Welcome to my blog. I am a father of two and a Kindergarten through 8th Grade Spanish teacher in Central Florida. The 2014-2015 school year was my first year using Comprehensible Instruction Methods, specifically TPRS and I have been using it ever since.
I am a department of 1 and I have administrators that are very open to my experimentation with teaching styles and methods. On this site, you’ll find a lot of things:
- You’ll find my reflections on practices in the CI teaching movement. I will reflect on what I have done in the classroom and what has worked and what doesn’t work.
- You’ll find exceptional work that has been turned in by students. The students I teach never stop surprising me with their abilities, with their humor, and with their desire to succeed. Sometimes, I just have to share their work with the world so that you can see why I wake up at 5:10 AM every morning and can’t wait to get to school.
- You’ll find stories that I have written for my classes. I have Blaine Ray’s text, Look, I Can Talk and it is great for my older kids, but I have trouble using it with younger grades (kindergarten – 3rd). As such, I am writing my own stories as I go and posting them here. Please feel free to use them and adapt them, the only thing I ask is that you please respect the work that goes into writing them and testing them in the classroom and give credit when using them. I also encourage you to make changes as you please. If you do, I hope that you will share them in the comments so that we can all benefit!
- You’ll find reflections on my ever-evolving teaching philosophy. There are so many good reasons to do what we do, both in the small-picture, every-day sense (activities, stories, games, etc) and the big-picture, career-choice sense (what keeps us coming back to the classroom every day).
- You’ll find reflections on how to help all students succeed. I firmly believe that the students’ failure is not solely their fault. I believe that every student, no matter what IEP or struggles at home or any other circumstance, can succeed in school. One of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of teaching is finding what it is that will help each student to be able to succeed.
I am enthusiastic and I love to have fun telling silly stories all day long. If the kids know that they’re learning, then I’m not doing it right. Fun is the name of the game in keeping students motivated and helping them to acquire the most amount of language (the research says so!) Sometimes it goes well, other times, not so much…Either way, I have fun and I think that most of the kids have fun and acquire language too.
I am really into learning acquisition research and the mechanics of the brain that allow language processes to occur. I can’t stress enough how cool I think that stuff is.
I am a strong believer in the unifying power of language. Language opens up kids’ worlds to include more than just their city/state/country. They get so much benefit from language study, both socially and cognitively.
When I first started teaching, my dad (a teacher for 30 years and the person who first clued me in to the altruistic world of teaching) gave me some advice that he got from one of his professors: No kid leaves for school in the morning and says to him/herself, “I’m going to fail today. That idea has stuck with me and is the driving force behind the continuing series titled “Promoting Student Success” that you will find on the blog.
I hope that you enjoy what you read and I hope that you use all of the ideas and stories that I write about. I hope that, together, we can all make language learning even more fun, interesting, and effective for all of our students.
Thanks for the background! I’m loving your blog!
Thank you for your support! That means a lot. Your blog is one of my inspirations for starting this one!
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I’m so happy to find you. I’ve just decided, I think, after finding Martina Bex (and subsequently everyone else in TPRS/CI), to use TPRS in my classes for 2015/2016. I am a PK-6 floating Spanish teacher and was not satisfied with what I was providing my students. This past school year most of my grades had me for 30 minutes once a week, but this coming year they will get 45 minutes, wohoo!
That’s awesome! I definitely find that storytelling helps the students to stay focused on the language over the long spaces between classes. The kids can’t always remember lists of vocabulary (the sort that I used to use) but they can definitely remember the story about Tina who has all her school supplies except glue and has to go to glue sticks r us to buy more or she’ll get kicked out of senor fernie academy. I am happy to hear that this blog has been helpful and if you have any questions or want to collaborate, feel free to contact me!
I am so glad I found your blog! I have been teaching for many years but am new at the TPRS/CI approach. I teach K-8 Hebrew at an International school in Israel. I have a load of 9(!) classes and see them twice a week for half an hour. I find the work to be overwhelming but am continuing to try and get myself organized. Your ideas and inspiration are much appreciated!
Señor Fernie…Muchas gracias for a great blog! Is it possible to contact you off blog–like via email?
Of course! My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to speak with you soon!
Thank you for posting your ideas and stories! I have used TPRS for 4th-8th graders, but now will be adding K-3rd to the mix as well and was struggling to figure out how to make the stories in Blaine Ray’s book appropriate for this age level. I’ll be following along!
We came across your blog while prepping for our June TriState meeting. Where are you in Central Florida? My family is in Parrish. Nice work.
Thank you! We live in the Orlando area.