Your Polyglot for December - Christmas and Holiday Ideas


The Digital Polyglot

A publication of the Inland Empire World Language Association since 1985

December, 2014

Editor - Bethany Thompson
Asst. Editor - Trini Rios


  • Christmas and Holiday Activities
  • Short Topics
  • Call for Proposals - CLTA Conference
  • Tech Corner -Using Twitter in the Classroom
  • YouTube Clips of the Month - Christmas Traditions
  • Ask Poly
  • IE STARS off to an Exciting Start
  • IEFLA Winter Workshop with Yo Azama, ACTFL National Teacher of the Year, 2012
  • T-shirt fundraiser
  • SWCOLT Conference in Broomfield, Colorado


Christmas and Holiday Activities

Activities and links are available on the IEFLA Pinterest Board @iefla

An entire unit on Las Posadas- videos, printables, recipes, it’s own Pinterest board.



Get them writing by having them describe a lost Gingerbread Man.

Do you know St. Nicolas?  Take the test with your students and find out.

Go Christmas caroling in the halls with your classes.  Have student prepare before hand by watching Youtube videos of Christmas songs.  Check out M. Quebec’s playlist of French Christmas carols or this playlist of Spanish songs.  Don’t want to disrupt the entire school?  Just go to the other language classrooms.

Get them talking using authentic images- Use one of the images on the IEFLA Christmas Pinterest Board or search your own Christmas image and have students say as much as they can about the picture.   Working on clothes?  What are they wearing?  Working on weather?  What’s the weather like?  Doing the future?  What’s going to happen next? 

Cards- Have students create greeting cards for all of the administration, secretaries and support staff in your school.  Give them expressions and images that they can use to create. 

Letters to Santa- Have students write letters to Santa explaining their good behavior and excuses for their bad behavior and what they would like.

In some Spanish speaking countries, gifts are given on Three Kings Day, January 6, (the 12th day of Christmas), the day the three kings brought the gifts to the Christ child. On this day the children receive gifts from the three kings instead of from Santa on Christmas. So children write letters to the three kings. Here is a video that helps children write a letter to the three kings.

Here is a web site that helps children write their own letter to the three kings or to Papá Noel. Then they can email it to someone or print it out.

You can even write a letter to the three kings online.

Go beyond just Christmas and discuss New Year’s Celebrations.

Short Topics


This summer teach and travel in China for FREE !
Applications are now available line for summer 2015, Summer Teach and Travel in China Program, a non-profit organization to provide American teachers with educational opportunities and travel in China. You teach English for 12 days, and they give you airfare, hotels, meals, transportation, and tours of 5 cities. Tentative travel dates are June 27 - July 25, 2015. For additional information and an application form, visit their website at

La Bande Dessiné
Looking for an entire unit for la Bande Dessiné?  This site has an entire “book” of lessons to do with students about la BD, exploring different comics beyond Tintin et Astérix.  The unit became with “Can do” statements to guide students learning.

It’s never too early to start to think about recruiting students for language classroom.  Download and print these great posters about language learning to post up around your school.   French teachers can point out that the number of French speakers is on the rise!

Spanish Camp Planning Meeting
Dear FLA-OCers!!! World Language Teachers....from Nadine Elwood
Spanish Immersion Camp is up and running full throttle!  Planning meeting with Lorena Adame and Lorena Acuña as our camp directors. Thursday, December 11, 4:00 pm, Claim Jumper in Brea

French Camp is a go! German Camp is a go!
Come and find out how to involve your students in this 3-day fun (and educational) visit to Big Bear!  Full Immersion...great prep for AP! 190 S. State College Blvd Brea, CA   92821  If you are interested, contact Christina Vaughn for French Camp or Elisabeth Strauss for German Camp

Spanish Listening
Here’s a site with free Spanish listening podcasts.

Need a visual for a class?  Try this website from the University of Pittsburgh made specifically for foreign language instructors.  Images are tagged by subject.  A truly amazing resource!

Job Openings
Looking for a job? Go to

Call for Proposals - CLTA Conference

Alice Bell, program chair for the CLTA Conference in Sacramento, (March 5-8, 2015) says that they still need presenters for the Saturday and Sunday interest sessions (March 7-8). So if you would be willing to present, please submit a proposal online.

This is the address:


Tech Corner 

Tech Corner 
Each month we will explore a different aspect of technology that can help you in your classroom.  This month it’s Twitter.  Did you know you can use Twitter to connect to colleagues and for professional development?  Check out this article about how educators are using Twitter to connect with each other.  You can also use Twitter to connect to your students. 

Here are 50 great ways to use Twitter in your classroom.  To start, go to and sign up for a free account.  It will need to be public so your students/colleagues can see you.  Start exploring the tweets!  Both ACTFL and CLTA are on Twitter.  @actfl and @CLTAtweets.  Follow them to start!

YouTube Clips of the Month

Check out this short, but informative video about Spanish Christmas customs.

Three Kings Parade in Spain

Three Kings Parade in Bilbao, Spain

Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos, - Bilbao, 2011


440 Year Old Christmas Market in Strasbourg, France

The Traditional French Quiche - Belle Mère's recipe

Et pour les Francophones- Le marché de Noël à Strasbourg

Christmas en famille à la française



Poly Answers Your Questions

Dear Poly,

Help!  I can’t get organized.  I know this is really important in my career, but I am just overwhelmed.  I’m constantly searching for What are your best suggestions for being and organized teacher?

Disorganized in Diamond Bar


Dear Disorganized,

Many language teachers struggle with this.  We’ve often got several different classes and books we need to reference at the same time.  Not to mention all of the different handouts and A/B activities during the week.  Put a table in the front of your classroom with a crate organizer.  (The kind that will hold hanging file folders.)  Ask your school for hanging folders of different colors one for each of your different courses.  Label them for each day of the week and then as you plan, place all of the materials you need for that day in that folder.  (You can also use plastic drawers for this.)  Use color coding as much as possible, so you can identify papers at a glance.  Consider using Evernote or another digital management system.  For an explanation on how Evernote can keep you organized click here.  Check out IEFLA’s Classroom Organization Board on Pinterest for even more ideas.


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

IE STARS Trainings off to an Exciting Start!

A total of 53 teachers from the INLAND EMPIRE and beyond have enrolled in the 2014-2015 workshop series. The first meeting was on November 15 at Cal State San Bernardino. Teachers left the first workshop day renewed and refreshed. One teacher said, "I loved the handouts. I can't wait to get back to my classroom with a whole new arsenal of engaging and motivating activities. This is just what I needed."

Michelle Gross of Riverside Prep High School said, "I really liked the lesson taught with actual high school students." Another teacher said, "The presenters were so personable. I can't wait to practice with my students. The method of questioning was great!"

Magalli Acosta said, "I really like the strategies to teach vocabulary, grammar, etc."

On Wednesday, December 3, 23 teachers from tiers 1A and 1B went to Granite Hills High School to observe classes in action. One teacher said, "I was so impressed with how all of the teachers are using 100% target language at EVERY level. And the students understand everything and are so engaged in the lesson. These teachers really know how to keep the students involved in the lesson so there are little or no discipline issues. These teachers are masters. I'm going to do this with my students. Thank you, Granite Hills High School teachers!"

On Thursday, December 4, the teachers taking tier 2 (for advanced Spanish classes) went to Diamond Bar High School where they observed classes. One teacher said, "I was so impressed with the cohesion of the teaching methods of their department. Their AP program is beyond belief!

WIth they 82 students who took the exam last year, they had a 97% AP pass rate. The scores were mosty 4s and 5s, and the none of the students was a native speaker.

IEFLA salutes the IE STARS professional development program. Thank you for all you're doing for the students of the Inland Empire.

IEFLA Presents It's Winter Workshop

On Saturday, February 7, IEFLA will be presenting it's winter workshop 2015 with Yo Azama National Language Teacher of the Year 2012. Yo teaches all levels of Japanese at North Salinas High School. Watch for details of this exciting workshop in the next few days. Yo is a master (can you say sensei?) of world langauge education. This is one of those workshops that if you miss it, you'll hear your colleagues raving about it and you feel bad that you didn't go. Don't miss it.



T-shirt Fundraiser

Yo's students are having a t-shirt sale to raise funds to go to Japan next summer. If you would like to support their fundraiser, go to

Here are some cool things about their T-shirts.
-High quality American Apparel T-Shirt. SO soft and lasts a long time.
-Choose a style to your own liking
-Delivered to your door!
-Designed by their students!
-100% of the proceeds goes directly to the students' trip fund, not anything else!
-You are making these students very happy :-)  

The t-shirt logo is "Lettuce go to Japan!" Is this a reference to the lettuce production in agricultural Salinas Valley?

Only 6 days left in the sale! Order now!

Southwest Conference on Language Teaching

SWCOLT is currently accepting registrations for our 2015 regional conference. The Colorado Congress of Foreign Language Teachers (CCFLT) is hosting the conference with us at the beautiful Denver Omni Interlocken in Broomfield, Colorado on February 27-28, 2015. A selection of full day pre-conference workshops will be offered on Thursday, February 26. 60-minute sessions and 10-minute One Idea Presentations will be on Friday, February 27 and Saturday, February 28.

The theme of the conference is "Effective Teaching: Soaring a Mile Higher".

Keynote speaker will be Thomas Sauer, Director of Design and Communication for AdvanceLearning, a newly found non-profit organization focused on identifying teacher effectiveness in non-core subject areas and empowering educators to become more effective.

To learn more about the conference and to register visit

View the Workshops and Sessions for 2015: SWCOLT PRELIMINARY PROGRAM

Costs of the conference are on page 14.

The Southwest Conference on Language Teaching is a regional foreign language teachers' organization that hosts an annual conference in partnership with state foreign language teacher associations. The participating states in SWCOLT are Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah.

Check out CLTA on Twitter @cltatweets.
The Polyglot is a publication of the Inland Empire Foreign Language Association. For questions or comments, contact Bethany Thompson, editor, or Trini Rios, Would you like to help with the Polyglot? Contact Bethany Thompson, editor, at