Students speak more when using Extempore

Last Updated on 2017-07-11Students speak more when using Extempore A little over a year ago, I blogged about the results of a survey on the role of Extempore in boosting confidence to speak among advanced learners of Spanish. Three quarters of the students reported feeling more confident to speak in the target language after a[…]

How communicatively adequate are my students?

Communicative adequacy refers to a persons’ ability to successfully communicate in a real-life situation. Within the context of foreign language education, communicative adequacy is the primary goal of instruction: we want our students to express themselves, in speaking or writing, in a way that native speakers of the target language will understand. Communicative success in[…]

The Challenges of Assessing Cultural Competency in the World Languages

Last Updated on 2017-01-16We all know the importance of the 4 big skills in a world language class: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Encouraging the development of each one in our students brings with it a unique set of challenges, approaches, and assessment methods. (And, given our classroom time constraints, we probably also know how hard[…]

Extempore, Backwards Design, and Exit Outcomes for Students

Last Updated on 2017-01-07If you’re an educator these days, you’ve likely come across backwards design. As the name indicates, it’s a method of curricular design in which the instructor starts by establishing desired results for a particular chapter, unit, course, or sequence.  Then he or she works backwards to identify evidence of learning and put into place various instructional practices (i.e.[…]

The Problems with World Language Presentations and How to Fix Them-Part 2

Last Updated on 2016-12-04Hopefully you read our post last time about the problems that many students encounter with giving presentations in a world language classroom. I wrote a little bit about how a “speed-dating” or “marketplace” format can actually put students at ease and promote a fun, more vibrant, and more engaged classroom atmosphere on[…]

Dear Diary: the Preterite and the Imperfect on Extempore

Last Updated on 2016-11-13If you teach Spanish (or French, for that matter), you know how mighty the battle can be for students to learn and use correctly the two verb forms used to talk about actions in the past. Yep, I’m taking about the preterite and the imperfect. Just mentioning those two words often sends[…]

Spice up the Classroom with a Cooking Competition on Extempore!

Last Updated on 2016-10-16These days you can’t turn on the TV without seeing a cooking show. Some of them are the competition type with the red-faced celebrity chef screaming at the contestants. Other cooking shows are more of the travel type where a host visits a particular restaurant to publicize the hard work of regular[…]

Speaking Self-Reflection: It’s Not Just For Writing Anymore

Last Updated on 2017-11-27If you’re a teacher, you probably already know that one of the big pushes in education in recent years has been to incorporate self-reflection into the classroom, both for students as well as for teachers themselves. On the student end of things, self-reflection has been shown to promote responsibility and total engagement in active learning, among other benefits.[…]

Do It All On One Screen with Extempore

If you’ve been exploring our website and reading our blog, hopefully you’ve noticed how useful, convenient, and efficient Extempore is for both students and teachers. There’s a reason for that–the founders of Extempore are full-time classroom teachers, so we’re always thinking of practical ways to make our app the best that it can be for everyone. We recognize from[…]

Let’s Go to the Mall Today: Paired Dialogue Task Ideas

Last Updated on 2017-11-27A few weeks ago, we posted about student-centered paired activities meant to develop speaking skills in the classroom. We mentioned how beneficial these role play or dialogue tasks can be: they foster autonomy, responsibility, creativity, peer-teaching, fun, and authentic language output. Today I wanted to give a quick example of one that I’ll certainly[…]

6 Tips for Improving Pronunciation with Extempore

Imperfect or non-native-like pronunciation can often be a huge roadblock towards effective communication in a world language classroom. Many learners are highly aware of their accent and feel embarrassed by it even if they are otherwise motivated students. This pronunciation anxiety frequently leads them to reject opportunities to communicate in meaningful ways.  It’s really a shame because very few[…]

20 Fun How-To Tasks to Get Your Students Talking

Last Updated on 2017-12-09Although students and teachers occupy the same space throughout much of the day, it won’t come as a surprise to anyone to hear that the two groups often have different experiences at school or even in the classroom itself. During free periods, at lunch, or after school ends, students are carrying out tasks or[…]

Ditch the Language Lab: Go Anywhere (and Everywhere) with Extempore

Last Updated on 2016-07-22We live in a mobile world. We take our devices everywhere we go and do countless daily tasks on them. And increasingly, mobile technology is becoming part of daily life in education as well. So, why, when it comes to language learning, are so many of our lessons still so “non-mobile”? The language lab,[…]

Assigning Speaking Practice over the Summer with Extempore

Last Updated on 2018-12-12If there’s anything that teachers and students can agree on, it’s that summer vacation is…what’s the word? Amazing? Phenomenal? Ecstatic? But, as we all know, there’s a price to pay.  Our language students–at any level–get more than a little rusty. Those preterit and imperfect endings get mixed up, commands get forgotten altogether. All those[…]

6 Image-based Extempore Tasks to Get Your Students Talking

Last Updated on 2017-11-27We’ve all heard the cliché: a picture is worth a thousand words. But with Extempore, the expression might actually have some literal truth to it! That’s because our app allows teachers and students to use images to kickstart a discussion in the target language. Obviously, an audio prompt from a teacher most closely mimics[…]

Eight Ways to Differentiate your Speaking Activities

Last Updated on 2018-08-28There’s been a lot of talk these days in educational circles about differentiating instruction. In some ways, we world language teachers have been ahead of the curve here, partly because it’s inherent in our classrooms to some degree. In other words, we teach different skills–listening, speaking, reading, and writing–in an assortment of ways, so providing[…]

Authentic Assessment in the World Languages Classroom with Extempore

Last Updated on 2019-02-26On a previous post we stressed the importance of using authentic tasks in the World Languages classroom and we gave some examples of authentic speaking tasks that could be assigned via Extempore. If we decide to use authentic tasks for instruction, then we should also use authentic assessments and evaluate our students with instruments that[…]