Monday, November 28, 2022

Summer 2023 CI/ADI Conferences

As 2022 winds down, it is not too early to start thinking about the possible CI/ADI conferences offered next summer in 2023:

Lots of good opportunities (in-person and virtual) both to learn about and to further your development as a CI/ADI teacher!

Are they any which I have missed and should be included?

Hope that you will consider attending one of these, and if I am there at that conference, please say hi!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Thank You - 2022

For this particular blog post, as we are now in Thanksgiving week, I wanted to write a message of thanks and gratitude as a CI teacher. Although I wrote a "thank you" post in 2016 (and all of that still rings true six years later!), since it has been six years, I want to write a follow up:

I am thankful for:

  1. My CI Family Tree - these are those teachers who were an incredible influence on my development as a CI/ADI teacher and still continue to inspire me to become a better language teacher. 
  2. The fellow members of my CI Latin department at Parkview High School - Rachel Ash, Liz Davidson, John Foulk, and Miriam Patrick.
  3. Those, who although are not named in my CI Family Tree, are ones from whom I have learned and am still learning so much about CI/ADI: (in no particular order) Martina Bex, Elicia Cardenas, Janet Holzer, Amy Marshall, Christina Bacca, Ariene Borutzki, Teri Wiechart, Annabelle Williamson, Jason Fritze, Michelle Kindt, Karen Rowan, Gary DiBianca, Amy Wopat, Andrea Schweitzer, Michele Whaley, John Bracey, Lance Piantaggini, Justin Slocum Bailey, Haiyun Lu, Mira Canion, Cindy Hitz, Bess Hayles, Carol Hill, Clarice Swaney, Allison Litten, Donna Tatum-Johns, Kelly Ferguson, Sarah Breckley (love her vlogs), Carrie Toth and Kristy Placido (for the CI Diaries podcast), Erica Burge, JJ Epperson, Diane Neubauer - I am certain that I have left out so many other people in that list. For the record, I still totally fanboy over these people when I see them and cannot believe that they know my name.
  4. The opportunities to serve as a coach for Acquisition Boot Camp (ABC) and IFLT and that they trust me to work with others on guiding them as CI/ADI teachers! 
Most of all, I am thankful for you my readers - this blog has over 880,000 page views since December 2013. To the twelve of you who regularly read my blog, you are the ones who keep me motivated to share my thoughts and activities. As I always say, thank you for thinking that I have something to say!

Monday, November 14, 2022

Strip/Rip BINGO

This is a quick listening activity which I found out by accident a few months ago, and I do not know why I had not heard about this earlier! Not too long ago, in response to a tweet of mine about the "Sex Game," someone replied the following: "Hopefully you're not referencing Strip BINGO in the same sentence lol!" I was completely unaware of Strip/Rip BINGO, so of course, the name alone caught my interest - I just HAD learn about this activity. Much like the Sex Game, Strip/Rip BINGO is a lot more innocent than the name entails. Here are Martina Bex's write up and directions.


  1. Target language word - have students write down the target language words, and read the story aloud to the class in the target language. When you get to a specific Strip/Rip BINGO word, pause, and have class chorally give the English meaning. If a student has that word on an edge of the strip, then that student can also rip it off the strip.
  2. English meaning - have students write down the English meaning, and read the story aloud in the target language. When students hear the target language word aloud, they can rip off the English meaning if it is an edge word on their strips.


  1. This activity lasted about 5 minutes and was a quick way to review a story in a different way.
  2. I did the English meaning variation and loved that this was a new and different way to do a listening activity combined with BINGO! It was a close-listening activity.
  3. I loved that this required me to read the story around 1.5 times - students heard repetitions of the story but with a goal of being able to rip off their strips in order to get BINGO!
  4. After a student got BINGO, I actually had students ask me to keep reading the story so that they could get BINGO too! Of course, I did not refuse - this does not happen often at all! I am not a fool to refuse getting in more repetitions of language at their request!!
  5. Now that students are familiar with the game and know "how" to game it (i.e., pick words which appear early in the story to put on the edges), future variations are to read a sight story, to start in the middle or end of the story, or to not use a story with a lot of repetitive vocabulary.

Monday, November 7, 2022

The Power of "Rewind"

This past summer at IFLT, I served as a Cohort Team member for the Intermediate Low cohort. Gary DiBianca was the our cohort leader and led the daily sessions on CI/ADI strategies and implementation. As one of the Cohort Team members, I demonstrated many of these strategies which I conducted in Latin. Since the majority (if not all) of the participants in the cohort did not know any Latin, it allowed them to experience CI/ADI as language learning students themselves.

On one of the days, I demo'd a Movie Talk in Latin and kept it very basic, sheltering/limiting vocabulary. In the debrief afterwards where I asked participants what did I do to make the Movie Talk understandable and comprehensible for them, one participant remarked, "I liked how you kept going back and reviewing in Latin the previous parts of the Movie Talk before you moved onto the next part." Quite honestly, I was completely unaware that I was doing that - I was just repeating parts solely to make the movie talk last longer! However, aware of that comment, I notice now when teaching that I do go back and repeat previous parts of the story when doing Movie Talks, Story Listening, and Telling a Story aloud - all subconsciously and not intently. 

"Rewinding" or repeating previous statements in stories can be a very powerful tool:

  • It allows for repetitions of understandable messages.
  • It lends itself to repetitions of language which slower processors may need to comprehend what is being said.
  • It keeps already-stated messages still at the forefront of learners' minds.
  • It allows for a place to park and to conduct a Personalized Question and Answer (PQA).
You can also ask students to help do the "rewind" with you, starting it off with a sentence, and then asking, "Who can then tell me what happened next (in the target language)?"

While many of you may think that "rewinding" is overkill for students, there are many who actually need it and will benefit from it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Teaching is What I Do, Not Who I Am

For months, I have debated whether or not to post this. However, after recently listening to an episode on Annabelle Williamson's podcast Listening to Your Gut, what Annabelle had to say really resonated with me.

One of my favorite TV shows is Abbott Elementary. Not only do I find the show absolutely hilarious, but I think that it actually captures what teaching and school life is like as a teacher (as opposed to a show years ago called Boston Public which I felt got it so wrong). One of the aspects which I love most about Abbott Elementary is how it portrays the dynamics between the younger, newer teachers and the older generation of teachers. The younger teachers, with only a year or two of teaching under their belts, view the older teachers as cynical and uncaring about issues in education, while the older teachers view their younger counterparts as idealistic and unrealistic. However, what the younger teachers soon realize is that the older teachers do indeed care about education but after years of experience, they now realize which battles are worth fighting and which are not - these older teachers understand the reality of the teaching workplace. 

I SO relate to both sets of teachers in Abbot Elementary! I can vividly remember in my first year of teaching as a 27-year old listening to an older teacher named Herb in his 50's ramble on about how much education had changed and how SO MUCH MORE was being added/expected of teachers in addition to teaching without anything else being taken away, AND I can vividly remember my reaction being, "Gosh, this is man is old and all he does is complain - he needs to retire." Fast forward 24 years later - I am now Herb!!  Chalk it up to that I am in a completely different age and stage than I was in my first year of teaching at the age of 27, and the scope of education has changed so much since 1997. If only Herb were to see now what we teachers are required to do now 24-25 years later! 

You may view this blog post as ramblings of a grumpy "old man" (how i can remember thinking that 52 was old when I was in my 20's!), but now that I am in my last 1/3 of my teaching career, there is so much which I view differently now than even 5-10 years ago. I am so grateful for the pandemic lockdown and the year of hybrid teaching, because everything came to a screeching halt, and I had to re-evaluate myself. One of the biggest lessons which I have come to learn: Teaching is what I do but it is not at all who I am. 

I had to go through a shift in my mindset to come to that conclusion, and like I said (and also as shown on Abbott Elementary), so much of it is a result of my age and stage. Here is how I now keep perspective:

  • It is perfectly okay to look out for yourself first, because that is healthyI think that it is very easy to blur the lines between our professional and personal lives and that so often, our professional pursuits/lives slowly bleed into our personal lives until there is no real distinction between the two. I firmly believe that as teachers, we are incredibly passionate people (or else we would not be teachers) and that we are very giving of ourselves to our students and to the profession. Yet, whenever I hear teachers say that they are staying in the profession for their students (because "if they as teachers leave, who will be there for their students?"), then I become dismayed, because that it is a "savior mentality" thinking. While students indeed should be a priority, you yourself are priority number one! If you are at the point that you feel you need to leave teaching, then do it! Teaching will always be there to return back to again - focus on yourself first. 
  • Boundaries are SO important - please draw them, and stick to them! I am no longer serving on any more boards as a member or officer - being a new department head is more than enough to fill my plate. I am now incredibly selective with what conferences I will attend and present at. Years ago, I felt like that attending/presenting at conferences was my life, and I really enjoyed it - it brought me pleasure. But that was the problem - my professional life became my personal life. 
  • Leaving work at work. I love that I have a true personal life now!
  • Choose your battles carefully - big picture, not every hill is worth dying on. 
  • Find out who you are outside of teaching. Again, once I made a distinct boundary between my professional and personal life, I could focus on me outside of anything related to the classroom. I am learning that I enjoy traveling and cruising (on a ship, not in a car down a street lol)!
This is not to say that I have lost my passion for teaching - far from it! I still want to be the best teacher whom I can be and wish to continue to grow. However, because of this perspective, I am able to enjoy teaching in this last 1/3 of my professional career and to avoid burnout.

Anyone else love watching Abbott Elementary too?