Season 3, Ep 4: Wooly Inspiration

Show notes for season 3 are written and compiled by Emily Loughlin

Welcome to Inspired Proficiency and thank you for joining us for episode 4 of season 3. Thank you to our presenting sponsor Wayside Publishing! As always, please tweet any takeaways and inspirations to #inspiredproficiency.

Download the episode here: or listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts here or find it wherever you listen to podcasts!

On this episode Ashley chats with Jim Wooldridge, aka Señor Wooly. In the variety segment Ashley talks to Audrey O’Clair from soundtrap: an audio recording platform that’s like a robust combination of google drive and garage band.


wooldridge-reducedAshley and Jim begin their chat talking about Wooly Week. Jim and his team released a new original song for Wooly Week in February. Wooly Week is a celebration of all things Señor Wooly. They currently have many materials for Spanish of all levels and have just started adding some French materials to their repertoire. They also released integrated professional development within the resources for the new song. Instead of just releasing a song to enjoy and click play in the classroom, Jim and his team worked really hard to make sure that Wooly Week 2019 was full of ALL the possible ideas teachers could do with the songs and stories on the site to make them comprehensible for their students. Teachers were challenged to try new activities while participating and earning raffle tickets to enter the contest for Wooly Week.

Teachers who use Señ can join the Woology Facebook group to collaborate and share ideas. Jim talked about how amazing the teachers who participated in Wooly Week were because they really stepped up to the challenge to connect with each other through Facebook and push their students to higher proficiency levels. Jim is excited for Wooly Week 2020 and has lots of new ideas to share from what he has learned from the first three Wooly Week experiences.

Jim started making videos for his Spanish classes to help accent his thematic units. He would take grammar points and vocabulary from his units and textbook and try to make them memorable in songs and stories for his students. He made a lot of songs that focused on grammar points, and some of even verb conjugations, and learned a lot along the way in his song writing. He realized that students started to fall in love with some of the choruses in his songs and had a revelation that he should focus more on stories and not grammar. Now that he is not in the classroom teaching, he focuses on telling good stories with simple Spanish for students to understand. When the stories are good enough, the language falls into place naturally and teachers can pull out a bunch of different grammar points.

Jim doesn’t create authentic resources and he knows that. He just wants to show students that they can go out there and speak the language no matter what resource they use to learn it. He also wants to make sure students develop a confidence and ability to be able to communicate with people in the target language. He wants students and teachers to think of all target language as real language because there shouldn’t be classroom language and real language. You should be understanding and responding to people and that is authentic no matter what level they are speaking. Jim shares some memories of high school where he struggled to understand what was going on in class and it just drives home how he wants to make things comprehensible for all.

One activity that he was the most excited about during Wooly Week related to making predictions. He says students love to make predictions because they gain ownership of what is going to happen and if they’re right, awesome, if they’re not, you can remind them they were wrong and really get into the story before you even start the story. Students can form a relationship with the story before the video when they make predictions.

  • A Bunch of Hunches
    • Use screenshots from the video they have never seen
    • Place around the room
    • Give students pre-written predictions at their proficiency level
      • Most boring part?
      • Funniest part?
      • First shot?
      • Final shot?
      • This character looks like a good person but is actually a bad person and vice versa.
      • Upper level options
        • Leave parts of the predictions blank
        • Let students provide the whole prediction
    • Students walk around and tape up the predictions next to each screenshot
      • They can initial them and see who thought what
      • Students make their own predictions and ALSO read their classmates’
    • Teacher takes pictures of screenshots with predictions and creates a slideshow
    • Picture talk the video before showing and go back to the predictions and see who was right and who was wrong

Big Takeaway: Use a good story to keep kids engaged and invested and the language that students need to learn will come naturally.


Ashley chats with Audrey O’Claire from Maine who works with Soundtrap, an onlinerecording studio that is user friendly. It is a way to collaborate digitally on voice Audreyand music creations. Audrey mentions a creative teacher she knows named Noah Geisel and how they worked together to Flashbuild some music together through Soundtrap. Flashbuilding is when developers show up with nothing done and work together to build an application from nothing.

Ashley met Audrey at a workshop and they talked about the session Audrey facilitated showing all the different ways that Soundtrap could be utilized. Working with her team in Sweden, Audrey was able to create some prototype applications for World Language teachers to be able to use more sound technology in the classroom. Since teachers shared these ideas with Soundtrap, Soundtrap was able to take their ideas and make them reality. In a nutshell, they built the idea of an app overnight that teachers would find useful with students in the classroom to record and create sounds to help make language more authentic. Soundtrap can also be used for the traditional things world language teachers need when it comes to recording speaking and responding to speaking prompts. Audrey also shared a few ways that Soundtrap can be used in any classroom.

Resources and links mentioned on the show:


Jim Wooldridge on Twitter @senorwooly

Audrey O’Clair on Twitter @audreyoclair,

Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s