When I first started teaching I remember being told: “Do your best, but know that not EVERY lesson will be great at first. Aim for ONE great lesson a week.”
Now, I’ll be really honest. I have some lessons that still go bad now and then. Not every day is easy and no two classes respond the same way. A lesson in one class may get every student singing and smiling and speaking the language and the same one the next class can be a flop. This teaching thing can be tricky. 🙂
I’m now working on making more of my “good” lessons into “great” ones. I’m a long ways from it, but I’m aiming to become a master teacher one day with a big ole’ bag of tricks and lots of great lessons. I’m realizing more and more that it all comes back to comprehensible input. Not just any input. Many people can speak Spanish (or French or German or Chinese) but it takes effort to stay comprehensible AND keep students attention.
Here are 3 tips for delivering better comprehensible input:
1.) Tweak the “I can” statement
Instead of making the goal about THEM, make it about the culture. With technology and half a brain, my students can figure out how to say what sports they like WITHOUT me! They have little reason to listen. That’s not the case if they’re learning something new. Language AND culture! Here was a recent goal in my 1A class.
2.) Let the input come from a variety of sources
Let them hear you talk, let them read appropriate amounts of target language, and find a quick video that supports what you are saying, excites them, and gives you a little more to talk about!
This is a peak at some of input that my students were given.
This is the video we watched. Note, very few kids like soccer… UNTIL they see it!
3.) Let them practice before producing on their own
We talked, read about, and watched fun videos about Leo Messi, Robinson Cano, and Victor Cruz then I let them work in pairs. First, they read over a list of facts in Spanish about the athletes and had to decide which of them it was describing.
Then, they played Akinator and tried to answer questions to get the genie to guess one of these athletes. Guess what? He did!
Confession time: I didn’t give them an exit slip! I checked their understand as we learned and used their “reading practice” as their measure of learning.
So did they really learn? Yes! However, I wasn’t finished here. This was more than a 1 day objective. That happens sometimes. Not during observations or evaluations, of course, just in real life.
Tomorrow, I’ll share part 2. If you’re interested in the entire UNIT plan (Can do goals, 2 weeks of lessons, authres, homework, project, & assessment) it’s available on our curriculum site here: ADIOSTEXTBOOK.com
What about you? What helps you give good, comprehensible input? How are you making your “good” lessons GREAT?