iFLT & a new game

Here I am in St. Petersburg, Florida having the best time at the iFLT conference! It is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many teachers who are here to share and learn and connect. Stay tuned for my “Oh my gosh- blow my mind-conference take aways” but I wanted to share a quick game with you in this post!

This week, my role is “Apprentice” in the Adult Language Lab. One of the things that sets iFLT apart from other conferences are their Language Labs. While teachers are attending sweet sessions and working with their cohort to strengthen their CI skills, there are actual classes going on, where real people are learning a new language, taught by the CI greats!  This gives the cool opportunity for conference attendances to watch some of incredible CI teachers in action, really teaching!  If you can swing it for next summer, come to iFLT, you won’t regret it! iFLT 2020 will be in Southern California and I’m already excited about it!

Most of the Language Lab participants are children, but I’m working in the Adult Spanish lab this week, which is pretty fun. This is my first time teaching grown ups…and they’re hilarious! I’m super blessed to work with some incredible colleagues to collaboratively teach our Language Lab.

For our lesson this morning, Elicia Cárdenes and I wanted to really focus on giving more repetitions of our target structures: huele (smells) quiere (wants) and le da (gives to him/her).  Yesterday I was thinking about our lesson and you guys know how my brain works…There’s gotta be a way to make this an input game.  Thankfully inspiration struck from who knows where, then Elicia and I ironed out the details and figured out how to maximize our target structures. And so I present to you the ¿Huele bien o huele mal? Game.

BTW- I had to represent Nevada here in Florida, and this game has the feel of a high stakes poker game. Remember, the element of luck and chance makes any game fun!

For our language lab, we played this with a small group of adults…here’s how I will play it in a classroom of 30 kids.

Set up the game: 

Teach the structures smells, wants and gives to him/her! Make sure they know them! At this conference I’m rediscovering the power of  TPR (assigning gestures for words and responding by  gesturing while the teacher says the word), so TPR the heck out of those words to begin.

Then put your little darlings in small groups…say 3 or 4 students.

And pick a kiddo to help you assign points, who shall here forth be referred to as Point Helper.

Project this slide and you’re ready to go! If you’re not a Spanish teacher and you’d like to translate this document into your language, I’d be so delighted to share it here! Let me know!

To Play: Each group makes a prediction about the next slide (which they can’t see yet). Teacher asks “Does it smell good or smell bad?” (There’s absolutely no skill involved in this game…they’re just making a guess!) Then they announce “it smells good” or “it smells bad” to the class. (For a level 2 class, I’d change the structure to it’s going to smell good/ it’s going to smell bad and for a upper level class, the structure would be “I hope it smells good/ I hope it smells bad)

huele 1

The teacher confirms everyone’s prediction (because, remember, the whole point is just to give them lots of repetitions of our target words) and then reveals the next slide, which is a picture of something that smells good or bad. (according to me!)

huele 2

The students who correctly predicted huele bien then get points…but there’s another element of chance, because, hey! I’m from Nevada! We even have slot machines in our airports and grocery stores!

huele 3

Each group decides if they want to take the 4 points OR if they want the mystery points! And remember, we’re going for reps here, so the teacher summarizes, “This group wants 4 points, this other group wants mystery points, etc”

For the groups that want 4 points, the teacher tells the Point Helper, “Point helper gives this group 4 points” and actually hands them something! In my class, it’s poker chips (Nevada, remember!) but it can be anything: squares of paper, paper clips, follow your heart! Pro tip: It’s waaaay easier to give kids something to keep track of their points than making tally marks on the board!

Then the teacher reveals the mystery points…

huele 4

and the Point Helper gives 2 points to the groups that wanted mystery points, while the teacher is narrating away.

And then repeat! I don’t have a video to show you…if anyone at iFLT happened to film it, please let me know, I’d love to post it! If not, you’ll have to wait until I play it in the fall with my new Little Darlings!

The main point: But maybe you don’t feel like you need to teach the word “smells” and this game isn’t for you. But that’s not really the point here. …I’m discovering that you can make an input game out of ANYTHING- just introduce an element of luck to your game, think about a way to give lots of repetition of your target structure and you’ve got yourself an input game! Badda Boom Badda Bang!

And, please be kind if this post is riddled with typos and you’re like, What the heck is wrong with this woman, isn’t she a TEACHER?! I’m really tired from learning so much and having so much fun and I promised two people I would post this game tonight and I’m…just…too…tired….to…do…a…good…job….editing! Sorry, friends!  

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