Friday, November 6, 2015

A Hybrid CI/Textbook Approach, Part 3

This is the final posting in a series based on my presentation "Detoxing from the Textbook."

My last two posts discussed both the issues with wanting to leave behind the textbook and the hows of doing a hybrid CI/textbook approach. This post will demonstrate my actual lesson plan in teaching greetings. NOTE - I do not teach greetings right away, so students have acquired already a bit of language and of structures prior to me teaching greetings.

As I established in my last post, perhaps your end goal for a chapter is for your students to be able to take part in a dialogue found in your textbook. Perhaps your dialogue on greetings looks like this:

A: Hello, what is your name?
B: Hello, my name is Rhonda. What is your name? 
A: My name is Marsha. How are you?
 B: I am fine. How are you?
A: My stomach hurts.

Traditional methods would start first with the dialogue and then have students go around the room asking each other their names and asking how each other are. Nothing wrong with that, other than it gets incredibly boring very quickly! In addition, you are forcing students to produce language which has no meaning to them way too soon. Instead, why not use a story which has many of these phrases embedded in them as part of the storyline? 

Ian sees a girl. The girl is beautiful. Ian loves the beautiful girl. Ian greets the beautiful girl. “O girl, hello. My name is Ian. What is your name?” The beautiful girl greets Ian, “Hello, Ian. My name is Go Away!” Ian is sad and cries.

Ian sees another girl. The girl is beautiful. Ian loves the beautiful girl. Ian greets the beautiful girl, “O girl, hello, my name is Ian.  What is your name?” The beautiful girl greets Ian, “Hello, Ian, my is You are Annoying.” Ian is sad and cries.

Lesson Plan (over a span of 4-5 days)
  1. Tell the story aloud and you as the teacher act it out. Write any unknown words write on the board to establish meaning, and point and pause. No circling - simply establish listening flow.
  2. Tell the story again either with actors or pictures. Circle and implement PQAs.
  3. Project the story on the board and conduct a choral reading to establish meaning as a class.
  4. Play a game of Stultus using the projected story on the board.
  5. Give students a copy of the reading and have students in pairs do a ping-pong reading or Social Emotional Learning reading of the story
  6. Play a game of Sentence Flyswatter
  7. Do a Higher Order Thinking activity with the story (possible/probable, who would say X, is this necessary to know, etc)
  8. Do a partner picture story retell of the story
  9. Do a timed write of the story.
  10. Students FINALLY see the goal dialogue
  11. Play Same Conversation with the dialogue 
  12. Play a game of Nugas with the dialogue
Some of you may be thinking, "Wow, that seems like a lot of work PRIOR to students seeing the dialogue." Yes, it is. My point, though, is that I want students to have already acquired the vocabulary/structures and the sounds of the language before they actually see the actual dialogue. By the time students get to the dialogue, they already know it but do not realize it!


  1. Thank for this series of posts, Keith. Unfortunately, for most of us Latin teachers, our books do not contain vocab and dialogue on greetings, or not much. While this lack of personalized active Latin is a problem, I agree with you that phrases of greeting often contain obscure/low-freq, and difficult vocabulary and structures, and shouldn't be the very first thing kids work with in a language class. In this same vein, even when we are provided with a "script" for students to use actively in class, starting with a story in which students hear and read about other characters (or even members of the class) using that target vocabulary to express themselves will allow them to use it more confidently (and with full comprehension) when it is their turn.

    1. John, thanks for your comment. As this was a presentation which I gave at NTPRS, my audience was not solely Latin teachers, so I used greetings as my demo, since that is a topic which I know is definitely covered in modern language classes. I do teach greetings in my Latin 1 class but usually mid-end of 1st semester. By that time, I can actually tell a story with greetings being part of the dialogue and not make them the sole focus.

  2. Thanks for all the wonderful links to older posts with activity ideas! I've got several new things to try in my Japanese classes after reading this and exploring the links.