Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Card Game

In my B.C.I (Before Comprehensible Input) days, there were lots of vocabulary activities which I loved playing with students, because they enjoyed them so much. Now that I am a CI teacher, I realize that many of them really do not lead to true language acquisition, but at the same time, does that mean I should throw them out? However, with a slight twist here or there, they can be adapted and be used easily for CI purposes. The Card Game is one of these activities.

I learned the Card Game years ago from my district's world language coordinator. It sounds like a very basic activity, and quite honestly, when I first explain it to students, it sounds the stupidest game ever. However, the Card Game was one of my students' favorite activities, because it was so competitive. NOTE - because my class is deskless, it is almost impossible for me to play this game, but if I were to have desks, I would definitely play it.

  1. 5-6 different colored stacks of 3x5 index cards, with each stack being 20-25 cards. Depending on the number of students, you may need more or less.
  2. A list of 20-25 vocabulary words which students already know. Again, depending on the number of students, you may need more or less. You can also use short phrases if you want. I would not use sentences because they are too long.
  1. In each stack of colored index cards, write one vocabulary word VERY BIG in the target language per card. By the end, you will have 5-6 different colored stacks, with each stack having the same vocabulary words.
  1. As the teacher, take one of the colored stacks of cards.
  2. Divide the class into 4-5 different teams (depending on how many stacks of colored cards which you have left).
  3. Give a different stack of colored index cards to each team.
  4. Have each team distribute its cards to its team member. Each team member may not necessarily have the same amount of cards. Usually 5-6 words is a good amount of cards for each student.
  5. On the board, write the names of the colors of the cards in the target language on the board. Each color represents a team.
  6. Have students lay their cards out on their desks FACE UP so that they can read what is written on the cards. Each student should have between 4-6 cards. 
  7. Now ask students if there are any words which they do not know and to ask you for the meaning. This is really important in order to establish meaning. 
  8. Explain to the students, "I am going to call out the English definition of a word. If you have that word, then hold up the card as high as you can as quickly as you can. HOWEVER, there are 4-5 other teams who have that same word. The first correct card which I see gets a point. Also, just because I call a word once does not mean that I cannot call it again."
  9. As the teacher, pick a card from your stack, and call out the English definition.
  10. If students have that word, they are to hold up that card. Whatever team's correct card you see first will get a point.
  11. As the teacher, put the card back in your stack, and pull out another card. Repeat the directions - the first team which gets 10 points wins.
  12. At the end of the round (when a team gets 10 points), have teams switch cards within themselves, e.g., students with green cards will switch stacks between each other. Now students have a new set of vocabulary words. If students do not know the words, they are to ask the student who just had them.
  13. Play another round.
  14. After 2-3 rounds, tell students that they are to either:
    1.  do a writing in the target language which involves the words which they have in their stack OR
    2. draw a picture which uses the words in their stack 
  1. This became my students' favorite game (when I had desks). I played it as an adult when I learned it, and WOW, it is a very competitive game.
  2. This game is FAST, so this can frustrate the slower processors.
  3. What I like about this game is when students switch stacks and I call out a definition, students, who just had the card but switched with someone, can get very frustrated, because they no longer have that word. This shows me that those students know that word now.
  4. Although you can have students do a writing afterwards, I have found that drawing a picture was easier for students and did not require as much thought as preparing to write something. 
  5. Because this can be a fast game and students will argue which card was held up first, I will also pick a student who will help me judge which team held up its card first.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lucky Reading Game

This is a great post-reading activity which I learned about this semester. When I first explained it to students, they thought that it seemed rather basic and pedestrian, but once we started playing it, it really got competitive! This activity is from Senora Chase's blog, so I will link the directions from her blog below.

Lucky Reading Game directions

  1. When I first tried it out, I had teams of 3-4 students, but since my classes are usually 30 students in a somewhat small contained space, there were WAY too many chairs up front, which made it rather uncomfortable and difficult to manage. Plus, it did not give enough time for "resting" team members to review the story. Rachel Ash made a change of having teams of 7-8 students, which made now 4 teams. This was MUCH easier to manage up front.
  2. Keep the game moving quickly - this will keep students engaged and create a fast-paced environment. As soon as students pick a card, call up the next set of contestants.
  3. Once students began to realize how this activity worked, they really began to do lots of close reading of the passage.
  4. Show the scoring equivalences AFTER all questions have been asked.
  5. Every game, change up which cards receive 30 points to preserve the novelty. The scoring charts shows Red 3's as receiving 30 points, but the next time, make it Black 5's or something else.
  6. I will throw in a Double Card bonus every once in awhile to keep the game novel. Because students are still choosing a card at random, the bonus may not be as much as wanted.
  7. I have a couple UNO decks which I am considering using the next time I implement this activity - again, solely to preserve the novelty.
Thanks, Senora Chase, for this activity!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Invisibles Listening Activity

I learned this activity from Miriam Patrick, and this is her take on Ben Slavic's Invisibles activity. This is something which I do as a warmup, and it is a really good listening comprehension activity.

  1. Create a document with categories, such as nouns, adjectives, verbs, places, etc. and fill those categories with learned target vocabulary. 4-6 words per category are good.
Directions - Day 1
  1. Project “Invisibles Choices” on screen.
  2. Tell students to pick 1-2 words from each category to create a picture. I suggest that students draw in pen (not marker), because pencil does not always show up well when scanned or when a picture is taken of it
  3. Have students turn in pictures to you.
Directions - Days 2 and 3
  1. Take pictures of 3-4 pictures with your camera phone or scan them. and transfer pics to a ppt slide. 
  2. Have students grab a whiteboard, marker, and rag.
  3. Pick a picture and read description of picture in the target language.
  4. Have students draw what they think they are hearing.
  5. Ask students to show you their pictures. Pick a few to show the class and describe in Latin.
  6. Project actual picture on screen. 
  7. Begin again with a new picture.
  1. Because there was choice in what words students could draw, there are lots of different combinations.
  2. It is always fun to see students begin to realize that you are describing their pictures - a sense of pride comes over them!
  3. It is a great warmup or brain break activity done over 2-3 days, and it is a very easy listening comprehension activity.