iFLT 2018 “Content Based Comprehensible Input – Carrie Toth”

Carrie Toth

Check out her website!!!          Check out her twitter!!!

She posts the proficiency descriptors in her classroom to help students have a self-awareness of their own learning. Similar image – http://www.path2proficiency.com/the-path-to-proficiency/

She also has the descriptors on her wall.

Name Most common Textbook units

School, Family, Food, Clothing, Travel, Weather, Shopping, Resturant, Daily RoutineAround Town, Jobs, House/Chores

Re-designed Units

  • Have more than one tense. (Check out my notes on Donna Tatum-Jones session on this) Make predictions. Review in past.
  • Verb forms in usable chunks
  • Vocabulary
  • Transition words (add in those to help them read better) “although” “however” “then”
  • Resources for learners (You are their number ONE authentic resource because you are the MAIN EXAMPLE of a person learning another language)

“Don’t let anyone tell you not to treat your students like learners … They are learners. You can use authentic resources, but learner texts are not bad.”


  • More than a square on page 25 of your textbook
  • More than a project to complete
  • More than the vocabulary in the chapter

Pick your Passions

  • You will connect with them. They will see your passion.
  • Carrie’s passions – history, science, nature

Find your Resources

  • Readings (including social media posts)
  • Authentic Resources – make it the center and create a unit to help them understand it.
  • Film/Art
  • Photos
  • Guests – ask small things, then add on new things
  • Readers

ALL UNIT EXAMPLES are available on Carrie’s Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click on the Unit Title to get to the link.


Example of Unit – EAT TO LIVE, LIVE TO EAT”

What do I want them to know? (NOT long vocabulary lists) Check out Carrie’s POST

  • Google it!! Look at pictures and finding resources (What the World Eats by Peter Menzel)
  • Plan REALLY well
    • How are you going to access?
    • What does “success” look like?
    • EXAMPLE – Teacher worked with a class in Uganda. She got bracelets that would buy kids food in this class. Carrie used this teacher as a guest to her class at the end of her FOOD unit.
  • HOOK THEM!! – have a jumping off / introduction to the unit
    • One time prep – Carrie had CENTERS for this particular unit.
    • Easier than you think – Examples of center:
      • Watch a video
      • Create around 8 so they have a choice
      • Try and make a menu plan
      • Group time with the teacher – what do you like to eat? Do you eat with your family?
      • Printed out DIET sheets
      • Speaking Center – They talk with the teacher
      • MEME center – She finds different memes and the students. There are 4 or 5 on the table. The students make their own meme, individually or in a group
      • Choice Vocabulary – Would you eat…? etc. The students get to add to the vocabulary list for the unit.
      • Movie trailers – Did you see this in the movie trailer? (Cloudy with the chance of Meatballs)
      • YouTube – Kids eat breakfast around the world.
  • FOCUS FACTOR – Center of your unit
    • Articles – National Geographic, You can get certified as a National Geographic Teacher
    • How can we help people with food shortage?
    • Example – Plato del Buen comer – Compares a good diet to what children in other countries that can’t get a balanced diet.
  • More than Remember – APPLY
    • 4 Corners – PQA
    • Discussion – They have the pictures of the family with their families and students comment or write about what they see in the pictures.
  • Assessment – Ready for Creation
    • Students create a MENU “Comer Para Vivir o Vivir Para Comer”
    • Record the group discussion and have them send it.
  • GET THEM INVOLVED – Follow Up –
    • Students raised money for the teacher to buy the students food
    • How can you connect students beyond the world they live in?
    • She has a jar in her room where students can drop change to help with a project.


EXAMPLE UNIT – “Medicina o Cura” – Doctor/Prescriptions OR Home-Remedies (Spanish 3 and 4)

  • Build a unit that meets your needs – Her students needed to be able to express the subjunctive in context. You can give it to them, HIGH-FREQUENCY in context. NOT the WHOLE subjunctive
  • GOAL/ASSESSMENT at the end of the unit
    • Divided the classes into DOCTORS and PATIENTS
    • Doctors have a set of questions
    • Patients know their injuries
    • Now they interact together to try and complete their goal
    • Doctors move to each patient to ask questions.
    • Then switch roles
  • HUEVO WARDO – The egg is a character. As she was handing it to a student but dropped it on purpose. Then the students “assessed” his injuries.
  • SONG – “a mi burro” Authentic Resource


  • Pack the unit with INPUT
    • Diseases with all their symptoms. (Students sort the symptoms to match to diseases)
    • Class story – Kid goes to different doctors and the doctors gave different advice but the kid “did what he wanted”
    • Herbal remedies
    • National Geographic Connections – herbal remedies, world health crisis – mosquitos
    • GUEST Speaker – Doterra friend came in to take about her OILS, THey got to make their own ROLLER of OILS. (The guest did not know Spanish, but they discussed it in Spanish the next day.)
    • MAFIA – Contiguous (Have a teacher cheat sheet)
      • Instead of Mafia, the assassins are VIRUSES.
      • NURSES – Saves the patient
      • DOCTOR – Tries to find the VIRUSES
    • Enjoy the output – The students draw a patient and describe a patient.


EXAMPLE UNIT – “Plastics in the Ocean” (3-week unit)

“Say NO to straws” #dinoalpopote – NOT the biggest polluter but a BIG one and students can relate and make a difference.

The word “STRAW” is different in different Spanish-speaking countries so you can discuss the language and how Spanish in one country will not look exactly like Spanish in another country.

HOOK – Bag of trash – 4 corners – Is it biodegradable? or not?… a little?

MADE INFOGRAPHICS – with comprehensible Spanish and FACTS

ASSESSMENT – Students make a T-shirt and present an “Elevator Pitch” of why should we be concerned with the NO STRAWS movement.


MEMORY GAME – Match the animal and how they are affected by the plastics

Vocabulary – Important vocabulary for students to be able to take about the subject.

MAP – Paper maps from National Geographic, discuss countries, oceans, and then point out the Trash Islands. Visual of plastic population

TWEETS – Students read TWEETS (authentic resources) about ocean pollution

Pictochart – Create your own infographics, FREE if you aren’t selling, Go through articles that would be too hard in full form but pull out the information. Then PINTEREST is a good source of design ideas.


Don’t forget to check out Carrie on twitter and her blog…

Carrie Toth

Check out her website!!!          Check out her twitter!!!




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