This 28 day Take Action Calendar for Language Learnersfrom Language Learners Journal (LLJ) has daily suggested activities and prompts to enable you to take personal responsibility for your language learning whilst spreading a little kindness around too ❤️
The calendar is a work in progress and there are plans to translate it into different languages. If you have any ideas for future activities or a language you would like to see it translated into please get in touch.The next calendar will be released in September.
Share your actions with us on social media with the hashtag #TAC and #LLJ. I look forward to seeing your progress. Please pass this post on to help and inspire other language learners. Thank you 😘
Want to learn a new language in a more creative way? You could choose from a Bullet Journal or an interactive language notebook, but what’s the difference?
BulletJournaling for languages. Bullet Journals are described as being the bridge between mindfulness and productivity. A system that can be adapted to your learning and life in general. It’s Perfect for the list builders and those that want to be more organized and strategic in their learning. For more information on bullet journaling check out 10 Ways to use a bullet journal in language learning.
Interactive Notebooks. Popular in schools and colleges the purpose of the interactive notebook is to enable students to be more creative and independent in their learning. I personally would say that interactive notebooks as a cross between a journal and a scrapbook! The interactive notebook will prove an invaluable tool in your quest to meet your language learning goals in a more creative, fun and exciting way.
This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay more, but I may receive a modest commission that supports the running costs of this site & the FREE content it has to offer!
Interactive language learning notebooks are a cross between a bullet journal and a scrapbook!
Need a new notebook or journal, check out our official collection here!
The Benefits of an Interactive Language Learning Notebook
Can be used as a personalized diary of language learning.
The notebook requires you to use both the left and right hemispheres of your brain, thus forming the creation of new neural networks.
Record and respond to information in a manner that is organized, systematic, personal, and intentional, the setup of the notebook enables you to refer to that information more quickly and to apply it more effectively using a style that suits you!
Because it provides a structure in which there is room for creative variation the notebook provides opportunities for you to use multiple intelligences and learning styles.
Identify and respond to strengths and weaknesses, to practice and develop critical, creative and goal-oriented thinking skills, to develop vocabulary, to articulate and work toward personal goals.
A make-it-yourself study guide to language learning!
Set goals and monitor your growth
An organizational tool that gives you creative control of your language learning.
Writers and scientists use notebooks! such as J K Rowling and Einstein!
Be COLOURFUL & LOVE ❤️ your notebook! – Research has shown that colour can enable the brain to acquire and organize information much more efficiently.
You can check out all of our free templates and resources here. Visit regularly as more to be added shortly or download our Daily Planner Template.
Organizing Your Interactive Language Learning Notebook
📓 Affix a label the front cover of your notebook and write your name, language you are learning, current level and the level you would like to be.
📓 Number the pages of your interactive notebook in the upper, exterior corner of each page. Number the pages on the left even and the pages on the right odd. Use a bright-colored pen (not blue or black) to number the pages and as you do so say them out loud in your target language.
📓 Count five lines from the bottom on every odd-numbered page (every page on the right). Neatly trace the fifth line from the bottom with the same bright-colored pen you used to number the pages. This space is reserved for new vocabulary words ONLY. Words that you may learn via language tutorials, courses or study sessions.
📓 Don’t forget to leave some room for a table of contents at the beginning. This can be updated as you go and help keep your notebook super organized!
📓 Ensure you can read your own handwriting!
📓Be clear and consistent in all your efforts.
The Right and the Left-Side…
📓 The right-side or odd-numbered pages of your notebook will serve as your library, i.e. your storehouse of awesome knowledge.
📓 The left-side or even-numbered pages serve as your laboratory for personalizing knowledge and for reflection and as a means to enable a growth mindset. Here you will record what is called active learning, productive learning, or output, i.e. your active, personal, creative, and self-directed interaction response to information that comes from external sources.
📓 Incorporate visual devices, e.g. graphic organizers and diagrams, in your written notes or for the technology lovers print out QR codes and link with interactive online features!
📓 Include white space and boxes, circles or even fluffy clouds around texts for the better visual organization of information.
📓 Revisit, review, and summarize your daily notes as soon after class as possible. The sooner you return to your notes, the more useful they will be, and the better able you will be to clarify and make corrections to your notes.
📓 Develop your own personalized system of notation, including abbreviations and symbols, and use it consistently throughout your notes. Make notations in the left margin of the page. You should add to and refine this list of suggestions to fit your personal needs.
Other, generalized activities include:
Cultural notes and traditional
Motivational quotes, kudos if they are written in your target language!
Cartoons or comic clips in the target language.
Poetry, original or borrowed, that is relevant to other texts, along with reflection
Graphic organizers and diagrams that you generate or borrow
Weekly Topic Prompts.
Once a month revisit and review the content of your interactive notebook. Reflect on your strengths and what you feel you may need to work on. Note achievements and set goals. The SMARTT system is a popular method for goal setting.
Meaningful, authentic, and articulate reflection includes consideration of your work in many or all of the following terms.
1. What you learned?
2. How you learned?
3. Any Strengths?
4. What you would do differently in the future and why?
5. The extent to which, why, and how the study sessions have made an impact upon your understanding of the target language.
Reflection is an important part of an interactive learning notebook or journal. It will give an account of your growth as an independent learner.
This is your chance to be more creative!
Share your AWESOME interactive notebook designs and help inspire others!
Share your designs with us on our social media pages. I will select the best (with your permission) and use them as examples on this page and our official Pinterest Page.
And what about the times when you beat yourself up because you’re not learning fast enough, or you’re making too many mistakes? Sometimes you think you’re just not good at this language learning thing and you consider giving up altogether.
Before you get that far, give mindfulness a chance…
It will help you become kinder to yourself, more accepting of the mistakes you’re bound to make during the learning process. It gets easier to let go of your perfectionism, that too often gets in the way of your progress.
You’ll finally give yourself permission to take a break when you need it. Because let’s say it, pushing yourself too hard would only bring you to a crisis in your language learning, eventually.
You won’t persist in the damaging habit of comparing yourself to others and harshly judging your weaknesses. Quite the opposite: you’ll be more productive and you’ll even find new fire for your creativity.
And what about those days when doing anything is hard because anxiety crawls up to grab you?
But have you ever thought about making language learning itself into a mindfulness practice?
Performing a repetitive, day-to-day activity can become a way to practice being focused on the present moment.
Simple actions, just like colouring or knitting, can be an anchor for you to avoid getting carried away by distracting thoughts. At the same time, they’re not so energy-consuming to leave you drained. As a result, they are perfect to relax your brain.
The following activities are good because…
You won’t use any app or electronic device.
Being constantly connected reduces our attention span, making it more difficult to focus. While practising on our electronic devices, we often get distracted by a notification, or we feel a sudden need to check our mail. For a mindful study session, go back to good old pen and paper.
You’ll write by hand.
Writing by hand appears to improve your memory. Using pen and paper, instead of a keyboard, helps you recall and understand concepts better. Moreover, the action of moving your hand on the page can be a relaxing and therapeutic action in itself.
You focus on a simple task.
Some language learning activities require you to put a lot of effort into them, to understand new words or complicated concepts. While these activities are important, they can leave your brain exhausted and are not the most appropriate to practice mindfulness.
3 language learning activities for mindfulness
Sort your notes and colour-code your notebook
A lot of the time, I jot down words and ideas on my language notebook as soon as possible, not to forget them. So my notes are all mixed up: vocabulary with grammar, exercises and writing practice in between rules and idioms.
From time to time, I like to take my coloured pens and to order topics by colour: I draw green frames around grammar rules, little pink circles next to idioms, yellow lines for vocabulary.
When starting a new notebook, then, it’s time to review. I re-write the topics I’m still unsure about in the new one, leave the things I know well and the exercises in the old one.
Practising writing a different script
Though some learners argue that learning how to write a different script by hand is useless nowadays, I tend to disagree.
First, as mentioned earlier, writing by hand helps you remember information better. In the case of a different script, you learn it with the muscles of your hand through repetition. This way, even after a break from studies you’ll still be able to write the characters almost automatically.
And of course, like lettering and colouring, it has an anti-stress effect. You could start a learning session with 5 minutes of this activity, to relax before moving on to more challenging tasks.
While grammar explanations can sometimes be hard to grasp, grammar exercises are often based on repetition of a pattern or rule over and over, to help you assimilate it.
This much-neglected task has everything you need to stay present and leave the thoughts that don’t serve you outside. You have to stay focused, to remember the rule and try to apply it correctly. At the same time, you don’t need to understand anything new and your brain won’t be overwhelmed by new stimuli.
There’s nothing like tense drills to empty your head and calm down an overworking mind!
Have you ever thought of any language learning activity as therapeutic? What is the one that calms you the most? Leave a comment and let me know!
Guest Blogger: Elena
I’m Elena Gabrielli, introvert, grammar geek and proud Ravenclaw. I help introverts and other quiet learners to keep anxiety out of language learning.