Thursday, October 27, 2016

Using Optical Illusions to Teach Numbers

My friend Justin Slocum Bailey has a TON of CI resources posted on his Indwelling Language website. Just recently, I have been using many of them in my Latin 1 classes, and quite honestly, I do not know why I waited so long to use them.

For the past few weeks, I have been using Justin's idea of using pictures to generate language. He has a GREAT post here with directions and links to picture websites. I have been using many of these pictures in Latin 1 as warmups in order to give students more input of the language and for students to respond with "output."

Lately, I have been using optical illusion pictures where students have to find "how many of X" are in the picture. This is a GREAT way to get in repetitions of cardinal and ordinal numbers in a MEANINGFUL context. Although I could simply teach students to count to X in Latin (boring), when using a context to teach numbers, it is a lot more personal (and we know the value of personalization in a CI classroom!).

Recently, I used the following picture (note - this picture required me to know the names of animals in Latin):

I simply opened by asking my Latin 1 classes "Quot animalia in pictura sunt?" (You can also ask "Quot animalia in pictura videtis?" to change the language structures). Students will most likely call out numbers in English - I am fine with this, because I will then recast their answers in Latin. If you do this enough, students will start to call out their answers in the target language. Once I figured that students had reached their answers, then I began to explain the picture in Latin and to point out the various animals. Example:

primum animal in pictura est serpens (point to the serpent). Unum animal! secundum animal in pictura est procyon (racoon). Unum animal (point to serpent), duo animalia (point to racoon)! primum animal est serpens, secundum animal est procyon, tertium animal in pictura est testudo (point to turtle). Unum (point to serpent), duo (point to racoon), tria animalia (point to turtle)!...

In using these types of pictures, I was able to get in LOTS of repetitions of cardinal and ordinal numbers simultaneously in a meaningful context. Do I expect them to remember the cardinal and ordinal numbers in Latin immediately after this and to be able to recite them? Not really (although my high-flying students may be able to), but that was never my goal per se - my goal was to deliver understandable messages in the language.

  1. Optical illusions work, because students will be automatically engaged in them. These types of pictures serve as a common activity in which the entire class can be involved.
  2. In many ways with optical illusions, there is no "true" right answer, because what one person sees is not always seen by another and may never be seen by another, even after it is pointed out. Just because I do not see something which a student sees, it does not mean that it is not "there.
  3. "Depending on the picture, one can introduce a number of different vocabulary items in the target langage, such as body parts, animals, shapes, etc. 
P.S. For the record, there are 15 animals in the above picture, 16 if you count the "elephant."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Short and Sweet" Follow-up Lesson Plan

The following is the Latin lesson plan which I created based on the Short and Sweet Movie Talk from the previous blog posting. Once again, I thank Lauren Watson for sharing some of her ideas with me! I have also included English versions so that you can adapt it for your own target language. 

Latin target words
puella, puer, magnus, parvus, valde, inquit, eheu, quod, alter

English target words
girl, boy, big, small, very much, says, oh dear, because, the other

Day 1 
Short and Sweet Movie Talk to introduce target words

Day 2
1) Introduce short reading based on Short and Sweet Movie Talk, using circling and PQAs (Latin story to project/ English version)
2) Choral reading to establish meaning 
3) Play Stultus with the reading
4) Class blind retell of story in target language based on screenshots (pictures to project)

Day 3
1) Cloze sentence activity (ppt to project)
2) Parallel story reading (Latin story / English version)
3) Sentence Flyswatter (pictures to project)

Day 4
Find the Sentence (handout)
Timed Write

Day 5
Ping-pong reading of embedded version of story (Latin version #2 of story/ English version)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Movie Talk Script - Short and Sweet

Yesterday, Bob Patrick, Lauren Watson, and I were invited to give a 1/2 day CI in-service at a neighboring county about an hour away. Bob, Lauren, and I have given numerous CI in-services in our own district, so we felt very honored to have the chance to visit another district to share our CI knowledge (in fact, a teacher in that district asked us to come, because she found our names through Martina Bex's database of CI teachers - thanks, Martina!).

I always love giving presentations with Bob and Lauren, because I get the chance to learn so much from them during their demos. Lauren teaches French, so learning some French via CI is ALWAYS helpful, because I get to experience her demo like a student. Yesterday, Lauren's demo was a Movie Talk in French, and I really liked what she much that as a result, I actually typed it up in Latin and did it today with my own Latin 1 classes. It is with Lauren's permission that I share her Movie Talk with you here. 

The Movie Talk is called Short and Sweet, and Lauren used it to introduce words such as boy, girl, loves, big, small, not, sad, says. It is actually very short, but you can do SO much with this. I was actually surprised at how engaged my students were in watching it.

English script

Latin script

  1. When Lauren demonstrated this, she only showed it up to 1:50 the first time, because there is a plot twist which occurs. It is best when the Movie Talk is shown completely through a second time uninterrupted with the ending.
  2. Lauren also showed it without sound the first time. She says that she likes to do this in order to keep students focused. Normally I will do a Movie Talk with the sound, but for this one, I would do the first run-through without sound, because I found the background music to be very annoying - it sounds like something from the Kahoot soundtrack.
  3. My students absolutely were totally taken in by the plot twist at the end (as was I when I saw it the first time). 
Thanks, Lauren - my students really enjoyed it.