Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Smoke Seller - Movie Talk

Here is another one of my go-to movie talks which I tend to use quite regularly over the years, because I like the plot and because I can manipulate the animated short to fit the vocabulary which I need for a particular reading. Words which can be targeted in this movie talk are young man, old woman, dog, drives a car, city/town, approaches, goes/comes to, sells, life, miserable, better than, citizens/people, wears clothes, transforms/changes, and airplane.


  1. I really like the music in this animated short!
  2. I think that this is made by the same animators as Snack Attack, because the young men in both animated shorts look strikingly similar! I did not catch that, but students have certainly pointed that out to me.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dragonboy - Movie Talk

This is one of my all-time, go-to movie talks. I really like the story, and because I have done this movie talk so many times, I can manipulate it to preview whatever vocabulary words which I need. I just have to remember which levels have seen this Movie Talk and when! It is a great animated short for level 1 for basic words like boy, girl, take, flower, make, see, love, wants, has, happy, sad, and angry, but I have also used it in upper levels for very specialized words such as attack, punch, seek out, chase, pretend, princess/queen, leader, kingdom, dragon, roar, and cruel. 


  1. I have found that students really like this animated short. 
  2. Every time I do this Movie Talk, students will always ask, "Where the heck is the teacher during the play?! Are there any grownups there?!!!"

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Using Blooket

I feel like I have totally come late to the party on this web app tool, but near the end of last semester, I was introduced to the website Blooket. Around November 2020, the German teacher at my school shared it with my department, and Rachel Ash (one of my Latin colleagues) then created a novella chapter review for our Latin 2 team. My students really enjoyed the different activities which we played, so it is now one of my digital web app tools which I use for review. 

Blooket has so many different games and activities which you can assign students to play either as a whole group or as individual work. The best part is that you only have to create one set of questions, and then you can choose which activities you want to do with those questions.

I will usually do 2-3 different activities in a classroom lesson.

Usually, I will first start out with Racing, which is simply students answering questions, and if they answer correctly, they can move forward one space in the race course. The more quickly one answers questions correctly, the faster one will move across the screen. However, as you answer questions, you gain chances for random rewards, which can move players up a space, players can choose to move leaders back a space, and players can shield themselves from attacks. I like doing this activity first, because it exposes students to the questions in a quick 4-5 minute game. This will prepare them for the longer game which we will play next (I learned this from Rachel too).

Gold Quest
This is a really fun game to play for about 7-9 minutes! I tell students that they will either love this game or absolutely hate it, because it is all based on chance and just because one may know all of the answers, it does not mean that person will necessarily win. 

The premise is very simple: players will answer a question and if they answer correctly, they can choose from one of three treasure chests. Each of the treasure chests has a different reward or "punishment," e.g., 100 gold pieces, lose 10% of your gold, triple your gold, take 25% of another player's gold, swap gold with another player, etc. Because this is based on chance, no one has an advantage over another in terms of being able to win. It all depends on which treasure chests the players choose.

There was a holiday version of Gold Quest released for December, and that was a lot of fun to play!

  1. I will usually make about 35-45 questions, which means that students are getting LOTS of repetitions of questions during an activity.
  2. I have found that students enjoy playing Blooket more than GimKit. I think because it does not necessarily cater to the students who know how to "game" GimKit to get to a million points within a minute, so it seems more fair. Also depending on the game, everyone has a fair shot at winning due to the chance factor.
  3. I always play along with students. Just because I know all of the answers (and questions!) does not mean that I will win the game. On the contrary, I usually am the one who ends up doing all of the heavy lifting, only to have my points taken away from me by other players. 
  4. Some of the games have rewards such as blurring everyone else's screen so that they cannot read what is on it, putting trees all over the screen, minimzing screens, turning the screen upside down, icing players' moves for 10 seconds. It is a lot of fun! 
  5. During this hybrid teaching situation, Blooket has been a godsend!
  6. Although it is "free," there is a limit to how many "blooks" you can create with a free account. For a price, you can upgrade to an unlimited amount of blooks and exclusive features. I suppose you could rewrite existing blooks to make new ones?
  7. A lot of these activities can be assigned as individual homework - great for asynchronous learning days!
  8. Much like GimKit, I will do Blooket every 5-6 weeks in order to preserve the novelty.
Have you used any of the other Blooket activities in your classes such as Cafe or Battle Royale? Let me know how your students liked them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

GimKit - Draw That

Just recently, I tried out the new Draw That game on GimKit. In this current hybrid teaching situation of trying to balance in-person and digital students and of me remaining 100% seated behind my desk in front of a screen, so many face-to-face activities which were mainstays of my CI-driven classroom have been pushed aside for another day. Even GimKit has gotten a bit stale with students, so this new drawing game could not have come at a better time!

Essentially, this game is a digital version of Pictionary, where a student draws a picture and in real time, it appears on everyone else's device screens. Meanwhile, the rest of the players guess the word by typing it in their devices


  1. Students loved this game! Being able to see the picture being drawn in real time is what made the activity so attractive and engaging for students.
  2. Like Pictionary, your choice of words need to be easily illustrated, i.e., don't pick a word like dignity.
  3. The only drawback I found with this was that it requires correct spelling of vocabulary words. For an inflected language like Latin, what form of the word should I pick? For nouns, just the nominative or should I pick a more common form with which students are more familiar from the readings? For verbs, should I pick the infinitive form or a particular form (tense, person) which they know better? For example, one of the words which students was guessing was urbs, but a lot of students were guessing urbe instead, since the readings tended to have the phrase in urbe more than urbs.
  4. Students found that when using a phone or tablet, autocorrect would change the spelling of the Latin word to an English word. I will play along with students, and when I typed in the word misit, autocorrect changed it to moist. 
  5. Because students knew that they could be called on next to draw, they had to pay attention and to be part of the game at all times!
  6. Now from a CI perspective, I prefer the Charlala Draw Room because I can have students illustrate full sentences instead of individual words and then they can choose which sentence they believe the picture is depicting. 
After we played it last week, a number of my Zoom students (who are normally very quiet) wrote in chat, "That was so much fun! Can we play it again?" As much as I love hearing that, my pat answer whenever I hear that is, "Yep...in 5-6 weeks (in order to preserve the novelty)."