About

 Hello! I’m Martina, and this is my blog.

Martina Touched upThe TPRS®/CI Transition

My first two years of teaching were at Syracuse University while I completed my Masters in Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture. Teaching everything from Spanish 101 to 400-level conversation courses, my classes were filled with (mostly) highly motivated students who spent many hours on their Spanish homework and studying for exams each week. In October 2008, my husband and I moved from New York to Alaska with the Air Force (he has since separated from the military and is now a Realtor). I began teaching full time in August 2009 at Clark Middle School in the Anchorage School District using primarily Cooperative Learning methods. In April 2010, I observed one of Michele Whaley’s Russian classes at West High School as part of ASD’s new teacher mentorship program. After a weekend holed up with NTPRS DVDs trying to make sense of what I had just witnessed, I began using TPRS/CI exclusively when I returned to class on Monday.

The School to Home Transition

After the birth of my second son in May 2013, I resigned from my position to be a full-time mom to my children. I now have four kiddos born in a four year span–yikes! Staying home with my kids has been my prayer and the desire of my heart since before they were born, and I am grateful every day that God has provided for my family and allowed me to do just that. In the Bible, He promised that He would grant us the desires of our hearts. It took some waiting, but mine was granted! Now that I am a full-time mom and a part-time curriculum developer and consultant, my prayer is that I can encourage and support other teachers to connect with their students and find joy in this most noble of professions, especially in the trying times in which we teachers find ourselves.

I am so thankful to everyone that has posted activities, story scripts, and assessments that they use in their CI classrooms. It is overwhelming to scrap almost everything that you used to do and start fresh, and finding random pre-made activities online has been my saving grace. I began “Lesson Plans for TPRS/CI Classrooms” in 2011 as a way to give back to the TPRS online community that had been (and continues to be) crucial to my success and growth as a language teacher. My hope is that beginning TPRSers will find this blog and my website useful, and that they will make your lives just a little bit easier. If you use any of my resources, PLEASE return the favor and send me something wonderful that you have used in the past, as well!! In the email, let me know if it is something that you would like me to share on the blog with other readers (credited to you, of course). I welcome constructive criticism and questioning of anything that I post. If our work is never questioned, we lose the valuable opportunity for professional growth that comes with critical reflection of our practice.

Professional Development:

I have presented at conferences across the country and given workshops at schools and organizations throughout North America on the topics below, and I work with each district or organization to custom-tailor presentations for their needs. For more information, please contact me via email: martinaebex@gmail.com

  • Bringing Culture Back You have pinned hundreds of resources, archived every story script on the Internet, and spent a small fortune building your class library, but you have no idea how to put it all together. In this session, participants will learn how to use high frequency word lists to map curriculum and how to follow a logical unit-mapping sequence to develop coherent, compelling, and culturally-rich units that meet Common Core Standards.
  • QAR Strategies for differentiating questions Question-Answer Relationships is a reading strategy developed by Taffy Rafael to train students how to more accurately respond to questions. As educators, we can use an awareness of QAR in our instruction and assessment in order to ensure that we use a wide variety of questions, create opportunities for critical thinking in the target language, and meet Common Core Standards for reading comprehension. Participants will learn how to use QAR in lesson design and how to introduce them to students.
  • #authres: so easy a novice could do it In this workshop, participants will explore how language learners can experience the excitement and enrichment of authentic resources without feeling overwhelmed or incompetent. Participants will learn five scaffolding strategies that transform authentic resources into comprehensible input for their students, and they will use those strategies to develop five ready-to-use, Common Core aligned lessons that are centered on authentic resources.
  • PQA Hooks Personalized Questions and Answers is an essential strategy in TPRS®/CI courses, but leading comprehensible, engaging discussions is a skill that takes time to develop. Give yourself a break and break out of the routine with hooks that generate highly-engaging and content-rich discussion in your classes! In this way, learn how even your classes’ personalized discussions can meet Common Core Standards!
  • Stretching the story: Activities to ensure success A completed class story is only the beginning of a story-based lesson! Stretch your class stories by using follow-up activities that provide students with additional repetitions of the target structures, require high-order thinking skills, and build confidence and competency for output. In this workshop, attendees will read a short story and then participate in six Common Core aligned, story-based activities that maximize the language acquisition available from any class story or text.
  • Circle Up! Literature circles are a preferred method of reading instruction for English Language Arts teachers because of the personalization and depth of understanding that they foster. In this session, participants will learn how to achieve the same outcomes by using the traditionally student-led, output-driven literature circle framework to provide comprehensible input.
  • The Great Assessment Database It is time-consuming and mentally exhausting to develop assessments that are accurate, concise, and novel. In this session, the work has been done for you! Participants will leave this session with multiple templates for reading, listening, writing, and speaking assessments that work well in standards-based, TPRS®/CI courses. They will learn how to use these templates in isolation and how to combine them for IPAs and other benchmark assessments.
  • Storyasking…with a twist! In love and in storyasking, a long-term relationship takes work! Rekindle your students’ love of TPRS® by doing things a little differently each time that you ask a story. Participants with leave with 10 simple twists to the traditional story asking process that teachers can use to maintain novelty, improve classroom management, and target specific language structures.
  • TPRS® and the Text Do you long to call yourself a TPRS® Teacher but feel that you can’t because you are tied to a textbook curriculum? Fear not! This session will walk you through a textbook unit taught à la TPRS®. You will leave with specific lesson-planning strategies that will allow you to use any textbook unit in TPRS®/CI classroom.
  • Refresh your Reading Reading is a core component–perhaps THE core component–of every TPRS®/CI course. While we strive to provide compelling content to our students in an engaging way, we often feel that the ways in which we can read with our students are very limited. In this session, participants will learn about the many different kinds of reading that happen in TPRS®/CI classes. Participants will also try out 10 different during-reading activities that they can rotate through their reading instruction.
  • Keep it Elementary Don’t let the title of this presentation fool you–what’s good for young learners is good for everyone! Learn strategies that you can use to keep your classes in the target language, comprehensible, structured, fresh, active, and FUN!
  • (You can also scan my presentation handout page for ideas.)
The Bex Family - February 2015
The Bex Family – February 2015
All content © 2011-2016 The Comprehensible Classroom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written consent from Martina Bex is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martina Bex at The Comprehensible Classroom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Contact martinaebex@gmail.com to request permission to use, duplicate, and/or distribute any content from The Comprehensible Classroom.

 

24 comments

  1. Hola Martina!

    Thank you for the information you provide on this blog and the documents and other resources for teachers on the martina.bex.com site. As you asked in the “About” section of your blog, I am sending you a link to some of the stories that my class has been creating since I used your “El chico perezoso” story script with my Spanish 1 class. I linked your site to the script to give credit where it is due.

    Some background – I’ll try to keep it short:
    About 6 years ago, I went to a Carol Gaab workshop on TPRS. Since then, I have used TPRS from time to time but, sad to say, I continued to use traditional instruction for the majority of my Spanish classes. In the last two years I’ve been reading anything I can find on TPRS because I wasn’t satisfied with my students abilities. For the last few years I taught Spanish 3,4 and 5. Each year I found that the students entering Spanish 3 were not able to communicate in the language, even after 2 years of the language. Last spring I asked our Asst. Superintendent if I could pilot a Spanish 1 class using the TPRS method. She agreed and now I’m using TPRS with 29 students in Spanish 1. Today marked the 25th day of class and I had the students do a free write (which I’m not exactly sure how or if I am to grade them). Their writing was similar to what many of my students coming into Spanish 3 were able to do.

    I really wish I had started TPRS years ago when I first heard about it. However, I have learned so much from your blogs and others, which probably were not available at that time. So, thanks again for sharing with new TPRS teachers. It has been incredibly helpful to me!

    Stories from my Spanish 1 Class: http://palmyraspanish1.blogspot.com/

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  2. Wow! Thanks so much for thinking out loud and creating a great place for TPRS teachers to get new ideas. I sure get stuck sometimes and this blog is very helpful. Thanks a bunch.

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  3. Hi! I stumbled on your blog yesterday (looking for imperfect) and then as I read along I saw you mention ASD, which I recognized as Anchorage School District. I’m up in Nome & trying to learn the TPRS method & use it as often as possible. I really just started using it this semester, but so far it’s been a very positive experience (even though I consistently muck it up!) Thanks for creating your blog.

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    1. Awesome!! Are you familiar with AFLA, the state language association? Our conference will be in Fairbanks this fall and we’d love to have you join us! http://www.afla-ak.org/ Also, you should email Michele Whaley (whaley_michele@asdk12.org) and get on the TPRS listserv for the state…most of the things that we do are in Anchorage, but she frequently organizes opportunities for non-Anchorage teachers to Skype or otherwise ‘attend’ the professional development that we have!! Glad to connect with you 🙂

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      1. yep, familiar with AFLA & am on Michele’s list (I even skyped in to one of the meetings this winter.) Hopefully I’ll make it to Fairbanks in the fall.

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  4. Can I talk about how much I love twitter for teacher connections? I’m so excited to browse! I’m making the CI/TPRS jump in a few days after 8 years of teaching … Thanks for being an amazing resource and I’d love to share with you what I’ve got. I’ve got files on a Moodle (incl composed stories that go along with some Avancemos vocab).

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  5. I am so thrilled that I found you! I’ve been teaching Spanish for 12 years in charter schools in the Colorado Springs area and started out with TPRS/Blaine Ray’s curriculum due to a seminar I attended led by Susan Gross. But due to various changes in administration etc. I’ve been using the textbook method for the last several years. I was just hired to teach Spanish 1, 2, 3 to middle-schoolers at a charter school with a principal very receptive to TPRS. After starting out with the text books (since I had no time to prepare and do otherwise) I’m going to begin TPRS next week – the start of our second quarter. I was privileged to spend some time with Ben Slavic in Denver a few days ago to observe him teach. My head is full of so many ideas regarding classroom management and where to start with stories – this site will be a blessing as I begin and try to put together a scope and sequence. Hope to share stories/ideas etc. with you in the future.

    P.S. I also am a Bible-believing Christian with 3 children and worked as a missionary in Latin America for several years. After continually yearning to go back to the field, but having the Lord shut the door every time, I have finally accepted the fact that, “I am a teacher” (pretty unusual after 12 years but I guess I’m kinda hard-headed) and I’m so excited to have an opportunity to really ‘do it right’ and make a huge difference in the lives of these kids. But I’m also scared to death as I take my first steps into this strange TPRS/CI world! Please pray for me!

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  6. Hey, Mrs. Bex its Jessica Francisco, I was in your class two years in a row 2009-2011. Just stopped by to say hi, and congrats on the baby even though your baby is probably big by now.

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  7. Gracias por tu ayuda — tu sitio de web es EXCELENTE y me ayuda mucho . Muchas felicitaciones por su nene recien nacido, y suerte en tu vida elegida en el futuro 🙂

    Heike

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  8. You are such a blessing to me, Martina. I am very encouraged and inspired by you. I am a Spanish teacher in a Christian high school in Arkansas, a mom of 2, and Jesus follower. We may live very far away, and you are definitely on a completely different level of awesomeness, but I feel like we are kindred spirits with much in common. Thank you for all that you post on here and tpt. It is changing the way I teach. Blessings, Jenny Rogers

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  9. Martina!
    I did not know you were going to be “leaving” us until I went to inservice today- and most likely because I was in my own world last year as I awaited the birth of my son, Noah!! So CONGRATULATIONS!! Noah arrived June 14th and I have been blessed beyond words to have been chosen to be his mom since we became a family through adoption. I am so excited for you- and hope that you continue to share your AMAZING ideas!! Shelley Cooper/South

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  10. Hola Martina,

    I found your blog and Tpt resources a few months ago as I began researching TPRS to re-enter teaching. We are in opposite seasons of life. I stopped teaching public school 18 years ago when my first daughter was born. Like you it was my prayer to be home with my children. He was so faithful in allowing me to be mom and homeschool mom to them for this long. I am now teaching levels 1-3 in a large homeschool situation twice a week using CI and devouring your ideas, plans etc to help me teach these kids.

    Praying for you as you enter this amazing season of your life.

    Christina

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  11. Martina,
    I am so happy for you in having your dreams and wishes answered. I have to say that your blog has been a lifesaver for me in the first year of teaching and the ideas and lessons ARE loved by the kids in my classes! Thank you so much!
    Emilie

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