Volume II - November 1, 2003

Welcome to the E-Comp! - a complimentary monthly newsletter brought to you by Prolinguistica.com.


Stressed Out in the Classroom
Troubled students, heavy workloads, no time to relax ­ no wonder so many teachers suffer from job stress
By Susan Black

"I don't know how much more I can take," a math teacher told me recently. "The pressure goes up every day, and so does my stress level." That same day, a fifth-grade teacher took me aside and confessed, "I'm so stressed. Today a student who speaks limited English was added to my class, and tonight I have to mark report cards. On top of that I have an early breakfast meeting with parents." Stress seems to be a way of life for teachers. Many teachers I work with describe themselves as overwhelmed. They admit to feeling anxious and apprehensive -- especially about meeting the mounting needs of troubled students, doing justice to an all-consuming curriculum, and getting kids ready for a relentless series of tests.
You can read the rest of the article at: http://www.asbj.com/current/research.html

Laura’s take: In these days of testing mania, teachers and students are under tremendous pressure to “cover” ever more material. Yet they must cover it in less time than ever, because so much time must be given over to preparing for so many tests. Worse yet, there’s an essential conflict between the pressure to “cover” and the pressure to improve student performance and reach high standards. How can you increase learning, by covering more material in less time? And how can you keep students engaged, when you and they know that you’re ploughing through material on a schedule, forced to move on regardless of how well students have mastered the material you’ve presented? This paradox is a recipe for frustration, stress, disengagement, depression, and an increase in disruptive behavior in the classroom.

No one thing will resolve these issues for us. But one way to lower your stress ­ not to mention your students’ stress ­ is to integrate some TPR into your instruction. Making deep changes in your approach and your curriculum may not be an option where you teach, but you can start small, adding just a few minutes of TPR a day. You’ll quickly see that your students enjoy it, respond positively to you and the material, and best of all, LEARN!

TPR is fun for you as well as your students. You undoubtedly sometimes have your students stand up and stretch for a few minutes as a break from the weighty and stressful work they must do, so why not make it a TPR break? You KNOW how much administrators worry about time on task ­ many have reduced or eliminated recess, and even nap time in Kindergarten is becoming a thing of the past, because we can’t have the kiddies wasting time, now can we? (Please - discern a satirical tone there…) Five or ten minutes of TPR is physically, mentally and emotionally relaxing, oxygenating, which is good for your brain, and it’s “on task,” - a learning activity - to boot! There’s no way anyone could fault you for taking a TPR break with your students! If you’re teaching at the high school or college level, you can easily slip a TPR break into a 50 minute period, perhaps two, if you’re on a block schedule with longer periods. And at the elementary level, you can use quick TPR activities, to smoothly transition from one subject or activity to another, several times each day. At any level, once your students get the hang of it, they’ll look forward to these mini-lessons with enthusiasm. Your little TPR tidbits will become like the proverbial carrot on the end of the stick.!

And don’t forget, when your students have learned enough to show off, invite your administrator in for a real time view of your great results. They’ll be impressed, and that will give you leverage to press for permission to do dedicate more instructional time to these effective activities. TPR is reinforcing for you in your role as teacher because you see immediate and unmistakable evidence of learning, but also because your relationship with students becomes more positive. While TPR doesn’t turn kids into little angels, fewer kids will act out when you regularly include TPR in your instruction ­ why? Because they are engaged and enjoying their learning! Few things are more satisfying to them or us. TPR = reduced stress for all! And these days, brother do we need it!


Looking for TPR or Comprehension-Based Materials?

A Second Language Classroom that Works! ­ Joan Christopherson
Joan Christopherson, retired French teacher, and TPR consultant, has produced a wonderful guide to creating a comprehension-based language program that really works, not just for the top students, but for everyone. This book is a template for a TPR program, FULL of great information and powerful teaching strategies. available from Prolinguistica. Pre-order via email now at accounts@prolinguistica.com and receive the book for the introductory price of $16.95 (plus shipping and sales tax) through December 31, 2003.

Total Physical Fun ­ JoAnn Olliphant
More than 100 games and activities designed for and field tested with all ages and levels from preschoolers to adults. Entertaining and effective ways to support your specific teaching goals, with step by step procedures for animating play. Grouped by lnaguage skill level, with suggestions in each for fine tuning. Available from Samarsh Publishing for $24.95 plus shipping/sales tax. Contact jolliphant@aol.com to order.

Teaching English Through Action - Berty Segal
Also available for teaching Spanish, French, German, Russian and Japanese. Each of these is a comprehensive guide with 102 lesson plans implementing the TPR approach to teaching language. An excellent tool for teaching beginning and intermediate ESL or any foreign language, to students of any age. Ten thematic units with essential vocabulary needed for survival and success in the target language. Now available from Prolinguistica! Cost: $21.99 (Japanese version is significantly longer and costs $26.99) Student books also available for English, French, Spanish and German at $16.99. (Shipping charges/sales tax based on number of books ordered.) Contact us at accounts@prolinguistica.com to order.

The Talking T-Shirt and Other Writing Projects ­ Laura Zink de Diaz
Lots of projects, big and small, for foreign language and ESL students. Give your students opportunities to synthesize their learning, bring all their skills to bear and show you what they can really do! Projects are a great way to allow for individual differences in learning, while giving all students the chance to shine! Each project includes clear, step by step instructions for teachers and students, and detailed scoring guides that minimize your work, while maximizing student learning and responsibility for quality. Available from Prolinguistica: $16.95 plus shipping/sales tax. Contact accounts@prolinguistica.com to order.

What Can I Leave for My Sub? ­ Laura Zink de Diaz
The last thing you want to do when you’re sick is come up with a stellar lesson plan. Here’s the solution: ready made language activities that don’t even require a substitute who speaks the language! Just fill in a few blanks, select some vocabulary, and sen it in to the substitute. Designed for any language, each book comes with a dual platform CD-Rom, so if you’re away from a photocopier when the flu strikes, you can print the assignment sheets and instructions even at home. Available from Prolinguistica: $16.95 (book and CD-Rom) or $10.95 (CD-Rom only) plus shipping/sales tax. Contact accounts@prolinguistica.com to order.


Resources you might be interested in….

Indo-European Languages Tutorial Web Site
The Indo-European languages tutorial Web site currently offers tutorials for nine languages, as well as Linguistics, English grammar, and the History of English. The Web site also offers a comparative page of the European languages, suggestions for learning foreign languages, and translation and discussion message boards. To visit the Web site, go to: http://www.ielanguages.com/

The Spanish website Pequenet offers a section with songs in Spanish for children. One can listen to various characters singing the songs or choose the karaoke option and sing along. To visit the Web site, go to: http://www.pequenet.com/canciones/manzana.asp

UNESCO Education Portal
Calling itself a web portal, or "a onestop knowledge shop of extensive information resources produced from all sources all over the world that can be accessed with no effort at one location," this Web site offers an entry point to a multitude of resources and sources dealing with education, particularly with teacher education. Sections of the education portal include: definition of key terms, educational organizations and associations, online books, theses, research publications and newspapers, online educational journals, policy documents, reports and databases, resources for teacher educators, other education portals, and frequently asked questions. For the time being, only the versions in English and French are available but the Spanish section will be on-line shortly. To view the portal, visit: http://portal.unesco.org/education/ev.php?URL_ID=18613&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201

Outreach World
A new outreach website funded through Title VI went live 10-3-03. "Outreach World," is a comprehensive one-stop resource for teaching international and area studies and foreign languages in the precollegiate classroom. Over the next three years, the site's developers expect to provide access to a multitude of precollegiate instructional units, curricular aids and resource catalogs. Offerings will include teaching units geared toward less commonly taught languages, resources for teacher training and development, links to teaching materials created by museums and other organizations, and a calendar of events and professional development opportunities for teachers. Visit the site at: http://www.outreachworld.org

Internet sites with language games:

Play site ­ French colors, numbers, faces, shapes…

Play site ­ the house in Spanish

Not really flashcards ­ these are pages with pictures and when you pass a mouse over the picture, you hear a child’s voice pronounce the name of the item pictured. In some cases you see the spelling. There are quizzes.

Vocabulary - French and English - created by sister schools. Topics: météo, lieux, calendrier, rencontres, comptines, famille, consignes, couleurs, nombres, animaux ,objets/personnes. The site also provides pronunciation.

Unfortunately many of the games at chicomania.com require a plug in I don’t have, but you might have it ­ and if you do, you’ll be able to explore many more games and stories.

Traffic sign matching game ­ with sound effects

Time telling matching game

Argentine site with lots of little games.

Find almost any country’s embassy anywhere

Look up the weather in any part of the world en espanol!

Stories in a number of languages ­ German, Greek, English, various less commonly known languages

Lots of stuff for middle school German 1

German kids’ site ­ since I don’t speak German I’m not sure how good it is ­ how about a review?


For your reading pleasure….

Multilingual Students Achieve Beyond Expectations
The Independent describes a report from the Institute of Education at the University of London that examines several studies on bilingual and trilingual children. According to the report, supporting the learning of cultural languages benefits the speakers and everyone else in society. One benefit suggested is academic achievement: those students who spoke three languages did better in school than monolingual students. The report states that, although some skeptics believe that in children learning more than one language leads to confusion and poor fluency in English, quite the opposite is true: multilingual students speak English well and score higher on reading comprehension tests than English-only speakers. Additionally, the report suggests that, while boys normally fall behind girls in academics during elementary school, the multilingual boys studied were able to keep up with the girls. Read the article at: http://education.independent.co.uk/schools/story.jsp?story=451298

Wanna write better? Read for fun!
Letter to the editor August 20, Taipei Times
Those concerned with students' performance on the Joint College Entrance Examination Center English test ("Not making the grade in English," July 29, page 8) might be interested in my research results. I found only one significant predictor of performance on writing performance in English for college students in Taiwan: The amount of recreational reading done in English outside of school. Instructional factors did not predict writing performance. This result agrees with a great deal of previously published research on writing and is described in detail in my book What Makes it Difficult to Write.
One important point: My results do not mean that English class is a waste of time. Classes are a wonderful place to introduce students to good reading in English, and to help them establish a reading habit. Classes can also help students develop good writing strategies, like planning and revision. Use of these strategies does not result in better writing styles and more correct grammar, but it helps writers solve problems and discover new ideas.
Lee Sy-ying
Department of Foreign Languages and Applied Linguistics
National Taipei University

What price accent?
Koreans have surgery to speak better English
Thu Oct 16,11:08 PM ET
By Kim Kyoung-wha
SEOUL (Reuters) - Chop a centimetre or so off your tongue and become a fluent English speaker. That is the hope that recently drove one mother to take her six-year-old son for surgery aimed at ridding him of his Korean accent when speaking the language of choice in global business. Driven by a desire to give their kids an edge in an increasingly competitive society, a surprising number of South Koreans have turned to the knife in a seemingly drastic bid to help their offspring perfect their English. Read the rest of the article at: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=857&ncid=757&e=10&u=/nm/20031017/od_uk_nm/oukoe_health_korea_tongue

Canadian College Basketball star - a poliglot!
Sato's All-America campaign is worldly

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Romain Sato isn't the type to trash-talk on the court. But if he were, he could insult his opponent in six different languages. Next week, the Xavier University All-America candidate will take his linguistics act worldwide - on the Web, that is. The Web site will feature Sato's biographical information and statistics, as well as six video clips of Sato speaking in different languages: English, Swahili, French, Sango, Yakima and Gkadiri. "Hi, my name is Romain Sato. I am a student, and I play basketball at Xavier University," is the English equivalent of what Sato says in each clip. In the videos, Sato wears a different outfit, each one representative of the particular language. Sato is a native of the Central African Republic and spoke five languages while growing up there. French and Sango are considered his native languages, and he learned English after coming to the United States during his junior year of high school. To read the full article: http://www.enquirer.com/xavier/2003/10/30/xavier30.html There’s a related article about Sato’s visit to a French class at a Catholic school in Cincinnati. To read it go to: http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/10/28/loc_wwwloc1french.html


Call for Photos of Students/Classrooms

The Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) is asking for assistance in finding photos of students/classrooms to use at its upcoming summit for presentations and as illustrations for publications, etc. Digital photos are preferable, and regular photographs will not be returned. When submitting photographs, please indicate that OELA has permission to use them. To submit photos, send to: Kenan Dunson, NCELA 2121 K St. NW Ste. 260 Washington, DC 20037 Tel: (202) 467-0867 Email: kdunson@ncela.gwu.edu


Need a giggle?

Joke "appropriated" from Berty Segal:
A teacher died and went to heaven. St. Peter welcomed her in and said he would show her to her mansion. The first neighborhood was lovely. People were out on park lawns, socializing, grilling, playing golf on a beautiful course. Everyone was having a great time. The teacher asked if this was her neighborhood, but St. Peter said it was just for doctors. They walked on, and the teacher saw another neighborhood that was just as beautiful... huge mansions, beautiful grounds, swimming pool, and a golf course. People were having a great time. Again she inquired if this was her neighborhood, but St. Peter said it was for dentists. On through the clouds they walked, approaching another neighborhood. It too was beautiful with new mansions, parks, pools, etc. St. Peter told her this was her new home in heaven. The teacher was thrilled except she noticed that no one was around and the mansions seemed to be empty. She asked St. Peter where everyone was. Didn't many teachers make it to heaven? St. Peter announced that yes, there were lots of teachers in heaven, and they would all return the next day. They were in Hell attending staff development.

Laura's Take: Obviously, neither St. Peter nor the joke's author had never attended one of OUR workshops!


Got a great teaching idea you’d like to share? Send it in to Laura's attention at e-comp@prolinguistica.com and we’ll publish it in the newsletter, giving you credit for your brilliance! YOU can make this a really outstanding newsletter!!


As usual, please excuse any typos you find!!! Any volunteer proofreaders out there? Have a great month!



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