Giveaway: Books from Teacher’s Discovery

After four decades of research in the area of second language acquisition, it is clear that language is acquired not from practice (drills), but from consistent and constant exposure to input. Input is indispensable to language acquisition–meaning that language cannot be acquired without it. This idea of the indispensability of input was largely  absent from my language teacher training. We read one textbook that summarized the different theories of language acquisition and popular strategies over the last half century, but most of the course focused on what teaching looks like day-to-day. We participated in various communicative activities and designed our own games and practice activities for the things that “need to be taught” in language classes: vocabulary, grammar, and culture. Comprehensible input? I had never heard of it until I began teaching and got involved in my professional community: reading publications like Language Magazine and The Language Educator, collaborating with local teachers, attending local trainings and state, regional, and national conferences, and connecting with other teachers online. (Thank you, Michele Whaley, for introducing me to ALL of those things!) It was through all of those activities that I became familiar with the work of Stephen Krashen, Bill VanPatten, and–most recently–Beniko Mason. What I have come to know is that most things that students “need to know” in order to communicate in the target language do not need to be “taught”.

 

CI is the one thing www.martinabex.com
Click on image to learn how and why a focus ONE THING in our classes makes everything else easier or unnecessary

 

We don’t need to “teach” grammar and we don’t need to “teach” vocabulary. When we use grammar naturally and vocabulary accurately in contextualized, compelling input, students will acquire them. The “drill-and-kill” and “get them talking” ways that I learned language and that I was taught to teach language are not supported by research. The internal structure of language consists of phrases, not “rules”, and grammar is stored within words. Inside our heads, there is a giant, complex web that connects lexical features between words and phrases. This is our mental representation of language! When there are errors in students’ production (writing and speaking), it is evidence that there are holes, or missing links, in their mental representations of the language. Those holes are filled by input–not by presentation and application of rules. When students understand input, their minds will process the input and extract the patterns needed to complete their mental representations. For this reason, the most effective way to “teach” grammar is through input (reading and listening). The most effective way to teach it is…well…to not teach it! It is to provide compelling, comprehensible input to your students, and to let their brains do what their brains are designed to do.

Given what we know, then, you might find what I am about to share a bit perplexing.

This past winter, I worked with Teacher’s Discovery to put together a bundle of my lesson plans that is that is now available in their catalog and on their website. What’s in the bundle? Grammar lessons. Yes, grammar lessons! What? What about all that I have come to know about language acquisition and the fact that grammar doesn’t need to be taught!?

  • First of all, even knowing what I know about language acquisition, I teach grammar. Read this post to find out how and why.
  • Many teachers have to teach grammar, and many have to give grammar assessments. For teachers that have to teach it explicitly, the best they can do is present it in context. If the bulk of your class time is spent engaging with compelling, comprehensible input, your short expository grammar lessons will be much more effective. A grammar lesson that follows input will not magically make your students acquire the pattern, but it will cast a broader net and help more of your students to be more successful on an assessment, if you must give one. (I do not recommend ever giving summative grammar assessments.)
  • Contextualized grammar lessons are a great compromise. I am very determined, and I am a peace maker. For the language teacher that stumbled upon the iFLT/NTPRS/CI teaching Facebook page and is now fully committed to comprehensible input but whose colleagues are staunchly opposed to abandoning their more traditional methods of teaching, compromise is key. Instead of refusing to follow the textbook and refusing to align what you are doing with what they are doing, look for ways to meet in the middle. What are some ways that they can incorporate more comprehensible reading into their classes? How about trying a MovieTalk activity with an authentic resource? What are some ways that you, CI teacher, can make? Can you have your students complete a hunt-and-peck listening activity after the MovieTalk with the #authres? Or perhaps show them a verb chart after input and before more input? Can you do horizontal conjugations instead of isolated conjugations? There are many reasonable compromises that even the most committed CI teacher can make in the name of collegiality. Compromise is a wonderful tool that keeps the door open for communication while still allowing you to do what you know to be best practice.
  • What is my mission in this post-classroom-teacher role that I have settled into over the last few years? Promotion. I get to introduce teachers to comprehensible input and encourage them in their journeys. I am always looking for new ways to connect with teachers that are not connected to professional organizations and PLNs and are therefore largely unaware of proficiency-based methods of instruction. TpT has been an incredible platform for this. Teachers regularly find my blog because they purchased one of my grammar lessons on teacherspayteachers. From this blog, they find other blogs, workshops, Facebook groups, and FREEDOM! As with anything, we don’t know what we don’t know! Teachers that haven’t yet discovered the power of comprehensible input aren’t searching TpT for MovieTalk activities. They aren’t scanning the Teacher’s Discovery catalog for leveled readers. They are looking for speaking activities, grammar lessons, and activities with authentic resources. I know this because I was once one of those teachers! The Teacher’s Discovery order that I placed in my first year as a language teacher was filled with activities for oral communication, cultural projects, and grammar videos. So how cool is it that a teacher can now order a book of grammar lessons from the TD catalog that introduces them to a whole new world of language teaching?
Grammar in context from Martina Bex
Click on image to view the book

Check out the book here! It is a compilation of the following units that I sell on TpT:

Each grammar lesson in this book will first and foremost provide INPUT to your students: concentrated, contextualized instances of the construction(s) that I want to target.

You may choose to use the explicit, fill-in notes that are provided for each topic included in this book so that your high aptitude students can learn the rules and apply them, but I do not recommend spending much time on them, nor do I recommend spending class time on grammar drills. Instead, find ways to provide your students with input that contains instances of the construction that you want/need to teach. If you still desire to do traditional practice or are required to, your students will be well-prepared to complete it successfully because they will have a basic mental representation from which to draw.

THE GIVEAWAY

Teacher’s Discovery has generously offered THREE COPIES of this book for a giveaway! I would love to give each of the three copies to a teacher that finds him or herself in a traditional department, swimming upstream. To enter, please leave a comment on this post that shares one ‘reasonable compromise’ that you have made as a language teacher committed to using CI. This could be a compromise that you made with a colleague, an administrator, or even with yourself as you work to overhaul curricula that you have been using for years. What is one thing that you have done to either keep open the doors of communication or to keep yourself from being completely overwhelmed? Or what is one compromise that a colleague has made on your behalf; a CI activity that he or she has agreed to try out?

I will choose three winners at random on Monday, May 8. Leave your comment by Sunday night, May 7 to be guaranteed a chance to win! Teacher’s Discovery will mail out the books soon thereafter.

266 comments

  1. My department head and I have compromised and as long as I teach the grammar in the textbook I do not need to teach the vocabulary. That being said, she doesn’t care HOW I teach the grammar. Tee hee.

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  2. I compromised with the admin team at my building that I would only use CI with my 6th grade class, but use textbook, legacy methods with 7th and 8th grade. Needless to say my 6th graders are doing so much better!

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  3. My compromise has been for my students in each level to read a level-appropriate novel (and do all the CI activities I’ve borrowed from others) along with the grammar assessments I have to do.

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    • So glad that you mentioned this! Most departments are open to allowing teachers to work through one novel unit. And with such simple novels now available (like Brandon Brown dice la verdad), it’s easy to work one in even if kiddos aren’t used to CI.

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  4. As a new teacher, I have tried different things to maintain CI in my level 1 classroom (although challenging). A compromise I made with myself is to avoid teaching grammar and focus on meaning. I have not gotten to that point completely, but I have found that students appreciate it more in context than by the rules. It creates a more communicative setting, which is far more authentic for any language learner

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  5. My compromise is finding and creating reading activities that go along with our textbook units, and sharing them with my colleagues so students get input among with the drills. I also cull the text book vocabulary lists so my babies aren’t memorizing a hundred words every two week unit! I would love to win a copy of your book and add more input to my grammar lessons!

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  6. My colleagues and I started using novels to teach 2 years ago and we couldn’t be happier with the results. We no longer use a textbook or teach with grammar as our core. Students love reading and their speaking and writing abilities have increased tremendously. This is the biggest change we’ve made.

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  7. When my department refused to budge on eschewing our 10 yr old textbooks for a more flexible, updates comprehensible-input-based curriculum, I tried to find ways to fit Martina’s CI lessons and story asking methods into that existing, outdated curriculum. I have used the CI methods and communicative activities in the larger scope of the curriculum (along with games and activities that I picked up while teaching at the Concordia Language Villages) and my students have truly benefited from this hybrid hodgepodge of new ideas.

    Even though I haven’t been able to follow my heart and teach entirely to the needs of my students (at least, not as much as I would have liked), I am able to say that my students know the textbook topics and grammar to the department’s “old guard”satisfaction, but with the additional enrichment of storytelling and communication/comprehension skills that they would NOT have had with the textbook’s fill-in-the-blank pedagogy.

    It is my hope that eventually, the other teachers in my department will catch on to the benefits of this Comprehensible Input, and perhaps even begin to use it in their classroom. Mil gracias, Martina!

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    • It’s my hope for you as well! Isn’t it maddening when your department or district adopts a new textbook against your advice and you watch them pay thousands of dollars to do so? Face palm.

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    • I have been switching over slowly too. I am finally ok with getting rid of vocab lists and allowing my students to develop the vocab they want/need. As for the grammar component, this is the hardest part to switch over from. The high school still likes them to know their charts and different forms of grammar, I have been trying to teach it in context, but still struggle to find a happy medium for me and the high school

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  8. After 29 years of teaching, this old dog is desperately trying to learn some new tricks to keep her department alive! I am excited about CI and am a devoted follower of your blog. I would love to win a copy for my department!

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  9. I used to be able to be a CI teacher, but this year my county adopted new curriculum completely tied to a book and my life has been terrible since. Then, in order to mantain some level of CI my first 10 minutes are dedicated to FVR. I would love to win a copy of your book.

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  10. My compromise has been to focus only on skill building and not vocabulary lists and rigid grammar topics to drive instruction. We use novels and readings to drive listening, reading and writing activities. I’ve changed the culture from one focused on grades to one focused on proficiency.

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  11. My compromise is that we still learn the verb conjugations of high frequency verbs, in the traditional chart. I have songs that go with them and a race game. My students love them and remember them for years. I no longer “test” them in isolation though. They are used and said often enough that students put them to communicative use on a regular basis.

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  12. My compromise has been to myself because I am the only person who teaches my level (middle school). I have done a pretty good job at getting away from the text without completely abandoning it. I have also introduced TPRS strategies in an attempt to teach what’s in the textbook with comprehensible input. I have also used authentic resources like songs to teach the preterite, and have found great success. Students are picking up structures without “drills”. All that said, I am taking baby steps to keep from going crazy. I’d really love to use your book to help ease my transition!

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      • I used “vivir mi vida” by Marc Anthony for simple future (thanks to Sara at MusiCuentos) and another which I had used before, A primera vista sang by Bahiano. Both are repetitive and not too fast. Very cool to watch students pick up on the past tense with Bahiano’s song.

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  13. My compromise is teaching the grammar only AFTER there has been lots of input, examples, and stretch activities for my students. Then the grammar only seems logical and it’s almost like I don’t even have to teach it – they understand it and can put it together without as much practice as previous years. In previous years, I would spend weeks working with grammar. Kids wouldn’t know the words at all (horrible!!) but they could conjugate verbs! I thought that showed how great of a teacher I was. But then when they couldn’t even say the most basic of sentences, I knew things had to change. Even though I still have to give the occasional grammar quizzes and tests, it shows me and my students how much they can do, how much they already know, and helps them (and me!) feel successful.

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  14. I have been building in storytelling and authentic materials for listening input for the last four years, working with a colleague with a drill and practice mentality. My compromise has been to share my resources and continue to give grammar focused assessments. We have made progress my colleague recently agreed to remove some grammar sections and put more emphasis on the reading writing and listening portions.

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  15. I started using CI after visiting Carrie Toth in Caryle. I quickly realized the impact it had, as I spoke with my department they were hesitant but compromised into going to Chattanooga to see what all the fuss was about and they too became quick believers. We continue to struggle with some things and continue to support each other why we continue to research and follow blogs.

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  16. I’ve been a classroom teacher for 29 years and I know this old dog needs to learn some new tricks! I am intrigued by what CI seems to offer. But I’m also overwhelmed by the time it appears to take to get started! I’d love to have a copy of this book to learn how to make it work!

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  17. One of the things that I have done during my first year of TPRS/CI is to make a copy of the vocabulary/structures list from each unit of our textbook and mark them off as I incorporate them into our stories and CI activities so that students from my classes are still using the curricular expectations and those of my colleague.

    Also, I share on social media the products that my students create to encourage other traditional teachers to give it a shot. My students are outputting more language and more complex language than ever before, thanks to my focus on input.

    Together, my colleague and I are concentrating on more reading activities this year. She is interested as to how successful my “Piratas” novel unit was this spring before possibly implementing a novel in her other levels. She will have my Spanish I kids next year, and I believe she will see how successful it has been!

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    • Isn’t it amazing that changing the focus to INPUT results in better and greater OUTPUT?? That’s one of those things that I wish teachers that are fighting against CI could see. Which novel do you think she will teach?

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  18. Teaching in a department of one for 17 years using tradition textbooks makes finding out about new teaching strategies difficult. I’m ready for a change to CI but don’t know where to start.

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  19. Hello! I am constantly looking for ways to overhaul my curriculum and I love this blog! I still have so much to learn about CI and what is best for my students. I am wrapping up a graduate program this summer and hopefully when that is done I can dedicate myself to really giving CI a chance in my classroom. This book would be an invaluable resource to me moving forward. Thank you for the opportunity; I will likely buy this book either way! 🙂

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  20. My compromise is that after 15 years of teaching Spanish 1 using only present tense, this year I took the plunge and used CI (specifically special person interviews and two novels) and my beginning Spanish students are actually using present, preterite, imperfect, and even subjunctive! It’s amazing!

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  21. Hello! I am constantly looking for ways to overhaul my curriculum and I love this blog! I still have so much to learn about CI and what is best for my students. I am wrapping up a graduate program this summer and hopefully when that is done I can dedicate myself to really giving CI a chance in my classroom. This book would be an invaluable resource to me moving forward. Thank you for the opportunity; I will likely buy this book either way! 🙂

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  22. Thank you so much for this giveaway opportunity!! So awesome that you created this book to help us all! I teach HS in a low income district with no books & no available funding for resources, so I have to check this out…right now! 🙂 I am also the only language teacher in our entire building, which is very difficult because the only collaboration time that I get with other teachers face to face is when we have our 2 half day district wide department PD’s. Not good!! 😦

    This year I decided to add an individual reading unit to our ongoing lessons during marking period #3. I saved up money (for what seemed like forever) and purchased a variety of Spanish novels at varying levels (since I have all levels in each classroom), making it so that each group of only 2 students read the same book. Then, I spent time making activities, questions, glosseries, and quizzes for each chapter in each of the individual novels. It was so much work, but I knew that it would pay off in the end. This compromise not only is something that I can use in the coming years with future students, but also adding these individualized reading lessons to what we already do, has given my students a new sense of confidence with their language learning. It has allowed them to see how much they have learned and showed them they can accomplish so much more than they thought they could!

    Because my only collaboration with other teachers is basically social media and subscribing to blogs of AMAZING teachers, like yourself, I want to say thank you soooo much! You have no idea how much you have helped me over the years! Your posts, your TPT store, all the resources you spend hours on to make our lives easier is much appreciated! I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are so awesome! Keep up the great work!!!

    Thank you again for this giveaway…fingers crossed!

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    • I have so much respect for teachers that purchase novels and other materials with their own money!! It’s very challenging to teach in a district without funding for that or professional development. You are amazing!

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  23. I am a teacher leader in the world language department. I am encouraging my teachers to move towards a CI model. My compromise is to encourage and support those who want to make the change and nudge gently on those who teach traditionally.

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  24. My compromise is placing my 8th graders into a diaspora of high schools throughout Philadelphia, mostly public magnet or private Quaker. Most of the public test for placement and teach from a highly grammatical, traditional approach. These lessons sound like a great way to give them both, while I continue to focus on a tci approach throughout middle school.

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    • Oof! Yes, it’s even harder when your students are going to many different places and you don’t have an established dialogue with one or two specific teachers to which they are headed!

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  25. I do my best to provide context by story asking using the most frequently used words from our tech’s vocabulary lists.

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  26. I have compromised by still incorporating, finding CI lessons that include at least some of the vocabulary and as much of the grammar points/structures that my district’s textbook driven curriculum incorporates. I have been fortunate that there are wonderful experienced CI teachers (and former teachers as Martina Bex) that have already developed lessons / resources that have made it easier for me to do this. I am very excited about getting my students to be able to use the language and not worry about “learning about the language”. I still have work to do as I continue on this journey, but I am convinced that this is the best thing to do for the students.

    This book would help as I embarked on a summer of curriculum writing (for the district and my own classroom). Thank you for all of your hard work, Martina!

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  27. My compromise has been helping and supporting my colleagues who teach the older students to focus on high frequency words and teach some CI readers along with their text curriculum. I would love to win the book for our department to share.

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  28. I have moved to total CI after 9 nine years of teaching grammar because my colleagues teach grammar. I finally decided to do what is best for my students regardless of possible conflicts with the other Spanish teacher. I would LOVE to win this book.

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  29. Even when really good results have been seen in my classes by using CI methods, I am still asked often to teach grammar because that is how language has always been taught. 😦

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    • I have really struggled to stray away from something that I feel I have been successful at for the last 17 years. I don’t want to be the experienced teacher unwilling to change but I just can’t quite wrap my head around how to do it and how it all comes together for the kids. I also really worry that I will be sending my kids on to high school teachers and college professors that expect them to know the grammar and vocabulary and, if I use CI, I am setting them up to struggle or fail in the future. I have compromised by trying to read everything I can about CI, attend conferences, even try it here and there in my class. I would love this resource to help me incorporate more or even finally take the leap of faith and do all CI next year. Thank you for this opportunity!

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      • It’s really scary to leave behind something that you know–especially when you are a good teacher and your students are successful–in hopes that the change will bring even more success. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to take an informed leap of faith!

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    • I have compromised by taking on the responsibility of finding a presenter for our district workshop to help my colleagues and I transform our teaching. It takes awhile to change, but I hope that my colleagues were inspired and want to learn more! This book would help some of the more reluctant teachers.

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  30. I moved almost completely away from our MS textbook over 15 years and then moved to the H S where the upper level teacher is very, very textbook focused. I have had to start all over again but am finding the ways to compromise. I have to stay within the thematic constraints and make sure the students are prepared to go on up to her levels but am finding more and more ways to do this my way. I am using more and more Movie Talks, authres, and CI. The teacher leading students my way is bumping along in my wake, more than willing to try new things so I have somebody else making the journey with me. We are both going to incorporate readers next year and are going to spend some time this summer prioritizing our curriculum and vocabulary. Having a resource to help us with the grammar end of things would be incredible! I have just started using Bloglovin to help me and already have almost 30 bloggers that are helping me along the way. It is so inspiring knowing that we are not doing this alone!

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    • Bloglovin makes it easy to keep up with lots of blogs! Well, as easy as anything can make it 😉 Do you need to make sure that your students learn all of the vocab in the thematic units, or is the teacher that they go to next okay with them only knowing a smattering?

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  31. My compromise is pop up grammar. In stead of no grammar instruction. It is imbedded in the input and I can quickly explain it and move on.

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  32. I am new to CI this year and am so excited to get started. My compromise is that I subscribed to a new online textbook two years ago and still have 4 more years until it runs out. I’ve been doing as much research as possible to see how to use the book with CI. I’m watching webinars, reading the books, and I’ve signed up for your July conference and have downloaded every free thing you have on TPT (we suddenly and unexpectedly became a one-income family this year, when my husband went legally blind and disabled, so I can’t afford all the other amazing things you offer on TPT right now, but am getting there little by little and can’t get enough!!) I wish I would have known about CI and TPRS when I started teaching 10 years ago! I am going to start this week with my classes but having 6-7 different ones to prep for is proving to be quite an undertaking (having a 3 year old and one year old zaps most of my free time!). I’ve heard that a little of TPRS is better than none so that’s what I’m aiming for! Thanks for everything that you offer. See you in July!

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    • Are you coming to Chittenango?? I can’t wait to meet you! It sounds like you are managing extremely well in the face of many challenges. And yes, kids are time zappers indeed!

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  33. Four years ago I came upon your detailed lesson plans and knew that they were my “foot in the door” of moving away from textbook-driven teaching towards Comprehensible Input-teaching. At the end of each of your chapters, you always encourage the user to continue on with more stories and comprehensible input, but as an alternative for teachers who were tied to grammar instruction in one way or another, you have provided these grammar-focused inserts. As a compromise to my textbook-driven department and school district I have been using these grammar lessons. If I do as you suggest, that is, focus on meaning and not form as much as possible, they have fit the bill perfectly. I love the idea that they are in one book and easier to share with new members to our department. I would love to have a copy to share with my co-workers. Thank you!
    Dana

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  34. I am working to recreate my teaching methods to incorporate more CI methods while still working with my department who refuses to fully adopt CI. I started incorporating circling techniques several years ago and am constantly looking for readings and ways to use CI. Every time I share something new I’ve done in my classes and my colleagues ask where I found it, my response is “Martina Bex!”. I’m constantly referring them to your TpT store and encouraging them to incorporate CI while I continue improving my own teaching. I know that I have a long way to go and having this book would be an amazing support to have in my journey!

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  35. I have had to make compromises with my seniors this year! I’m on my 3rd year of trying to weed out explicit grammar, and have done so in level one & 2 for the most part.. they still keep an interactive notebook with the notes they find useful. However, my 4s…. well, they started out with ‘grammarian’ me. So they’re stuck in that mentality! But we’re working on it. I offer organizers that correspond to our novel for those who want it, and don’t give any grades on those. 🙂

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  36. I am extremely interested in this book and the CI methodology. I am just beginning to learn and try out but I can see this style leaves the learners feeling g successful and willing to keep using the language. Huge plus!

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  37. My compromise has been realizing that the way I was taught may have not been the best way, and breaking some bad habits from “traditional” language teaching. Also, realizing and internalizing that language acquisition takes times…and lots of it!

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    • Yes, yes it does! Constant reflection. Teaching grammar explicitly in any way has been one thing for me that I am constantly revisiting. I want to do right by my students and my readers. So I reserve the right to be wrong as I continue to break bad habits from my past life 😉

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  38. My compromise has been to try and implement CI strategies with no one else to collaborate with, except FB groups, twitter feeds, and blogs. I have also funded trips to conferences and purchased CI curriculum with my own money because I believe in this method. I teach at a small rural school in Missouri where I am the only language teacher; Rosetta Stone is used for any other language and the upper level Spanish classes. I get my students to see success with the language, only to lose them when move up to Spanish II.

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  39. I have compromised by trying to search and find CI stories that would work to coincide with the grammar and vocabulary in my curriculum. It takes a lot of time to search and find the perfect CI stories that match up with the grammar and vocabulary. I would love to win a copy of this book as it would be beneficial in saving time and help my students to learn the material.

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    • It sure does take a lot of time to sort through everything that is out there on the Internet!! I think that adapting can often be more time consuming than creating from scratch. Kudos to you!

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  40. I am loving the changes in my classroom after incorporating so much CI these last few years. It’s still definitely a work in progress, but I am. Having so much fun and my students can produce so much more than before. There are some compromises I make, as my middle school students all move on to a much more traditional program in the high schools. For example, I show them what verb charts are in the spring- happily, it isn’t stressful for them since they are pretty solid with using verbs already.

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  41. I have compromised by not pushing CI on my colleagues. I still give my students the explicit grammar that my colleagues demand but only after tons of input. Then when colleagues show interest in CI type instruction, I share, explain, model. I bought a license for a particular set of activities that interested one of our other Spanish teachers just the other day. Compromise happening every day!

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  42. After attending your workshop in Nebraska last summer I have been so committed to teaching culture in the TL. That start has helped me to work on making my grammar lessons much more focused on context and it being usable for my students. I have to teach the grammar. But I am working towards a middle ground as I am also a recovering “legacy” teacher of 13 years! I work with another colleague that is very CI driven but we don’t teach like courses. My other colleagues are very text driven and happy doing so. I will just keep plugging along and trying to continue evolving!

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  43. I have had to compromise the way I was taught and learned. With recent professional development, I am completely revising my curriculum and teaching style. Additionally, this summer I am hoping to attend a TPRS workshop.

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  44. My colleague teaches Spanish III and IV using traditional grammar methods explicitly taught. I would like to give him a copy of your textbook in hopes that he can better understand why I believe that comprehensible input is the best way to teach. If he can see the efficacious and rational benefits to teaching grammar in other ways, he may try it in this last year of his teaching career. He is in his 70’s, but I will never give up trying to convince this dedicated teacher!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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  45. My compromise has been that I still teach grammar, but I have made it a very small part of my assessment. Students can still do well on the assessment even if they cannot conjugate perfectly. I am also ditching the textbook next year, so I am excited not to have to compromise AS much with a textbook that I do not like.

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    • Maris, are you a department of one or do you have other teachers in the department? I realized when reading this comment that I don’t know that about your situation! Curious!

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      • No! I am not a department of one… I am a department of six between MS and US. While we are doing more IPAs as a department, we still have a lot of work to go as far as in class instruction/tests and quizzes that we give. I am moving to teach Spanish 1 next year as the only Spanish 1 teacher, so that is why I can give up my textbook. I am also piloting a Spanish 5 class that will be pass/fail. For the most part, everyone else will be using a textbook (Descubre) which is extremely dense and to me almost college level…

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  46. I have compromised my time. I need time to create resources my kids will understand that heavily and repeatedly use vocabulary and grammar structures they are familiar with. Using authentic resources is not always the best for me with CI. I think a way to limit the time I spend creating these stories may be to have the kids create them and then I can edit them. I really want to do CI and feel like it’s engaging but it’s always been hard for me. I know this book will help because I’ve used Martina’s stuff before 🙂

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    • Yes, that is a beautiful thing about CI! I have a post called ‘My cup runneth over’ that talks about ways to use (edited) student generated writing for content. That is where many of my story scripts came from–my students!

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  47. My “reasonable compromise” involves a stellar team of four other HS Spanish teachers and three middle school teachers who respect differences while also encouraging each other to grow as educators. We each came to CI at a different time but shared resources and ideas daily. I am more proud of our teamwork than anything else in my career.

    A job change for my husband caused me to move from Ohio to Arkansas and I miss my incomparable colleagues every day!

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  48. I do a lot of PQA’s using the structures we are learning and then we do Picture talk with all and every photo, illustration and visual in the text book.

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  49. In a department of one in a consortium of schools that is textbook based, I am compromising by trying to bring CI into my classroom little by little. I have no one to bounce ideas off of or collaborste with so I depend greatly on the Internet. Your site has been a blessing, and I have learned so much from you. I have many of your materials, and this book would be so useful and helpful. I strive to somehow be the CI teacher that I want to be and meet the requirements of my districtime as well!

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  50. My compromise is in my assessment, that is moving towards assessing what my students can do, instead of highlighting what they still cannot. Thank you for all your work!

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  51. I am in a department that does not use CI and I have decided I am transitioning. In fact, my action research for my Master’s Degree is a self-case study documenting my transition. My compromise this year is that starting next week and to finish the school year we will be reading a novel!

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      • We are doing Esparanza, so far my students absolutely love it! I am trying to make sure I put lots of expression in to so we are reading with voices and I’m doing actions. I am having a great time with it!

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  52. I want to include more CI and authres and other strategies, but as a dept of 1 in a junior high, don’t have enough time to go through all the resources. I have purchased a few of your lessons through TpT with my own money and would LOVE to have more!

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  53. My compromise has been with myself, to use the TL more in class. As you stated above “thank goodness for the internet!” Watching videos of other CI teachers in action has helped me see how easy it truly is!

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  54. I went back to college and completed Spanish. I started teaching at 40 and I am the only language teacher. After teaching for 14 years, I was looking for ways to improve and came across TPR and TPRS. I went to a training and that fall I started implementing them in the classroom. I loved the fun students had and how they were catching on to the language. I was frustrated by my language skills and returned to the textbook. However, this time, I incorporated TPR and TPRS to learn internalize vocabulary and grammar whenever possible. A couple years ago I stumbled across Señor Wooly and was able to talk my District into getting a subscription. They also let me buy the graphic novel and I am teaching it to my Middle Schoolers. He also pointed out some things he used from you and I am pleased with the various items I have purchased from you. I am taking small steps, but I think my teaching is better and students are learning Spanish better. Thank you so much for all you do!

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  55. I am also a 1 person department, and would love to use more CI but struggle with finding the time to plan. I have purchased a few of Martina’s lessons on TpT (with my own money) and would love to be able to use more.

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    • I had been exposed to your work through TpT, but didn’t really start to catch on until a Spanish teacher friend from another school told me about TPRS. Last summer I read a book she recommended and began reading your blogs, watching your videos, and those of others as well. My Christian school doesn’t really care how I teach Spanish so I have complete freedom. I would like to retain some grammar instruction since my students sometimes transfer to other schools and I wouldn’t want them to be lost if they found themselves in a more traditional class. But I am fascinated by the concept. This year has been kinda random as I’m in the process of transforming my methods. But this summer, my school is sending me to a TPRS workshop and I am totally thrilled! I hope to get more guidance and develop a more cohesive plan this next school year.

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  56. I am definitely in an upstream battle with my WL department. The Latin teacher says CI is impossible, my German teacher is all book, period, the French teacher wants to figure it out but lacks the time to fight through it and my Spanish team (3 others) are stickers for rules, grammar, every accent mark and following the very intense, overloaded curriculum. I’m not sure how to swim in that kind of forceful current but I try new things and share what my class is doing. Since I travel and share rooms with several of them, I always attempt to add all the CI I can muster (within their limits) but also getting them intrigued. I have made a comprise with myself to not feel guilty when they rant over more CI info without training and to share ideas whether they are wanted or not!!…my best emails this year have been them asking details of a lesson!! My goal is to win them over bit by bit…I just need more help, ideas, and training myself!!

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    • Oof! Upstream indeed! Have you seen the Latin Best Practices blog? Or Pomegranate Beginnings? Or Todally Comprehensible Latin? Those would be great for your latin teacher. And Robert Harrell has a wonderful blog and resources for German teachers; Michael Miller, too. Compelling Input is the name of the blog, I believe. And for the French teachers, Cécile Lainé and Alice Ayel have great blogs! Traveling classrooms is never fun but it sounds like you are taking advantage of the interaction it produces. Little by little, you’ll get there 🙂

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  57. My department dictates that I teach specific structures and themed units with long lists of vocabulary words. I would love to try a leveled reader! But, since that’s not happening right now, I try to sprinkle in CI techniques that you so generously share with your readers — MovieTalk, #authres sandwiched with grammar, and songs.

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  58. I came into an entire district that was very old school. Found a couple of teachers that were willing to be more progressive, but are still required to “cover” grammar (notice I used the word “cover”‘ not “teach”), so I started creating videos and materials for any teacher to use to “introduce” grammar outside of class so they can focus on input and usage inside of class time. They all can just go to my website and download everything for free. Now I have more following that pattern so I’m slowly introducing more CI into the materials as I learn more about CI. We have a new curriculum coming out next year, but it’s still vocab and grammar based. Guess I have more work to do!

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  59. I have compromised with admin about the ways in which I assess my students. I just had my spring observation and his response was very uplifting!! Change is good!!

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  60. I had to add direct instruction of the reasons for specific grammar rules in, but I did it in silly stories or by circling sentences that taught the reason while using the grammar. I used some of their worksheets as “test prep” but also volunteered to be on the assessment committee for the district and moved the tests from wholly grammar and vocabulary to about 80% comprehension (vocabulary in context) and 20% explicit grammar questions that did not require understanding why the rule was the way it was.

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  61. I am in a department of traditional teachers who don’t even realize that there are better ways to teach a language. I have been reading up on CI and attending conferences because, while I want to change, it’s hard to wrap my head around it all. I have implemented a classroom library and free reading, encouraged our department to move away from fill-in-the-blank summarize assessments, readings adapted to the textbook, and much more that I can’t think of right now. I would love a copy of your book to help move in the right direction a little faster. Thank you!

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    • This part of your comment “…teachers who don’t even realize that there are better ways to teach a language” resonated with me! If you don’t go to conferences or connect with other teachers online, it really is easy to NOT realize that there are other/better ways to teach a language than the ways in which we were taught. Thanks for sharing the ideas that you have been able to implement!

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  62. This is my very first semester trying out more CI strategies. Because I am a very rules-oriented person (ESTJ) who hates making mistakes, I LOVE grammar rules and have always taught grammar in isolation because that is how I personally learn. However, I KNOW this is not best for my students. I am struggling as a mom of 2 toddlers to build up my library of authentic resources and CI activities so the transition to CI has been slow. I teach in an inner city/urban high school where almost every student’s L1 skills are below basic. The compromise I’ve had to make is more with my students than admin. Our goal has been to speak Spanish only for the first 30 minutes of class (I teach level 1 only) and after that I can speak English. I look forward to continuing to push them further and building up my library of activities and readings and authentic resources so I can become a better teacher.

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    • I think it’s smart to set attainable goals for yourself so that as you achieve them (speaking Spanish for the first 30 minutes), you can set new ones! You have a lot on your plate and you are doing great!!

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  63. I have been using CI completely for two years; before then it was a supplement to my textbook. I was able to lengthen my past school’s middle school program to 3 years by adding Pobre Anna and other books to the 7th grade curriculum. Everyone agreed that it has made the students stronger and more enthusiastic about Spanish.
    At my current school, students must earn a particular score on the National Spanish Exam to be promoted to Spanish II. I have had to explicitly teach some vocabulary and grammar to make sure my eighth graders are prepared. Also, students must learn grammatical terms that don’t help them to understand the language, only the mechanics of it. This is my first year preparing them for this, and I’m sure, Martina, that your book would help me blend these topics into your curriculum in a meaningful and relevant way.

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  64. Hi, We have several language teachers in my district. Many of them who use the book page by page and teach worksheet by worksheet. I just attended a Comprehensible Input conference (Mitten CI). I finally have a grasp of what I have been reading from you, Carol Gaab and others. I am desperately in search of resources to dive into this summer and make my classroom more like a CI classroom.

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  65. I teach in a department with three other Spanish teachers. I am continually bringing up the values of CI and as I incorporated more and more aspects of CI in my classes — and have more and more successes with students — my colleagues continue to dig their heels in, resorting to traditional practices of verb conjugation charts, memorization of vocabulary lists, etc. We have common assessments, which they insist must include traditional grammar and vocab testing. Things always end up 3 against 1. I was getting frustrated and felt like it was a constant losing battle for me. However, this year my students have had great success in my CI classroom. I even saw a colleague utilizing an embedded reading activity (that she “borrowed” from me without asking!). [unheard of before!] I was getting tired of banging my head against the wall but now I’m seeing a few compromises: a movie talk activity was recently “borrowed” as well. Yes, I have to still give those common assessments that include grammar charts of verb conjugations, direct and indirect object pronouns, and reflexive verbs, but the in-class practices are becoming a bit more CI-friendly in even the most die-hard old-school teacher in the department. I have compromised by letting the grammar testing continue — for now. Baby steps!

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  66. This is my first year in a new district, and with 7 of us teaching Spanish 1, it has been hard to keep CI in my classroom when the other teachers strictly follow textbook. I’ve done what I can by creating short comprehensible stories for most of the units. I start with those to introduce the concepts through CI, and then do some explicit grammar to make sure they are on track with other classes. A piece of my heart dies every time I draw a verb chart 😦 I’ve used your short stories as inspiration to create ones of my own. I always share my short stories with the other teachers in my department with the hopes that they can slowly start the see the value.

    Actually, at our dept. meeting tomorrow, my dept head wants me to talk a little about CI with the hopes of slowly bringing others on board and away from wicked long vocab lists and strict grammar concepts! I plan to share with them your TCI101 blog posts!! 🙂 Thanks for all you! And with so many little ones to care for! I just had my first, and just started back at work last week– it’s exhausting!! You are truly an inspiration, Martina!

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    • I have compromised to still use the textbook and workbooks, and unfair grading systems due to teaching the same course as other teachers who won’t budge.

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  67. I have tried to incorporate stories that go along with our textbook, and I’ve used some songs that you have released materials for. One of my classes really likes the Paloma Blanca song! I’ve shared the song with my colleague. She is amazing, and really wants to incorporate more of the CI method, but we’re both a little uncertain how it should look. We are going to work this summer to come up with smaller amounts of vocabulary, so our kids are not memorizing a bunch of vocabulary words (although some of them are very good at it). She is currently reading a short book with her students! I would absolutely LOVE to win one of your books, and hopefully this picture of what CI actually looks like will become clearer to my colleague and I, and we will have kids who are confident and enjoy coming to Spanish rather than feeling beaten up by grammar and loads of vocabulary. Thank you for this blog! I am slowly learning more and more.

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    • CI looks different for everyone. The best thing to do is to get some training and start trying things out so that you can find your personal CI style. Glad to hear that you have been having success and fun with the things that you HAVE tried!

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  68. I had been exposed to your work through TpT, but didn’t really start to catch on until a Spanish teacher friend from another school told me about TPRS. Last summer I read a book she recommended and began reading your blogs, watching your videos, and those of others as well. My Christian school doesn’t really care how I teach Spanish so I have complete freedom. I would like to retain some grammar instruction since my students sometimes transfer to other schools and I wouldn’t want them to be lost if they found themselves in a more traditional class. But I am fascinated by the concept. This year has been kinda random as I’m in the process of transforming my methods. But this summer, my school is sending me to a TPRS workshop and I am totally thrilled! I hope to get more guidance and develop a more cohesive plan this next school year.

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  69. I really ADMIRE the way that you have express and showed how a second language can be learn. I have been teaching for a long time, most of that time teaching ESL, now I am teaching Spanish and I have found that there is a big difference when teaching Spanish. Thank you for your inputs.

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  70. I have been compromising with myself, the only foreign language teacher at my school! I have taken over the Spanish classes twice because the teachers left, so I’ve definitely been traveling upstream! Your website has been a blessing because I want to teach my students to love language, but have had a hard time doing that by strictly following the textbook.

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  71. I am in a dept of 2 and am trying to incorporate more CI into my classes. I don’t have the confidence yet to jump in to storytelling/asking with both feet yet but I am getting closer and seeking professional development for support (your 2 day workshop in NY this summer!). My dept colleague is not incredibly collaborative and my admin has been a revolving door so I love this community I have found via the internet! Thank you.

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    • Yay! I hope you can convince your colleague to come to the training with you 🙂 I’ll be sharing a wide array of strategies that should be encouraging to the not-yet-convinced!

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  72. I have finally gotten a colleague to agree to use one story or movie-talk each quarter because she only believes in baby steps and has a very hard time going all in on CI. Drills are her forte and her kids can produce a lot quickly and artificially, but retain almost nil. I want more real CI to show her how grammar is already in it without needing it to be in a chart all the time. I want her to begin to trust that her students’ brains are capable of discovering and utilizing the patters subconsciously!

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  73. We were in the process of looking for a new textbook (wanting to drop Avancemos) and I had found a brand new book that is textbased and grammar is taught as a support to the text. It doesn’t come with a workbook and a few of my colleagues refuse to adopt a book with. I agreed to wait until next year to give them more time to process the change. It was a difficult process, but I was willing to make this concession.

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  74. I have been baby stepping into the C/I so that I don’t completely alienate myself from a few of my department members. But I would really like to dive in head first and never look back. I FINALLY got them to ditch the textbook in level 1, and now my sights are set on level 2. I keep writing grants to get novels to use in class and the response from my students this year was amazing. I loved it! And when we were finished with the book I found myself a little lost. So next year I am adding at least one more!

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  75. I teach all 4 levels of Spanish in a suburban/rural area and there is still a lot of resistance to learn Spanish. The state of Georgia has dropped the language requirement from graduation criteria but yet counselors still make all students take two units of a modern language to keep their options open for college since most schools still require at least two units. I have been teaching at the same school for 15 years and not much has changed – we never have any money for materials and we have NOT adopted a new textbook… With that being said, I make a lot of my own materials and this year with teaching Spanish 3 and 4 for the first time, your Teachers Pay Teachers page has been awesome! I still teach grammar but at least in the higher levels I am trying to infuse more comprehensible input a little bit at a time. I asked to see if we can buy this bundle but often times I don’t even get a response when we ask for money for anything…

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  76. I use the textbooks and more “traditional” workbooks etc. all year. But, when it comes time to review for their state test at the end of the year we read a novel! My students end up using more of the vocabulary and from the novel in their essays on their final than any other topic. 🙂 I would love to do more but I’m still figuring it out…

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  77. I have comprised my own comfort zone to use CI. My personality was never one to be dramatic or to act out scenarios in front of people. When I tried using TPRS and later CI, I realized the success that happened with my students. At that point, I chose to move out of my comfort zone and start using movie talk and more dramatic techniques to get my students talking and more engaged. I am completely sold on CI. The other compromise I have made is using my own money (about $2000+ per year) purchasing items to be used in my classroom that are not provided by the district’s textbook. My husband was always shocked when we itemized our taxes and added up all I had spent. One year it was $5000! That is a lot on a teacher’s salary. This year I went back to school to get my master’s degree in TESOL and all of my extra money is now going toward tuition and books. So, I have been unable to purchase things this year for my classroom. I did write a grant to start a small library of Spanish novels for my students to get more exposure to the language through reading. Everything I have ever purchased from Martina Bex has been above and beyond my expectations.

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  78. I teach 4 – 8 grades and after 12 years of textbook teaching, switched over to CI this past October. It’s been exciting, rewarding, scary, and exhausting but in this short period of time I’ve seen such progress among my students that I’ll never go back. I’m also encouraging our K-3 Spanish teacher to include more CI in her lessons.The one thing that I struggle with, and that is often asked of me is, since I don’t “teach” grammar in and of itself, whether I am adequately preparing students for High School Spanish. I am very new to this and I know that your book would be a tremendous help.

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    • I am certain that you are! Darcy Pippins just shared her AP exam stats. She teaches no explicit grammar and her students fare extremely well–well above the national average 🙂 Keep on doing what you’re doing!

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  79. My district has an End of Course Exam for each subject that students are required to take as 10% of their grade. They have tried to update the Spanish 2 test, but the Spanish 1 test is old and based on our textbook that still teaches “VCR” :). In my department, our teachers want to be teaching the same chapter at the same time and we are required to write and give common assessments. I compromise by teaching the chapter, but using different CI strategies.

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  80. As a department of one, I´m pretty free to teach as I wish and I´m very lucky for that. So my compromise is with myself and my level 3s and 4s (and some of their parents) that want the grammar. My 3s and 4s took the National Spanish Exam for the first time ever this spring and their grammar scores were their lowest categories. Have any other CI teachers had experiences with the NSE?

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    • I’m sure they have; you could ask in the iFLT/NTPRS/CI teaching Facebook group though! Darcy Pippins has done the AP exam with her students with incredible results, and she never ever teaches grammar explicitly. She might be a good person to connect with for some tips!

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  81. Martina,
    I have been reading your blog for a couple of years being very fascinated with the idea of Comprehensive Input, but not totally sure I understood it well enough to use it in the classroom. So, last year, I tried one of your lessons in my upper level classes with some pretty good success. This year I have taught several of your units in my Spanish 2 classes and have had amazing success! I really couldn’t believe how well the students retained the information. And, as an added bonus, they loved it! It just so happened that I had a contract renewal evaluation during one of my CI lessons and I got rave reviews from my administrator who was indeed impressed at the high level of engaged students. CI makes learning fun! Thank you for your blog!! It is a valuable resource -especially if teachers can’t get to the conferences- and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge!

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    • What awesome news!!! The first step is scary when you haven’t had training or a coach there to help you, so kudos to you! I hope you will be able to get to a conference with great coaching or connect with a trained teacher near you to keep building your confidence!

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  82. I am a newly convert to Comprehensible Input and throughout the past 3 years I have completely changed my entire curriculum and teaching methods to CI. I currently teach 7th and 8th graders Spanish 1 & 2 for high school credit. However, the high school Spanish teachers have agreed that CI is not for them and have refused to adapt their curriculum. While we share different views on the issue of second language acquisition we have compromised on teaching a novel per semester. I have encouraged them to connect stories to their curriculum and this year the high school Spanish teachers are using novels in their classrooms! With much excited I continue to email monthly CI articles and blog posts to them in hopes that they will be “come right over red rover” to CI instruction.

    The recent Facebook group that was created has helped has helped me from being completely overwhelmed. Reading other teachers successes and mistakes/failures in areas has encouraged me that I am not alone in this uphill battle. This year has been my first year where I have completely switched to CI and it has been going great! I also read The Comprehensible Classroom blog weekly! From Martinis blog I have been introduced to a world of CI teachers and blogs that my weekends are often filled with exploring and finding awesome new ways to use CI in my classroom.

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  83. I have compromised by teaching materials in context instead of isolation. No more worksheets with random sentences to fill in blanks. All material is in story format (like Jack Jack Attack) or Froogy se viste for teaching grammar. Even assessments are in the form of dialogues or in context situations. I believe this is a step in the right direction. Every year I try new material and to make it more relevant for the kids!

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  84. This year I moved to another state and left my amazing, progressive and CI based department behind. I absolutely love my new collegues, but they are still stuck in the tradtional drill and kill grammar activities. We have to teach grammar and my department sticks to the book page by page. So, my compromise has been to continue supporting my department and slowly integrate CI back into my classroom as I try to et the new standard. Right now I only address the grammar in the book after I have already provided lots of input and done lots of reading. My department is slowly seeing that it can be done! Our kids are capable of so much more than we think! My compromise to my intermediate students is that I promise to provide the best learning environment I can if they just take a chance and trust that my “weird” and “different” approach to language learning will help them be life long language learners. They love it so far 🙂

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work and commitment to supporting other educators. We all truly appreciate it and are inspired by you!

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    • It sounds like there are a lot of teachers that have experienced the same thing–having to leave a CI department and entering a traditional one. It is full of challenges but how cool that you get to show a whole new group of teachers a different way of doing things and impact even more students!

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  85. As someone who learned the language in an immersion setting I started teaching my room how I was told it needed to be taught. Slowly I am leaerning that is not the only way. I’m worknig on adding CI into my lessons and have found some great mentors to lead me along the way! Please your TPT. 😀

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    • Can you clarify how you were told it was needed to be taught? Immersion style (no translation, all TL) or traditional (vocab and grammar) bc you are not teaching in an immersion program? Or something else?

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  86. I discovered your website part way through the year when I was thoroughly frustrated with what I was doing and with what my kids weren’t understanding. I’m in a department that is pretty grammar/vocabulary/textbook based but is somewhat open to change, so long as it doesn’t require to much extra work from them. I’ve been using modified TPRS in my level 1 for the last couple of years and was desirous of adding more reading and listening activities and removing more of the explicit grammar instruction. Our compromise has been that as long as certain grammar topics are covered (no matter how I accomplish it) we are good. They were also interested in looking at readers so I’ve started there to try and help them understand the value I am seeing from CI.

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      • Currently I’m not required. It’s just what the others do heavily. I try to do a little of it so the kids aren’t blindsided when they switch teachers, but I’m doing much less than when I started teaching several of years ago.

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  87. I am new to CI this year but have been teaching for a long time. I have been taking a class, doing a lot of research and came upon your website awhile back. The teachers in my building are trying to dump a textbook but we have to stay aligned with the other Middle School and give common unit tests. My compromise… We are using as much reading input as possible even if we have to make up small paragraphs to fit the chapter. I have also written to several local small grants to fund the purchase of novels to be used in Spanish 1A and 1B. My plan is to implement novels in the classroom next year. One step at a time! OH and I just found out you will be in Chittenango this summer for a conference. The three of us in my building just bought tickets to attend and we will pass the word to the rest of the department tomorrow. We are in the Syracuse area. Looking forward to meeting you!

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  88. I am new to CI this year but have been teaching for a long time. I have been taking a class, doing a lot of research and came upon your website awhile back. The teachers in my building are trying to dump a textbook but we have to stay aligned with the other Middle School and give common unit tests. My compromise… We are using as much reading input as possible even if we have to make up small paragraphs to fit the chapter. I have also written to several local small grants to fund the purchase of novels to be used in Spanish 1A and 1B. My plan is to implement novels in the classroom next year. One step at a time! OH and I just found out you will be in Chittenango this summer for a conference. The three of us in my building just bought tickets to attend and we will pass the word to the rest of the department tomorrow. We are in the Syracuse area. Looking forward to meeting you!

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  89. Your “Somos” Units and the use of authentic resources in class have changed my life as a teacher. I would love to both read this book and share it with other teachers so that they can see how important that CI is and why language learning could become much easier!

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  90. Isn’t it funny that so many of us know exactly what you meant when you asked us if we had a ‘compromise’ story?! Obviously there are many of us that struggle between traditional/nontraditional methods and colleagues. Essentially, in our department, we have adopted what we refer to as an “80/20” model. We teach using approximately 80% TPRS/TCI and 20% in a more traditional, grammar based way. I’ve read a bit about ‘pop-up grammar’ and so I feel like that comprises a bit of that 20%.

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    • It is on lucky days like today that I have found bits and pieces that are helping me become a better teacher! CI? First time I hear the term. I teach k-8 and tge worksheets provided by my lead introduce random vocabulary, grammar rules and isolated sentences. It takes me a long time to create/find “contextual resources”. Thank you for sharing your CI ideas, links, authors, I CANNOT wait to come home and read all about it tonight!

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  91. Oh my, I need this book! I have been trying to pull away from traditional language teaching for years. There just aren’t enough resources and I have created many of my own but there just isn’t enough time in the day. Thank you!

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  92. Like many of the teachers who have commented previously, I too have been teaching for a long time (32 years) and my department and I are making the switch to CI. Because I teach college courses as well as high school courses, this book would be an invaluable resource since the college curriculum will not permit me to abandon the teaching of grammar. My colleague and I would be forever grateful for a copy of this book.

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  93. After experiencing CI methods at my previous school, I had to accommodate to a more traditional textbook approach at my new school. Fortunately my small Spanish department has given me the liberty to incorporate the wonderful CI novels along with the textbook. In first year Spanish, we read Carl no quiere ir a Mexico and second semester we read Piratas. I also incorporate the short TPR readings that Realidades offers and do songs, games and movie talk to reinforced the grammar and vocabulary. I appreciate all your amazing contributions which encourage teachers to continue in this challenging but very rewarding career.

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  94. I find that I must compromise with myself because I want to change all of my curriculum at once but I have tried this and it is so overwhelming! I am a department of one(middle and high school) so I decided to start by changing my Spanish IV class over to novels and movies. I’ve gotten great feedback from students!

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  95. I made a deal with my admin after attending iFLT15. As long as I “technically teach” the required curriculum, he didn’t care how I did it. In our curriculum maps it says topics of vocabulary, but not how many words. I have successfully cut down my vocab lists from 40+ per chapter in a textbook to going textbookless and deskless with only 5-7 structures MAX that I ever focus on at a time in Spanish 1-2. Many times it’s only 3-5! I’m much happier and less stressed now than I was before!

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    • Amber, that is awesome! It would be wonderful for you to share some more specifics about how you trimmed down the lists; a lot of teachers are in the same position but struggle to know how to do it!

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  96. I started CI and TPRs this year I got rid of the desks and the book-oriented teaching. I teach 1st-8th grade but CI is more structured in Middle school grades than at Elementary levels. My commitment is to increase CI at Elementary levels. I would like to get your book because it would help me with my multiple lessons planning so I could focus my energy on what is important.

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  97. I NEVER win anything so I just gave up and bought a copy of this book….it is amazing! I have been a devotee of your blog since I discovered it a few years ago, but this is great to have so many activities all in one place, with grammar exercises explicitly related to the readings! MIL GRACIAS MARTINA!

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  98. I am a Spanish teacher for over 20 years now. I started teaching when my fifth child (my youngest) was three. My students range from prekindergarten to 8th grade. I am always looking for different ways to encourage my students to communicate and reinforce learning a foreign language. I love reading your posts. You inspire me and make me re-evaluate what I do. There are obstacles. My school no longer buy textbooks so I must create and use what we have. I would love to receive your book. It would help me create a better plan for my students. I have been using comprehensible input techniques to introduce vocabulary and grammar. I also have been incorporating more reading materials to help fluency and understanding. But it is difficult with the time constraints. I take little steps every year. There is so much more I need to do. Thank you for your inspiring posts. Thank you for the opportunity to receive your book.

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  99. As a new teacher who was taught using a grammar-heavy textbook-faced curriculum, I have been experimenting and adding more authres to my wheelhouse. I finally ditched the textbooks and I have been relying heavily on technology. I use lots of infographics with my lower levels because the emphasis on images and smaller pieces of text is easier for them to comprehend. I also use lots and lots of songs and my students love it!

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  100. My compromise has been squeezing in wherever possible your stories or parts of units. Our textbook language department is starting to see the benefit of students actually read, understand, speak and discuss without a textbook. Having almost completed my first year at my current district, I have seen how easy it is to get sucked back in to teaching from a textbook to make other people happy, but kids don’t enjoy it not even half as much, nor do I (maybe that’s the real reason). Next year I’ll be teaching level 3 in addition to 1 and 2 and I’m certain we’ll be digging into your units Martina. Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication to language teachers!

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  101. I am compromising this year by having my Spanish 3 class do a ‘flipped’ grammar exploration. I am using my own notes and señor Jordan’s videos to assign them topics to explore independently and assess them. That way we can focus on input in class and they can do grammar on their own (we have study hall every other day and students are encouraged to come and get help with these topics then)

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  102. I have been using stories, songs, and other #authres in my level I French class for several years, even though the other teachers in my department focused on grammar and drills. This year I found myself in a new building with two brand new classes as well as having to revamp the level I class. I could feel myself “backsliding” into more traditional methods of teaching just because it is easier and because of time constraints. Our whole curriculum needs to be revised and refocused on CI. Is there a way to clone you into a French teacher? I’m always looking for ideas on how to make language more comprehensible for my students, and I would love to win a copy of your book!

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    • Ha! Unfortunately not. But there are a lot of French teachers out there that are doing amazing things! I hope you are following Cécile Lainé’s blog and TpT store, she is consistently adding new materials and ideas specific to French!

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  103. I began teaching at A new school two years ago. Within that time I discovered TPRS and Martina. I began utilizing her lessons and immediately saw the advantages to TPRS. Students are not only speaking and understanding Spanish, but a group of 17 kids and I recently returned from Costa Rica and administration is in awe of what these kids came back saying. The school is so happy with the work I’m doing but I give all credit to Marina and TPRS. There are two other language teachers in my department and the compromise is that next year they’ll begin using TPRS while still hanging on to our Realidades book. It is possible for us to use it as a guide and still mix Martina in there. I know the foreign language department has improved drastically in the last few years and I am so thankful that God led me towards just the right people.

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  104. I began teaching at a new school two years ago. Within that time I discovered TPRS and Martina. I began utilizing her lessons and immediately saw the advantages to TPRS. Students are not only speaking and understanding Spanish, but a group of 17 kids and I recently returned from Costa Rica and administration is in awe of what these kids came back saying. The school is so happy with the work I’m doing but I give all credit to Martina and TPRS. There are two other language teachers in my department and the compromise is that next year they’ll begin using TPRS while still hanging on to our Realidades book. It is possible for us to use it as a guide and still mix Martina in there. I know the foreign language department has improved drastically in the last few years and I am so thankful that God led me towards just the right people.

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  105. I got all of our teachers to commit to teaching at least one novel a year and have gotten some to use Free Voluntary Reading books as Extra credit for the motivated top students to allow them to challenge themselves, proving they had read the books by having 2 conversations with the teacher about the book. I have gotten all of our teachers to try movie talk and use at least one short movie and one commercial with each grade level. We have worked to cut all vocabulary lists to eliminate the 1/3 least useful/common words for the chapter.

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  106. I will be in my first position (in decades) next fall. I have already informed my admin that my methods will be in line with current research on second language acquisition. I didn’t say what that was and he didn’t ask! Private school, department of one means I have total autonomy. Being that I will be basically new at this, I am super pleased that I will be using the Somos lessons with the grammar mixed in. I am also super pleased to glean from you, Martina, as well as other CI gurus so that when a parent or other admin ever presses me for an explanation, I feel well prepared to give them good research and explanations for the methods, which knowing my personality and love for explanations and details will always include at least a little bit of grammar.

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  107. My colleagues teach have an eclectic approach. We’re veteran teachers so we’re changing as the times change. I’ve been teaching 32 years! Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks! Personally, I’ve introduced two new CI readers and have imbedded lessons as we go. The students have shown more long-term memory of the concepts and vocabulary after the readings. Slowly, but surely, my teaching is evolving!

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  108. We are in an area that gets a lot of students from other states and districts. So far, not a single one has had CI previously, just legacy vocab and grammar. They all have had the same comment after a couple days in my class: “I didn’t know we were so far behind” But they weren’t behind, just a completely different track and destination, so I come up with half-way assignments to “bridge the gap” and to help them from being discouraged. I use real news articles from the web and also from the news summaries that Martina Bex has by subscription on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have the new student partner with one of my stronger students and do the regular assignment plus a context based grammar add-on that I come up with depending on the grammar of the article. This way, part is familiar ground for the new student, and part is stretching into what we normally do. I just got another new student a couple days ago and we only have two weeks of class left and then finals!

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    • I love the positive spin; that students weren’t behind, they were just on a different track! I can’t believe you are still getting new students! That was one really wonderful thing that my counselors did; they cut off enrollment for my class at the semester so I didn’t have to figure out how to work in new kids in the second semester at least! You are amazing for finding ways to make it work!

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  109. I recently went back to teaching Spanish after being a stay at home mom for 17 years! I was so grateful to discover TPRS methods and materials by you, Bryce Hedstrom, Kara Jacobs, Sharon Birch and others who have helped me in my CI focused classroom. My compromise is using my Exprésate curriculum as a skeletal framework but using authentic resources, songs, persona del día, FVR, tons of PQA and stories to flood my students with CI. Thank you for all the materials you provide – I love this method! It works!

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    • You mention some amazing teachers that I too have learned much from! And they represent such a range of strategies and materials, which is AWESOME! Sounds like you have a lot of CI even though you are “following” a textbook!

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  110. Our district abolished the textbook about 6 years ago. They offered new standards and objectives along with many links to resources and shared activities, but left it up to us to integrate a hodgepodge plethora of resources into our own lesson plans. We’ve been reinventing the wheel ever since. My new colleague has taught TPRS in high school and believes in it, even though our district does not promote it. I have dabbled in it only in bits and pieces. Would love to use a systematic CI plan, but even my colleague finds that it’s too difficult to implement with 40 students in our middle school classes (210 total students for each of us), floating into other teachers’ rooms with terrible seating arrangements and having to teach lengthy vocabulary lists to prepare students for an EOY exam. Wish we could forget all those hurdles and take the plunge, yet feel confident students could pass the tests. Perhaps starting with your Grammar book would be a compromise: teaching the language structure required while trying to conjure up the faith to delve into high frequency words and let go of district-prescribed vocabulary lists. Is it reasonable to entertain the thought of jumping into CI while fearing our students will fail the big test?

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    • Once I got comfortable using TPRS®, my big hurdle was figuring out what a year in the TPRS life looked like for me! The end result was my SOMOS 1 & 2 curricula, which use TPRS and many other techniques to deliver CI. Large classes are a challenge–mine were always capped at 35 (so I never saw 40), but they were ALWAYS full at 35 and it was CRAZY!

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  111. I dream of being a teacher like you someday in heaven. In this life, I love being inspired and copying you as much as possible! After following, stalking, reading your blog for five years, I’m convinced we are indred spirits! I hope I win this book, or my dept head will be receiving another PO from me 🙂

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  112. Thank you for all you do! I’ve been teaching for 9 years and am always looking for new and inventive ways to teach my students! I’m very interested in learning more! I will be busy reading all of your blog posts and checking out your TPT items!

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  113. We have started this process this year at my school. There are 3 different levels (2 different languages), so it has been difficult and we feel very overwhelmed. We were going to focus on one level but how can you keep teaching the old way in the other classes when you see the benefits? We will have time over the summer to work on curriculum. One area that has worked is using authentic resources. I would love to see what you book says about teaching grammar. Thanks!

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  114. Honestly, the concept of CI is what I’ve been wanting to do for years, but now that it’s at the forefront of language teaching, I’m overwhelmed by how to change into it. I’m probably complicating things which is why I would LOVE to win one of your books. It’s not the methodology or activities or movie talks that I don;t understand; it’s the day-in-day-out use of it. I use a similar methodology but i think CI would complement it so much. And btw, thanks so much for providing these materials and forums and ideas. It has been so helpful!

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