What is something you did that didn't go as planned?
Okay, here we go - the good stuff :). I would say a lot didn't go as planned. There were pieces here and there in each class that I could have done better or that went in a direction I wasn't prepared for. I think what I want to focus on though, is something that didn't go quite as planned and yet, did well enough that I am intending on continuing for the foreseeable future.
This last year and a half (I started in January 2017) I kept to a daily routine in my classes. I started to experiment some with some new ideas. Some went well, others crashed after a short joy ride. So, here is a quick layout of what I did, when I started, and how long it lasted:
Date and Weather
Why? Let's be honest. We want our kids to know the dates and how to count and THEY want to be able to come running into your room and (if it's the South in January) say, "It's snowing!" in the target language. It's the truth. So... I see this as a must. My kids have learned how to do the date and weather and this last year we got a lot of opportunity to talk about some unique weather with the eclipse, a hurricane, snow, etc.
How? The way I did this was with mini white boards. I had kids try it on their own while I took roll and then we went over it together.
What didn't go well? HA! A lot. (1) The whiteboards were great in theory, but in reality... the markers dried out quickly and the kids discovered their greatest struggle: putting things away. (2) It was monotonous. (3) The weather didn't vary enough sometimes for us to have fun. (4) Eventually the kids who could do it really well stopped paying attention.
Changes for the future? Despite these issues, I am going to continue doing this every day. I do plan to address the above issues in a few ways: (1) instead of white boards, we'll write it in our reflection/timed write journals or on our vocabulary notes. (2) I'm not quite sure how to change this up. I think it is really important we do this, but I don't quite have ideas to change it up as often as possible yet. (3) Read previous. (4) I've thought of a few ways to handle this: when kids seem to get it, stop having them write it down or stop having them write it down before we discuss; perhaps I could (and this worked well when it happened) allow one of these high flyers to lead this discussion.
Why? Well, because I need to know who is here! And also because it gets a little, even if repetitive, practice with the 1st person present.
How? Standard: Katy? Adsum!
What didn't go well? SO MONOTONOUS! Some kids don't answer loud enough, others at all, and some aren't in the room.
Changes for the future? I stole this from my father, who I think got it from John Piazza (?). The idea is that every day the kids have something different to say or do for their roll call. I love this. There are a wide variety of things that they might do:
Why? Because they are fun. When we do these we learn colloquialisms and idioms. We learn fun ways to say things we already know and we provide extra input for those who want it.
How? Every Monday (okay... many Mondays) I would have a word of phrase on the board and I would go over it. Each time the kids used it in class, they received a ticket they could trade in for something.
What didn't go well? The overall success of the word/phrase depended heavily on my own use of it and the particular class. Some were more popular than others. Some got lost in the hustle and bustle. I wanted it to be so much more than it was...
Changes for the future? I am still going to use these... They will be weekly... but... Instead of tickets, we'll count them as rejoinders and the class will get to acquire those points toward a fun Friday.
Daily Cell Phone TPR-ish
If there was anything such as a daily ritual it is this. This is how we fight rampant cell phone abuse. I stole this from my father, straight up. It works really well, if you are consistent. I wasn't...
Why? To fight extraneous cell phone use, and set the tone of the day.
How? Each day the teacher asks in TL "Where are your cell phones" and students and teacher go through the list: Not on my desk, not in my hands, not on my lap, not in my pockets, not on the floor. It is in my backpack or on the wall (I have a wall of pockets where kids can turn in cell phones).
What didn't go well? I wasn't consistent. I didn't start this from day 1 with my kids in Latin I. If I had, I would have been more committed myself. I am learning from this mistake... No exceptions - EVERY DAY from here on out.
Changes for the future? EVERY DAY.
Daily New Item
Why? Kids want to talk about the news. It is relevant to them and important. They want to know how to use the language in meaningful ways to them.
How? Each day I would find a news story (often one I heard on the radio on the way in) and write 1-3 sentences in Latin about it. I would read those sentences and we would discuss it in the TL.
What didn't go well? Again, this one is completely on me. I wasn't consistent. I let the hassle of finding news and testing get in my way of what I knew was a great thing for the kids.
Changes for the future? For my IVs I am considering using Nuntii Latini. For my ones and twos, I will commit myself do doing this... maybe not every day, but 3 days a week.