Reflections from CI Midwest 2019

I traveled from North Carolina to CI Midwest and it is the first conference that I have been to for teaching and the first for CI. I've been reading blogs and researching strategies to use with my students because I felt and feel that Comprehensible Input was the best for my students and what I want for them.

With that being said, everything from the keynote speaker, Alina Filipescu, to every session I attended WAS AMAZING! It was the first time being at the conference but it definitely won't be my last. I can't even put into words how great the sessions were, but I do want to share some of the things that I was able to IMMEDIATELY take back to my classroom and use with my students. I also want to share some things I realized during sessions that it is important for US as teachers to remember for students.

Learning Latin :)

I went to a session with Justin Slocum called A Scale Model of 3 Instructional Hours. Being in his class was eye-opening in two ways.

Comprehensible input works. It's that simple. Justin taught us Latin in Latin and made sure that we understood his messages. We were given opportunities to communicate in Latin and it was so much fun.

Listening and learning another language can be draining. During those lessons in Latin, I realized I needed response time. I needed more input to be able to use what was being taught. This is huge for me because I realized that I need to make sure students had enough time to process and brain breaks. Brain breaks are new to me but I love them and they are NECESSARY. If I felt like I needed one, chances are my students did too.

Brain Breaks

Let's jump right into brain breaks! I learned lots of brain breaks in sessions with Annabelle, or La Maestra Loca as many know her.

Most of my students are first time Spanish students and they NEED brain breaks. They can be beneficial in any language class. My favorite brain break seen at the conference was a variation of Rock Paper Scissors. In Spanish, it is  UNO, DOS, TRES, DALE! I tried this will my students just to give them a break from speaking Spanish so much! They loved it!

OWI & Write and Discuss

This was a HIT with my students. OWI is an abbreviation for ONE WORD IMAGE.  The activity is conducted in Spanish and requires lots of circling but my students honestly want more activities with it. Students choose an object as a class and personify the object. Give the object physical and personality traits, a problem, or whatever the student decide. As we create this OWI, a student is illustrating him/her. I don't allow my student to see the final product from our student artist until we are done. It adds a WOW factor. :)

After giving our object life, we write out the story. There is more circling and I'm modeling writing for the students. I'm also giving them more MUCH NEEDED input.

High Frequency Story-telling challenge

I learned about this activity in a session with Sarah Breckley. This is a super fun activity for students to be creative and use what they've learned. Students use high frequency verbs given by the teacher or target structures from a unit/lesson to create a story. The challenge is to use all the verbs successfully in their story. It's fun to watch and see what they students can come up with.

Classroom Passwords

Having classroom passwords is a great way to connect with students and build relationships. I plan to change the password every week to a new Spanish rejoinder. I'm at the door greeting my students. Students will buy into the password and help each other remember what it is. Also, student don't realized they are learning rejoinders that they can use in conversations.

There is so much to learn about CI. There is always more to learn and I can genuinely recommend CI Midwest. I know I plan to return! All of the presentations I attended were amazing. The conference was definitely a turning point for my CI Journey and I can't wait to share more about our CI adventures.

Have you tried any of these activities or strategies? If you haven't, I hope some of these are intriguing and that you can try them out with your students.

- Jade :)

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