DTC – April

Hi finally and just in time – the new list for april! Have fun!

As picture and as PDF: DTC-Headlines-April.



How to track your learning – ultimate productivity challenge from BujoBoosted

Finally I´m back and with some great idea, that I saw on youtube from Bujoboosted. It`s a way to track any kind of activity, to get more productive. To see the idea follow this link.

Basically you draw a diamond made of squares and color in the parts whenever you managed to do a certain task. Since the tasks are colorcoded you get a pretty colorful picture in the end. Every time you conquere a “level” (ring of squares) you may reward yourself with a little gift.

Here is what mine looks like:


You can see that I devided the little blue lined squares into 4 sections for 4x15min so every square equals one hour of learning my target language (slovak).

The colors are devoted to

  • reading (green),
  • listening (yellow),
  • speaking (red),
  • writing (blue) and
  • learning vocab (violet).

Mostly I do listening and speaking with my tandem partners.

You may also have recognized, that I´m in the middle of my 3rd level. By the way: the levels get easier and easier to acomplish. This is on purpose so you will stay motivated till the very end! I think this is a great way to keep me going! 🙂

I did barely fill in the reward-section, because I feel already rewarded by the colorful picture I get.

Bujoboosted original challenge was made out of 6 levels, but I prefer the 5 levels. Because of the fact that I am doing one hour for each square a 6th level would be too overwhelming for me. These are 41 squares so 41 hours of learning. I try to acomplish them in two month, which means about 40 days to fullfil the challenge, when we have “free weekends”. This is a good goal to aim for. 🙂

I also created some other designs as my individual style:

And maybe you saw that the right one isn´t about lanugage but about sports. Well – as he said: You may track any activity you want. 🙂

Reading Resources

Especially when you want to improve your language skills with more material than only the books you may have bought for learning your target language, you will soon be searching for other resources. This post is about reading only, but you will find one about listening and other stuff as well, soon.domesday-book-1804x972

So here is a brief list where and what kind of readable stuff you may find.

  • newspaper articles
    • they are free available on the internet or bought in shops
    • they are as long or short as you wish
    • they have a great variety of topics
    • they are new every day
    • BUT: They may use a more difficult lanugage than you are used to
    • (e.g. Slovak: SME or noviny.sk)
  • blogposts
    • they are free available as well
    • they talk about a variety of topics, but I think it is best to stick to one or two blogs for the people writing them stick to similar words and topics, so learning is easier
    • they are regularly posted, but maybe not daily
    • BUT: They might be quite long
  • facebook and social media
    • it is free on the internet
    • you can talk to friends (and family) about topics you like
    • the entries are quite short
    • BUT the entries might be not very well spelled and use not high quality language, but more the “slang” version of your target language
  • magazines
    • they can be seen on the internet, but also bought in shops
    • they deal with a specail topic most of the time so the vocab stays quite focused
    • the articles might be long or short, depending on the magazine
    • they have bright colors and pictures to help you understand
    • BUT you will have to wait some time till the next one is released
    • (Slovak: Žensky-magazin, emma, elle, …)
  • books/ novels
    • there are free ebooks in your target language available on the internet, but most of the time you will have to buy them
    • they are very long
    • depending on the groop they are written for the language might be very difficult (e.g. fantasy-novels) or the content might be boring (e.g. children´s books)
    • when you buy one, you may have trouble picking the right level for you, if they are not made for language-learning
    • You will stick to the story for quite some time, so get one that you are really willing to read!
  • calendars
    • there are ones that offer a daily phrase or saying, weekly ones or monthly ones
    • they are not free, at least I didn´t find any free one yet.
    • due to the fact that the sayings are very short, they tend to use difficult grammar and unusual vocabulary
    • they are not only a reading practise, but also functional
    • they look pretty and give you a reason to read something every day/week/month

I`m sure there is more out there, but those are the most popular ones. 🙂

Just let me tell you: I tried everything and right now I´m very happy to have found a book, that is made up as a diary. Every day I can read a short text (about half a page (A5) and check any unknown words. It is made for kids and the topics are every-day-stuff. I like it a lot, even though it is very religious. (link for the slovak version)

Chinese whisper – written version

So I`m sure many of you already know that game very well from the time they were in kindergarden or school. But just to make sure you all know, what I´m talking about:

How the traditional game works

You sit in a line (or circle), the first one makes up a short sentence and whispers this angel-1402789_960_720sentence into the ear of the next one. The second one is not allowed to ask anything, but has to tell the third one, what he just heard. This goes on till the end of the line and the last one has to speak out loud what ended up to be the sentence he heard.

Usually this is a lot of fun, because the sentences get tweaked and changed in the most funny way, because people tend to understand something different from what the speaker told them.

How I changed it for language learning

What you need:

  • At least three (better 4 to 6) players, who all know the two languages you are using. (Native or target language doesn´t matter)
  • As many pieces of paper as you have participants (Best, if you have different paper colors, but this is optional)
  • A pen/biro/pencil… for everyone.

How it works:

  1. In the first round you all note down a sentence.
  2. Translate the sentence into the other language.
  3. Fold the first sentence to the back, so nobody can see it.
  4. When all players are done, you all pass your paper to the next player (clockwise…)
  5. Translate the sentence you just got from your partner and then fold back his writing.
  6. Continue with steps 4 and 5 untill you recieve your own paper again.
  7. Now comes the great part:
    Open up the flaps and discover how your sentence has changed throughout the game. You may find that there are some changes because there are endless possibilities how to describe, what you wanted to say. This effect will get greater, when you do not stick to litterally translations, but try to find the best “native” used translation in the next language.
  8. Share all your sentences and discuss, why some words have changed and what they mean. What are the differences between them? Why did someone change the wordorder? How did this effect the message? Did you spell the words correctly?


  • Having fun exploring the languages, while playing with others
  • Finding synonyms and how to separate them
  • Finding other ways of expressing your ideas
  • Getting to know wordorder and spelling

And just like every time you play a game:



Many language-learners tend to use children´s books for their studies. This is obviously a good idea, because the grammar is on a basic level and the amount of new vocab is not too big. Moreover they are not that long so you have the “I did it!”-feeling very soon.read-something

But lets think further: There are not only textbooks for children, but also picture-books. And this is not only because the children can´t read, but also because they are inspirational and nice to look at – even for adults!

Picture-books for language-learning

An easy way to use picture books is to just select one page and think about it some minutes.

  • What do you see? You can use the Questionaire down below…
  • Describe the scene as detailed as possible. Depending on your level you may only use some words, short sentences or even long and complicated phrases. You may do this oraly or you may write your sollution down.

It gets even more effective, when you have a tandem-partner or teacher, who may discuss the picture with you. If he/she is fine with it, you may also record his/her description so you can refer to it later.

Very good picture-books are “Wimmelbild-Bücher”. You can google the word “Wimmelbild” for some ideas. They are big pictures with a lot of information in it. You may even just take parts of it so you do not get overwhelmed…

What do you see? – questionaire

First try to concentrate on pictures with very few items. It is also a very good idea to take pictures with people on it. And then try to answer the following questions:

General ones:

  • What objects and persons can I see?fragezeichen
  • How do those objects/persons relate to one another?
  • What is in the front, what is in the background?
  • What is special about that object/person?
    • color
    • hight
    • material (for objects)
    • dress (for people)
  • For persons:
    • Why are they on the picture?
    • What do they think right now?
    • What may be their goals/dreams?
  • Are there things you may count?
  • Are there things you´d like to ask someone about that picture?
  • Can you make up a story out of that picture? (This may be a dialog between two people or a childhood memory or a simple short-story.)

Language-related questions:

  • Which verbs relate to that scene?
  • Which adjectives do come in mind?
  • Ask your partner/yourself yes/no-questions about the picture
  • Ask your partner to point to a certain part of the picture

Why a whole book? Isn´t a single picture enough?

Well, yes and no. You can do this activity only with one single picture, but this will only get you to a very short activity. If you have a whole book full of pictures you may refer to it every now and so often. You can go back to pictures you used before and add more details to your description later on. This is a good way to track your progress as well! Moreover you will have several topics to think and talk about.

I want to make one myself

Of course you can also make a picture-book yourself! The easiest way is to just take pictures you made with your mobile or cam or search the internet. Print them and put them in a photo album. And that´s it! You can start right away.

But of course this is not the only method. You can also paint/draw pictures if you want. They do not have to be perfect at all. They are just for you. Whether you use a comic-style or high-quality-portaits or anything inbetween, you will be the one, who benefits from the book!

If you use a photo album you can also easily remove and change the pictures you use when you get more skilled.

Further ideas how to work with it

  • When you make your own picture-book you can also store your descriptions next to the picture you thought of. Maybe you just leave one blank page so you will not re-read the previous thoughts before you made up new ones.
  • You can also note down some vocab that fits to the picture around it or on the next page.
  • You may also mark some specail details you want to concentrate on, when talking/writing about the picture.

A very detailed look at how to learn with picture-books can also be found here. The author even gives detailed information about how long to work with the book every day and what you may do in order to prepair a lesson or review one…