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So, What Do You Want to Learn? A Progressive Teaching Model

My favorite part of this is: “’So,’ Juárez Correa said, ‘what do you want to learn?'”

I wonder if I could adapt this to teaching Spanish? My students are at an age when they may choose vocabulary or grammar points that are way beyond what they are capable of, but I also wonder if I gave them the choice of vocabulary topic, if it would be more meaningful and motivational to them.

What if, I started my lessons with them with a basic verb like “Tengo” (I have). Then I tell them to pick 15 words to learn that they can use with that verb. Some students will choose pets, some will choose classroom objects, some will choose foods, some will choose toys. But they will all have 15 more words and a deep understanding of how to use that verb. I could extend it by having them teach each other the 15 words they learned. This would take forever, and I hesitate to visualize this in my extremely brief, 16-lesson per year curriculum, but it makes me dream of the possibilities.

Fascinating: A Language Without Numbers

This language just fascinates me. 

Yet it is true, a language develops by what its people and culture need to express. If you do not need to describe large quantities or be specific to make daily life work, then numbers are not necessary. This is exactly why the inuit language has multiple words for snow — because the difference between fluffy snow and slushy snow is a prevalent part of life. Interestingly enough, they also have the word iktsuarpok, which means to go outside to check if anyone is coming. There are no windows in igloos, after all! (Source: 

Xan’s Fans — Help a Sick Little Boy’s Dream Come True

Click here and like the page:


This is a little boy in Pittsburgh who is very, very sick. He is 6 and has a rare neurological disorder that is taking over his body and mind. His mother feels like his time here is running out. His only wish is to have one million fans for being brave. Today his page has more than doubled in fans, but he has a little ways to go. If you want to help make his one dream come true, please like his page and pass it on to others. xoxo


A quote from Xan himself: “Well, I have a purpose and it is to help others… You see, sometimes I’m really scared and I just keep being brave… So, if I keep being brave even when I’m scared then I’ll show people how to do it, too… Then, all the people I show everyday will want to be my fan!!”

My Life Has a Sense of Humor

I have always said (and many, many people have agreed), that my life should be a sitcom. So many things have happened that are just plain hilarious. They’re not always hilarious right away, but with time the pain fades and the humor grows. I’ve been spared from these types of situations for awhile now. My life has been fairly normal, which I suppose means I was overdue for something like this. Yes, it’s true. Irony has caught up with me — and it met me literally at my front door today.

A little back-informaiton: I’m at my brother’s house again this week. I stay here to take care of his dog and mine when he is on business trips, and it works out because I get to train both dogs. On to the story…

So after taking Tucker, my brother’s dog, on a walk this afternoon, we were coming back in to the house, happy that the walk of pulling was now over. We almost made in to the dry, cool salvation of the house, too. Almost. I had the storm door open and  had just finished twisting the door knob to the main door when I heard CRACK! and felt a downpour of stinky, dirty water on me. My thoughts were: “Did I just get booby trapped like on one of those old-school Nickelodeon shows or something?” Nope. The gutters, which my brother is getting replaced soon, decided to give out a little early. They didn’t fall down completely, but the entire section above the doorway separated from the house, effectively sloshing out most of their contents right on top of me and Tucker. OF COURSE they had to give out when I was under them, right? The other 23 hours and 50-some minutes of the day when I am not standing directly under the gutters really is impractical… and boring! And, since I’m just getting over a viral eye-infection and sinus cold, the water HAD TO get into my eyes. HAD TO. There’s no other option in this story.

Yeah, so I’ve gotten everything cleaned up, including me, Tucker (Cora too for good measure), the floors, my clothes, and what not — but I’m still sitting here wondering why those 30 seconds that I was under the gutters had to be the 30 seconds they decided to dump everything out. Like, really? Someone’s punking me, right?


Thunder Leash = Thunder Fail

This summer I’ve rededicated myself to training my nearly 3-year old Rottweiler, Cora, (who has developed a fear-agression with unknown people and dogs. Great, just great.), as well as my brother’s 3-year old Boxer, Tucker (who just needs his hiney whipped into general training shape).

Cora is a perfect angel in the house for me. She can sit, lay down, stay for extended periods of time, come, and do some specialty tricks. Her greatest challenge is paying attention to me when some stimulus arouses her — like someone running on the road, a bunny in the yard, the next door neighbor kid playing nearby, etc.

Tucker is a calm, gentle fellow who jumps when excited, pulls on the leash, doesn’t follow commands consistently, and pees in the house when he wants to be spiteful.

Part of my training regime has been to walk both dogs separately every day. Since Tucker has been pulling, I purchased the ThunderLeash, which claims to eliminate dog pulling fast. The leash wraps around the dog’s chest, and as the dog pulls, the leash squeezes its chest until breathing becomes difficult and the dog is motivated to stop pulling. This sounds great, and the commercial looked like it did a better job than Tucker’s current chest-squeezing harness — heck, the website even features a Boxer! I got it in the mail yesterday and was so pumped to try it out today. I adjusted the leash for his body width and to my utter surprise — as soon as we started walking the leash turned from a chest harness to a belt around Tucker’s skinny waist. Apparently, due to his extremely athletic proportions, the leash will not stay around his barrel-chest, and instead slides to his skinny-minnie waist. After fixing it four times on our walk, I gave up. I had less control over him than with his harness, and the width of the leash was actually more difficult for my small hands to hold than the professional leather leash I currently own.

Overall, I think this product could be beneficial to someone who has a dog with a less-curvy figure, but if your dog has a big chest and small waist like both the dogs I’m currently training, I would think twice before investing in this product.

Personally, my favorite walking tool is the face collar/gentle leader. Cora walks like a dream with it (as a trainer told me about 7 years ago, “Where the head goes, the body goes.”). I would use one with Tucker too if Tucker didn’t freak out so much about it being on his face.