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The Ultimate Turkish Hunting Kit

The challenge of designing the ultimate Turkish hunting kit has captured the obsessive part of my brain for the last week. What is a “hunting kit,” you ask? It’s a collection of objects carefully chosen to introduce a language to a learner. One example is the Unangam Tunuu hunting kit. In one of our first… Read more »

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Technique: Lie to Me

Imagine you are doing a lesson that might only be true for some people in your group. For example, if you are leading a lesson on brothers and sisters, and several of your learners are only children, how do you include them into the activity? Although it might not be true that they have “one… Read more »

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Technique: Mumble

Technique: Mumble In the movie Finding Nemo an adventurous young fish wishes to break free from the strict world his father constructed under the reef. During a school field trip, he escapes and swims into the open ocean. Nemo eventually gets lost and finds himself in Australia. Without the support of adults, Nemo has to rely… Read more »

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Introduction to WAYK Video Series

Time for some “new” videos! Back in 2015, Sky Hopinka made a terrific series of videos for Where Are Your Keys. This series was designed to be both an overview of the method and an entry point for anyone who was newly interested and wanted to learn more about WAYK.  We’ve been slow in publishing these videos,… Read more »

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Technique: Angel

Learning a language is exciting, but it can also be scary. I get nervous when I stumble over new sounds, hoping no one nearby noticed. My cheeks feel hot every time I ask someone to pronounce a word so that I can understand and copy the sounds correctly. Suddenly it feels as if my ability… Read more »

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TQ: Full Sentences

2017 WAYK intern Mary Leighton explains Technique: Full Sentences, a simple trick for getting more language out of your immersion sessions.

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Circle of Questions and Silly Conversations

At the beginning of the summer language intensive, Susanna and Evan introduced us to the Circle of Questions, a concept used in TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling; read more in Fluency Through TPR Storytelling). I find it an incredibly useful tool for learning and teaching. Below is a description of the concept with… Read more »

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Technique: Spare the Fairies

Learning another language is tough—new sounds that our mouths are not used to pronouncing, unfamiliar words, and grammar structures that just don’t feel normal. It is completely natural to want an explanation or a translation for all the new concepts and patterns in our first language. Just tell me what it means! If the word… Read more »

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Technique: Let It Go!

Before I tell you about the WAYK Technique Let It Go, I am going to talk about what a Technique is. A Technique is a tool or strategy we use to help us, mostly with learning language, but with other things beyond language too. A Technique usually has a hand sign that goes with it,… Read more »

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Why We Use Sign Language

Perhaps one of the most common questions I have had about Where Are Your Keys is about Sign Language and why we use it so much for language learning. Some people look at WAYK and assume that all we’re doing is adding hand signs to vocabulary in another language and then going around in a… Read more »

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Technique: Angel on your Shoulder

Among all of the TQs (or techniques) I learned, used, and taught this summer at the Unangam Tunuu Language Intensive, my favorites by far were Angel On Your Shoulder and the related techniques. “Angeling” (to turn it into an active verb form) is one of the most supportive techniques I witnessed this summer; “Angels” are… Read more »

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Technique: Mumble

  When you’re learning a language it can be really easy to get bogged down trying to pronounce everything correctly, especially when you’re learning entirely new sounds. For example, if English is the only language you speak then you’ve got a rather limited inventory of sounds that you’re used to making and if you’re learning… Read more »

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Robyn and Casey’s Language Adventure: Part S.E.A.L.

The hardest part of hunting Chinuk is easily the most rewarding at the same time – much like the three mile “marathon” going on next week that Sky has convinced me is worth doing for the t-shirt, if nothing else. Coming into the WAYK team already having spent a couple of years learning ASL has… Read more »

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Technique: Angel Boss

TQ: angel on your shoulder is a clever little technique that provides support for learners whose turn it is to speak: all of the other players in the circle participate by signing, mouthing, and sometimes even speaking the words in tandem with the player whose turn it is. This combination of oral and verbal prompts often… Read more »

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Guest Post: Sorry Charlie – Learned Helplessness

Today as part of our professional development, we were presented with the following video: While watching this I got to think about Sorry Charlie.  When we throw someone a Sorry Charlie, or when we speak to quickly, we’re throwing them an impossible task.  This is the kind of thing that makes people Full, and unable… Read more »

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Miguel San Pedro: Prove It

This post is fifth in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. How do you show someone you’ve learned something? Naturally, you repeat that knowledge to that person rather than simply stating “Yes, I’ve learned it.” You impress that person even more when you apply your newly-acquired… Read more »

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Miguel San Pedro: Be Here Now

This post is fourth in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. The previous three are on “Craig’s List” and “Full,” and “Everybody Deals.” Imagine for a moment that you’re painting a sunset, pondering the precise color combinations from your palette that encapsulates the unique hues of the… Read more »

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WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 5

Getting to the Party at Chuangwei Elementary School The rest of our time at Chuanwei was exciting and interesting in finding ways to implement the game. We got set in our routine and made it through the rest of the week. The classes went great, and the kids really responded to WAYK, and in the… Read more »

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Miguel San Pedro: Everybody Deals

This post is third in a series of entries about WAYK techniques as they occur in everyday life, beyond language-learning. The previous two are on “Craig’s List” and “Full”. People say “the best way to learn is to teach”, the “natural conclusion” would be that everybody would be teaching all the time. WAYK accelerates this… Read more »

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Miguel San Pedro: Technique “Full”

This is the second in a series of blog posts about how WAYK techniques can be applied to learning in everyday life. The first post is “Craig’s List.” David Edwards, one of my fellow WAYK interns and Stanford alumni, is notorious for describing “full” in a way like this: “If you eat too much, you… Read more »