Staying Curious With World Languages at Home

Now that the word “pandemic” has made it to our everyday vocabulary, and many schools have closed, or prepare to- a lot of attention has been on how to carry on delivering meaningful and engaging lessons, albeit at a distance, to our students, most of which are still hungry to learn and practice their 2ndor 3rdlanguage. 

Sure it could be easy to just tell them to watch a movie in the target language on Netflix, or practice Duolingo for a set amount of time a day- but let’s not forget we still have curriculum and targets to meet by the end of the year. 

So many WL teachers have been sharing various ideas and tricks from many different edu groups I’ve been following (a list of these will follow). 

Before diving into the resources, Here are a few tips to consider first, written by an ESL colleague/author. Very worth reading first!

Here is a great FREE resource for 10 days worth of planning engaging reading/story lessons in the Spanish classroom.Even if you don’t teach Spanish, you can easily adapt the strategies to fit your needs. I’ve decided to compile a list of many other tips and resources that have been shared among discussions and chat-boards for WL teachers all around- ones that I like, use, or plan to, based on my own experience, as well as what seems to work for many WL teachers out there.  If you have more ideas, or feedback for any of these, please share in the comments below.

Free Subscriptions!!– Many EDU companies are now offering Free subscriptions in light of school closures world-wide. Here is a running list. 


Kahoot and Quizlet– If you are like me, these are your go to’s for a review before a summative assessment. Kids love to compete, and the Quizlet Live and Kahoots are great for reviewing chapter length material. When meeting with your group online, with whatever Online Platform you may be using, BBB, Zoom, Google Meet- just share your screen and the code and let kids interact, just like they were in the CR. If you have Kahoot Premium(it is free for closed schools)- you also get the Kahoot Challenges which can be a lot of fun as they can complete the tasks at their own pace at home, but still compete against one another.  Quizlet is great for keeping the vocabulary alive, and Kahoot can be used for grammar, vocab and culture. As students do a reading at home, they can also create their own list of words learned to practice with. Here is an article for the 5 tips to get the best out of Quizlet. Game away! 

Quizziz seems to also get a lot of votes for gaming much like quizlet, offering free gamified quizizz . You can pick an already existing quiz, or create your own. And it’s asynchronous like quizlet.

Speaking Practice

When it comes to interaction- Flipgrid seems to be a favorite. Not just because it is free either (for teachers).  I have used it for students to record themselves responding to a prompt, giving a small talk, debate, opinion but the best part is the kids get to interact with each other, giving feedback through recorded video. This provides great opportunity to teach the skill of giving effective feedback.  Students also have time to prepare, getting their pronunciation, tone, and intonation right, so it has the element of flexibility embedded within as well. It also gives you the option to connect with other classes from another state or country, and see what their Spanish online experience is like as so many of us are stuck at home. 

Another good Individual Online Tool to promote Oral proficiency is Lingt. Just like Flipgrid, kids record themselves talking about a topic. However, some kids that are shy and don’t want to show their face, Lingt is a good alternative. Another difference with Flipgrid is that with Lingt, you can give a time limit, which is great practice for students preparing for IB and oral internal assessments. 

Extempore is another new tool that has collaborative assessment options, and provides a timer controling their time to review as well as their time to respond. 

Seasaw for elementary levels- allows you to post questions orally and have students respond via video, as well as story retelling (could go great along with the Smash Doodletask below)

Voicethread is another tool that allows students to record themselves for oral speaking assessments. A WL colleague loves to use this for her IB classes.

Reading and Listening with Stories and Music

Right away Senor Wooly comes to mind- and if you are a Spanish teacher with a Pro subscription, then I don’t need to explain how nuggets and printable resources available through Wooly Week would be a great add on. But if you aren’t a Pro subscriber, or not even a subscriber, now is the perfect time to grab your FREE PRO subscription, good for 2 weeks as a special offer from Señor Wooly in light of recent events. He has also included some great ways for student engagement at home as as ONLINE PD. See HERE to sign up for all of it! He also has some French resources, but no matter what the language, let’s not forget how songs in everyday pop culture are excellent resources for reading, singing:), vocabulary, grammar, and pretty much language learning all around. Here is a great resource that was shared among Wooly teachers, taken from a Wooly song and adapted- but really can be adapted to any novel, story, or song, as they are all readings with messages to tell. The source is called a Smash Doodle, and they are great ways to bridging reading, creativity and writing

Flipsnack is a great digital tool that can be used to take any story/script and turn it into a digital story flip book. See this example about the Virus. Imagine kids creating their own digital flip book- using their creative writing and grammar skills, with a different protagonist? Maybe instead of the Virus, it could be the vaccine? Wouldn’t that make for an interesting and creative digital storybook:)

Edpuzzle– this is a great resource using Youtube, and due to the Covid-19 outbreak, they are extending their free use. Find a video you’d like to use from Youtube and it automatically pauses, checking for understanding through questioning and note-taking. 

FVR has been in the news a lot lately in terms of CR CI methods- If you are unfamiliar with Free Voluntary Reading, please read this fellow Blogger’sideas for what it is and how to use it. But now that kids are stuck at home, away from your CR library- now what? Fluency Matters! Even if you have not been reading any novels in class yet, you can use the e-courses available through this site. You will need to give it the free 2 week trial, but it will be worth it. Students can read the lesson through a digital flip book and even listen along to the audio version of it, while also completing online activities that go along with each e-book that YOU can monitor as well.  Other Worthy Reading Sites (novels, bedtime stories, fairytales)- Check out TPRS Booksand Children’s Stories

Join a WL EDU Group !

I can’t even begin to express my utmost gratitude for the wealth of info, resources (FREE PD!) and support the online community of WL teachers brings for me and my students. If you are even slightly curious (well you’re on the right inquiry minded track if you are reading this!) I recommend checking out the following FB groups. And if you’re not a FB fan- you don’t have to be- stick to the edu PD. Any others you’d like to share or contribute? Please share in the comments. I’d love to get the feedback! Don’t forget to like and subscribe:-)

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