Friday, May 3, 2019

Random Helpful CI Tips

This week, I was previewing some vocabulary with a few of my classes, and some things came to mind as I was doing it. Here are some random but hopefully helpful CI tips about vocabulary:
  1. If you are trying to pre-teach a number of vocabulary words via storytelling, circling, pre-reading activities, etc., use a lot of proper nouns in English to aid in narrowing and focusing the target words for learners. This is especially helpful at the lower levels.
      Let's say that your target phrase is "goes to" 
  • Example: The girl is going to the store
  • Better example: Cardi B is going to Burger King
     While I am sure that example #1 is comprehensible in the target language, example #2         allows learners to focus only on the phrase "goes to" in the target language, since Cardi  
     B. and Burger King are proper nouns in English.

   2. When defining an unknown word to students in the target language, be aware that      
       some students will take the definition literally and not make the connection which we 
       are intending. Therefore, do everything you can to establish meaning. This is why I 
       always establish meaning in English, even if I define the word in Latin. I need to ensure 
       that everyone in the room is on the same page with the definition.

       Example: Years ago, I attempted to define the word tristis = non laetus. Now to me and 
       a number of students, the "obvious" meaning was sad, yet other students thought that 
       the word literally meant not happy, while others thought it could mean angry or scared. 
       Afterwards, I had students ask me, "So what word means sad in Latin, if tristis means 
       not happy?" A better way for me to have done this would have been to also put an 
       obvious picture, like a sad emoji, to give double input to establish meaning.

       Example #2: Years ago in Latin 1, when I was doing a TPR lesson, I was 
      demonstrating the command porta (carry). I did not formally define the word, because I 
      thought that the meaning was obvious, so I was telling students "Porta (this) ad ianuam, 
      "Porta (that) ad me," etc. At the end, I asked students what they thought that porta 
       meant. While most students said carry, one student replied, "To walk with something 
       while holding it." If I had established meaning from the beginning, this student would 
       have been on board with the definition from the start.

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