Review Mary Glasgow Plus Site




 January/February Mary Glasgow magazines


Developing literacy skills in a second language can be a challenging. It can be difficult to find high interest but comprehensible viewing, reading, and listening resources for novice level learners.  The Mary Glasgow Plus site has been a real life-safer!

I have been a fan of Mary Glasgow magazines for years (I still have and use magazines from the mid nineties!) and I have had an online subscription for a year. The materials from the online site are fantastic!

I teach levels 1-4 of French and it is often difficult to find high interest audio for my novice learners. On the Mary Glasgow site, not only am I able to search thematically for audio and video, but I also have access to the transcripts which allows me to create additional activities.

Another fantastic feature is that the news articles are differentiated so that I can use the same them across all of my classes. This is such a time saver! I can easily search and find resources for sports, the media, shopping, cuisine, and a host of other topics. You can check out an example of one of the article from one of my Pinterest pins

The videos are modern and well done and my students enjoy them and are not frustrated because the language level is overly difficult. The transcripts are very useful to support the viewing activities as well as creating assessments for the viewing activities. The reading articles are also interesting and well done, and I am able to provide comprehensible input easily for every level of French. I also love that I can save my materials into my online dossier for easy access. The site is extremely user friendly!

I find the cost of the subscription very reasonable, and I have gotten so much use from my online subscription. I would encourage all language teachers to take advantage of this very useful resource. If you are looking for thematically arranged audio, video, and reading materials for all levels, look no further. The Mary Glasgow site has everything you need!

If you use the Mary Glasgow site or the magazines, how do you incorporate them in your classes?

Resources: Keeping them real and keeping them together

Un grand merci to José Picardo, an amazing educator  and Head of Modern Languages, from Nottingham High School, Nottingham, UK. José, who is a member of my Twitter Professional Learning Network (PLN), asked me if I would write a guest post for his extremely helpful Box of Tricks. Box of Tricks is a website aimed at providing educators with important information about technology and language learning.

In Resources: Keeping them real and keeping them together,  I explain how I use authentic resources and how I attempt to organize my resources. For me, using authentic resources provides a credibility for the usefulness of French and as well as improving my own language proficiency. I also think it is important to give my students tools to be not only successful in my class but in other courses and in life in general.

In my outline of this post I had also included student autonomy and assessment, but I realized that each of those topics could easily generate a blog post or two on their own. I will follow up on these at a later date. 

Using authentic resources and keeping them together is an ongoing endeavor.

How to you use authentic resources in the language classroom and how do you organize your resources?

10 Simple Ways to Make a Second Language Part of Your Daily Life

One of the great things about learning a second language is the opening your world to a new culture. One of the not so great things about learning a second language is that it requires daily practice. While traveling to the country where your second language is spoken is not possible on a daily basis, having exposure to your second language does not need to be difficult.

In the words of Marcel Proust , "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Here are ten simple ways to make your second language part of your daily life.

  1. Change the language in your cell phone. If you have had your phone for a while, you are already familiar with how it works so why not change the language in your phone? Every time you answer your phone or send a text, you will read in your second language, increasing your vocabulary and reinforcing your language skills..
  2. Change the language in your Ipod or MP3 player. Again, each time you select a song to listen to you will be reading in your second language, are reinforcing your language skills.
  3. Change the language In your GPS system. Changing the language your GPS allows you to both listen and read in your second language. Ordinary trips in your neighborhood take on a different light when the voice in your GPS system tells you to turn to the left or turn to the right in your second language.
  4. Change the soundtrack and/or language while watching DVDs. Putting the soundtrack in your second language allows you to hear language at a normal conversational speed. You can also learn quite a bit of contemporary language this way. Putting the subtitles in French reinforces your reading skills as well.
  5. Change the language in your Gmail account to your second language. It is simple to change the language in your Gmail account and this simple change allows you to carry out all of the functions such as writing an email, attaching files, and sending files in your second language. You can also take advantage of using the spell check in your second language.
  6. Open a Yahoo email account in the country where your language is spoken. Having a Yahoo account in a second language is not only chic but as mentioned above; it requires you to carry out all email functions In your second language.
  7. Read the sales circulars in your second language to increase your vocabulary. Both Costco and Walmart ( You can put in  G2K 2M4 for the zip code of Québec City) have French websites and reading the circulars and other publications online help to increase your vocabulary of everyday items.
  8. Use a home page written in your target language. You can use Igoogle to create a home page in your second language. IGoogle has many customizable modules which allow you to have access to many references in your target language. My Yahoo complements the Yahoo account in the second language. It has many customizable modules as well. Having a home page in your second language keeps you aware of all of the everyday aspects such as news, weather, sports, and other cultural things. My personal home page is L'Internaute , which keeps the French speaking world at my fingertips.
  9. Change your computer keyboard settings to access foreign language characters. There are several ways to type foreign language characters. You can either use ALT codes or change the settings on your keyboard. For me, the easiest way is to change the settings. You can find both the ALT codes and the directions here. Typing the characters in your second language must become second nature so that you can communicate via email, forums, or instant messaging with ease.
  10. Obtain materials travel in your second language from your local tourist bureau and wherever you travel. Many large cities print informational brochures about their cities in several languages. Make a point of stopping by the your local tourist bureau and the tourist bureaus in each new city you visit and ask for materials in your second language. Additionally, if the city is a large one, check to see if there is a guide book about that city written in your second language. Not only will you have a souvenir of the city, but you will also be able to practice your second language as well.

What do YOU do to make your second language a part of your daily life?

Update: For additional resources and strategies, consult Soyez Motivés! at the French Corner. This blog has additional tips as well as excellent thematic vocabulary.

Tant Qu'elle Chante, Elle Vit- The Music of Carole Fredericks

 I first heard of Carole Fredericks in session by Nancy Gadbois  at AATF. Carole sang with Jean Jacques Goldman and Michael Jones in the trio of Fredericks, Goldman, and Jones.  I had heard of Jean Jacques Goldman, but I didn't know of Carole Fredericks and wanted to learn more about her life.

The following year, I attended the AATF conference and Carole Frederick's CD and teaching guide were on sale at the booth. When I purchased my CD, I chatted for a while with the very pleasant woman who had sold me my CD. There was a session on the music for Carole Fredericks later that day and I was looking forward to the presentation. 

I arrived a bit late at the session because there were several sessions going on at the same time and I wanted to try to have a glimpse of all of them. When I entered the room, there was a video of Carole singing on the big projection screen and I was hooked... After the video was over, a woman got up and started to speak about Carole and I recognized the pleasant woman from the AATF booth who looked so much like Carole. Connie Fredericks Malone, the sister of Carole Fredericks spoke about Carole's music, her life, and her death in Senegal in 2001 of a heart attack.

After the conference was over, I went up to tell Connie how much I had enjoyed the conference. As I started to speak, tears started rolling down my face for a reason I can not explain. Connie reached out and hugged me and she had tears too. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a collaboration that would change my life.

When I went back to school and played the music for my students. They LOVED it. They also loved the videos and the story of her life. I wrote to Connie to tell her how much my students had enjoyed the music and we kept in touch. I was asked to write lessons for the Elementary/Middle School resource book of Couleurs et Parfums for Tralco Publications  and to present my lesson with Connie, Karen Traynor (of Tralco Publications, and Valencia Siff at AATF in Baton Rouge. The following year, I presented with Carole, Karen, Carole's husband Jim, and Anne Jensen at AATF in Liège, Belgium. The presentation can be downloaded here .

Here is a great blog post about the life of Carole Fredericks, links to music videos . Carole is buried at the Cemetery of Montmartre and I was able to visit her grave in the summer of 2008. Visiting Carole's grave was a special event that I will always remember. Tant qu'elle chante, elle vit.

Carole is one of my inspirations for becoming proficient in a second language, displaying incredible courage, and for her humanitarian efforts.

Who inspires you and why?



French I Adjective Lesson Plan

The lesson plan

I had intially posted an assignment I plan to do a bit later with my French III class, but later decided to improve a blog assignement I had previously done with my French I class. Since I will be using the lesson this week with French I , thought it would be better if I could provide actual feedback by my students. I'll be adding a new post to update this lesson later in the week.

The actual lesson plan is on my blog I use with my students. When I first started blogging I made a category for teachers, but I find it more beneficial to keep the student and teacher posts in a separate place.

Embedded below is the lesson plan I updated for the Blog Based assignment. I found that the process of lesson writing was very recursive. I had to edit the lesson plan several times while I was creating the post for my student blog. I'll update it again when I actually  use it with my students.

Adjective paragraph - Get more College Essays

The student instruction page

Here is the link to the post the students will use:

I ran into some formatting problems when I was creating the post, so there may be some difference in the fonts and sizes of fonts. I also tried to highlight everything that was a direction with the color red to make it easier for the students to see exactly what the directions were.

My other blogs

When I started my blog a year ago, I started with one general blog. I quickly learned I needed different blogs for different projects/classes. As I became more familiar with embedding and creating posts, I had my students to become student authors and they could do their own embedding. Here are my student blogs:

Mon Enfance - My French II class was working on narrating in the past with the preterite and imperfect and their created a collage of childhood memories and a comic book of what life what like when they were younger. They presented both the collage and the comic book in French using the Smart Board to aid the presentation. 

Bon Voyage-My French III class had traditionally done a travel project with a scrapbook and last year I migrated the scrapbook to blog posts. This was not an easy task... In an ideal situation I would have had all of the posts created before I got started, but it was not possible to do so. Now that I have student samples I know what to modify for this year. 

Chevaliers 3 Projets- My French III class has a separate blog for their assignemnts. I create a link from the main blog to the French III blog whenever they have an assignment. This week I started a wiki with both French III and French AP to facilitate collaborative writing.

Les Meilleurs AP- My French AP class reads the play, "Au Revoir Les Enfants."  This blog is for their projects relating to the novel, World War II, and France Under Occupation.  

Nos Projets 4 My French AP class members had to create a French identity and find an appartment in France. This is the blog for their assignements and projects. As mentioned earlier, I have recently started a wiki with French AP to facilitate collaborative writing.  

HATFL- February 23, 2008


Technology Tips for Teachers

Andrea Henderson and Amy Lenord

HATFL Conference

February 23, 2008





Continuous Improvement Website- Cedar Rapids Community Schools.

Goal setting, mission statements, class meetings, data folders, and more. This is a GOLDMINE of information with many forms and templates that can be customized.


National Certification- World Languages


Classroom Curriculum Connections: A Teacher's Handbook for Personal-Professional Growth professional development guide by Saskatchewan Learning encourages Collaborative Planning as a professional goal for all teachers to consider.





CASLS is a K-16 National Foreign Language Resource Center promoting international literacy by supporting communities of educators and by partnering with those communities to develop a comprehensive system of proficiency-based tools for lifelong language learning and teaching. Customizable newsletter once a week.


The Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT)- Newsletter once a month


Teachers TV- Rich resource of instructional techniques in

Great Britain

. You can sign up for an account and keep bookmarks. Newsletter once a month. Newsletter once a week.


Teacher Magazine. Newsletter once a week




Yahoo Newsgroups

AP Exchanges


MFL Resources. Very active group from the


. The individual message mode allows you to receive the very useful attachments. However, there can be 50 or more messages a day! For me it is worth it!





* Yahoo, MSN, International Google are also excellent sources for “real world” information.


Sue Fenton- Madame Fifi Publications.

Excellent resources for maximizing oral communication. Sample titles-

Over 1,000 Conversation Starters for Any Language Course —A BEST-SELLER

Power Talk

You Played a Song. Now What?   

Move Your Students to a




L’Internaute Magazine- French online magazine for everyday life. This is my home page and I couldn’t start my day without it! Everything about contemporary French music!



Great source of videos to show your students


This is an example of a playlist I created for the theme of personal relationships



Cultural Iceberg Metaphor


Mike Berg’s Blog

When you first arrive in a foreign culture, you start at the tip of the iceberg. Above the waterline, which represents your level of cultural awareness, are the actions, thoughts, and words (observational behavior) of a culture. What you don’t see, however, until your water level lowers revealing more of the iceberg is the beliefs, values, and assumptions of a culture that motivates the observational behavior above the surface. Thus, the waterline is one of the reasons wars are fought and you can’t help but feel lost when exposed.


Cultural Iceberg- One page representation


Cultural Iceberg- Multi page reference created to use in ESL classes




Integrating ICT in MFL Classroom- This should be your starting point for how to integrate technology into your classroom. There are extensive podcasts, slide shows, etc. Joe Dale has done an amazing job harnessing useful resources. His blog is what inspired me to create my own. Furthermore, his students at the



have great podcasts that you can subscribe to in ITunes.


Podcasts Foreign Language.  Podcasts are a great way to bring language into your classroom. Buying an IPod (I have the third generation Nano which has video capacity) allows you to listen and view on the go. You can also hook your IPod to the TV with a special cord.


ITunes download – You can search for podcasts in the ITunes store.


Using Podcasts to Teach Languages

Joe Dale has imbedding a You Tube Video of using podcasts for language learning


Podcast directories,index



Creating online surveys with analysis of the results. The free version allows you to see the results for only 10 days.  10 days are enough for my purposes.




Ikeepbookmarks - My personal bookmarks. I have collected hundreds of sites useful to me. I can access my bookmarks from any computer and this has been a life saver for me!   


Les Chevaliers du Château des Champions- My personal blog page. It is a work in progress!


Creative Lee- Organizational tips for creative (aka right brained) thinkers.


Motivation to move- Motivational forum and podcasts for all areas of life- Real motivation for your real life!


Carole Fredericks Foundation

The Foundation provides teachers with authentic French language materials and easy to use, classroom tested lesson plans and related methodologies that engage students, teach French language skills and promote the study of francophone cultures. Carole was an African American singer who was most famous by her recordings in


with Jean-Jacques Goldman and Michael Jones. She is my inspiration…

Voix de l'Espoir- Que Serai- Je Demain?

* Although this video was created after Carole's death, her distinctive voice is ever present in the song. There is a brief clip of Carole in this video.

A larger than life figure with a generous spirit, Carole was a performer who threw herself into her live performances body and soul. She liked nothing more than getting involved in fund-raising tours with singers and musician friends. Indeed, Carole was a regular at charity concerts organized by Restos du Cœur and Les Enfoirés. On March 8th (2001)... she brought the house down at “Voix de l’Espoir [Voices of Hope]” concert organized on International Women’s Day. Taking the stage at Club Med World in Paris with a host of other female singers including Princess Erika, Jocelyne Beroard, Rokia Traoré and Lââm, Carole helped to raise much needed funds for the construction of a Pan-African children’s hospital in Dakar [Senegal, West Africa].”

- Pierre Rene-Worms for