Hello! I’m Martina, and this is my blog.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.)