I have an upcoming workshop at CANE’s 2016 Annual Meeting on how to continue Teaching with CI. My abstract reads:
[…] Despite the success and enjoyment of experimenting with CI, many Latin teachers tend to abandon CI methods and strategies after a brief yet blissful period of refreshing change in favor of familiar ways. This workshop addresses how to continue using CI after the honeymoon phase ends by establishing routines, maintaining engaging activities, and having assessment systems in place to support you and your students.
These next 13 blog posts form a CI Program Checklist (emphasis on “a“), which serves as the basis for my workshop. The checklist is organized by words that begin with the letter C…they’re all the rage right now.
Let’s get right to it:
No one is forcing you to grade students on how well they follow your classroom rules, but it’s a really bad idea to think you don’t need rules. A CI classroom is different, and you need to help students understand what to do. I’ve written about DEA, Bob Patrick’s system, and my current practice as I continue to adapt my rules as needed. There are other rule systems, some more complex, some less, but the point is that you should look into one, even if it’s just something you keep saying to your students often enough to type up and put on the wall.
Card Talk (formerly Circling with Balls (CWB))
DEA, or whatever you choose/develop, is a system in place before students set foot into your classroom. Once they do, however, there will be kids who don’t want to play ball. Ben Slavic’s Circling with Balls (CWB) quite literally addresses that up front. Whatever your impressions are of the activity, it’s purpose is to let the disobedient too-cool-for-school students know that they won’t be able to mess with your class. In a CI class there’s a huuuuuuge emphasis on sustained listening, which most students aren’t accustomed to, and they need guidance. DEA provides this guidance. That’s why I’ve put CWB here in Classroom MGMT, and not somewhere else in The Cs. The next appropriate place would be under Camaraderie, because you’re actually learning a little bit about each student…and that’s important.
As soon as you’re able, lay down your rules and expectations with CWB while highlighting the interests of students. This creates a very positive environment. If you’re able to hook students with a cool simple story on the first day, DO IT! Personally, I like to start with CWB because kids don’t seem to “get” Storyasking at first, and I want Day 1 to be very clear. Whatever you do, don’t wait more than 1 day to do CWB, though. I tried CWB walking into a new school mid year and it didn’t work. Why? Students had already created their class dynamic, and they were in control. In this situation (perhaps also when transitioning your own program to CI mid year), you might be fighting students all year. Continue CWB for a few days as you get to know your students and lay down expectation, and bring it up often with a simple prompt or two. Have kids move to one side of the room or other in agreement with likes/dislikes for more movement. Make it active!
You’ll find the Power Point Presentation (PPT) I use to start the year below. Advanced CI practitioners won’t need it, but might find it helpful to redirect attention with some visual stimulation. Once you no longer need the PPT, I encourage you to work “off script” and just engage students in the target language. Thanks, as always, to The Pericles Group for the Picturae Database that has helped me achieve some consistency with my materials.