Low-Prep Doesn’t Always Mean EZ

Like usual, it took me a matter of minutes the other day to create the next day’s class agenda. Oh, you wanna know the trick to that? There are lots of them, but it all starts with a good grading system and ends with the basic Talk & Read format. Then, I try not to plan too far out knowing that something ALWAYS changes last-minute, and about 20% of our weeks aren’t even the typical schedule to begin with. I have a rough idea what’s coming up in following weeks, but never anything set in stone. Printing much ahead of time? Forget it. I’ve recycled WAY too many reams of no-longer-relevant activity sheets to know better. Anyway, I felt good about the time spent during my planning period, and had a solid idea of how class would go. The plans were simple and straightforward.

Yet, why was I exhausted by the end classes today?!

It turns out that low-prep isn’t always as easy as it seems to carry out. The good news is that it doesn’t take much more effort to avoid a draining class. In this post, you’ll find a list of the best low-prep AND low-energy-demanding activities generated from my input-based strategies & activities and how to get texts lists. Those lists have also been updated with the “EZ” code showing low-energy-demand typically required to carry them out.

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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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