categories, the most inventive category (according to you), etc.  (This activity can also be done on cards so that students have to physically move the cards around.)  You can then have students use these same words to write sentences.  Sometimes they even come up with the exact sentences in the text they will read!

Use a long dictation to introduce a difficult story to students.  Rewrite the complex story into something level appropriate.  Include as many details as you can.  Then explain to students that they are going to do a dictation, but that you will be talking too fast for them to write everything down.  (It’s the point for them to have big gaps!)  Read at a fast enough pace that even the quickest students have some gaps.  After, have students work in groups to recreate the entire story.  Then still in groups ask students questions about the story. 

Draw pictures of key parts of the text.  Before reading have students put them in what they think is the correct order and write the text that goes with each pictures.  Students become familiar with the ideas of the text before they even read it.

Through Activities:

Use stickies to have students annotate the text.  They can ask questions, write details, pull out words associated with a certain them or predict what will happen next.

Hot Seat:  For texts with characters, put students into groups and give each group a character.  The group can write five or six questions that they would like to ask that character.  They have to write the question and what they think the character’s answer would be.  Next the group chooses one person who will “play” that character.  Each of the characters come to the front of the class and the entire class has the opportunity to ask questions to each of the characters.

Have students make a Facebook page for a character.  They can update the character’s status as the story progresses.  Click here for various Facebook templates.  (You’ll have to put them in the target language yourself.)


Have students design a board game based on the book.  Click here to download directions and a rubric for creating a board game. 

Have students write a bumper sticker based on a theme of the text.  Students explain in a developed paragraph why they chose that phrase or image to represent the text. 

Students write an email inquiring about something in the text.  For informational texts, students could write and ask for more information.  For fiction students can write to one of the characters.  Not only do students have to react to the text this is a great activity to prepare them for AP!

Mimi’s Café

If anyone just so happens to go to Mimi's Cafe in San Bernardino on Tuesday, April 16th, please download and print the flyer to give to your server.  Redlands East Valley High School French Club is having a fundraiser and will make 15% of the sale.  Merci! :) Jennifer Baldwin

Enjoy delicious food in a fun atmosphere along with your family and friends while earning funds in support of the

Redlands East Valley High School French Club
Date: April 16th, 2013           
Time:   7:00 AM-10:00 PM
Location :  395 E. Hospitality Ln.
                    San Bernardino, CA 92408
Phone:   (909) 890-4333

2013 Latin American Studies – Study of the Americas Symposium at CSUSB

Thursday, April 18, 2013 – Santos Manuel Student Union Theater

  • 10 A.M. Patricia Barquero // University of Costa Rica “The Erotic as a Liberating and Empowering Force in two/three Costa Rican Female Poets”
  • 10:45 A.M. Ilse Bussing // University of Costa Rica “Casas Tomadas: Haunting and Homes in Latin American Short Stories”
  • 12:30 P.M. James P. Brennan // University of California, Riverside “Peronismo in Modern Argentina”

For more information contact Antonieta Gallegos-Ruiz, Coordinator Latin American Studies Minor Program 909-537-5858 //


The Chinese have a New Approach to Making Baguettes

Will the French begin importing baguettes from the Chinese? You won't believe this!

Salsa/Jazz Workshop

May 17, 2013
CSUSB Latin Jazz Fest, Live Music, Salsa, Dance, Workshops
Pancho Sanchez
Latin Society
CSUSB Latin Jazz Ensemble


Workshop sessions 2 – 4 p.m.  All students are encouraged to bring their instruments.  There is no entry fee for participating schools.  All music students/faculty are welcome to participate.  Students will receive hands-on instruction from the artists.  All students are welcome to attend the evening contert.

Performances by
Latin Society - 5:00 p.m.
Students’ Workshop Latin Ensemble – 6:00 p.m.
CSUSB Latin Jazz Band – 6:30 p.m.
Mongorama – 7 p.m.
Pancho Sanchez – 8 p.m.

Come learn how to play jazz/Salsa!  All are welcome.

For more information contact Dr. Robert Knop at or



"Chicano Muralists in Southern California"

Thursday, May 9, 5-6:15 p.m.

Dr. Elliott Barkan,  CSUSB professor emeritus and photographer of the current exhibition, "Chicano Muralists in Southern California, 1968-1985: The first generation of a cultural revolution," will talk with mural artists about the power of public art and social change.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking $5.

Calendar of Local Events

Cal State, San Bernardino
April 24, IEFLA/CASLA HonorsReception. 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. You may nominate your top five students. Each student will be recognized and receive a certificate.

Los Angeles (La Cañada-Flintridge)
April 27, 2013, "Unlock Students' Potential: Developing 21st Century Skills Using Emerging Technologies,"  8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Flintridge Preparatory School.  Registration fee $75.  Space is limited.  Registration deadline April 20, 2013.  Download registration form at

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

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