jam-packed sessions full of valuable information to over 140 participants from all over the US (and even from Switzerland). She was extremely gracious and kind and humorous too (bonus!).
I didn’t want to come off as a creepy stalker so I limited my interactions with her to an introduction and a selfie, which turned out quite wonderful if I do say so myself. I hope that if she ever reads this post, or my blog in general, she will know how influential she has been in regards to my teaching career and making the switch to TPRS® and CI.
So, after my initial, “OMG that’s really her and OMG I’m really here!” moment, I got down to the business of trying to soak up every bit of information that came my way. Since my head is still processing all the information (yes, 5 days later!), I’m going to list 5 main takeaways of information that stood out to me to be essential and relevant when it comes to comprehensible input as I understood it.
Disclaimer: To reiterate, these are my “notes” from the information provided as I understood them.
Ultimately, if you ever have a chance to see Martina Bex at a workshop, Do It! The amount of information, tips and tricks to create impactful CI units, and experience that she encompasses are invaluable. For her to impart such knowledge is a genuine treat. I can say I am well-prepared to continue my CI journey, and I feel pumped about it. No matter where any teacher is on his or her CI journey, there is always something new to learn. I was happy that I walked away with tons of new perspectives.
In a nutshell, I am grateful and blessed that I could attend this workshop. And after two days of cramming my brain full of great information and fresh ideas, it was time to leave. You know there’s just no place like home!
Important Note: The hashtag for the workshop was #CIwizards. Search this hashtag if you want to see what others have posted via twitter.
I woke up this morning feeling super pumped about the Follow the Comprehensible Road to Proficiency workshop being given by Martina Bex that’s happening in just three days! This 2-day conference in upstate New York is focused on how to infuse a range of Comprehensible Input (CI) strategies into one’s respective, existing curriculum(s). At a time where CI strategies and methodologies are being explored and spreading like wildfire, it’s important to really understand the “why’s,” “how’s,” and what’s” of CI as Ms. Bex puts it.
I’m also super pumped because it has been a while since I have been to a conference. If you are a conference-goer, you know how much excitement, knowledge, and fun conferences can be! Additionally, there’s such a rush when a group of like-minded professionals get together and explore this whole CI thing together. I’ve missed this, especially since last year I was not a Spanish teacher. This conference is also happening at a great time—late in the summer (leaving plenty of time to plan), but close enough to when school starts.
In regards to Ms. Bex, I have followed her blog for many years and have been using her resources throughout my teaching career. Her SOMOS curriculum really helped me out when I was transitioning to be a more TPRS® and CI oriented teacher. Thankfully, I met Blaine Ray and his son Von Ray during the TPRS® conferences that I have attended. Now I really look forward to meeting Ms. Bex in person and learning her tips and tricks firsthand.
Currently, I am working on planning my school year (big picture/units) so that I am better organized and have a more complete idea of what I am going to cover and when I am going to cover it before the conference begins. I look forward to receiving wonderful new insight on the how by attending the conference. A goal this year is to have units that are infused with more culture. Therefore, I look forward to creating more culturally rich materials and resources.
Eek! I can’t wait! I'll tweet conference highlights and moments.
Are you going?
I'm assuming you already know what TPRS® is. If not, go here.
This school year I started teaching at a new school. At my new school I am the only one solely devoted to TPRS® and CI strategies...That is, until a few weeks ago! My department chair had heard of TPRS® and when she found out that that's my preferred method, her interest was instantly peaked. I can't speak for the majority of CI teachers, but for me, when a fellow colleague is interested in making the switch, it's like watching any Jacqueline Bracamontes telenovela (Silvia Navarro is a close second!) or eating bacon-cheese fries dipped in massive amounts of ranch: Awesome!
So, I pointed her in the right direction, a TPRS® workshop that was coming to town (just like Santa—sorry, I couldn't resist). After attending the workshop, my colleague became even more pumped and that's when she asked me the million dollar question: What materials do you use and where do you get them? Actually, she also asked how much money I have spent acquiring my materials (ahem, thousands, yes really!), but that's not here nor there... I hope my husband doesn't read this.
I explained to her that in the world of TPRS® and CI, there is no "set" curriculum or textbook. Instead, there are many informative blogs and excellent teacher-made resources. So, if anyone reading this is looking to make the switch, or seeking additional TPRS® and CI materials, I've made a list of my favs just for you.
BLAINE RAY, TPR STORYTELLINGIf you don't know who Blaine Ray is, stop and go here. Blaine's company has an assortment of materials (in various languages) from readers, DVDs, teacher guides, and student books. I have used materials for levels I and II (Spanish). Does an elephant really need a Jacuzzi? Yep!
JALEN WALTMAN, WALTMANIAJalen's materials have everything you need (including awesome stick figures and humor), or as she puts it, "My lessons include day-by-day, step-by-step instructions, ACTFL-aligned objectives, and all masters ready to copy for your class." Jalen has materials for Spanish I-4, and I believe is working on AP materials. I've used levels 1-3.
CAROL GAAB, TPRS PUBLISHING, INC.A plethora (using this word always makes me think of The Three Amigos) of materials to explore in several languages! I have many of the readers, which are incredibly well-written, highly engaging, and super comprehensible. Specific resources that I have used are their middle school and level I and II curriculum.
MARTINA BEX, THE COMPREHENSIBLE CLASSROOMMartina is one busy lady-and that's a good thing! Her materials are solid. Most are for Spanish teachers, but some are for French teachers. She has created her own Spanish I and II curriculum. I have used both.
AMY BACHMAN CATANIA, CUENTOS FANTÁSTICOS Amy has a Spanish I and II curriculum (in Spanish and French) and each unit is, "designed around a particular vocabulary theme." Amy also embraces awesome stick figure drawings and adolescent humor. I have used both levels.
TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS
Finally, the powers that be have created a marketplace for teachers by a teacher! Thank you Paul Edelman! So here are tons of resources, most available at your fingertips as downloads, that you can discover and use instantly. And, as Kristy Placido pointed out on her blog, there are around 4,500 FREE materials for Spanish teachers! Make sure to download an example of a teacher's work to get an idea of the quality of their work.
MORE HELPFUL HINTS:
I am always on the lookout for awesome TPRS® and CI materials. What do you use? Please share your favorites by leaving a comment below!