I have tried PQAs (Personalized Question and Answers) a few times now and all I can say is that I need more structure. I am still new to using Latin to conduct the majority of my class and though I know the language, I still mess it up when trying to communicate with students. I want to ask them questions, then follow-up with those same questions with more interaction, but after that first question… I frequently flounder. It isn’t that I’m not prepared, but my brain on Latin isn’t set up to handle what I want to say. I take too long figuring out how to say what I want to say and I often wander off structure or vocabulary. Not to mention, I get so wrapped up in how to do what I want, that I forget to check-in with the students or follow-up on grammar questions asked.
In a nutshell, it is too open and free for me to do at this time. I’m still too new at speaking Latin fluently.
But, I see the value in the exercise and love having the chance to learn about my students and to let them be funny and relaxed with me as we talk in Latin.
Things gotta change. I need more structure and preparation in order to let the conversations (appear to) flow more freely with my students. I have read about Card Talk, from ANATTY and more, and though I don’t think drawing images is going to end too well for the students or me (I have, maybe, five students across two Latin I classes that can draw well enough for me to determine what it is), I’m going to combine my PQA questions with the Card Talk and ask students to take a brief moment and answer some questions in English about our theme and/or vocabulary in order to illicit information I can work our structure around. I can then flip through the cards before starting and pull the ones I want to work with.
With information in front of me – already seen – I can better prepare myself for Circling answers and focus less on the “off-the-cuff” vocabulary and structures and more on how I can use the vocabulary we already know to deepen my questions. I can focus on the students and less on the language. I have a frame of reference before me, written, to use as needed to follow-up.
So, though not exactly either Card Talk or PQA in the true senses of the words/activities, I think this is an awesome mesh of what I want and what I currently need to keep my students in the target language, relaxed, and listening comprehensibly to all the input coming their way.