Classes feel a bit different this year—to say the least—meeting between just 40 and 44 minutes daily. That certainly doesn’t sound like much time for high school, but it’s growing on me. In fact, I’d even say that this is an ideal amount of time to spend in a second language each day, so no complaints, here. Due to the need for super efficient timing, though, my daily structure now looks like this:
- Do Now
- Activity 1 (or first part of a longer activity)
- READ (independently)
- Activity 2 (or second part of a longer activity)
To give you a sense of how this looks, on Tuesday we held the first round of student interviews (i.e. Discipulus Illustris/Persona Especial), students read about last Friday’s basketball game, then I asked questions about what we learned from the student in the spotlight, typing into a Google Doc as students copied the Latin into their notebooks (i.e. Write & Discuss). That was it! Thinking of the class day as two parts is really easy to plan for. Also, since classes meet daily, I’ve decided to alternate activities. This makes the week feel like there’s more variety without adding too much. Here are my alternating daily routines for these first weeks of school…
Last spring, I found out that Do Nows are really great for managing classes. The system worked really well, but I remember spending a lot of time thinking about Do Nows, and wanted something that ran itself more instead of coming up with new ones all the time. Therefore, I’ve decided that the days after Discipulus Illustris (i.e. Wed/Fri) be reading the projected Write & Discuss product. This includes the bonus of bringing absent students into the loop. N..B. some teachers make copies for absent students. This routine eliminates that need! Here’s my Do Now schedule for Week 2+:
- Mondays: Guess the student!
- Draw pic based on prompt (Tues)
- Read text about that drawing (Thurs)
- Wed/Fridays: Read Discipulus Illustris text (from Tues/Thurs)
I have everything I need for Mondays because each student drew 4 things they like, and/or like to do on their name card (from the very first 12 minute mini class). All I have to do is type up a paragraph describing what a student likes, then project that to start the week. Once I exhaust those, then I can recycle the same content about students from other class sections. This could easily last the rest of the year. Write & Discuss takes care of Wednesdays and Fridays. All I have to do is project what was already typed during Tues/Thurs Discipulus Illustris. Therefore, the one Do Now I have to come up with each week is a prompt for Tuesday that students draw (e.g. What animal would you like to have?). After that, I’ll type up a paragraph worth of comprehensible input based on a drawing or two for Thursday’s class. The best part about this schedule? 4 of the 5 Do Nows throughout the week are input-based so students have even more independent time reading!
I’ve already shared how the Write & Discuss content doubles as the next day’s Do Now, but what about the 3 minutes of independent reading? What texts do students have before we start Free Voluntary Reading (FVR)? Students need new texts to read, and they need new ones often. In fact, it doesn’t matter how short a new text is, half of what makes a text compelling is that it’s NEW! So, instead of inventing things to do in order to get new texts, weekly activities can easily generate content to type up for students.
Card Talk is a prime example. This activity results in details about students and their interests to type up after as little as 10-15 minutes of class time. Therefore, Wed/Fri Card Talk will provide two new short class texts each week, but there’s more; I wrote about reintroducing Cloze sentences, which I now plan to do weekly. Students work with a partner to fill-in the spaces of a new projected text every Monday, just before a quick TPR to finish the day. The content of this text comes from Friday’s Card Talk, also printed for Tuesday (and Wednesday’s typed and printed for Thursday). Here’s how the week looks in terms of prep during planning periods, all between 2 to 15 minutes to complete:
- Mondays: Determine Tuesday’s Do Now drawing prompt
- Tuesdays: Type up text based on drawings for Thursday’s Do Now
- Wednesdays: Type up Card Talk content & print for Thursday
- Thursdays: Type up “Guess the Student” for Monday’s Do Now
- Fridays: Type up Card Talk content, and
- make cloze for Monday
- print for Tuesday
So, how can your Do Nows and other routines create content?