- Do you like/have/want? - In many ways, this is a natural personal question to ask students such as do you like to eat pizza, do you have a dog, do you want a lion? But again, these questions can get really old with students even if you add details to them such as do you like to eat pizza at night or in the morning, do you have a big dog or a small dog, do you want a big lion or a small lion? So as extension questions, consider asking...
- Would you... - In the summer of 2021, I was serving as a cohort coach for the virtual IFLT Conference. I was coaching teachers on circling, and a teacher had volunteered to do be coached on circling using the structure "eats". She did the basic, "Maria eats insects. Does Maria eat insects? Does Maria eat insects or Takis? Does Maria eat Takis?" However, then immediately she turned the structure into a PQA, directing it to a "student," asking "Do you eat insects? Would you eat insects? Would you eat insects for $100?" Now the questioning became interesting! I wanted to know how the student would respond! Moreover, this teacher was demonstrating how to shelter vocabulary, not grammar by keeping the vocabulary word "eat" but now changing it to a subjunctive form for the purpose of communication. This teacher did a great job of keeping the "balloon" in the air!
- Asking for examples - Very often, I like to ask students to give me examples of something based on a vocabulary word for which I want to get in lots of repetitions or where I think we can get in some good discussion. For example, for a movie talk where the word "witch" was being introduced, I asked students to give me an example of a witch in a book, TV show, or movie. Wow, students were volunteering answers left and right (I did not realize that there were so many), because for many, this was a personal question of interest. I could extend the questioning to be "What witch did Carson suggest?" "Who suggested Glinda as a witch?" A student suggested Mary Poppins as a witch, and suddenly that became a question for discussion - "Who of you thinks that Mary Poppins is a witch? Or is she just magical?"
- Predictions - In a Movie Talk or a reading which we are doing at sight, I like to ask students to predict what they think will happen next, "What will happen next?" "Do you think that X will be happy?" "How will X respond?" Once I get a response from a student, I can then ask the class, "Who else thinks this?" or "Who here does not think this?" Again, this can be a personal question of interest for many.
Monday, August 8, 2022
Monday, August 1, 2022
This is a type of writing check-in/assessment which I have learned while serving as a coach for Martina Bex and Elicia Cardenas' Acquisition Boot Camp (which by the way is a GREAT course for those wanting to learn more about CI/ADI instruction). I am not going to spend time here describing this type of assessment, because Martina does such a good job of this in her blog. Essentially it is a writing check-in/assessment over a current reading where students can choose at which level of writing proficiency with which they are most comfortable for that particular reading. However, to use this type of assessment, a teacher truly must have a good understanding of language proficiency. With what degree of language control are students able to communicate? Words? Simple sentences? Create new language?
Whenever it comes to language output with novice and intermediate language learners, we as teachers need to expect errors (and lots of them!). We need to realize that grammatical mistakes and shaky language control are typical in these proficiency levels; therefore, they are expected and okay! As a result, we need to focus on what it is that students are able to communicate and what we as sympathetic receptors can understand from their messages.Observations
- I absolutely love this how this is set up - thanks, Martina!
- I view this type of "assessment" as merely a check-in for students to let me know where they are with the material - what have they acquired so far with the new material? Where are they with language output? Simply, it is a snapshot of their proficiency at the moment, and the snapshot is neither good nor bad. It is simply to inform me (and hopefully students) of where they are at.
- Personally, I do not grade these, but I definitely do look at them. If you look at Martina's original directions, you will see how she grades these according to a proficiency-based rubric.
- I like the choice aspect of this, because it gives students permission to proceed at their preferred level of comfort when it comes to written output. Also, within each level, there is a degree of choice so that students can choose those options which will best display their mastery.
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
I have COVID. And if it had not been for some post-nasal drip and slight chest congestion, I would have chalked it up to either a very slight cold or allergies. But to play it safe, I took a home COVID test and indeed, I tested positive (and the COVID line on the test was SO faint to read. Can these home tests be more user-friendly by using emojis or something instead of the lines and letters C & T? 😀 = negative, 🤮 = positive). So now I am forced to stay home (darn, right? lol) with a few mild symptoms - as a result, I am ordering pizza and binge-watching TV - not a bad situation, huh?
So among the many things which I am binge-listening are podcasts! Podcasts are great, because I can listen to them whenever I want and as many times as I want in as many ways as I want wherever I want. Even though my schedule is incredibly busy, podcasts are an easy resource to implement. I can listen to them in my car as I drive, or at the gym, or at my computer as I work. To be honest, there are very few podcasts which I actually listen to regularly, outside of The Real Brady Bros, a Brady Bunch podcast by actors Barry Williams (Greg) and Christopher Knight (Peter), because I am a HUGE Brady Bunch fan. However, last week at IFLT, I discovered two podcasts dedicated to CI/ADI instruction:
Thursday, July 14, 2022
I am currently at IFLT at the moment, and literally 30 minutes ago, I had a conversation with one of my absolutely favorite people in the world, Annabelle Williamson! Annabelle teaches a Spanish language lab for elementary school students at IFLT, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE watching her with those students, because I learn so much from observing her (as well as some Spanish). Anyhow, I told her that I had stopped by her lab briefly to see what she was doing. She then asked, "Did you see [the students] play your Seis game? I do something different with it." (The Seis Game is the Sex Game in Spanish). Immediately that got my attention, and Annabelle then showed me what she does with the game - I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS IDEA, AND I AM NOW GOING TO DO IT THIS WAY!! I just had to blog about it immediately!!
So the set up of the game is still the same involving dice and a text. The rules themselves have not changed, i.e., students will roll a dice and if they roll a six, they begin writing. However, the difference now is in the worksheet given to students. The way I learned it was to give students sentences in the target language from a known/seen reading, and the goal was to translate the sentences into English as quickly as possible. Annabelle has turned the activity into a reading game instead of one based on translation - she has the story written out for students but now it consists of a cloze sentences with a word bank at the top! So now when students roll a six, they have to pick the missing word from the word bank to complete the sentence and will continue to do this with other sentences until another student rolls a six and relinquishes control of the pen/pencil. Annabelle said to me, "Now it is a reading activity, because students have to read the sentences to know what word is missing."
My example of a Sex Game 2.0 sheet (added 8/12/22)
I am loving this change to the Sex Game, because:
- like Annabelle says, the focus for students is on reading and not on translation itself.
- it keeps the activity in the target language.
- due to the cloze sentence aspect, it requires some higher order thinking for students.
- students are receiving repetitions of understandable messages in re-reading the sentences from the story.
Monday, July 11, 2022
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
Thursday, June 30, 2022
I learned the following from Bob Patrick. At the beginning of every school year in August, I always tell my students that I expect them to do their 50% in class, which is simply paying attention in class, and I will do my own 50% of supplying them with understandable input in different ways. If we both do our 50%, then they will be successful in my class. However I also tell them that I will not do more than my 50% - that is my boundary. I will do everything I can to help out students up to that boundary.
- "You go over the material so many different ways. It's hard NOT to learn it."
- "I don't know how I know Latin - I just do."
- "You're right - I just have to pay attention in class."