The 1-Class CALP & Comprehensible Content-Based Instruction (CCBI)

At iFLT 2019, Martina Bex presented on content-based instruction (CBI), only with an important caveat you’d expect from the conference: a focus on comprehension, hence CCBI. I was delighted to see how similar her three steps were to the framework I’ve been developing with John Bracey, David Maust, and John Piazza, which we presented at ACL’s Centennial Institute. Martina uses slightly different terms taken from Bloom’s Taxonomy to describe the same process we’re using (hers on the left, ours on the right):

Knowledge = Connect
Comprehension = Explore
Analysis/Synthesize = Create

Martina’s presentation showed how simple the process can be, making the concept of teaching Roman content in Latin more approachable. How? The format she shared was for a single class. Of course, the idea is not to teach random new content every day, but instead to have each day’s content within a larger unit, but still, this “bite-sized” approach feels more manageable for anyone looking to teach content in the target language. So how does that differ from the unit template the John’s and I shared at ACL?

First of all, the final step to synthesize learning isn’t anything close to a project, traditional assessment, or even a product. The scope is much smaller. Think of it more as an activity to wrap up a single class, like a game, an exit ticket, whatever. Again, a larger unit would have something more involved, but there’s only so much one can do to show learning after just a single class.

Secondly, you’ll probably only explore one thing related to the topic in a 45-60min class. One image, or one video is easy to find quickly, so planning is even more manageable than the already manageable template!

Also, there won’t be time to begin class with drawing (i.e. Card Talk). However, the underlying process is mostly the same. You’ll need to connect with students by asking many questions that relate the topic to their lives.

The rest of Martina’s CCBI is the same; Explore the topic by looking at an images/video, and type Latin about the topic into a document (i.e. Write & Discuss), asking questions about what was learned as students copy. Here are ways to use the 1-Class CALP:

  1. Materials ready to go
    For teachers who already have content, and want to begin working on connecting Roman topics to students’ lives
  2. Unexpected interests
    Sometimes peripheral questions come up that could easily be addressed in a single class. For example, when exploring Roman housing, my students became interested in the cost of food. A quick class the next day on money, or coins, would’ve been great. After all, the most important step of the unit template we’ve presented on is the first one, connect, and if students are showing interest on anything during exploration, spending time on that will be more beneficial in the long run. John Piazza pointed out that if just 1 or 2 kids show interest, consider suggesting individual research, perhaps as part of what you do at the end of the larger unit.
  3. Testing the waters
    Perhaps you’ve decided to let students vote and want to see how a day on X goes. Perhaps you don’t have, or don’t want to have that freedom, and want to see how students react to a new topic you had in mind. If you can’t connect with students in one class, it might not be an interesting topic and you will have saved yourself a whole unit of hassle.
  4. Plan B
    Self-explanatory, when those wrenches are thrown our way at the last minute

My other posts from iFLT 2019:

5 thoughts on “The 1-Class CALP & Comprehensible Content-Based Instruction (CCBI)

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