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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 »

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Miguel San Pedro: Craig’s List

For this post and more in the future, I’ll be writing about how WAYK techniques can be useful in life outside of language-learning contexts. Although just about all WAYK activity focuses on second-language acquisition, we’re also aware that WAYK’s techniques can be–and often already are–useful in learning material in any discipline. No matter how concrete… Read more »

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WAYK Travelogue: Sky and David in China – Part 2

We Took the Long Way Home and The City Country We had a day of recovery before we were set to go to Fangshan for the week.  David and I took that opportunity to go jog around the Haidian district in the morning.  Judging by the looks of people on the street, running through Beijing isn’t that… Read more »

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Miguel San Pedro: Spanish Discoveries and a New Technique Name

While I was helping Evan over the past few weeks improve his house to sell, I had some time to learn Spanish from him. We didn’t have to set aside some time for lessons. After all, language is about communication, not classroom exercises. We simply made a deal that if I wanted to help out… Read more »

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A Fascinating Story: A Summer with Where Are Your Keys?

This past summer, while we were in Warm Springs, Sky Hopinka was filming and interviewing us for a short documentary he wanted to do on WAYK.  Now that the editing and everything is done, we’d like to share it with you all.  This 20 minute film gives an overview of the Techniques, the community building… Read more »

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WAYK Podcast, Episode 43: Y’all Are Lappin’ Me

35 minutes and 41 seconds. [direct download] Recorded July 28th, 2011 In this episode, the overarching theme is getting everyone to manage their Full levels and really examine why we are here.  We’ve reached a point in the program where the facilitation techniques and methods of WAYK are being handed off to the students and… Read more »

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“Feed Your Mind” – Top Techniques of WAYK

In any fluency hunting environment, whether leading a game, or setting-up for a one on one with a fluent fool, you can acknowledge the human need for nutrition and comfort by feeding your mind. “Have you eaten?” – a traditional Mayan greeting, traditional Chinese greeting. Feeding Your Mind [formerly “do food“] is a hallowed human activity, a… Read more »