Student-Provided CI Training & Output to Input

Can’t get to a workshop, or conference? Well, first try Comprehensible Online, which starts tomorrow! Otherwise, have you watched every CI YouTube video out there, and want more training? Take a step back, be a CI ninja, and realize who’s in front of you each day. Our own students are usually an overlooked source for training us to provide comprehensible input (CI)! Sure, we hone our questioning skillz every day, but students can provide something more…

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Special Person Truths & Lies: “Says that…”

This Discipulus Illustris (i.e. Special Person) variation was inspired by a student who shared with us that he had 4 names. Even though the whole class knew his name since September (i.e. boring interview question), they had NO IDEA that he had two middle names. Sweet. This is the kind of hook needed to reboot interest in a Special Person program. This variation ranks high on that compelling-o-meter…

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Lindsay Sears on Tiers!

At CANE’s 2018 Annual Meeting this past weekend, Lindsay Sears gave the rundown on bottom-up and top-down approaches to creating tiered versions of texts. What caught my attention was seeing how just a few messages of unadapted Latin became paragraphs of comprehensible text for the novice. That is, the original 8 lines of poetry (of 46 words; 45 of them occurring 1x) nearly doubled in length with each tiered version. The result is students reading MORE Latin that they understand, especially if they read all tiered versions. Lindsay knows how to tier texts, and she does it well.

Beginning with 8 lines of Ovid that few students could understand without pages of notes and a dictionary, we were shown how to get subsequent versions down to one that ANY novice could read. Her steps were clear and concise; moreso than “make each version simpler.” Here they are as distilled as possible. For bottom-up stories (e.g. text to accompany MovieTalk), reverse the order: 

1st Tier down from original
– begin with a compelling text (already with high frequency words, if possible)
– rearrange order to be clearer & shorten sentences
– break into paragraphs to create white space & supply verbs/subjects

Next Tier
– replace vocab/obscure names with synonyms
– simplify complex constructions (i.e. make meaning clearer, which might mean using the subjunctive!)
– add anything missing

Next Tier
– break up all compound sentences, removing conjunctions
– keep simplifying & remove “flavor text” (i.e. unnecessary) modifiers/adverbs
– replace vocab with high frequency & entire explanatory phrases/sentences!

Next Tier!
– short sentences & basic idea

Pīsō perturbātus: Published!

Hot on the heels of Drūsilla et convīvium magārum published last month, Pīsō perturbātus is the latest to emerge from the Pisoverse. It fills the need of beginning texts to read, and is on par with Rūfus et arma ātra, yet a couple hundred words longerThis book is silly, whimsical even, and completely inspired by the letters P and Q (and C)! Before he can actually compose poetry, and before even Rufus is around, Piso is seen as a very young boy with the crankiness of an old man. Oh, and there’s literally A LOT of alliteration!

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Piso minds his Ps and Qs..(and Cs…and Ns and Os) in this alliterative tongue-twisting tale touching upon the Roman concepts of ōtium and negōtium. Before Piso becomes a little poet, early signs of an old curmudgeon can be seen.

Pīsō perturbātus can be read by the novice student known to curiously continue comprehending even the campiest content in the classroom. It has a unique word count of 36 (excluding different forms of the same word, names, and meaning established within the text), nearly all of which can be found in the novella’s final sentence of Ciceronian length!

Pīsō perturbātus is 1450 words in total length, and even features two nearly completed lines of dactylic hexameter. It’s available…

1) This weekend’s CANE’s Annual Meeting, University of RI, March 16-17
2) Classroom Set Specials (up to $80 off!)
3) On Amazon
4) As a free preview through Chapter 4 (of 8)
5) Email me for Purchase Orders and classroom set discounts

Grouping/Seating Strategies

Do you have one set of cards taped to chairs, and distribute duplicate cards to students as they walk in for randomized seating? Do you have a left side/right side of the room labeled for Total Physical Response (TPR) groups? Try adding these for novelty…

Pairs/Seating
Instead of cards taped to chairs, just shuffle and deal to students at the start of class (while they’re reading the one thing you’ve typed up?). Student pairs find each other, and either work together, or just sit next to one another for randomized seating.

Picture1

Grouping/Seating
Print and laminate images/names of things from the target language-speaking world. Keep them organized, and grab a new set every few days/week. For example, my room is labeled Rome and Pompeii for left/right, but I have other sets of cities, monsters, heroes, authors, social classes, etc. tucked away in a drawer. Next week, I could distribute 1/2 social class pulārēs and 1/2 optimātēs to the class, and have each sit on different sides of the room. This both mixes up the seating as well as gives new groups for TPR, etc. For small groups, say, One Word At a Time Stories (OWATS), I could distribute the chariot racing factions Alba, Russāta, Prasina, and Veneta, or just combine any pairs already formed, etc. This is just one more way to infuse target-culture into your class.

Required Homework: A Prep-Free Solution

My go-to homework is to read/reread a text from class. This is largely the honor system, banking on students finding the text compelling. There are those who want to see EVIDENCE that reading took place, though. Under such conditions, I don’t really want to hold a reading quiz the next day in order to catch and trap students who had too much Science the night before. Thus, I need a solution…

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Input Expectations: The Updated ONE Rubric

I’ve had great success reporting scores of any homework, assignments, and quizzes in a 0% grading category portfolio, and then using those scores as evidence to double check and confirm each student’s self-assessed course grade based on Proficiency Rubrics. However, I’m constantly open to streamlining any teaching practice, so I’ve just updated my rubrics, distilling them into a single one. Students still self-assess their own estimated ACTFL Proficiency Level, but that level is independent from the grade they also self-assess. So, what’s the grade based on? Instead of proficiency, it’s based on course expectations of receiving input! After all, input causes proficiency, so why not go right to the source?

Move over Proficiency-Based Grading (PBG)! Hello…Expectations…Based…Grading (EBG)? It’s not as wacky as it sounds, trust me. In fact, it’s probably the least-restrictive grading practice next to Pass/Fail, yet still holds students accountable and provides all the flexibility I’ve enjoyed thus far. Here’s the rubric:

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