Friday, February 24, 2017

News, news, news!

1) Website!
I now have a real website with like resources and stuff. This blog might eventually move over there, but that's extra work so we'll see. It's not pretty yet- no pictures or color to speak of. There are definitely formatting inconsistencies. BUT it's more or less together and I feel mostly okay about using it to link people to resources now. If you have a chance, please take a look and let me know what you think. Is it easy to find what you're looking for? Does the organization make sense at all? Any glaring omissions? Any formatting things that need fixing? I want it to be useful to people like YOU so please be as critical as you can!

It can be found at

2) Mille Noctes hits the big time
Mille Noctes used to be a sad little blog where I posted some stories sometimes. Then I got volunteers like Allyson Bunch and Mark Christiansen and stuff got real. Check it out here. It's not done yet, but it's sooooooo much more useful than it was. As a bonus, it also has tabs for Activities & Teaching Techniques and will eventually have a separate general Materials tag as well. I've been using it for a couple of weeks and LOVE it. I know, everyone thinks their own baby is the most beautiful, but trust me. It's beautiful.

Creating CI materials

You can’t.

Well, bye everyone!

Well, okay, since you’re here, I guess I could explain what I mean. Recently I was asked if I could write some short informational “CI” texts to include in a packet to be distributed to various Latin teachers. I said no, partly because I’m overcommitted as it is, and partly because I’d have had to like, research stuff, which is effort.

The thing that’s stuck with me though is the idea that we can include “CI materials” in such packets. I don’t think there’s such a thing as “CI materials.” There’s definitely such a thing as “I” materials, that is, materials that provide input in the target language. The “C” is as usual the difficult part. The reason you can’t make “CI materials” as such is that you can’t make something and guarantee it’ll be comprehensible to all parties.  I’m comfortable writing for my own students because I have a decent idea of what’s known versus unknown to them. When writing Cloelia or other stuff for public consumption, however, I don’t have that knowledge. That’s why I don’t want to be known as someone who writes “CI novellas” or “CI texts.”

There are certainly things you can do to make materials that are CI-friendly, however. What I mean by CI-friendly, or CI-oriented, is this: the texts (or videos whatever) are designed with the end goal of comprehensibility in mind, and are presented in ways that make that goal as easy to attain as possible… assuming the teacher & students put the work in to make it there.
Here are some ways you can make materials CI-friendly.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's steal activities from SEI! Ping Pong Sentence Frames

I'm taking a very short SEI course on PD days at school. I'm actually finding it vaguely interesting and useful, which is nice! Here's a thing I just learned and then immediately turned around and used for Latin.

It was presented as one option for Step Six in this Seven Step model for vocabulary introduction, which is designed to take less than 3 minutes per word and be usable for any subject. The instructor didn't really give it a name but she did use the word "ping-pong" and it involved a sentence frame kinda thing so we'll go with that.

Ping Pong Sentence Frames

1. Teacher provides some kind of sentence frame. We were practicing with "transform," and she used the frame, "A __________ can transform into a __________."

2. Teacher sets a one-minute timer, and starts: "A caterpillar can transform into a butterfly."

3. Designated student gives their own version, "A tadpole can transform into a frog." Teacher & student continue, giving as many examples as possible in one minute.
"A bad student can transform into a good student."
"A bad teacher can transform into a good teacher."
"An ice cube can transform into a puddle."
"An egg can transform into a chicken."

etc. They don't really have to even be true, so long as they follow the pattern and make SOME kind of sense.

The next day, I tried it with my kids. I didn't time us (mistake- the urgency would have helped) and I didn't make it one versus one. Instead, I took answers from anyone who was ready. Some classes got into it more than others, but it totally got in reps and we had fun.
___________ contra _____________ bellum gerit.
Americans contra British bellum gerit.
Trump contra Hilary bellum gerit.
Japanese contra Americans bellum gerit.
America contra terrorism bellum gerit.

We also did some with servat: Superman Lois Lane servat. Spiderman "that ginger" servat. Batman his parents NON servat. Tom Brady Patriots servat. etc.

And some with vincit: Patriots Falcons vincit. Trump Hilary vincit. amor omnia vincit (okay, that was mine). etc.

It was a good way to kill a few minutes and get some nice contextual reps in of some new terms. All in all, totally worth adding to the toolbox.