At the end of November, I was hired to teach a new 7th grade Exploratory Language program. This was the administration’s solution to a failed compulsory extension of their 8th Spanish program that was halted in October by the abrupt resignation of their teacher. I wasn’t certified to teach Spanish, so the workaround was to reestablish 7th grade Spanish as a 7th grade Exploratory Language, and offer Spanish, Latin (for which I DO hold certification, and actually know), and French.
When I accepted the position, I knew very little Spanish, and French wasn’t even on the map. I was willing to invest the time needed to teach them, though, and I had a secret weapon…my CI language training. The administration recognized such value, and I was on my way.
**Read about DISCIPVLVS ILLVSTRIS, and Sabrina’s variation for some context**
Should we assess what students remember about their classmates, or should we assess whether students understand Latin?
Although the former has social benefits, let’s face it…we use student details as our understandable messages in Latin. It’s great to know that Johnny’s birthday is in April, but it’s better to be able to read and understand all of the Latin used to express that detail. Inspired by a brilliant new tweak to Ben Slavic’s Quick Quizzes, I’ll be making the following changes:
Earlier this week, the following slide during DISCIPVLVS ILLVSTRIS was a huge hit:
The 3 dots on the lower left link to a slide with a bunch of numbers, but my students already understood the interviewed student’s response of quīndecim as 15, so I began using the images and phrases to ask different questions to verify the detail. I almost got stuck when I asked “is he older than…” while pointing to the senex (old man). Instead, I kept my finger where it was, and asked the class “what is HIS name? What is HE called?” One student quickly said “Frank.” Now I was free to use “is he (our interviewed student) older than Frank?” Then I looked over at the Roman boy on the other side of the slide and asked “what is HIS name? What is HE called?” The class looked at the same student who answered before, who said “Phil,” which was great, so I said “Ohhhhhh, how old is Phil?” The same student thought a minute, and said “8.” So, we continued using the four phrases on the board (all using “habet”) and got quite a bit of mileage out of that one.
**See a more recent post with some changes to the Quizzes**
Last week at TCI Maine ’15, Sabrina Janczak discussed and demoed Star of the Week, her process for student interviews. Although I first discovered a practical interview process from Bryce Hedstrom’s, word has it that original credit goes to Jody Noble, along with Krashen’s 1983 The Natural Approach as a source for conducting “personal interviews” in the classroom (thanks to Eric Herman and Ben Slavic for those clarifications). Before I discuss Sabrina’s process, let me state that no CI classroom should be without some variation of this year-long activity. We often talk about not being prescriptive, but this is too important to overlook. I’m not suggesting that you do this, and neither is Shia Labeouf. Make time in your schedule, and you will be amazed at the positive change in class culture/environment, and increase in student language production. YES, spontaneous language production by June is not out of the question.
**See a more recent post with a helpful variation on DISCIPVLVS ILLVSTRIS**
**See an even more recent post with some changes to the Quizzes**
Bryce Hedstrom’s La Persona Especial is an excellent team building activity that targets high frequency verbs. Now it’s in Latin. Here’s what to do, in a nutshell: