I have been back with students for almost a month (my first day back for pre-planning was July 25, and the first day of school was August 5). However, I am still basking in my IFLT high from everything which I learned (and re-learned!) a month ago and from being with such awesome people, most of whom I am still fanboying over.
Meanwhile, I know that there are many of you who have just started the school year or are beginning after Labor Day. How should you start off the school year when it comes to CI/ADI instruction? Regardless of your familiarity with CI (for Star Wars fans like me, allow me to use Star Wars language: are you a force-seeker, Padawan, or a Jedi Master?) or your number of years as a CI/ADI teacher, this is my advice for anyone starting out the school year when it comes to CI: Take just a few new CI/ADI strategies which you wish to try out, and run with them. Build upon your previous foundation (if any). Exercise your CI muscles, and establish that new foundation. It may be that you wish to try out using processing questions or a Movie Talk/Clip Chat, or maybe you wish to focus on proficiency instead of performance. Maybe you want to try out a novella with your classes. Whatever it is, focus on those. But do not bite off more than you can handle. So often, novice teachers return from conferences and want to implement so much, but they do not possess the necessary foundation yet and burn out as a result. There is no rush to go all-in with CI if you are not ready for it. Once you feel comfortable with facilitating those strategies and have built up that foundation, then possibly add some new ones, and begin the process again.
Based on what I learned at IFLT in July, here are my CI/ADI strategies which I wish to try out this year (some of these I have already tried out in this first month of school and have blogged about):
- Communicative-based activities and "communicatifying" existing ones
- Write and Discuss
- Associating vocabulary with gestures
- Classroom passwords for previewing vocabulary