NTPRS 2017 Takeaways

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:

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Jim Tripp’s BINGO 2.0 + & Kuhner’s 9

BINGO is pretty much a waste of time, however fun it might be, which we all know can’t be that much or last long because…well…it’s BINGO.

Jim Tripp has just breathed new life into this classic game, however, by providing massive amounts of input via circumlocution. It’s a brilliant idea, really, and quite simple to pull off!

This would also be a convenient time to implement Kuhner’s 9 Vocabulary Strategies. While the strategies aren’t appropriate for establishing meaning, and likely require output beyond most students’ capabilities (or just add too much time to whatever you’re doing), they  fit really, really well here with Jim’s BINGO reboot.

Assumptions & Definitions: Establishing Meaning

1) Our goal is reading Latin via acquisition (universal to humans).
2) Comprehensible Input (CI) is necessary for acquisition.
3) Teaching with CI means providing understandable messages in [Latin].
4) Receiving understandable messages as a student means listening and reading—not being forced to speak [Latin]. N.B. Single word/phrase responses are not considered “forced speech.”

This was the opening slide to my recent CANE presentation on how to continue Teaching with CI after discovering it, largely influenced by the 13-post series on a CI Program Checklist containing many resources and support materials for people just getting into this way of teaching. #3 above deserves more attention. How do we actually make something understandable?

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Quick Quizzes: Piantagginish

The more recent open-book style Quick Quizzes completely changed how I assess for the better. To recap, I used to say 4 True/False statements in the target language about something that happened during class. Kids either remembered the details, or didn’t, or didn’t understand what I said in the target language. Now I say the statements in English and the target language is projected (or printed) so students READ the text during the quiz. This has led to an interesting take on the whole “quizzing” idea.

I’ve often heard teachers claim that their “assessments are part of the learning process,” but in almost every case, their practices just don’t back that up. Here’s a look at how you can really get it done with Quick Quizzes using a fake language, Piantagginish, since the best way to really understand how practices that support CI work is to become a student yourself. Imagine you’re a kid who’s been out of school for a couple of days and at the end of class there’s a Quick Quiz. Normally you’d panic, but not in my class. Here’s why…

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