Teachers unaccustomed to speaking the target language in class are often a bit lost when it comes to providing input. Instead, the more familiar rule-based lectures and paired speaking activities of PPP (present, practice, produce), target culture projects, and perhaps target language movies all become quite alluring, seducing teachers back to the pedagogy of yore. Here’s a way to conceptualize class in a clearer way that maximizes input:
- Talk about something
- Read something
Now, from the student perspective, this would be “listen & read,” but the “talk” portion of class is very much led by the teacher, especially in beginning years, so it’s easier to think of this in terms of what you, the teacher, must do. Don’t get fooled by anyone thinking this is the kind of “teacher-centered” lesson that’s frowned upon. The content is student-centered, it’s just that students can’t express themselves fully in the target language. They don’t have to, and this is expected. They need input. Case closed. The “read” portion could be any reading activity, either independent, led by you, in pairs, groups, or all of the above…
These are my updated presentations from the conference:
No-Prep Grading & Assessment 2018
Questioning Is Core
Optimizing Your Classroom Setup For MGMT
Here are my own takeaways organized by presenter, whether a) directly used by them during the conference, or b) inspired by something similar they did that got me thinking and I’ve adapted:
Before having the opportunity to present a couple workshops, my mind was blown quite sufficiently during the week. Overall, the Advanced Track with Alina Filipescu and Jason Fritze got me thinking about aaaaaaaall the things I’ve forgotten to do, or stopped doing (for no good reason) over the years. Thankfully, most of them are going to be soooooo easy to [re]implement. As for the others, I’ll pick 2 at a time to add—not replace—until they become automatic. This will probably take the entire year; there’s no rush!
Jason referred to high-leverage strategies—those yielding amazing results with minimal effort (i.e. juice vs. squeeze), and I’m grateful that he called our attention to everything Alina was doing while teaching us Romanian. ce excelent! I’ll indicate some high-leverage strategies, and will go as far as to classify them as “non-negotiable” for my own teaching, using the letters “NN.” I’ll also indicate strategies to update or re-implement with the word “Update!” and those I’d like to try for the first time with the word “New!” I encourage you to give them all a try. Here are the takeaways organized by presenter:
After listening to Annabelle Allen on episode 4 of Teachers That Teach, I’m interested in using more Brain Breaks that are shorter.
Despite how awesome some Brain Breaks can be, like Evolution (i.e. the rock/paper/scissor variation of egg–>fledgling–>dragon etc., most of my high school students are “too cool for school” to do a lot of them. Annabelle’s advice of “just do it anyway because he brain of those who don’t participate is still getting a break” only works if there are few who don’t. Even though I warned my students that they’d wear out their favorite ball-tossing Brain Break, “Mumball,” they didn’t listen and now we’ve killed it. At this point, nearly half the class chooses to just sit instead of participating. So, instead of coming back from the Brain Break re-energized for more Latin, energy has dropped to an unacceptable level, at least for the rigor needed to sustain focus in a second language. It’s time for novel, shorter Brain Breaks.
Stand in a circle, and in place begin stepping side to side at a comfy 70 to 80 bpm (beats per minute) to establish a group tempo. This should feel more like a dance and less like a march. Begin a pattern together, call and response, this side/that side, and/or individuals add on to the pattern—the sky’s the limit!
This shouldn’t get old as fast as other Brain Breaks because of so much variation. Remember, you can tap, clap, snap, rub hands together, and use your thighs, arms, etc. to make sounds. You could also count in the target language (e.g. “ūnus” <step, step, step> “ūnus” <step, step, step> etc.).
Months ago, I witnessed a classically ineffective language learning lesson. The good news is that the person in charge wasn’t actually a language teacher, and didn’t have pedagogical training at all. The person was a local substitute who gave the kids something to do, which has its own merits. The truth, however, is that many language teachers spend the first few classes teaching the alphabet. Don’t.
**Update 4.26.16 See how the checklist sets up a Sample CI Schedule for the Year**
**Read a post on the Week & Day Updated 12.9.17**
✔ Rules (DEA & CWB)
✔ Routines (Routines, Student Jobs, Interjections & Rejoinders)
✔ Brain Breaks
✔ Inclusion (Safety Nets, Gestures & Question Posters)
✔ Shelter Vocab (Super 7, TPR ppt, TPR Wall, and Word Wall)
✔ Unshelter Grammar (TPR Scenes)
✔ Secrets (Class Password)
✔ Students (People)
✔ Stories (TPRS, MovieTalk, Magic Tricks, Free Voluntary Reading (FVR))
✔ Reporting (Quick Quizzes)
✔ Showing Growth (Fluency Writes)
✔ Grading (DEA & Proficiency Rubrics)
✔ Groups, Blogs, Contacts (LPB, moreTPRS, Tea with BvP, Ben Slavic)
In about 3 weeks, Fickle Friday is something I’ll begin with my 7th grade Exploratory Language classes. Why then? That’s when we begin Latin, the second of three languages this year.
On Fickle Friday a student rolls a die (6, 10, 20…100-sided?) to see which language we’ll be speaking that day. This has a purpose; I don’t want students to think that they should abandon Spanish just because we’re starting a new language. The same will be true for both Spanish and Latin once we get to French. Plus, it’s fun.