WOWATS & Other Collaborative Storytelling Options

Last Wednesday, we did our first MovieTalk (yes, still calling it this because I have no intentions or expectations of students acquiring specific vocab, and that’s peachy according to Dr. Ashley Hastings’ 2018 note to teachers who were misinterpreting the method). Believe it or not, but Wednesday’s MovieTalk has been the *ONLY* story so far. Yep. Other than that, no stories. With student interviews (i.e. Discipulus Illustris/Special Person), discussions based on a simple prompt (i.e. Card Talk), and questions about the weekend and upcoming week (i.e. Weekend & Week Chat), class has been compelling enough without any narrative. But stories are awesome, and we have a ton of other MovieTalk texts already prepared for every other week, so I’m thinking now is a good time to get into collaborative storytelling…

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Do Now & Text-Generating Routines

Classes feel a bit different this year—to say the least—meeting between just 40 and 44 minutes daily. That certainly doesn’t sound like much time for high school, but it’s growing on me. In fact, I’d even say that this is an ideal amount of time to spend in a second language each day, so no complaints, here. Due to the need for super efficient timing, though, my daily structure now looks like this:

  1. Do Now
  2. Activity 1 (or first part of a longer activity)
    -Brain Break-
  3. READ (independently)
  4. Activity 2 (or second part of a longer activity)

To give you a sense of how this looks, on Tuesday we held the first round of student interviews (i.e. Discipulus Illustris/Persona Especial), students read about last Friday’s basketball game, then I asked questions about what we learned from the student in the spotlight, typing into a Google Doc as students copied the Latin into their notebooks (i.e. Write & Discuss). That was it! Thinking of the class day as two parts is really easy to plan for. Also, since classes meet daily, I’ve decided to alternate activities. This makes the week feel like there’s more variety without adding too much. Here are my alternating daily routines for these first weeks of school…

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The Cropped Picture Picture Talk Trick!

This trick gets you immediate content to discuss, and then X new drawings (whereas X is the class size) used for other input-based activities.

  1. Get a picture.
  2. Crop it.
  3. Make copies, and have students draw the missing parts.
  4. Project several drawings, and describe them.

For those who have read Rūfus et arma ātra, here’s a large Crixaflamma to print out. Also, input hypermiling combos include:

  • Write & Discuss (or type up on your own)
    • Print and give to students to read (i.e. up to a complete Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) packet of drawings and descriptions).
  • Project as Timed Write prompt (i.e. “Write a story about…”
    • Print and give to students to read (i.e. up to a complete FVR packet of drawings and descriptions).
  • Flyswatter Picture Talk (using two drawings side-by-side)

Writing Requires Focus: Weekly MGMT Sheets

I’ve known for some time that ending class with Write & Discuss is a great way to focus students’ attention on the target language. I’ve also known that a simple dictation is pacifying, albeit boring (hence why I think I’ve done only one of these this year). Both of these activities require students to write, and both of these activities are nearly distraction-free because students have a writing task to do. It comes as no surprise, then, that we should be using writing as a MGMT tool…

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Admin-Friendly Sneaky Input Activities

Here are 4 sneaky activities that don’t seem like input at first glance. I call them “admin-friendly” because when there’s conflict over providing CI, it’s usually someone in a position of power who just wants to see the kind of schoolwork that makes more sense/is familiar to them. Unfortunately, that kind of observable schoolwork is output, or something completely non-communicative, or not even in the target language. I must admit that these 4 activities appear output-heavy, but they aren’t, so pay attention…

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Timed Write Hypermiling: Copy/Change/Continue

After necessary school-wide policy changes regarding attendance, I was in need of a new “do now” that didn’t feel like one, because I hate that stuff. It turns out a few of my practices work already, though, like Sustained Silent Reading (SSR), Summary & Write, and Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). With 4 classes per week, and a new Semester 2 weekly routine to begin Copy/Change/Continue is born…

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