Summary of Learning Assignment

collaboration at its finest

I had the chance to work with Altan for this assignment, and together we created an animated Powtoon dialogue that outlined what we learned throughout this semester. There were too many things to include, so it was difficult to recap in only 10 minutes, but we did our best to cover most of it!

One challenge that we encountered when making the video was getting our voices at the same volume throughout the video. Altan found a program called GoldWave, that helped solve this problem, and it was neat to learn how to use it.

Although we prepared our script ahead of time, Altan contributed so many new things that I didn’t know or hadn’t thought – our draft was continuously changing. It was interesting to collaborate in this way, and as you will notice at the end of our video – we had a blast making it!

I need to thank Altan for being so very patient with me during the process of making this project. I asked to re-record the voice overs more times than not. He was more patient than I was with myself and had a vision that turned into a nice cumulative project.

Thanks to everyone for making this class really enjoyable!

Created using Powtoon

My Italian Learning Journey

The Eighth and final week

Wow. Just under two months ago, I decided to make time for something I have always wanted to do. Being enrolled in two classes this semester, I probably had less time than ever to begin learning a new language, but my ambition got the best of me, and as a result, I’ve learned a lot than just Italian.

Summarizing My Progress

  1. My initial plan was to take a proficiency test, sign up for Duolingo, and work from my Italian Verb Workbook.
  2. My first week in, I took said proficiency test, signed up for Duolingo, and reflected on how the app begins by introducing words that are easy to imagine, making them easier to remember.
  3. In week 2, I began learning some basic vocabulary and a few verbs and began realizing how important masculine/feminine & singular/plural would be when using the language. I also began summarizing my learning using Sketchpad.
  4. During week 3, I reflected on the grammatical structure of the Italian language, and I figured out why there are seven ways to say the word the.
  5. In Week 4 I wrote about the anxiety I feel when I’m about to make a mistake, and I began learning common phrases and different types of food.
  6. I began watching my an Italian Mafia show during week 5 and learned that many words need either an ‘i’ or an ‘e’ when plural.
  7. During week 6, I reflected on the importance of language learning and learned a lot more vocabulary on food and dining.
  8. It wasn’t until week 7 that I made time to explore YouTube! I continued watching Gomorrah, and learned how to use possessive words.
  9. Final week, I continued with my Duolingo and took the same proficiency test I initially took in my first week. I’m not sure why I couldn’t see my full results the second time around, but it seems that I have improved slightly. I was able to recognize more words, but there was still a great deal I didn’t understand.

I have come to learn and understand 332 words in Italian over the course of this project!

This averages to around 40 new words per week.

Beyond Italian

This project exposed me to more than just learning Italian vocabulary. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

  • How to make a video – from filming, to transferring files, to editing using WeVideo – what an eye-opening experience. I ask my students to make videos often, but I wasn’t actually aware of how time consuming the process actually is.
  • I learned how to upload videos to YouTube – now I know!
  • I learned how to screen record on my phone using AZ Screen Recorder.
  • As outlined in my Adobe Spark video below, I have learned what my students must feel like when using English or French as an additional language. Trying to communicate in a language with limited vocabulary made me feel like I couldn’t fully express my thoughts. I think this is important to recognize, that just because students may lack the ability to express themselves in English, that doesn’t make them incapable of complex or abstract ideas. It just takes time.
Made with Adobe Spark

Thanks to all who have been following along!


Social Activism

I feel like a pendulum

I had never seen the video, Everyone Knows Sarah, but I grew with the message portrayed by the video. I was always very weary of what I posting anything online. With MSN Messenger being popular in my elementary school years, cyber bullying was beginning to gain a platform, and that really refrained me from diving too deep into the online community. It wasn’t until last year when I became an educator and read An Innovator’s Mindset and the following quote:

“We need to make the positive so loud that the negative becomes almost impossible to hear.” – George Couros

The Principal of Change

Yes – there are so many negative things that can happen online, but if we empower students to become contributing members and active digital citizens of the online community, there’s so much potential that would otherwise go undiscovered.

Thinking in this way excites me and really pushes me to try new things with my students in class. I personally follow environmental hashtags to see different ways people around the world are increasing environmental awareness and demanding improved environmental protecting legislation. Altan mentions that discussion on social media networks led to actual change in China regarding the smog problem back in 2011. If it happened in China, why couldn’t it have a positive impact elsewhere?

Again, these ideas excite me and makes me think that engagement and increasing awareness is the way to go. Then my mind wanders to Facebook slacktivism that comes to mind when I think of Facebook profile filters. Does changing your profile picture really matter in the grand scheme of things? Are they all of equal importance? If we support one, are we obligated to support them all?

Catherine has outlined some good points of what activism on social media can do:

  • Spread a message to a large audience very quickly
  • Organize events easily (like the Women’s March)
  • Allow marginalized groups to express their views freely

These points in themselves make social activism worthwhile. If social activism amounts to anything, even creating space for conversation, that will have been worth the effort. Katia Hildbrant’s thought provoking blog post swings me back in the direction thinking that it’s worth all it; that social activism is a necessity. She asserts,

Edtech, at its very core, is about privilege. We preach the virtues of universal access to knowledge, but who really gets to be involved in edtech? Those with access to technology and good quality Internet, those who have the educational background to comprehend the material, those with the time to devote to studying. That I am able to sit down and write this post, that I have the time to tweet, that I have access to the tools that make these things possible: these are markers of privilege.”

This couldn’t be more true. I agree that we have a responsibility to not let our silence speak for us. If we have a voice, we should be using it to share issues of importance with others in order to create uncomfortable conversations that invite growth. In my opinion, these spaces for growth should be happening in our classrooms; however, like Daniel, I think my responsibility as a teacher really lies with fostering discussions, promoting good social media practice, and teaching strong media literacy skills. There’s no better way to create active digital citizens than providing others with the ability to think and speak for themselves.

Italian 101 – Week 7

In the world of YouTube

After seeing that Kalyn was exploring all sorts of YouTube videos (like Learn French While You Sleep), I knew it was time to give YouTube a shot! I’m so glad I did!


1. Italy Made Easy

The first video that caught my attention was called, Italian Definite Articles – What they are and how to use them. If you’ve been following my Italian learning journey, you’ll know that back in Week 2 of my progress, I was very confused that there were so many different ways to say the article ‘the.’ I’ve been able to manage, but this video explained it so well! The host, Manu, is also funny, which makes his channel very engaging. And it turns out, my confusion two weeks in was justified – there are 7 ways of saying ‘the’ in Italian!

From YouTube Channel ‘Italy Made Easy

2. Learn Italian with

This was the second channel I found with a large variety of resources that I found useful. Because my Duolingo learning hasn’t yet introduced a lot of conversational vocabulary, I decided to watch the section ‘Learn Italian with Italiano in Tre Minuti‘. These videos were very clear, repetitive and easy to understand.

From YouTube Channel ‘Learn Italian with

3. LearnAmo

This was another channel that I really enjoyed exploring. Although the hosts on LearnAmo only speak Italian, I find the videos easy to understand because although I can’t understand every word, I can understand the context of the video with the hand gestures and the writing on the screen. In addition to this YouTube channel, the LearnAmo blog and organizes their videos in categories which makes the videos easy to navigate.

From YouTube Channel ‘LearnAmo


I’ve been keeping up with Gamorrah for the past couple of weeks and the story line has quickly taken a violent turn! It being about an Italian Mafia, I should have seen this coming! Here’s my summary of Episode 2: Te fidi de me? and Episode 3: L’omm ‘e casa.

Episode 2 – SummaryNew Words Introduced
– In this episode there are rumors of there being a traitor in Savastano’s Mafia
– Ciro is grieving the loss of his friend and father figure – he breaks the news to Attilio’s family but the wife is so upset and doesn’t want anything else to do with the Mafia or Ciro
– Pietro Savastano is worried that someone will soon sell him out for illegal activity and feels the need to begin preparing for his son, Genny, to take over the business – He gives Ciro the job of taking Genny to shoot someone for the first time
– Genny is left traumatized by the event, but Ciro’s assistance with this job helps assure Pietro that he can trust Ciro to be Genny’s right-hand man when the time comes
– Pietro thinks he knows who the traitor is, ‘takes care of him’, and wears the traitor’s jacket out as he leaves his apartment
– At the end of the episode, Ciro is about to make a phone call, alluding to him being the traitor, but instead burns the number after hearing that Genny was in a severe motorcycle accident (but in reality an attempted suicide)
– When Pietro hears of the accident, he speeds towards the hospital, gets pulled over by the police and gets checked – to his dismay, there were drugs in his jacket pocket and he was arrested for possession
Un paio d’ore
Episode 3New Words
– Pietro’s in jail and all the inmates are very respectful of him (likely because he has so much money) but the warden makes sure that he knows he won’t be receiving any special treatment just because of his social status
-In the previous episode, Pietro’s biggest worry was to end up in jail – his wife assured him that it wouldn’t happen and if he was that concerned, he could flee and go into hiding, but Pietro preferred to not run like his father did — all things considered, he took the transition fairly well
– All is well with Genny – he gets released from the hospital and is recovery quickly
– With Pietro in jail, Genny is temporarily in charge of business affairs, but it seems that he is more interested in getting a special someone’s attention
– Genny arranges for an Italian singer to perform for a small group of guests as he tries to impress this lady
– Meanwhile in prison, Pietro sees that the inmates are not being treated fairly in his cell which motivates him to work around the rules and wreak havoc — all the other inmates follow suit which begins to annoy the warden
Apri la bocca
La parola del signore
Non ti preoccupare

I’m beginning to notice that I will catch on to phrases instead of just single words. This has made watching the show easier as my need to read the subtitles decreases.


With everything else I’ve explored this week, I’ve kept up with Duolingo, but not at the same pace as previous weeks. My lesson this week was on ‘Possession’ so incorporating words such as: your, my, our, her, his, its, their. I’ve noticed the placement of these possessive words confuses me, like in the following example:

  • When translating “You read my books” the correct response is “Tu leggi i miei libri” which literally means “You read the my books

In this example, I need to know the correct order of the words, know which ‘the’ (their are 7 options), and I need to know which ‘my’ to use (there are 4 options). There are so many options because these words take into account feminine/masculine/plural/singular variations. I decided to not make a Sketchpad summary this week because this summary provided by Duolingo would just have been copied with some embellishments.

What I’ve learned:

  • Language learning is really a gradual process – I feel that immersing myself with the language has been helpful but this week’s progress was difficult to track
  • I feel confident with my pronunciation and my ability to read and compose sentences – so I will use these skills to help put together next week’s last blog post
  • How to change the speed of a YouTube video

Where I can improve:

  • I’ve opted to make videos every second week, so I will ensure that next week’s video showcases what I’ve learnt with some type of media
  • My focus these past few weeks has been increasing in vocabulary, so I will try to learn more verbs to better equip me for next week’s post.

Italian 101 – Week 6

Reflecting on the importance of language learning

This week, I’ve been reflecting on why language learning is so important. Cook and Singleton (2014) present a variety of reasons why people set out to learn a second language in the first place:

  1. People who are part of multilingual communities
  2. People regaining their cultural heritage
  3. Short-term visitors to another country
  4. People using an L2 (second language) with partners, friends or children
  5. People using an L2 internationally for specific functions
  6. People using an L2 internationally for a wide range of functions

Cook and Singleton (2014) go on to describe classroom language learners – some learning languages compulsorily (immigrants & education – students in immersion programs) and voluntarily (education- students learning due to interest). Reading this chapter in Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition made me reflect on why I became interested in learning Italian in the first place.

I definitely fall under the category of a classroom language learner, and I am learning as a result of intrinsic motivation, but it’s taken time to get to this point. I first learned Spanish, quite reluctantly, because my parents wanted me to retain my heritage language. I am so grateful of this gift for a number of reasons, and only now am I realizing how difficult it is for parents to transmit a language that varies from the dominant one in their surrounding society.

I was then enrolled in a French Immersion program and in a compulsory language learning program. It hasn’t been until now that I’ve willingly wanted to learn a language and been intrinsically motivated to learn a language voluntarily. I think this is important to recognize because we live in a country with an overwhelming number of immigrants, and heritage language loss is becoming the norm in our English-dominated society.

Sometimes language learning happens when it’s forced, but more often than not, learning is more effective when learners are motivated to learn. Does anyone know of reluctant language learning children? Or maybe you were one in your youth? Does giving learners autonomy to stop learning outweigh the potential for regret they may experience from quitting in years to come? I feel like language learning is really important, but often times, I feel that it is not truly valued by our English-dominated society. Anyway, onto this week’s progress:

This week I began following Daily Italian Words so their tweets now show up on my feed. I’m not making notes of the words presented because I have way too much to keep track of already! Nonetheless, it’s nice to see some familiar and new words alike.

I also learned a bunch of new vocabulary around food – this time learning about fruits, vegetables, entrees, drinks, and vocabulary commonly used in a restaurant. In my video, I mention that I get anxious when moving up in levels for any given category because I’m afraid of getting answers wrong. I’m aware that I have absolutely no reason to stress over this because there are no repercussions for getting answers wrong on the app, so it really must be some kind of internal response from learning in a school environment that penalizes mistakes.

Made with Sketchpad 5.1

What I’ve learned:

  • My personality likes things to look and be uniform – which tends to make things boring . . . so this week, I decided to add some a WeVideo Media Video as a background to my video. It’s simple, but something new!
  • More new vocabulary – I can think of short sentences to speak, but I am become most proficient in reading and listening
  • My levels of anxiety and stress increase when I am expected to spell words because I’m afraid I won’t know the answer (likely what our students feel being cold called in class)

Where I can improve:

  • Seek out a YouTube Italian tutorial this week – Kalyn had great ideas for improving listening comprehension which I definitely need to help me better understand my Netflix show (Slowing down the video speed. . . I never would have thought of that!)
  • I could print out my notes so that I can reference them while learning new words practicing
  • I should begin working towards an end goal for my learning project


Cook, V. & Singleton, D. (2014). Chapter 8 of Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Khan Academy

An Open educational resource


Khan Academy is a not-for-profit educational organization with a mission to provide free education online. The founder, Salman Khan, began making YouTube videos to help tutor some distant family members and relatives, and he continued to make more videos as his channel increased in popularity. The organization was incorporated in 2008, and this open educational resource (OER) began to further develop into what is has become today.

Salman Khan explains how his journey began in the Ted Talk: Let’s use video to reinvent education. He explains that educators and a school board reached out to him in order to collaborate and create a software which gives teachers the ability to flip their classroom using his videos. His team began developing the platform they have today. Teachers have access to view their students’ progress and are better equipped to individualize instruction for each student.


When first signing up as a teacher, I was overwhelmed by the number of options I could choose from. The following image shows that this OER has a variety of material for Math (K-12), Science & Engineering, Computing, Arts & Humanities, Economics & Finance, as well as material to help guide people through challenging exams and personal growth in college. I chose to look into high school biology as this is something I am currently teaching.

Learning Platform

Of the many options, I choose to narrow in on reproduction and cell division. The image below shows what students would see when assigned a Khan assignment. Khan explains in the video above that this website encourages students to make mistakes, but it also encourages mastery knowledge of the content. This section shows that students have the potential to earn up to 500 mastery points.

Pro: Each section comes with a video for students to watch on the content, as well as a typed summary with visuals. Students are able to watch/read at their own pace, but can also just begin answering the questions. Students can earn a higher number of points by answering questions correctly. The software also provides explanations of wrong answers, so students can learn from their mistakes when they re-do a set of questions. When re-trying any given section for the second or third time, the questions completely change. This is beneficial so that students aren’t just looking for the right answer – they have to apply what has been learned to a new question.

Con: I was a little disappointed to see that the only questions in the lessons were multiple choice questions. It would have been nice if the software supported questions that were more interactive, such as matching or sorting drawings, or some sort of game that practices skills. The questions are good and comprehensive of the content taught. However, I found working through a series of videos, text, and multiple choice questions was tiring after 15 minutes. At the end of it all, it didn’t feel much different than working out of a textbook – except for the points awarded.

Learner Reward System

As previously mentioned, Khan Academy awards users points when completing sections. Under the profile section, users can view a summary of their progress. Learners can earn badges for a variety of reasons: achievements, mastery of content, creating a program, collaborating to change another user’s program, completing a coding challenge, etc. The list is quite extensive. In this regard, Khan Academy’s reward system is an example of gamification, which can be very motivating for learners.

Teacher Platform

When creating an account, users are able to use the platform as both learners and teachers. When creating a classroom, the platform is similar to Formative and EdPuzzle platforms. Students can be added to your ‘classroom’ in three ways: Imported from Google Classroom, students can join with a class code, and users can create student accounts manually.

Teachers have the ability to assign the class units, and view student data based on date, student, and content type. This is a great feature I love to use with other formative assessment tools to help track student progress and individualize learning. Although faint, the following is an example of what tracking might look like when adding students to your classroom.


Overall, I think this is a great resource to supplement teaching difficult concepts in a very clear and direct manner. For the unit I explored, the information was quite detailed and everything was accurate. Although I wouldn’t be inclined to use it to flip an entire classroom, I would use and recommend this resource in a variety of situations:

  • If students will be away from school for extended periods of time, Khan Academy could help students keep up with missed instruction time
  • If students finish their work early in class, this might be something to work on to help enrich learning experiences
  • I would use this myself if I needed to refresh my knowledge regarding a specific concept I needed to learn when prepping a new class
  • I would recommend this if I knew of someone struggling in the subject areas listed above – for parents and students alike

Italian 101 – Week 5

Language learning takes on an italian mafia

Although I continued to practice Duolingo, this week I also decided to see if I could keep up with an Italian show because I’ve heard of many success stories of language acquisition with TV shows. I was worried that nothing would be readily available online, but luckily Netflix pulled through!

Before watching The Godfather with a couple friends for the first time this year, I knew very little about Mafias. So when I found the show Gomorrah, I was excited to see that the show is entirely in Italian, but also that the story line was another Mafia related crime drama. While I was watching the show, I was trying to recognize familiar words, reading English subtitles, and also watching for facial expressions and body language. After finishing the First Episode of Season 1: Il clan dei Savastano, here’s what I understood:

  • Two main Mafia families are introduced – Their leaders are Pietro Savastano and Salvatore Conte.
  • Conte’s Mafia must have done something terrible because the show starts off with Ciro and Attilio, men from Savastano’s Mafia, setting fire to Conte’s mother’s apartment during supper.
  • Ciro and Attilio both have families and risk a lot while going out and doing dangerous Mafia-related jobs.
  • Conte’s Mafia retaliates after the fire – Ciro is in a coffee shop when someone enters with gunshots and throws a couple of grenades for good measure.
  • Savastano then organizes and instructs his Mafia to kill Conte at a well-guarded warehouse. Ciro thinks it’s a trap and a terrible plan, but Attilio reassures him that Savastano knows what he’s doing, and that he didn’t just become the leader of their Mafia overnight – alluding to Savastano’s experience and knowledge.
  • Attilio is like a father to Ciro, so Ciro listened, and although they didn’t find Conte at the warehouse, the killed all his men. Ciro was left devastated with Attilio’s death. Savastano reassured him that Attilio’s family would be well taken care of, that the job had to be done, and that Conte would think twice before attacking again – but Ciro leaves unconvinced that the plan was worth this loss.

While watching the show, I kept a list of words that I recognized, either because I learned them in Duolingo or because I recognized a similar word in Spanish or French (a mnemonic connection):

Words Introduced by DuolingoMnemonic Connections

È bello

Seeing these lists side by side makes me think I should probably continue to watch Gomorrah, at least to continue hearing native-like pronunciation of the language. Even though I’ll be adding this show to my weekly blog, like Riley, my addiction to Duolingo is real! I love that it gives me a visual of my progress and that, and I feel like it keeps me on track with a plan and a sense of direction when I don’t know where to take my project next. I like that Riley tried using a YouTube Spanish Tutorial – so I may try to do the same. I definitely see the value in continuing with Duolingo, because I’ve learned so many new words. Here’s my visual summary for the week:

What I learned:

  • Thinking of what words to hyperlink in my blog is becoming much easier
  • My Spanish knowledge is a major advantage I have in my language learning journey
  • The plural form of Italian words generally require an ‘e’ or an ‘i’
  • Another long list of new vocabulary

Where I can improve:

  • Finding Italian Twitter accounts to follow
  • Try to write translate my next Gomorrah in Italian
  • Potentially find an Italian Podcast
  • Think of a new, creative way of representing my learning (Is anyone else struggling with this?!)

Open Education

Why share it when you can sell it?

Growing up, I was one of those students that really disliked group work. I felt as though I would do the bulk of the projects, and other group members would benefit from my hard work. Initially, the idea of Open Education came across as being a similar. Why should anyone share work and resources that they spend so much time making, and not receive any credit?

The following video helped put my thoughts into perspective: Why Open Education Matters by Blink Tower. Having access to quality education is something I have taken for granted. Being a university graduate, I was always exposed to new research in the field, which I now realize is a commodity. Curtis explains the need for open education as an essential resource that grants access to information – regardless of barriers – in order to help deliver quality education. Regardless of barriers. What an amazing concept.

By Blink Tower on Vimeo

I am still within my first four years of teaching, and when I need inspiration for new ideas, the following list of resources never let me down:




I have always been so grateful for the information these resources provide free of charge (I need to be quite desperate to bring myself to pay for anything). For years, these resources, among others, have inspired me to improve my pedagogy and ultimately my students’ learning experience. Like Catherine, I have come to realize that these are all forms of Open Educational Resources (OERs).

David Wiley is known as a pioneer of OERs – The following image summarizes five core principles of the concept: 5 R’s of Open Education

I find myself constantly remixing and revising different resources I find, but I have never gotten to the point of redistribution. I have always felt a desire to give back to the online community of educators that have helped me begin my teaching career, but rarely do I make time to share the resources I make. Putting countless hours into resources then brings up feelings from my childhood – why should I share and let others reap the benefits of my hard work?

It’s my ego – and it’s about time I let that go. I always said that one day, I would make myself a blog and that would be my platform for sharing resources that I found successful in my classroom. Lucky for me, I have one now! This week has been humbling and a good reminder of why OERs are important. I have come to realize how much I use them myself, and because most resources I make have inspired by others, I have no business trying to sell it. I have been benefiting from generous teachers for years, and it’s about time I start paying it forward.

Italian 101 – Week 4

Vocab, Vocab, Vocab

This week, I completed two additional Duolingo categories: Phrases and Food. The phrases section made me feel like I was finally learning something useful! Up until this point, I had only been putting simple sentences together, so this conversational vocabulary felt much more useful.

I am constantly surprising myself along this journey of learning Italian. When introducing new vocabulary, the app will present the new words along with a picture, then the words will show up in a word bank. I practice saying the words and reading the words, but I always feel the most anxious when I increase in levels and I know I will soon need to spell the words in a sentence. I’m not sure if I learn how to spell the words due to the number of times I see the words or if it’s because I’m sounding them out – it’s likely a combination of both. Some words are easier to spell and remember than others, but by the time I finish that category, to my surprise, I know how to spell all the words introduced.

You’ll notice that in my notes this week, I separated the vocabulary into three sections. The phrases are listed on the left with the translations underneath. Vocabulary introduced in the food (cibo) category is on the right. I categorized the variety of foods introduced into breakfast (calozione), supper (cena), drinks (bevanda), and sweets. In the middle of my notes below, I separated the rest of the miscellaneous vocabulary into the languages I think of when I see them.

Made with Sketchnote 5.1

What I learned:

  • So many new words!
  • An increased amount of vocabulary learned does not inhibit my ability to remember or spell the words introduced
  • This week I discovered the multi-select clips feature in the WeVideo video editor
  • Although my WeVideo editing skills are improving, I am regretting making weekly videos due to the amount of time they take away from my language learning

Where I can improve:

  • I have started looking for shows I can watch in Italian to see if listening to authentic dialogue will help me improve the rate of my language acquisition
  • Dr. Andrea Sterzuk from the University of Regina suggested that I follow Italian pages on Twitter or other social media platforms related to areas of personal interest so I will need to begin looking!

Italian 101 – Week 3

Grammatical realizations

My classmate Riley has also taken on the challenge of learning a new language, and just like him, this week my addiction to Duolingo became evident. So far, I’ve only explored using the Duolingo App.

Although I had planned to use other methods for learning the language, I have found the app is the best way to keep on track with my goals. Every day, I receive notifications saying that it’s time to keep practicing in order to reach my daily goal. I find this extremely motivating as small, short-term goals are always easier to reach than overwhelming yourself to learn a list of new vocabulary each day.

I have found myself very committed to doing my daily Duolingo work regardless of other commitments going on in my life. Riley does a great job of explaining how the app embodies principals of gamification. It has definitely turned something that is not always interesting, into a game.

In my other class (EC&I 858: Theories and Research in Second Language Acquisition, Bilingualism & Multilingualism – highly recommended!), we’ve discussed how people will often apply grammatical rules of their first language to the new language they are learning. Cook and Singleton (2014) differentiates between ‘pro-drop‘ and ‘non-pro-drop’ languages. They explain that languages such as English and French are considered non-pro-drop languages because their grammatical structure always requires sentences to have a subject (I’m Canadian or It’s snowing). Other languages such as Spanish and Italian, the use of a subject in a sentence is optional (Is snowing or Is three o’clock). The following is Box 4.6 from Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition on page 61 and provides other examples of languages in either of these categories.

Pro-drop Languages
Allow subject-less sentences
Non-pro-drop Languages
Do not allow subject-less sentences

After having learned this, I came to a huge realization that my parents (whom often say subject-less sentences) are really just applying Spanish grammatical rules to their second language. I have found myself doing the same when using Duolingo – I will often times automatically use a subjects in the sentences I write, although I know it is not required. This week, however, I tried omitting the subjects in the sentences I created, and to my surprise, the app still accepted them!

The following is a visual representation of my learning for the week. I used last week’s image as a template for this next one which saved me time. One of Sketchpad‘s many great features is that you can save your images onto your Google Drive account – so even though the program is a website, if I am logged into my Google account, the website will be able to bring up my previously saved pieces.

For this week’s video, I had screen recorded a few minutes every day of the week, but my first day of the week was the most exciting, so I only used Wednesday’s footage for this video. If you notice in the image above, ‘the’ can be said in six different ways, and this week I finally found something to help me figure out when to what (either la, le, l’, gli, il, and i).

What I learned:

  • My English grammar will likely influence the way I speak Italian
  • Italian verbs: to be, to read, to write
  • If I pause while screen recording myself, this makes it much easier to edit
  • How to use the correct version of ‘the’ in an Italian sentence
  • My video editing skills on WeVideo are improving

Where I can improve:

  • Using something other than just Duolingo to show my learning progress
  • Potentially make my videos more exciting
  • Show more of the mistakes I make – potentially showing a brand new lesson with content I haven’t seen or practiced

I’m curious to know if anyone else knew about those pro-drop and non-pro-drop languages. Have you ever heard people speak English and omit the subject in a sentence?


Cook, V. & Singleton, D. (2014). Chapter 4 of Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.