Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Multiple Story "Put the Sentences in Order"

Once again, this is a post-reading activity which I learned from Annabelle Williamson (LaMaestraLoca) at IFLT this summer. It is actually an incredibly easy and quick activity to create (outside of cutting lots of sentence strips) and to facilitate. It will involve at least three different readings, with which your students are very familiar.

Pre-class directions
  1. Pick at least three different readings with which your students are familiar and you wish to review.
  2. Type up at least 15 sentences in the target language in a list for each reading in a large font. These sentences need to be in order of that particular reading. Do not number the sentences. You will also need to space each sentence.
  3. Cut each of the sentences into strips (one sentence per strip). 
  4. Type the titles of the readings and cut into strips.  
  5. Mix all of the strips together.
  6. You will need to repeat this as many times for groups of three, e.g., if you have 30 students, you will have 10 piles of identical strips.
Class directions
  1. Divide the class into groups of three.
  2. Give a pile of strips to each group.
  3. Tell the class that there are three stories' worth of sentences in the pile. Their task is to separate the sentences according to the reading and then to arrange those sentences in order of the story.
  4. When a group is finished, review its sentences to determine if it got the order correct. 
  1. This is a higher-order thinking activity, because it not only involves students knowing which sentence strip goes with which story but then to put those sentence strips in order - both of these when written in the target language.
  2. This is a quick 10-minute activity but a fun one to watch.
  3. Students are receiving repetitions of familiar understandable messages in this activity.
  4. I love seeing how the students work collaboratively on this activity. First, they separated the strips by story, and then each student took one of the stories to put into order. 
  5. I was surprised at how much students remembered from the earlier stories, even though it had been a month since we did the first story.
  6. If different stories have similar vocabulary, all the better, since this now requires to read each sentence strip closely to determine from which story the strip comes. I had two stories involving monsters, so students had to do close reading to determine of which story the sentence strip was a part.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Latin Lesson Plan for Prologue of "Perseus et Rex Malus"

This year in Latin 3, we have started the school year by beginning to read Andrew Olympi's novella Perseus et Malus Rex. Here is my lesson plan for the prologue - this also contains a lesson plan for how I previewed vocabulary and prepared students to be able to read the prologue - it is with Andrew's full permission that I post the entire prologue here on my blog:

Previewing Vocabulary for the Prologue 
Day 1
  1. Movie Talk - Monstrum in Armario
    • Target words - In lecto, aliquid, magnos sonos facit, defessus, in armario, tempus est, obdormire, timet
    • Movie Talk script
    • Movie Talk worksheet (students fill this out during the Movie Talk)
Day 2

Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Word Cloud Cloze Sentence Activity

This is an activity which I learned from Cindy Hitz, and it is a great higher-order thinking, post-reading activity involving word clouds. In the past, I have normally used word clouds as a vocabulary highlighter game or have students predict what they think is going to happen in the story. Cindy takes it to the next level and uses the word clouds as part of a cloze sentence activity. So instead of calling out individual vocabulary words where students race to highlight words, now you read out cloze sentences from a reading, and students race to highlight the missing word in the word cloud.

You can find directions for this activity here on Cindy's blog at the bottom under the heading "Game Smashing with Word Clouds." 

Here are my directions on how to create word clouds using MS Word 

Example - this is based on the Monster and Dumpling Movie Talk:

Word Cloud

Slide presentation with cloze sentences

  1. This is a great post-reading activity, but students need to be very familiar with the reading before they do this since they are doing cloze sentences without a word bank per se.
  2. I loved the double input which students received in this activity - visually seeing the sentences and me reading them aloud.
  3. Keep the sentences somewhat short, because the activity involves a lot of processing, so to give students a long sentence for they which they have to understand the meaning, to realize what the missing word is, and then to find it in a scrambled word cloud is a lot. 
  4. I thought that students would struggle with knowing what the missing word was, when in actuality, students told me that was the easy part (again, because we had gone over the story so many times in different ways). The difficult part for them was finding the word in the word cloud before their opponents!
  5. I love the higher-order thinking going on in this activity. It goes way beyond the basics of the regular vocabulary highlighter game. 
  6. To keep the faster processors from always finding the word first, sometimes I would tell students that they had to wait until I said, "Go!" This allowed the slower processors a chance. 
  7. Although I only focused on one reading, I threw in distractor words from other passages to fill out the word cloud. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Why You Should Consider Attending NTPRS or IFLT in 2020

NOTE - I am only addressing NTPRS and IFLT in this blog post, because those are the two weeklong conferences which I have attended and on which I can speak from personal experience. Any omission of other weeklong CI conferences should not be taken personally and does not reflect my feelings for or against them. If you would like to write a guest blog post about another weeklong CI conference such as Agen or Express Fluency, contact me.

Although summer is now over and school is back in session, I write this blog post to challenge you to consider attending a conference like NTPRS or IFLT in the summer of 2020. If you have never attended weeklong CI conferences before, you will not be disappointed in what they have to offer. This is not to say that one cannot learn from a 1-2-day regional conference like TCI Maine, Mitten CI, or CIMidwest. Receive CI training wherever you can and as often as you can! And while online groups, professional learning communities/networks, and blogs are so important to the CI community, they can only go so far.

However, in my own experience, all I can say is that there is absolutely nothing like the weeklong concentration of being in a full CI training environment which you do not experience in a 1-2 day conference. I cannot explain what it is. Maybe because one has a week, there is more time to be immersed in a CI environment and to learn and to experience it all. Maybe because since pedagogically everyone there is on the same page, one is not constantly having to defend one's use of CI. Maybe it is the coaching sessions where one can be coached on a particular CI skill in a positive setting. Maybe a week gives participants time to ponder over, to process, and to experiment at a slower pace, since there is ample time to do so, as opposed to a single day at a training where everything is thrown at you at once. Maybe it is the overwhelming amount of practical sessions addressing CI implementation in the classroom. Maybe it is the tangible care and enthusiasm which the presenters, coaches, and leaders exhibit in creating such an accepting environment. Maybe because it is so much dang fun!

Although each summer I am a regular attendee at the American Classical League Summer Institute and as much as I look forward to the professional camaraderie of being with other Latin teachers from around the country, honestly, I cannot say that I walk away feeling pumped to return to my classroom when it is over like I do when I attend a NTPRS or IFLT. That is not to say that I do not enjoy attending the ACL Summer Institute, but the conference just has a different focus for me. I do appreciate though that the number of CI sessions at the ACL Summer Institute has increased each year and that we seem to have reached a critical mass in the CI movement in the Latin community.

This past July, I attended IFLT, and even though I was there wearing many different hats (sub-cohort leader, coach, and presenter), I got SO MUCH out of the conference! I cannot tell you how much I learned that I already have used in these past five weeks with students. If you have read my past few blog posts, they are all related to ideas which I learned at IFLT this summer. I attended a session where when the presenter saw me come in, she said, "Wow, what are you doing here? You know all of this." I responded, "That does not mean that there is still not more for me to learn." And yes, I walked away with so much from her presentation that I am now implementing in my classroom. Compared to the summer of 2018 where I did not attend a NTPRS or IFLT and felt "flat" entering the school year, this year already after five weeks with students, I am still SO pumped and jazzed to be in the classroom. IFLT so charged my CI batteries!

So which one is better: NTPRS or IFLT? I cannot answer that, because they are both different. In my opinion, one is not "better" than the other.
  • NTPRS is five days, while IFLT is four days. 
  • NTPRS is held in a hotel and has a more "conference" feel to it, while IFLT is held on a school campus.
  • Both conferences offer tracks for their participants based on one's experience with CI.
  • Both conferences offer coaching for their participants.
  • IFLT offers language labs, where participants can observe master CI-teachers teaching a language class with actual students. In my opinion, this is where the magic happens. I could observe Linda Li forever work her magic in teaching Mandarin, and I would never get bored.
  • NTPRS has organized nightly events, such as receptions, language-immersive dinners, and a talent show. This year, IFLT had one night session on Readers Theater, which was a blast!
The downside of attending a weeklong conference like NTPRS or IFLT is that it is not cheap when one starts to factor in the price for registration, travel, food, and lodging costs. That is why I encourage you start thinking now about attending. Find out if your school/district will pay for you to attend. Look into scholarship opportunities with your local/regional WL organizations. 

2020 dates for NTPRS and IFLT
  • IFLT - July 14-17 in Southern California (yes, I know that it is rather vague at the moment, but I am assuming either in Los Angeles or Orange County)
  • NTPRS - July 20-24 in Minneapolis 
So I encourage you to consider attending NTPRS or IFLT next summer. I have attended both conferences before. My blog posts on having attended each:
I look forward to seeing you next summer at one of these conferences!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Unfair Game/Give or Take Game

In online CI groups and in social media, there has been much talk about the Unfair Game over the years. For some reason, I never investigated what this game was, although folks were praising it as a fun activity for students. This summer at IFLT, Martina Bex talked about the activity with our cohort, and suddenly I realized that I already knew what this game was - I just called it something different! 

I have always called the game "Give or Take," but I like the title "The Unfair Game," because that so describes this game. Here is a link to the directions which Martina Bex has written up for the activity. However, I have always used it with a PowerPoint that has a grid with hyperlinks. The game is still played the same way but now with a visual. Students will pick a number from the grid, and the point total is revealed using the hyperlink. Although it is a generic grid and I have to write in new questions and answers, I can re-use the basic template.

Give or Take PowerPoint example 
  • Download the PowerPoint and change the questions/answers.
  • Don't touch the hyperlinks when editing. 
  • The two icons, face and thunderbolt, are purely decorative. Choose which icon you want to be "give" and which one will be "take" - both icons have the same point value attached to it.
Directions for PowerPoint version
  1. Project the slide which has the number grid.
  2. Ask a student to pick a number from the grid, and click on that number. There should be a hyperlink on that number,
  3. Ask the question now on the screen.
  4. Student will respond.
  5. Click on the screen to reveal the answer. Be sure NOT to click on the face or thunderbolt.
  6. If the response is correct, ask if the student wants to give or take the points. 
  7. If the response is incorrect, ask the other team if it wishes to give or take the points.
  8. Click on the icon, and a point total will be revealed.
  9. Click on the yellow reverse arrow, and you should now be at the original number grid. Numbers which have already been called will now be a different color.
  10. Begin again with a new student on the other team.
  1. Students REALLY get into this activity!
  2. This is a great post-reading activity for a story, because there are so many different types of questions which you can ask (see Martina Bex's examples).
  3. Quite honestly, although there are questions involved with this activity, for students it is all about giving or taking the points and making the correct choice for their teams.
  4. I always tell students that they will either love this game or hate it depending on which end of the "fair/unfair" that they are on.
  5. I also tell students that it is best to volunteer to be one of the first ones to pick a question, since there is not any stress just yet in the activity.
  6.  I have had students deliberately miss a question for which they knew the answer, because they did not want the stress of having to choose either give or take.
  7. The PowerPoint does not transfer well to Google Slides, because the hyperlinks get all messed up, so I just edit the PowerPoint template each time I use it.
  8. Miss Maestra in the Middle's' version - great way to involve ALL students in the game at the same time instead of just two teams.
  9. This is an easy game to keep in the target language, since the questions/answers are in the target language, and I keep the dialogue basic and formulaic: 
Teacher: Do you want to give or to take?
Student: I want to take.
Teacher: O class, _________ wants to take. And the points are ____________.