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This was taken from Language Magazine, and I found it very relevant to my work on Wyzant: "Learning and actively using a second language, whether done from childhood or later in life, can not only improve language processing but benefit the brain in a more general sense. In a study published in January 2015 entitled Effects of Bilingualism on the White Matter Structure of the Brain, it was found that actual bilinguals (those who regularly use both a first and second language) had higher fractional anisotropy values (structural differences) in white matter that are linked to language processing.   It was found that bilingualism has cognitive benefits found beyond just language processing, specifically in regards to executive functioning, which corresponds to things like memory, reasoning, task flexibility, problem solving and planning. These numerous benefits are  accompanied by, and possibly related to, clearly seen structural changes in the brain, such... read more

I have been asked to list and explain 5 things I would recommend to avoid the summer slump. So here goes: 1. Make a list of books to read, and a plan. They can come from your school's summer reading list, or from a library (they usually have good ones). Either way, make a plan and dig right in. Don't wait until August 15. Start right now. Make a chart with the list of books in the left column, and the date started and finished in the right hand columns. Make a commitment to spend at least 30 minutes each day reading. Immediately after you read each book, fill out a graphic organizer with the main elements of the book (characters, traits, setting, problem or plot, solution etc.) The more details you add, the easier it will be to write later. I have some really good literature analysis graphic organizers that I can post later. 2. Go online and find some educational games to play. There are great math games, language games, foreign language websites and more. Go explore. If... read more

Hi all, Thanks to those of you who take the time to read this. I would love to start a dialogue with you so feel free to write to me with comments. This past school year has been a big one for me. I completed my graduate practicum in the fall, in a self-contained ESL and Sheltered ESL classroom in a high school. It was a challenge and required a lot of work but it was worth every minute. The things I learned are invaluable in terms of relating to students better on a personal and professional level, learning how to reach them and motivate them, figuring out other ways to teach the same lesson to someone who did not understand the first time, teaching students how to advocate for themselves and so much more! I had to prepare a huge binder of evidence for the Department of Education, just to prove myself again (and again and again). I did it! Then I had to begin studying for the Comprehensive Exam for my Master's Degree. I was going to originally try to take it in December... read more

I introduced the Present Subjunctive to 2 of my students within the last week; first to my Spanish High School student and then to my Adult ESL student. Wow! Heavy duty grammar! I used to find it easier to teach Spanish grammar, in either English or Spanish, since I had to learn it formally and then incorporate it into my Spanish vernacular. I don't remember studying English grammar to the same extent, ever! At least until I took linguistics classes toward my Masters in ESL. However, I have always felt that learning these and other grammatical concepts in Spanish crept over to my English. I mentioned this to one of my other High School Spanish students and he agreed! He felt that the grammar he is learning, both from his teacher at school and from me, is helping his English! In fact, my knowledge of Spanish grammar also helped me transfer the same concepts to other languages I have learned as well, including Italian and Hebrew. More reason to study other languages, even if... read more

Yesterday I met with my Spanish speakers group at a restaurant called El Sabor Latino in Milford, MA. It specializes in Ecuadorean cuisine and even had Cuy (Guinea Pig) on the menu. Very authentic. It is always such a great experience to meet and talk with other Spanish speakers, including several native speakers from both Spain and Latin America. It is the next best thing to being in the country, as far as I am concerned. I would love to bring one of my Spanish students with me next time. My daughter was there, and even though she is in middle school, and only in her second year of Spanish, exposure to the language - in actual use, not the classroom - is fantastic! Meeting with this group also keeps me on my toes since we are having fluent conversations in Spanish about all subjects under the sun. Felt good.

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