This was my first time attending a conference specifically for Comprehensible Input and I had a great time! Organized by Maris Hawkins and Lynne Hendrick, and held at Deep Creek High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. For more information: https://edcampciva.wordpress.com/.
I was expecting only two or three other Latin teachers. I am still blown away by the number of Latin teachers in the state who are either actively teaching with CI strategies, have learned with CI strategies, or are “old” dogs looking for new tricks and seeing success with the little bits of CI already tried and wanting more. We had enough Latin participants (~13) present to form a Latin table at lunch and let the discussion flow. It was great! I’m greatly impressed with David Yates, from Spotsylvania County, who has taught his young daughter Latin.
The day was broken down into three sessions based on attendees’ questions, interests, and expertise (sort of… no real experts required). I chose Classroom Management for session 1, CALP/Upper Level Planning for session 2, and How to Save Time for session 3. What follows is a list of ideas and thoughts I’ve gleaned from each session. I’ve already begun to put some of these wonderful ideas into action.
Session 1: Classroom Management
- a deskless classroom – benefits for management: keeps students more actively focused since they have no “personal” space as a buffer, no easy way to hide off-task behaviors, mobility and flexibility is a given
- simplified rules – listen and track the conversations in class, contribute and give back (in conversation and discussion), do your part (to keep the class flow), nothing in your hands unless directed otherwise
- train students with rules – when a student/s is breaking a rule, stop the flow of the class, stand silent, and point at the rule broken until the student/s recognizes and corrects his/her behavior
- use specific examples when training the rules – what is blurting out? (see flowchart by CI Coaching with Connie on TPT) when is it okay? (in target language in answer to a question) when is it not? (in English, not related to a question), how to identify whether one student should answer or the class should answer (finger-pointing vs naming vs popsicle sticks vs magic cards)
- use the Interpersonal Communication Rubric to grade students once a week for the first half of the first semester, then every other week to keep students on track with rules and behavior; use Google Forms for student feedback on their own behavior related to the rubric; “tell me about your experience this week” for teacher reflection
And, not quite related to classroom management, but still an awesome idea I am definitely going to steal: Put the quizzed words for each unit up on a word wall (which might actually be a word window in my classroom) at the start of the unit. During the unit activities, students are invited/encouraged to use as many of those quizzed words as they can when offering answers to questions. Students earn a “point” for each quizzed word they manage to utilize each unit – earning a reward when a select number of “points” are reached.
Session 2: CALP/Upper Level Planning
- plan around novellas – at first I scoffed at this… we already plan around readings and passages, then I thought about how much more fun and compelling for the students it might be if I had them whole-class-read two novellas before working with our authentic readings; this includes pre-reading strategies, choral reading, SSR/FVR, post-reading strategies; Tiberius et Gallisena ultima by Lance Piantaggini before reading selections from Caesar’s De Bello Gallico and Fortuna Fortibus Favet: viae variae patent by Arianne Belzer before reading Pliny’s Epistulae on the eruption of Vesuvius
- use PQAs to introduce key structures – put the question on the board with English translation, then circle student responses; students ask each other questions with provided prompts
- use page protectors/whiteboard sheets for vocabulary reference sheets, etc.
- use “weekend talk” – have students write weekend talk responses on the board or use a checklist of activities; create for talking about pop-up grammar; create a story where one person tries to do everything everyone else did
- use music videos – plan around culture, vocabulary, and grammatical structures
- CI with authentic texts – picture drawing with a simplified text, don’t ignore SSR/FVR reading techniques and strategies, make a summary in English of selections first then use snippets to create a class summary of a larger or more complex work;
- check out Martina Bex, Robert Harrell, Blaine Ray, Carol Goab (readers) blogs or sites for upper level ideas
Session 3: How to Save Time
- Mondays and Fridays “weekend chat” – class/partner share, 2 truths & a lie, find someone who…, great minds think alike (guess who? guess what?), move if/stand up if, teacher/news in the world talk with students listening; Adventuras Nuevas’ language placemats
- Picture Talk – introduce or review vocabulary, begin or continue a conversation with the 5 W’s; students can send pictures from their weekend to use; zoom in then zoom out slowly, create compelling interest and suspense as you ask questions and make predictions
- use a mascot – students photograph mascot places to use in Picture Talk
- Talk & Walk – visit random school places (auditorium –> where do you sit? what do you see? what do you hear? / library –> what do you like to read? where do you like to read? / cafeteria –> what do you like to eat? where do you sit? with whom do you sit? / locker –> what’s in the locker? whose locker is it?); visit TCI Class Diaries by Sarah Breckley for more ideas
- instead of writing Lesson Plans, write Activity Plans – can be used across levels with targeted or untargeted language
At the start of the one-day conference, we all gathered to create a list of resources we love or think very highly of. What follows are some of those resources I wasn’t already aware of:
Grant Boulanger – with data on CI in the classroom
Pleasure Reading in the World Language Classroom by Mike Peto
As I said above, I greatly enjoyed this opportunity and can’t wait to go back next year. In addition, thanks to the group at large and their excitement, I am really hoping to get a chance to attend the ACTFL conference this year, held in D.C.