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by Erica Fischer on Mar 15, 2017

Incorporating Input in a World Language Classroom

march-9Incorporating successful input is an essential teaching function in a World Language Classroom. Last week, #langchat participants discussed factors for evaluating potential input, strategies to demonstrate student comprehension, grading and sequencing input activity techniques.

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Factors to Evaluate Potential Input

There are several factors that #Langchat teachers have used to evaluate a new or already existing potential input source. @srtafenton said, “I want input that can be an authentic model for what students will eventually create on output.” Factors such as “[high frequency] vocab, interesting, relevant, and level appropriate” material are looked for when selecting appropriate input (@VTracy7). @LauraErinParker said, “I find authentic texts and then look at text features, vocabulary complexity, and evaluate structures such as tense, connectors, etc.” Many #langchat participants shared that comprehensibility was a major factor that they searched for when evaluating input. “I prefer authentic, comprehensible, high-interest, [and] culturally rich [input]” (@mmeshep). @MmeBlouwolff said, “ideally [input] keeps us on track with the unit theme.”

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Strategies to Demonstrate Student Comprehension

Listening and Viewing Input

#Langchat teachers have shared several successful strategies for assessing student comprehension during listening and viewing input.

  • @Marishawkins shared, “for listening I love @EDpuzzle! For my online readings, I also love embedding questions and polls using @activelylearn!”
  • @MmeBlouwolff said, “I am trying to do more hold-ups (Yes/No cards, etc.) and sorting cards so that there is a hands-on aspect to go with my text or video.”
  • @marthaca82 said, “quick formative assessments tickets out are my favorite or pause and check for understanding.”
  • @dressurleben contributed:

    For teaching new vocab, I give students a paper with English on one side [and] target language on the other. They have to connect the word with [the] definition.

  • @welangley said, “a quick ‘What does ‘Spanish word’ mean?’ is super effective.”

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Written Input

In addition, #Langchat teachers also shared different strategies for assessing student comprehension during written input.

  • @MlleSulewski said, “I enjoy having [students] use different colors to highlight different elements within a text.”
  • @welangley suggests using “volleyball reading, choral translation, [and] drawing pictures.”
  • “I have my [students] create their own comprehension questions after reading. Then they trade. Others’ questions spur more thought,” said @ShannonRRuiz.
  • @LauraErinParker said, “There are so many different ways – depends on the resource. [My] favorite is venn diagram for cultural comparisons.”

Grading Without Relying Solely on Comprehension Questions

#Langchat participants find it challenging to grade interpretive mode without over-reliance on low-level comprehension questions. It is important to remember that:

assessing [interpretations] should be done in [the native language] to avoid errors caused by lack of [second language] knowledge @ShannonRRuiz

@Marishawkins grades “using personalized questions in Spanish.” Although “it isn’t interpretive” she “likes asking them to apply what they read.” @salaamay uses “character maps” to assess. “Doing a speech as one of the characters [or] writing a letter to one of the characters” are also fun assessment techniques (@salaamay). “Depending on type, you could have students use what they learned. Ex: Solution to pollution from text on water pollution” (@LauraErinParker).

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Sequencing Multiple Input Activities to Prepare Students

Having a variety and a high amount of input in lessons proved to be a common recommendation for sequencing multiple input activities to best prepare students for language use. @Marishawkins said, “I have found that I have to prepare students for the input activities by pre-teaching. [Students] and I get more out of each source.” Give the students the language they need to be successful. “FLOOD the input, use the language so much that [students] have no choice but to know what the language means” (@welangley).

Thank You

Thank you to the lead moderator Megan (@MlleSulewski) for leading the chat on Incorporating Input in the Word Language Classroom. Thank you to all #Langchat participants. Would you like to suggest a topic? Check out the #langchat wiki and suggest a topic!

Elementary in Spanish
Erica Fischer
Erica is the founder and CEO of Calico Spanish. Her passion for teaching her own children to speak Spanish led her to create Calico Spanish. Our mission is to give all children the opportunity to learn to speak real Spanish for life.

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