John continues his response to Wileen’s question about inheriting non-CI trained upper level kids from other classrooms:
I really think reading is the bridge between traditional inherited classes and CI. If they are looking at a big readings and doing lots of work with it, students will think they are doing serious work. Conversely, if we do too much spoken work with these students, or make it appear less rigorous, they will be less likely to take us and the class seriously. I am taking the traditional textbook, selecting the best stories from that text, and creating as many embedded readings as I can. These I will use for Latin 1 and 2, and for 3 review at the beginning of the year.
I’m sure I’ll change my mind a few more times on this before the year starts, but that’s where I stand right now in terms of this big difficulty. Most important is to avoid getting burned, as has happened to Ben, Jeff, and so many others in our ranks. I am thinking about this a lot as well, as I come into a very traditional super high achieving Latin program.
For 3rd year, rather than making speeches and trying to convince them to enjoy fun activities, I am planning to make reading — CI reading — a huge part of the curriculum, with quick quizzes, comprehension, grammar and vocab quizzes, translation tests, dictation, etc. They will know that it’s rigorous, but they will be getting a whole lot of CI. I will also have them do composition work emulating the different genres, writing their own letters, poems, aphorisms, etc. Even if this production doesn’t help them with acquisition, it will tell them that I’m a serious teacher who knows his stuff, and has high expectations of excellence, blah blah. Projects? Why not? It’s what they are used to, and as long as I don’t have to do more work, I’ll let them do and present their projects to the class.