Admin-Friendly Sneaky Input Activities

Here are 4 sneaky activities that don’t seem like input at first glance. I call them “admin-friendly” because when there’s conflict over providing CI, it’s usually someone in a position of power who just wants to see the kind of schoolwork that makes more sense/is familiar to them. Unfortunately, that kind of observable schoolwork is output, or something completely non-communicative, or not even in the target language. I must admit that these 4 activities appear output-heavy, but they aren’t, so pay attention…

Summary & Write
Using this template, Students have 10 minutes to write an English summary of what was read the day before, then continue writing that story, or change the ending. Select 1 or 2 of these, type/edit, then read later. Where’s the input?! Have students re-read (or actually read for the first time what they SHOULD HAVE read at home) before writing/continuing the story. Also, texts you type up become new sources of input on another class day.

Write & Discuss
Towards the end of class (10-15 minutes?), the teacher discusses & writes/types out (i.e. project) what happened that day as students copy into notebooks. Where’s the input?! Aside from listening to questions and statements, students leave class with a new comprehensible text to read. W&D is a crucial practice. John Piazza has written at length on this topic. Read about updates to his process.

Copy/Change/Continue
Just project one student-written text, and for 10 minutes, students a) copy the story into their notebooks, have the option to b) change details, then everyone c) continues their own story by writing until the timer goes off. That’s it! This can be followed by a quick share and discussion for more input. In fact, end class with Write & Discuss of one student’s changes/new story so students walk away with 2 new comprehensible texts to read. Where’s the input?! Aside from listening to questions and statements about the new stories, students must first process the input in order to change, and/or continue writing the story. Consider a Choral Translation, or quick reading activity to start, ensuring comprehension before writing!

Timed Writes
Students write their own story for 5 minutes. Where’s the input?! OK, OK…this isn’t input at all. However, a marginal 5 minutes of writing gets you a whole new source of input for every single student in the class. Not only that, but Timed Writes serve as the basis of so much else (e.g. Copy/Change/Continue above, Read & Draw, Listen & Draw, Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) packets, etc.). For example, in a class of 25, if you were to Write & Discuss all new texts from Copy/Change/Continue (i.e. 25), and repeat that process using the remaining 24 original Timed Writes, that would result in 625 new stories! All that from just 5 minutes of initial class time!

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