Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Top 5 of 2018

With it being final exam week at my school and with 2018 coming to a close, it is time to share my top 5 viewed blog posts of the year: 
  1. More Thoughts on Sheltering Vocabulary
  2. Brain Breaks
  3. Rejecting a Grammar Syllabus
  4. More Brain Breaks
  5. CI Latin Teacher Database
2018 has been quite a year professionally. After a hectic 2017 conference schedule, I took this year off from conferences and presenting in order to reboot. Over the summer, I led an adult tour of Latin teachers to Italy for the Vergilian Society where I led sessions on Comprehensible Input. I also started the first semester of my Ed.D. study in Instructional Technology after a 1 1/2 year break from graduate school. It was a bit of an adjustment, but I really enjoyed my studies and ended up getting A's in both of my classes!

As I begin a 2-week hiatus from blogging for the winter vacation, I want to thank all of you who read this blog. I am deeply appreciative that you think that I have something of value to say on Comprehensible Input. I am grateful to all of you who post a link to blog posts of mine on your Facebook pages/groups - especially Martina Bex!

I look forward to what 2019 has to offer!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Coloring Book Pages for Final Exams

Final exams are next week for my students, and I am getting everything prepared: creating the exam, printing up answer sheets (I use Zipgrade), and printing up coloring book pages. What? Coloring book pages? Yep, if you are like me, when students finish their final exams, I HATE it if they just sit there with nothing to do, because that gives them a reason to talk or "get into some shenannigans" while others are still taking the exam. I have taken up their phones before the exam, and they cannot retrieve them until the last exam is turned in. As a result, I give students coloring book pages to color when they are done. This is something which I learned from my colleague Ashley Allgood at my last school, and it absolutely works. Keep in mind that these are high school students, who most of the time are too jaded to do anything!

It is very simple to do - simply print free coloring books pages from various websites, and put out the pages with crayons, colored pencils, and markers for students to use after they finish their exam. Below are some sites which I use to print coloring book pages:

Crayola - a treasure trove of pages, including Disney
Hello Kitty
Coloring Pages - LOTS of different categories
Care Bears

  1. This really does keep students quiet after they finish their exams, because it gives them something to do.
  2. The first time I did this, I thought for sure only a handful of students would do it, but I found that most students wanted to color!
  3. I usually print up 3-4 copies of the same pages so that students have access to the pages. The first time i did this, I only printed one of each page, and students were mad that there was only ONE picture of Belle and that it had been taken already.
  4. Students rarely have the chance in school to just color, so this is something which they enjoy doing. I have found that the guys really get into coloring!
  5. After students finish coloring their pages, they can put their "work of art" on my board for all to see.
I have already been asked a number of times this week by students if I will have coloring pages available after they finish their exams - they are ready!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Cellphone Ritual

For those of you wanting to know how I deal with cellphones in my classroom, the following is what I do. I learned this from my colleague Bob Patrick, and I have found this to be every effective.

After I take roll, I say the following every day while holding my phone out for them to see:

Salvete! Incipiamus. Ubi sunt telephona? In.....sacculis (students say "sacculis" with me). Telephona non sunt in manibus, non in gremio, non in sinibus, non sub natibus, non sub sellis. Telephona sunt in sacculis. Ponam meum telephonum in meo sacculo. I will give you phone time at the end of class.

Hello. Let's us begin. Where are your telephones? In your bookbags. Telephones are not in your hands, not in your lap, not in your pockets, not under your butts, not under your chairs. Telephones are in your bookbags. I will place my telephone in my bookbag. I will give you phone time at the end of class.

  1. I use gestures when saying this (displaying hands, pointing to lap, putting hands in my pockets, patting my butt, and pointing under the chairs). Students get mad at me if I say this without the gestures. 
  2. Because I establish this ritual from Day 1, students know my expectation regarding cellphones during class. Even though this ritual is behaviorist in nature, the way in which this is done is very positive, and students actually do put their cellphones away.
  3. Students appreciate that I as the teacher too put my cellphone in my bookbag with them.
  4. If students do pull out their cellphones during class, I simply say, "(Student's name), ubi sunt telephona?" and usually the student knows right away to put it away. I have found that many times students themselves will monitor each other and call out students who have their phones out during class by saying "Ubi sunt telephona? Telephona non in manibus!"
  5. Last week, i was observed by two different non-world language teachers, and each of them said to me, "I was so surprised that your students knew to put their phones away when you told them to (in Latin) and that they actually did it!"
  6. By the 2nd or 3rd week of school, because I say this every day, many students say this along with me. Again, my observers last week found it very interesting that students would actually want to recite that with me when it was not required.
  7. I make it a point to tell students each day that at the end of class, I will give them phone time. "Give me time in class, and I will give you time at the end."
It is a very simple daily "ritual," which I have found to be very effective!