Teacher spotlight: Alina Filipescu


I just spent the last few days with Alina Filipescu at her Blaine Ray TPRS workshop in Tempe, Arizona.  I have known Alina for the past few years through the TPRS community listserve and we met at NTPRS 2014.  She is delightful and a highly effective language teacher.  When you see videos of her teaching students, it is no surprise that she was Teacher of the Year in her school district in California in 2015.

Below is one of my new favorite videos of Alina. It is an embedded reading that Alina is reading aloud with her students. It is the 3rd reading and they are reading it with lots movement. Yet another way to differentiate instruction, keep students active, and have fun in school. Students have their lines with movement, and Alina has hers. An interesting thing about this video is we are witnessing students gently practice speaking in Spanish.

Here is a video of Alina teaching a story with her students. What she is doing is not easy even though she effortlessly engages students.  She is using several characters, several props, and a ton of rich grammar and vocabulary.  This is NOT day one of her story nor is this the pace of a class in the beginning of the school year.  This fast processing and TL usage by teacher happens overtime step by step through the school year. Alina goes as slow as her students need and speeds up when appropriate.  One thing that I know is important to Alina is MOVEMENT. Not only is she great at incorporating gestures, she uses a lot of space in her classroom all while teaching to the eyes of her students.


In the video below, Alina is modeling a MovieTalk activity with Oktapodi.  Once again, we can see that the fast processing of the language happens towards the end of the school year.  Students are raising their hands and Alina is conducting her class using a participation system by “paying” her students with fake money for their efforts. When they participate in class, after class, between classes in the hallway, with the password at the door (in Spanish with one word or more) they get a participation point (it’s fake money that says “banco de la ilusión” and 30 of those points per quarter make up an A.

It is amazing to see how much Spanish students are being exposed to in less than 15 minutes.

Alina is a presenter for Blaine Ray workshops and you can experience how she expresses TPRS by attending one of her workshops where you will experience the process by learning Romanian. Check out BlaineRayTPRS.com for more information.

This is the 7th grade TPRS video where we can see a lot of circling. Alina is introducing dialog for the first time. They had created the story the previous day, so there are no student guessing in the video. They are starting from the beginning  and are reviewing it for the students who were absent or just need more repetition. This TPRS story is taking place very early on in the school year so we can notice that the pace is a bit slower in order to allow for processing.

I am very proud to know that Alina has been honored for her wonderful teaching. Sometimes it feels like teachers are not always appreciated but it was so inspiring to watch the video production of Alina receiving her Teacher of the Year award, click Alina’s video to watch it.

You can contact Alina at afilipescu@pylusd.org.

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  • A few of my colleagues went to her school to observe mostly the GATE classes. They by far enjoyed her class the best. I am the only Spanish teacher at my middle school and contacted Alina. She led me to your site. I am taking over for a teacher that was very much into worksheets and worksheets. I am so excited that I have found your site and all the great TPRS /CI resource blogs to visit. Great ideas. I am going to try to convince admin to send me to a workshop. Thank you so much for all your resources.

    jaqui denenberg 4 years ago Reply

  • Howdy, Mike! Do you know what Alina is reading in the gesture reading video? Class story? Leveled reader? Love this blog!

    Carol Hill 3 years ago Reply

    • I do not but I will see if she will send me a copy of it and I will share…I would like to see it too!

      Michael Coxon 3 years ago Reply

      • Hola Mike,

        Did you ever find out if Alina´s reading was indeed based off the children´s book Dear Zoo?


        Angela Bougher 2 years ago Reply

  • I believe the Gesture Reading is based on the childrens’ picture book, “Dear Zoo.” http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Zoo-Lift-Flap-Book/dp/141694737X

    Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg 3 years ago Reply

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