Preparing for the new school year is kind of crazy. I just read how someone feels like they have to “learn how to teach all over again.” This resonates with me. It’s the 5th time asking myself “OK, but what do I DO?!” just before everything starts. I’m preparing to plan a little more than I normally would, at least in the beginning, but really just to sleep well at night. This is exactly like what Jason Fritze mentioned about writing a quick story script ahead of time, even if you plan to roll with compelling diversions and give students most of the control over story details (noted in my NTPRS 2017 Takeaways). I know that once things get rolling I’ll be able to relax, and the daily stress will dissipate. I’m prepared for stress, and in doing so will avoid anxiety. In my first year, another teacher shared with me how he began his 9th year filled with anxiety, and later vowed to prepare enough so that he could replace it with stress. He knew how to deal with stress, but anxiety was too much, even for an experienced teacher. Here’s how I’ve prepared myself for the upcoming year:
CI Program Checklist Summary
What, you thought this blog was only for readers other than myself? No way. The checklist still holds up, and I use it to make sure everything’s printed and ready to go. I might not use the PPTs on my website—the ones that I really needed when I first began actually speaking Latin in class—but the processes are the same so I review and refresh.
Setting up my room, and Grading
Clean room, clean mind. New this year is an updated Word Wall. I’ll keep track of new words (rather than print lists to refer to), and nest under appropriate question word poster.
Since I have 3 sections of Latin I (i.e. Tues, Wed, Thurs), each class will have their own Word wall panels. To make these, I folded a sheet of tear-away paper over construction paper for rigidity, and punched a single hole to be suspended by push pins. The other class panels hide behind the ones shown, and are rotated each day at the start of class. Can someone saaaaay “student job?”
Not unlike Terry Waltz’s Squid For Brains “Circle-Up!” cards that guide you along the path of randomized circling questions, etc., I laminated some cards with strategies I’d like to implement in the classroom. After NTPRS 2017, I knew that there were just sooooo many new yet simple strategies to try, but that I would likely forget about them. These cards took me 10min. to make, and are comprised of general “Class Strategies,” and then more specific “Story Strategies” I’ll use while storyasking. Yes, this is slightly artificial, but not that long ago I actually had to “practice” just speaking to students in Latin…think about THAT! These cards are for honing my craft so that making Latin more comprehensible becomes more automatic. This is professional development.
Sometimes we need to refocus. I experienced this firsthand with Alina Filipescu’s “mira, escucha, estamos en la lucha!” chant. It was fun, and worked to lower the affective filter. The best ones I’ve seen/heard have rhythm, or just rhyme. We should use them in Latin class, so Traci Dougherty and I were tossing ideas back and forth. It’s definitely the Pīsō in me, but I struggled with sacrificing a fun chant for accurate vowel quantities—what made a good rhythm didn’t reflect how we actually say those words, etc. So, here are my two refocusers that are metrically sound:
Both work well as a call & response (either teacher/students, or left side/right side). To initiate the left side/right side, just clap the rhythm as a cue before students chant. The second one has the added bonus of reinforcing my Daily Engagement Agreements (DEA).