This year's list is much shorter than last year's list. I still plan on implementing what I learned last year, but I feel like this year, I can focus on specifics, instead of on general CI topics. All of these goals are a result from attending NTPRS a few weeks ago.
- Associate vocabulary with gestures and get in TONS of repetitions using those gestures - Last year, I began to use gestures/TPR to teach vocabulary, but I did not focus on it. At NTPRS this summer, in learning both Japanese with Betsy Paskvan, and Romanian with Alina Filipescu, they both taught vocabulary with gestures, and from a student perspective, I can say that it truly helped! Due to the massive amount of repetitions using those gestures, it soon became muscle memory, and the gestures actually helped trigger vocabulary acquisition.
- Use student actors when telling a story - Using student actors has always been hit or miss with me on account of student chemistry being a variable in my classes. Last year, in the majority of my classes I had a number of "sparklers" who loved attention, while I had one class where the majority of students were introverts who hated getting up in front of the class to act out a story. However, incorporating actors allows for another layer of comprehensibility for students. At NTPRS this summer, in the War and Peace Room, when observing folks teach 5 minutes of a language which I did not know, if they used actors in telling a story, my engagement level rose. I want the same to occur in my classroom.
- Incorporate more Movie Talk in my classes - I have done Movie Talk probably twice in my CI/TPRS career, with the reason being that it just takes SO MUCH prep ahead of time. The times, however, when I did do it, the students really enjoyed it. At NTPRS this summer, in Alina Filipescu's session, she demonstrated a Movie Talk in Romanian, and it was phenomenal! Since I feel like I have a good CI/TPRS foundation now, I want to focus on Movie Talk.
- Ask HOT questions - HOT stands for "Higher Order Thinking," and I learned this in my session with Carol Gaab at NTPRS. She demonstrated how to vary up circling (because as she says "Circling can get REALLY old, REALLY fast for students") by asking higher level questions, even when vocabulary is limited. I was amazed how many different types of questions one could ask about a simple passage which did not rely on comprehension questions and how engaged I was.
- Be mindful of student engagement when planning - To quote my fellow Latin CI/TPRS comrade Justin Slocum Bailey, "Will what I am doing hold students' attention for ten minutes? or more likely, for two minutes?" We know that "the brain craves novelty," so I need to be aware of that when I lesson plan.
- Continue to demonstrate that Latin is a true, living language in today's world and not one stuck in the 1st century - Good lord, I cannot begin to tell you the level of shock and of sadness which I felt at NTPRS trying to explain to CI/TPRS folks that Latin is like any other language which deserves to be seated at the table with every other language and not delegated to the "novelty" table.
- Continue to teach fearlessly - This phrase "Teach Fearlessly" by Jason Fritze is taped on my classroom desk. For some reason, during this past of week of preplanning, I have felt so empowered to take a stand vocally against departmental policies which i view as counterproductive or obstructional to student language acquisition. I also no longer care if I am viewed as "that CI guy" in my department and quite honestly, I embrace that title. Based on the results which I am seeing from ALL types of students in my classes, why should I be afraid, apologetic or ashamed of what administrators, parents and other teachers in my department have to say?