Manuscript Week and Swivl’s Recap

So a bit more technology perhaps than Latin, but I’ll return to some Latin below. I’m a Swivl Pioneer and so was alerted to the launch of Recap, a website that allows students to interact via video with questions the teacher poses. (I’ve heard this is similar to VoiceThread, which I know of but with which I am not directly familiar.)

In my Medieval Lit class, we’re focusing on manuscripts for the next few weeks, and so I thought I’d turn my class loose with Recap and some introductory videos on MSS to see how Recap works.

Once you’re logged in to Recap, you make classes:

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There’s my Medieval class.

At the upper right of that screen is the ‘Add Recap’ button, which allows you to write questions for your students to answer and you can set the length of max response (2 mins max).

When I first started writing the questions, I was sticking to largely objective questions (because they were the ones that came to mind) but I realized that it seemed somewhat wasteful for students to record answers to objective questions (though I was happier with the video responses to those questions than I expected; more on that below). As I went on, however, I made more open-ended questions, including questions that required physical props; this, it would seem, is the real advantage to Recap, is the ability to hold before the camera in a dynamic way objects to enhance a response.

Once the students answer and submit, the teacher has a summary screen:

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(At the risk of sounding defensive, the students were working in groups, which is why the percentage is so low.)

You can see too that students are able to rate their understanding with a simple visual key and student videos are available for watching at the bottom.

Here’s a screen-scroll of all of the responses / summary screens:

ScreenFlow from Ed DeHoratius on Vimeo.

Recap also produces (and I mean that to some extent in the technical sense as well) a ‘Daily Review Reel’ (at upper right) that puts together the videos with some music, borders, and the question at the beginning. (I’m not quite sure why all of the videos didn’t make the review reel but I did find that you could add or subtract videos from the reel; perhaps they try to keep the review reel on the shorter side?)

Here’s a link to the video (Recap provides this; no embed code as far as I could find). And here’s the screen-grabbed video:

ScreenFlow from Ed DeHoratius on Vimeo.

In the end, I’m always trying to assess whether a new tool like this has staying power. Is it an effective tool for me and my students to make more efficient and more successful my teaching and their learning? The easy answer is I don’t know. They were initially skeptical (at best) of videoing their answers but, once they got used to the idea, they produced good responses in a more natural and comfortable way. I enjoyed listening to the answers because their personalities came through. And even for the objective questions, which, as I said above, I felt like was a bit of a waste for this kind of format, it seemed like they had a better handle on that objective information than they would have if they were writing it down, filling in a blank, etc. I will try to do circle back to this information later to test that sense, but that was an initial impression.

So a good first foray. I think finding the right kind of assignments for this is important, but I’ll continue to experiment with it. I’m excited to try it with Latin because I feel like it could be a good way to get more students involved in a more natural way for open-ended material, i.e. students can interpret text, offer different readings, speculate on grammatical usage, etc., in what feels like a much less pressured environment (the video response) than in front of the whole class.

CANE 2017 – Ted Zarrow – Strategies for Successful Storytelling

Ted’s full presentation is here (that he shared freely and openly with us) but I will highlight some of the, well, highlights below.

  • The idea of ‘sheltered’ vocabulary and grammar was reinforced. It was a term I had heard but wasn’t quite comfortable with.
  • Ted tends to focus on sheltered vocabulary but not necessarily sheltered grammar (or at least sheltered grammar with exceptions).
  • He focused on the importance of reducing the number of unfamiliar words in a text, that not uncommonly students see texts with upwards of 75% unfamiliar words (I would say that’s the case in my classroom).
  • This focus reminded me of Kitchell’s cricket experiment way back when (I believe in 2001), when he gave us an article about a cricket match that none of us could understand (because of the unfamiliar vocabulary) even though it was in English.
  • It was somewhat heartening to recognize things that I already do, albeit mostly in isolation, in addition to all of the things that I don’t do.
  • Much of the presentation and slide show consisted of the stories themselves, composed in simple Latin, with sheltered vocabulary, often incorporating his students themselves or his students’ ideas.

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CANE 2017 – Chris Buczek – Implementing a CI Latin Program

  • Lance Paintaggini:
    • active latin = producing language on the spot; focused on language but does not help anyone who has no prior knowledge of Latin
    • acquisition of Latin – lots of input is need; no production drills, etc.
  • Bill van Patten at Michigan State
  • Chris’ implementation:
    • mix of CI and TPRS strategies
    • limit vocab; high frequency words
    • adapting textbook cultural stories to students’ level
    • a class narrative for Latin 1
  • Dictation (dictatio) and 4-word picture stories for vocab intro
  • Reading Guides – enhanced reading comp
  • Read and Draw
  • Draw 1-2-3 –> draw a scene, 2 speech ballons narrate the story in the picture, 3 sents underneath to further describe what’s going on
  • student questionnaires to guide the story
  • find the sentence activities
  • quis diceret
  • Chris’s story:
  • Examples of activities and some student work:

Highlighter Activity

In our language PD today (thanks, Megan and Kara) and saw what could be a cool activity to try. It began with a Spanish Wikipedia page on Lionel Messi and a checklist of information to find in the article: team, position, jersey number, etc. They then showed a Latin example with an updated idea: rather than searching for specific information, use color coded categories to find information:

  • blue = people / names
  • green = location(s)
  • yellow = actions / deeds
  • pink = time / date
  • orange = personality / character / variable (depending on the topic)

I was thinking even that the original checklist activity would be a good activity but I like this even more, though they target different things, the former specific information and comprehension, the latter more recognition. (And some of them are debatable / on the border but for the sake of illustration.)

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