Easy Peasy Block Schedule

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



24 thoughts on “Easy Peasy Block Schedule”

  1. Here’s some fluency activities that you can use to kill some serious time (still delivering CI and/or building output confidence) and it’s very teacher-independent. Reading, instead of listening, as step 1 would make this fluency cycle a great sub plan if the kids are already familiar with these activities. These steps can be repeated with a different story if you have more time to kill in the period. Adapted from Paul Nation’s “fluency strand” recommendations.
    1. Listening (or reading): Teacher reads aloud in L2 (or hands out the text) a story. The read aloud can be done more than once and at varying speeds. Students summarize in L1 or fill out some kind of summary graphic organizer.
    2. Writing: Students do a 5 minute timed rewrite of the story they listened to.
    3. Speaking: 4/3/2 technique – Students stand in 2 lines facing each other (or sit with a partner) – 1 line speaks, 1 line listens. Students in 1 line have 1.5 minutes to retell the story to the person they are facing. Then the speakers step right (change partners) and retell the same story with 1 minute. Then, one more step right and they have 30 seconds. Then, the roles (speaker, listener) of the lines are reversed and the process repeated.
    4. Speed Reading – Students do 1 speed reading. I only know of English and Spanish speed reading books. For Spanish: https://www.createspace.com/5558577 You could do ER/FVR additionally or in place of speed reading.

        1. For 2.5 years I’ve gone hard on TPRS, reading every comment on moreTPRS and this blog and making frequent posts. I need to chill a bit – rebalance. I’ve been lurking this month, but for the first time I’m not trying to read everything and commenting less.

          1. To say you’ve gone hard on TPRS is the understatement of the year. It’s great to hear from you, Eric!

          2. Eric does all we do, plus reading the blogs, writing his own books, AND staying in touch with the research more than the researchers are doing, AND then sharing the most important stuff with us so we don’t have to read it. He deserves this time to rebalance. He has shared much with us, led a few charges up ACTFL HILL, lively ones, and we can handle it if this year he tones it down a bit. Just thank you for even being in our group, Eric. We have all grown much because of your voice here. Enjoy another wonderful year full of new discoveries up there in Martha’s Vineyard!

          3. And I’m considering buying your Speed Reading book you shared with us above. I want to make it a priority to include some Fluency Reading assessments throughout the year this year. I just started trying do to so last year before my classes all fell apart on me.
            In the following an accurate explanation of a Fluency Read? Please, please help me revise if you think not.
            Fluency Read assessment: students simply mark how many words they’ve read in a certain amount of time. The readings should be composed of only vocabulary structures students are familiar with.
            I like the idea of students keeping track of these hard numbers, just like the hard Free Write numbers.

          4. Speed reading uses a fixed number of words per reading. The readings are written within a certain frequency band (all the stories in my book are written within the 300 highest frequency Spanish words). Students are timed as they read for the gist. They then take an easy multiple choice quiz after. On a graph, each student tracks his time and his comprehension score. The entire activity takes 5-10 minutes and is entirely teacher-independent (besides starting the stopwatch which is projected or erasing times manually).
            More information here:
            I included all the info on the process, the research, and the contents of this book in the 15 minute video at the above link.
            There are so many positive benefits to this activity. A great way to build reading fluency in a short time and a great gateway to FVR (not to mention more CI). And speed reading actually fits with CI theory as opposed to a timed writing (output). Students will be more comfortable and confident (at least beginners) with a timed comprehension activity than a timed production activity.
            You can use the stories in the book for speed reading, but I suggest a lot of other potential uses: reading fluency assessments, parallel readings to accompany LICT, dictation, read-aloud, etc.

          5. Congrats, Eric, for busting the door wide open with this great publication of yours!
            I’m going to do this with the stories I write up in my classes definitely and probably also purchase your book. But question: you say that each student tracks his time and his comprehension score. How is their comprehension score determined?
            thanks in advance.

          6. Even after reading Ben’s words of gratitude for you, Eric, I’m left feeling that we couldn’t possibly thank you enough for how much you have helped us teach to help students acquire.
            … I think I answered my own question above… the comprehension score on the speed reads is gathered by how many multiple choice comprehension questions they answer correctly. (I had to let some sleep clear my head 🙂

          7. Wise move Eric! Rebalance. Because selfishly it gives me great angst to imagine your burning out and me/us not gaining such valuable insider knowledge of current research, not to mention insight and genuine love and advocacy for the students.
            I also plan to purchase your book. It may be a key component for me, having these readings at my fingertips. New school and such, so I am not only a newbie, but an oddball / wing-nut. Oh well. I feel like it helps tremendously to be able to speak confidently and professionally, name-dropping and citing current research and best practices.
            Looking forward to seeing you in Maine! 😀

  2. Eric I know you are still chillin’ but at some point can you give us a one page or less paper against the use of thematic units in foreign language classes? That is a request to you from someone in the group but I thought I would put it here.

    1. OOOOH! YEAH! This one is listed in my schools “Spanish Competencies” which I asked if I could rewrite bc they make no sense. But then I thought it best not to ride in on my high horse so am planning to sidestep / work within the structure and point out how it looks in a CI context.

  3. Ben, I don’t know about you, but I think Eric’s Speed Reads deserves it’s own category on the right. Not only will data points that come from these kinds of speed reads tickle the feathers of admin, but they will also be great for students to see how their progressing, especially for those students and their parents that are skeptical of the CI approach. Now, I know we continue to be challenged with the idea that we can measure proficiency growth, but I’m willing to jump on Eric’s first class passenger car on this CI train moving towards better proficiency assessments.
    Eric, great tutorial! (I’ll repost it for you here)

    1. My adjustment to India has kept me from exploring this but Sean just write it up how you want it to read in the article and I will create the category and publish the article to set it up. The category has to have the right name. Speed Reads – is that o.k.?
      Just act like you are talking to a two year old when you write the article. I agree that in this time of obsessive and dangerous (to the heart) assessment collection some of us in our particular buildings need more numbers for our administrators.
      So later today I am heading out to Rajasthan to zip line. I won’t bring the computer – I think I have computer poisoning. So won’t be back till Sunday evening. Y’all hold the fort down!

      1. Thank you, Sean!!!
        Honestly, when I first discovered the speed reading concept, I got all excited, because of how well it fit our teaching approach, only to find that no courses existed but in English and even then those courses assumed a 500+ word vocabulary. So I proposed to Blaine that I write a Spanish course that paralleled his LICT level 1 course and he liked the idea. Both Von and Blaine have been very supportive.
        Note: You don’t have to use LICT to use the speed reading course. Think of the book as just a collection of high-frequency stories with easy multiple choice quizzes. In fact, this course is more tightly vocabulary controlled than LICT and I deliberately tried to improve upon the low “compelling” factor of LICT.
        And Sean, you don’t need to write an article for Ben. On June 21st, I wrote him an article that for benefit of the doubt I’ll assume got lost in cyberspace 😉 I’ll check that it’ll be comprehended by all and resend it. Really, the video says it all.

        1. Great. Much better that the article is written from the primary source: you! Though I liked the idea of being your assistant on this.
          But yeah. You are thorough yet concise in your tutorial. Any teacher, no matter their knowledge of all things SLA, can pick this up and use it. It’s great!

          1. I just wanted to save you the time, since I already have an introductory article to speed reading written, but your words of support go a long way 🙂

  4. So I tried this today when I was just feeling unplanned. I might try a variation in which I read the different endings they come up with and students have to draw them, then choose one and write it out. Then tomorrow, we’ll do a ROA of the new story, written from a different perspective so it feels new.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben