The Open Coaching session I attended at iFLT 2019 led by Michelle Kindt was among my top experiences. If you’ve never participated…Continue reading
On Saturday at RIFLA, I presented some updates to two NTPRS 2018 presentations. After the conference, I made even more updates based on what we discussed, including MGMT issues each setup decision addresses. I also had the chance to see two presenters.
- Signals Watching Matthew got me thinking: Have I been using signals?! In the past, we’ve had something for stop, and slow down. Matthew showed us one for faster, but I’ve never had the problem of speaking too slowly! Right now students just raise their hand. I might want to encourage the use of signals more.
- Story Cubes I’ve used these, and written about using them as more of a whole-class brainstorm and input activity. Still, I can now see an additional use for them with “unlocking creativity.” For example, I could roll two cubes under a document camera, and ask if any word comes to mind that could fill in the next story detail I’m asking for. This could be real good. I’ve been noticing how much better an either/or question is (e.g. students choose, or are inspired a third possibility they otherwise wouldn’t have come up with on their own). Matthew’s version was to provide a paper with 9 prompts (e.g. where, when, how many, problem, etc.), distribute the Story Cubes, then ask students about the image they rolled on the cube as well as what story detail they wanted it to fulfill. In his experience, this little bit of structure has helped quite a lot. Matthew also gathered the cubes as rolled, and snapped a pic of all 9. Essentially, this is the class story depicted, which could then be used as a Picture Talk, or some kind of story retell activity.
- “Oooooooooh” Matthew shared the 2016 video of Blaine Ray teaching English in Brazil, and the first thing I noticed was how every time Blaine made a story statement, he cued the “oooohs” from the class. If I had been trained to do this, I’ve certainly forgotten. I like how it kept students engaged on even the most basic of sentences! I think I’ll give this a try.
- The sēx game! Viviana captured our attention with a MovieTalk in Portugues. Afterwards, she shared a host of input-based followup activities. I had forgotten about the game Keith Toda shared. In groups of 3-4, students get a text, as well as a 6-sided die and 1 pencil. They take turns rolling until someone gets a 6, yells out that number in the target language (TL), and begins translating sentences from the text. They continue to do so while other team members keep rolling. Once someone else gets a 6, they grab the pencil from who was writing, and play continues. First to finish wins, or give points for understood sentences and highest points wins.
These are my updated presentations from the conference:
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:
Classroom Management is paramount. Without it, none of the strategies to provide students with CI stand a chance. They don’t stand a chance because students who aren’t paying attention aren’t receiving any input (I) at all, let alone input that’s comprehensible (C)! Of aaaaaaaall the systems in place to manage the classroom, though, comprehension checks are probably the most effective, yet most overlooked…
I’ve been writing about Assessment & Grading for a while. That writing has earned me slots presenting at the local, regional, and national level, which means this is a hot topic not to be overlooked. I’m not surprised. Grading systems influence assessment, which drive content, and even the slightest adjustments can have profound effects on one’s teaching. For example, the simple decision to grade homework comes with considerable baggage…
It’s a good habit to really listen to your students. In fact, if all language teachers did so, there would be more Teaching with CI.
At the start of the year, I hand out Expectations, and assign a few questions to be answered with an adult at home. Let’s face it, CI classes aren’t like other classes, and it’s good practice to make sure everyone understands how that academic environment is different, and what makes a CI class flow. The following response samples are somewhat depressing, but reflect the current state of taking a second language in high school. I offer them as anecdotal evidence that forced language production/output is damaging, as well as assurance that this “CI thing” will reach more students, especially if we embrace the research.
So, what makes kids nervous, and what challenges do they foresee? Some responses:
Scott Benedict just blogged about his current Pagame system, which is essential for a CI class to flow. If class doesn’t flow, we begin to consciously learn. If we do too much conscious learning, we don’t acquire as much. In place of a participation system, I use an adapted version of Bob Patrick’s DEA. I agree with Scott and the grading experts (e.g. Marzano, O’Connor, etc.) that traditional participation scores should be reported, but never included in an academic grade, especially when using proficiency-based grading systems. There is, however, one distinction that I, Bob Patrick, and other teachers using DEA make, that justifies including it in the grade.
**Updated 2.28.18 with the Universal Language Curriculum (ULC)**
The bad news; there isn’t one for Latin. The good news; we do have a list of Most Important Latin Verbs. More bad news; most teachers new to CI don’t know what to DO with the list, yet this is what they crave, and NEED the most. It makes perfect sense. There just isn’t time to create a realistic curriculum from the ground up, or tons of Embedded Readings while we’re just getting used to the idea of CI from reading blogs, articles, and research, let alone honing our craft when it comes to delivering understandable messages.
The role of a curriculum changes when a skilled CI teacher is able to use more student details to drive content, and can create teachable moments ex tempore. There’s also the case for non-targeted input which leaves a curriculum optional. STILL, all that’s advanced stuff, and this is about getting teachers help who crave it most.
Although I’ve heard recently that some teachers have ditched TPR at the start of the year in favour of beginning storytelling immediately, I will continue to start with TPR since I really haven’t exhausted the possibilities. There’s an updated, or “evolved” version of TPR anyway, which I find is more powerful and I’d like to get some experience with that.
So, I’ve been working on an essential list of classroom vocab (remember, “shelter vocab, unshelter grammar!”) to use with the most important verbs…about the closest thing to the high-demand curriculum that’s needed.
Access the TPR Word Wall here.
Update 10.08.15 DO NOT attempt to work through the TPR Word Wall as a curriculum to complete. Like EVERYTHING we teach, when something loses steam, move on. My pattern has been to work on a verb or two, then get some details from a student with DISCIPVLVS ILLVSTRIS, and read, give a dictātiō, etc. For reference, I am just past the 8 hr mark with my (online) classes, and haven’t begun storytelling.