Ideas from Linguistics Class

Pictures are a great way to reinforce different meanings of a word.

The way I like to teach vocabulary is through Powerpoint

presentations. The students respond well to visuals, especially when

they are digital/include technology. I have made presentations that

show each new word with a picture. When we use them to review (on a

daily basis), I will model the word in Spanish, the students will

repeat it, and then I ask them what it means in English. We do this

all together as a class, so every student is practicing speaking and

listening. I could see adding basic sentences to each slide to put the

word in context – you’re right, it’s important for students to see

examples of how to use the word in context. (have students create pics

and put them on overheads/computer image on projector)

One idea that I found useful when working with new words is to have

the students use it in a sentence. However, I provided them with the

sentence stem. For example, I would give them “I knew the tree was

tall because………”. Otherwise, when I would have students make

their own sentences I would get sentences that didn’t really show that

they knew the meaning of the word. They would come up with things like

“My dad is tall.” ” The book is tall.”

Another idea is to have the students come up with antonyms and

synonyms for the words. Also, I would have them draw a picture of the

word if it was a noun. If it was a verb, have them draw an example of

the verb in action.

One activity I used to teach using adjectives was to give them lists

of words that contain adjectives, adverbs,nouns,and verbs and ask them

to use these words to write sentences about themselves or their

classmates.Then by the end they exchange the cards and each student

read what his collague wrote about him/her . Then I asked all the

students to correct others mistakes and explain the proper way of

using the adjectives .

One activity I use to teach grammar are verb cards that are

implemented by all teachers in the foreign language department. Each

card represents one verb, and has a spot to conjugate it in all

tenses. In Spanish 1, we teach the students to conjugate each verb in

the present tense, and memorize the meaning of the verb in the

infitive form. One side of the card shows a picture or drawing to

represent the verb. The image is chosen by the student, so it provides

meaning to the word, and makes it easier to memorize. The other side

shows all of the verb conugations, which are written by the student in

class with the help of the teacher. These verb cards are great tools

for learning and keep all of the verb information in one place during

all levels of Spanish. The department orders professionally printed

verb cards on 5X7 white notecards, and the students purchase them from

the student store for $3. We teach 90 verbs, and the verb lists stay

the same from Spanish1-Spanish AP. Each year we teach new verb tense

conjugations. The students are responsible for filling out the

conjugations and translations in class, and we help them with ideas

for the picture, but ultimately they either find a picture on the

internet, draw one, use clip art, or use a photograph that they took

so that they choose the image. Sometimes they complain about it

because it is a lot of writing, and they have to put time into finding

a picture, but they really do work well, and at the end of every year

they have added more information to the cards that they can keep


The verb card method is a great study skill to teach students. I

think it would have been helpful for me when I was learning French. I

didn’t do so well : )

When I was reading about this activity I had an idea for my vocabulary

classes. Students have a list of words from their readings to

learning the meanings of. They could write the word on their card and

then leave spaces to write the multiple meanings of the word. Even

write synonyms and antonyms of the back. This could help them learn

the word. It is a little bit more than simple flashcards.

Thank you for sharing your activity! It is definitely something I

could incorporate into my high school Spanish 1 classes, and that I

know my students would enjoy. It is kind of like a puzzle that they

have to put together. I like how you start with a simple activity and

then continue to build the difficulty level as the year progresses.

Using one color to represent each part of speech helps them to

categorize easier. I could also see an extention activity where they

would have to highlight these parts of speech using the correct color

in sentences that they wrote, as opposed to sentences you took out of

a story.

Lederer (2009) offers this whimsical, yet very true, list of why

English is so hard to learn. I have seen this example floating around

English departments and emails for some time now, and I thought you

may enjoy reading it if you have not seen it before.

1. The bandage was wound around the wound.

2. The farm was used to produce produce.

3. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4. We must polish the Polish furniture.

5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to

present the present.

8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10. I did not object to the object.

11. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13. They were too close to the door to close it.

14. The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18. After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.

20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend? (¶2)


Lederer, R, (2009). Reasons why the English language is hard to learn.

Retrieved July 6, 2009 from”



1) Preproduction. Students have few oral skills, yet they may be

able to respond nonverbally by pointing, gesturing, nodding, or

drawing. Students at this stage benefit when teachers provide abundant

opportunities for active listening, utilizing visuals, and associating

real objects.

2) Early Production. Students listen with greater understanding

and can produce some English words, phrases, and simple sentences

related to social, everyday events. Students at this stage benefit

when teachers ask yes-no, either-or, and listing-type questions. They

also show reading ability in English when illustrations support text.

3) Speech Emergence. Students can understand written English

accompanied by concrete contexts, such as pictures, objects, actions,

and sounds. They can understand ideas about events within the range of

personal experience. Students at this stage benefit when teachers

focus on basic communication and provide meaningful contexts in which

students express themselves in speech and print for a wide range of

purposes and audiences.

4) Intermediate Fluency. Students demonstrate increased levels of

accuracy and correctness and are able to express thoughts and

feelings. Students at this stage benefit when teachers provide

opportunities for students to create oral and written narratives.

5) Advanced Fluency. Students produce language comparable to

native English speakers of the same age using varied grammatical

structures and vocabulary. Students at this stage benefit when

teachers continue ongoing language development through integrated

language arts and content-area activities.



Hello Heather

Language in high school is taught in much the same way we teach

grammar—–in isolation of the content and real world experience.

As human beings with great thinking minds, we need to connect to a

topic and be engaged and find relevance to form comprehension.

So to answer your question, I still find too many teachers offering

drills and isolated skill sets in isolation. Krashen’s natural

approach method offers a language model where it is more based on

natural human communication.

Please google Krashen and the Natural Approach–I challenge everyone

to research his ideas so we can have a more realistic view of a more

solid and comparable model to utilize in today’s classroom.You can

also research using the UOPx library EBScohost or GAil search. Good

luck researching!!

I look forward to reading your research findings soon.

Sandra Calderon, EdD, MEd, BIS

Phonological awareness sometimes refers to an awareness that words

consist of syllables, “onsets and rimes,” and phonemes, and so can be

considered as a broader notion than phonemic awareness;

the ability to deal explicitly and segmentally with sound units

smaller than the syllable.

Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which

listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the

smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the

spoken word “cat” into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/,

requires phonemic awareness.

Additionally, it is important that pre-
service teachers are given the opportunity to reflect on and

articulate how they

will in future negotiate and balance two roles: on the one hand as teachers


standard English, and on the other hand in helping children to explore the

multiple ways that language is used throughout our pluralist society.

, we need to acknowledge that simply knowing about language will

not necessarily of itself enable teachers to use the knowledge effectively in

their teaching. As suggested by participants in our study, pre-service


need to know how all ‘this stuff fits in.’ Thus, they need to know about the

relationship of grammar to meaning, and they need to know how to use


linguistic concepts in ways that help children to enrich their use of


and literacy.

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