Let students create the input!

Wow. It’s been about a month since I blogged about my rough start, and first I just want to thank everyone who commented, tweeted, or otherwise supported me after I spilled out my thoughts and soul on the internet. I would have burnt out long before now if not for your love and support, #langchat.

Things those of you who read that post might be excited to learn:

  • THE RESA IS OVER. (Unless I don’t pass, but shhhhhhh!)
  • Setting a date for only French in my classes; eep!
  • Finding a sage/CI balance, at least for now
  • I’m trying my hand at “Music madness” this March. More to come on that later.


What I’m REALLY posting about today is my new-ish found revelation to use the things that students create as extra input for my classes. Duh!

Earlier this year during a chat, John (@CadenaSensei on twitter – follow him!!) and I talked about how this year, we want to get extra repetition of vocab/structures by using what our students create as secondary input. That way, I don’t have to create EVERY SINGLE THING that my students are doing, they get to see their work as an example used in class, and I can stretch the input of those structures without coming up with a million examples myself.

What do I mean by this, you ask? Well, right now in my level 1 class, we’re doing short comparisons. I’m following the Creative Language Class unit on homes (edited for French, of course) and the last I can we have is “I can compare homes around the world.”

For starters, we’ve been comparing two specific homes (House A is bigger than house B.) I asked students a lot of yes/no, true/false, and then “which is” questions about this topic: Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.29.11 AM

We soon move to making comparisons about houses from different countries, too, for example:

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 10.29.24 AM

After students get the necessary input on the “X est plus ____ que Y” structure, then I start letting them make comparisons on their own. One activity we did once I thought students felt comfortable was to find their own pictures and compare any two homes they wanted. They had to write two true and one false comparison about the two homes. I was able to wander and give individual feedback while students used their devices for this activity.

The best part of this activity? I have about 300 sentences with visuals that compare two houses and I didn’t make them myself.

For my next trick, I selected some of the examples that were submitted to me via Schoology, cleaned them up, checked for errors, and enlarged the text. Now, I have a TON of examples to use in class this week.

For starters, I’m going to have students read over these 9 student-created examples and highlight the true/false statements. I’m excited about this repetition of input, having students not only read each statement, but pick the one that doesn’t fit, and to showcase student examples. I specifically chose a lot of students who might not have their work used as an exemplar in other classes. Here’s the version I hope to have students highlight this week: Comparison quiz 9

How do you use students’ work to inspire new input? I’d love to hear about it :]


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