iFLT registration opens TOMORROW! Are YOU ready for the most comprehensive, collegial, and effective TPRS/CI training of the YEAR? Don’t be stuck in the “upside down” of your career! Let iFLT rescue you! Tomorrow, November 1st, just “Hopper” on over to our iFLT website and register! The conference has SOLD OUT for the past 4 years, so don’t spend too much time thinking!

Here are 11 highLIGHTS from last year’s iFLT conference from our official blogger Arianne Dowd! These are just a small taste of the wisdom and inspiration that awaits you!

  1. Bryce says that delayed gratification does not work well with language acquisition.  Students want to begin engaging with language early on.  He told us the story of John Gagliardi.  He was the head football coach at St. John’s University in Minnesota with the most wins in college history.  Why was this so?  Bryce said it is because he had a revolutionary approach.  Instead of having “practice” and “drills” about the game, they PLAYED the game during practice.  What a wonderful way to think of students’ language learning.  Instead of having students learn about language, why not have them engage with the language by reading.
  2. Some of the authentic resources that Kristy has modified are memes, tweets, film, commercials and news articles. An example of an authentic resource that Kristy modified is a film commercial.  She did a Movie Talk with the authentic commercial with language that was comprehensible to her students. Next she made slides in PPT that looked like a graphic novel. This added another layer of Comprehensible Input. Her final layer was an expanded story that she created that was more in depth than what they had previously discussed. If you would like to see this lesson, check it out here for free! It can help spark ideas about how you can modify an authentic resource for your classroom.
  3. What hooks can you use?  Defintely check out “Teach like a Pirate” by Dave Burgess to find out more about hooks if you have not done so already.   It will get you excited to go back to school in the fall.  One idea is acting out something related to the book such as a teacher wearing a costume or to have a certain mood in your classroom with lighting and music.  Capture their interest and create a wonder.  Add a layer of intrigue where they think that something exciting is about to happen.  We are so lucky that Fluency Matters TGs come with amazing hooks.  However Kristy injects them in various parts of the novel unit.
  4. Use structures to have a legitimate conversation with your students.  Be smart, and think of structures  you want your students to acquire while you converse with them.  Students think you are off task but in reality we are activating these important structures.
  5. Story quilting: This is something I will be using using with novels this year in my classroom.  First students read a story/chapter/novel.  Then they receive five post its to illustrate the five most important events of the story.  When they finish they stick their post it notes on construction paper, which represents a quilt. Then students exchange their quilts (the construction paper).  The student they exchanged their paper with now writes a description of the illustrations that the first student drew.  When Nelly finished, she realized that she had a ton of awesome writing and pictures.  So she decided to take the post it notes off of the quilts and hang them all over her classroom.  The next day when students came in, she gave the students the construction papers with the writing.  They had to get up and find the post it notes to put the quilt back together.  The best part is that they do not even realize how much reading they are doing!
  6. Story cups tower: With this game, you prepare 20 questions ahead of time for the content you are working on.  Put the kids in groups of four.  Each student has a white board and a dry erase marker.  They will get collaborate with their group and answer a question.  Time them and have them show you their answer.   All students  with the right answer come to the front and get a cup.  You repeat again with with question 2.   They are supposed to create a tower with the cups they earn.  At the end, the group who makes the tallest tower without destroying it is the winner.   After answering their comprehension questions, they build their tower for 30 seconds.  If it falls they can not touch it until after answering next question. You can put pictures or sentence strips on cups for your stories so then when they build they will have to build based on story!!
  7. If we do not feel the flow, it is time for a change.  Readers Theater is a great way to get your students in flow because it makes reading come alive and everyone is in flow at the same time.  Our goal is to make students forget they are reading.  How can we do this? By using comprehensible Spanish!  How comprehensible?   Well Krashen had just explained in the session earlier that it should be about 95% comprehensible.   Check out this awesome resource by Marcos Benevides to see how well you would do with a 90% comprehensible text here.
  8. Have a class photographer to photograph reader’s theater.  Use these pictures to retell the story.  I used this strategy all year in my classes and students loved the personalization of the photos for their retells.  To learn more, check out Martina Bex’s post about Freeze Frame here.
  9. Señor Wooly (aka Jim Wooldridge) kicked off iFLT 17 with an amazing keynote!  He spoke about the role of authenticity versus inauthenticity in his life.  He used his story as a musician to explain that he felt as if his musical career was representative of inauthenticity.  He was not born into a musical family nor environment.  He received training but it was classical.  He was not able to branch out with his music and use it with fluidity and improvisation.  He felt that he had to work at the skill and would lose it if he did not practice.  He lacked a certain authenticity. Does this resonate with you on your journey as a language teacher?  Are you not a native speaker?  Were you born into a family where no one speaks another language other than English?
  10. In Carrie’s Identify unit in level 3 she delves much deeper than she does in level 1.  She prints out the student’s  yearbook picture, blows it up on a copier and when students come to class they see their photo on their desk.  She then asks them to fill up this paper with all the information they have to describe themselves.  Then she collects it, hangs it and tells them that for the rest of the unit they can no longer use these words to describe themselves.  They need to delve much deeper into their identity and go beyond their superficial selves.  Now students need to begin to explain the influences in their lives and their impact on their identity.
  11. Darcy recognizes as key to any L2 classroom is building community.  She said that magic can not happen in your classroom if you do not have a rapport with your students.  Students must feel safe in your classroom environment in order to take risks and create with language.

We hope you will consider joining us! This conference is full of “Comprehensible Things!” You ‘WILL’ reJOYCE!

This blog post was written by total geek and pun aficionada, Kristy Placido. Kristy is an iFLT presenter, the editor of the CI Peek blog, and also blogs at kplacido.com.

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