Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Pomegranate Beginnings Update


Pomegranate Beginnings is being archived as part of a new project headed by Bob Patrick and Miriam Patrick! Going forward we are now Scroll and Grove. Details are coming soon!

We are undergoing some major updates and changes, so stay tuned for details, but this is the nearly last post you will see on this blog! 

Coming soon, you will see the following take place:

  • This blog will be archived along with Stepping into CI. They will no longer be updated and will not be accessible using the website domain: steppingintoci.com
  • They will be linked, however, and still available once we get our new Scroll and Grove site set up! 
  • We currently have social media on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You will see all of these retired and new socials set up for Scroll and Grove on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok! We will not be available on Twitter. 
We are already working on a few projects including upcoming novellas and publications! Thank you for your patience with us as we embark on this new journey. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at scrollandgrove@gmail.com

Thank you!
Miriam Patrick
Robert Patrick

Thursday, May 20, 2021

2020-2021 End of the Year Reflection

Every year is different... but this year was DIFFERENT. I know every state, district, and school did it differently, but my district made it in the news repeatedly, mostly, this year, for the decisions the board made regarding school this year and the pandemic. Just a quick list of some things we... experienced: 

  1.  year starting off 100% in person
  2. sudden change to 100% digital
  3. change to 100% parent/student choice
  4. school choice in how to handle transitions from in person to digital, etc. 
    1. some schools gave deadlines for when students could change from one to the other
    2. some schools said students could change whenever
  5. concurrent teaching (teaching in person and online at the same time)
  6. fire-y board meetings with intense comments from parents, students, and teachers
    1. this included comments from parents whose kids no longer attended public school with us

This is an oversimplified list. So, this year has been different... to quote TikTok: This year was "built different". 

I'm not going to spend this post talking about everything I did this year, but I will list a few things I've talked about or have done that were unique to this year:
One other thing I did this year, this semester in particular, was to conduct a classroom action research study on the effects of Comprehensible Input on output, particularly in disabled students/students with disabilities. I did this as my thesis for my Special Education degree from Saint Mary's University in Minnesota. For those interested, you can read the study here.

Needless to say, it's been a busy year for me. There are things I wish I had more time to do and there are things I wish I had explored more fully. But, it is May and next year is already gearing up to be an amazing and new adventure because... I am teaching an ESOL class in addition to Latin! It is going to be an exciting experience for sure.... But, back to this year. 

As always, I give my students a three question survey at the end (okay 4 question). The questions were:
  1. What have we done that you've liked?
  2. What have we done that has helped?
  3. If you have magistra Patrick next year, what would you like more of?
  4. Is there anything else you want me to know (doesn't have to be school related)?
As always, nothing is a valid response. Answers are still rolling in, but so far I've gotten some great feedback that I want to share. This will definitely shape what I plan to do next year. So... Student response are in bold and my thoughts are highlighted purple. Ways it is going to affect what I do next year are written in teal.

We like games. Honestly though, who doesn't? This year we heavily employed blookets and gimkits in class and as asynchronous assignments. We also adapted the word chunk game to allow digital play (should I do a post on this?). Kids like games... fair enough. Next year I want to employ more hands on games, games that involve physical movement. I miss them!

CS Stories are helpful. This we knew. We worked to get immediate feedback when we implemented these. However, it is great to hear on the end of year survey because it has been a bit since we've done a CS story and so the fact that it stuck out in students' minds means it really is a great thing. Next year I want to employ them more often. We experimented with different ways to use them and I cannot wait to try more. 

More hands on! Um... yes please! I miss this aspect of teaching in person. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) says we provide multiple forms of engagement, representation, and expression.... hands on things are the best for this! Things I am working on or have done in the past that I will continue with include: braille inclusion, use of Wikki sticks, student choice assignments. I also want to have a regular supply of play-doh, legos, and other physical things in my room. 

The teacher is always willing to help students, no matter what. Okay, ya, this touched my heart. It is my goal to always answer with compassion and... it's hard when you are teaching concurrently and are always exhausted. I greatly appreciate this comment. 

The way we do things. this is vague, but students remarked on how "non traditional" our classes are. One student specifically listed that we don't hand out vocabulary sheets for memorisation. 

As always there were the typical listings of likes and things that helped including: games, movie shorts, story listening, and dictations. These things, of course, will go nowhere :) 

I won't say I made lemonade out of lemons this year. (1) I hate lemonade; if I'm making anything out of lemons it's a lemon cake, and (2) I hate that saying. Buzzfeed recently used it to highlight 10 teachers and, while I appreciate the sentiment.... we all worked our butts off this year during a pandemic, during staff shortages (which are really living wage shortages), during substitute shortages, with lack of funds... and all the other things we regularly deal with... to say that we "made lemonade out of lemons" does not do accurately describe all we've had to deal with.... Rather, I did the best I could and I won't speak for anyone else on that matter. For me, the best I could meant answering with compassion, and listening to my students, all while trying to innovate and move my own professional skill forward. I have no regrets...

I learned a lot this year and I will definitely carry that forward... But I am SO ready for a new and better year. <3

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Delivering CI in a pandemic: Three word pictures

 This is an activity that I learned from Keith Toda many years ago and one that I really enjoy doing, when I remember. The basic premise is that you give students three vocabulary words and they draw a picture that incorporates all three words. What I like to do that point is to share one or two of the images and discuss them in Latin. By the end of the period, I will show an image and ask students to tell me what they see. Generally speaking, students really enjoy this activity and like being silly and creative.

Knowing that I enjoy this activity, I am surprised how long it took me to give it a try in this new pandemic induced environment. I was a bit ahead in the Latin II plans as I had to rework everything due to technical difficulties in my classroom, and so on a whim I decided to figure out how to do this activity. 

I needed a digital whiteboard option and went with whiteboard.fi which my colleague John Foulk showed me. I must say that while it wasn't a perfect execution, it was one that I am going to add to my "digital toolbox" for the future. 

Image Description: whiteboard.fi from the
teacher's point of view. Toggle Teacher
whiteboard is on the top and student 
whiteboard previews are below. 

I started the period by letting students play a gimkit in one of the new forever modes to refamiliarise them with the vocabulary I'd be pulling from and then I opened an open class on whiteboard.fi. I invited students to the class using the link and the QR code that the site gives me and each student had, upon entering, a whiteboard complete with colours, typing tools, and image insertion capabilities. 

The sticky part for me came to sharing student images with each other. I was hoping I could simply share an image with them and then when I stopped, they'd still see their own. Rather, whiteboard.fi required me to push it out to their screens. 

Image description: Teacher whiteboard is shown via
whiteboard.fi. A menu is open and shows how to push
images out to students' whiteboards. 

The kids had a lot of fun with this and, while a few lamented how difficult it was to draw on their phones, most of them enjoyed this and I got some really great images from the students (shared below). One of the things I really liked, however, about this that I haven't really seen anywhere else so easily is the save option. Both the students and the teacher have the option to save images (the students save their own and the teacher can save any of them). This allows me to have the potential of an entire database of images I can use later in discussions! 

All of this was done on the free version of this site. I have not explored the paid version of this, but I did discover at least one aspect that was only available via the paid version which was image feedback. If you have an account and pay for it, you can give students real time feedback on their images privately. 

Ultimately I was happy with this tech tool and I will use it again... unless I find something better :) stay tuned!

Student Images:

Latin words given: umbra, ramum, and felix
Image description: a happy dog ghost
holds a branch in his mouth


Latin words given: villa, cena, and horribilis
image description: outside of a large country house 
a soda, a burger, and a slice of pizza plan to do
horrible things 


Foulk, J. M. (2020). Spice up your Latin. Retrieved from: magisterfoulk.blogspot.com

Toda, K. (2020). Todally comprehensible Latin. Retrieved from: https://todallycomprehensiblelatin.blogspot.com/

whiteboard.fi (2021). Whiteboard.fi. Retrieved from: https://whiteboard.fi/

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Teaching Digitally as an Adventure (Part 3)

It's that time again! When I realize I have postponed posting too long and now have a lot to update--but less than I should because honestly I felt a little lost off and on recently. 

I think that's okay.

I think this year, if we don't treat ourselves with grace, we are going to implode.

So I don't have as much, but I did create a couple of new things and I'm going to continue to share all my stories with you because..I don't know what might or might not inspire and if what I have can help someone, then I want it to be out there!

I changed the organization this time because it has been so long that I just figured it would be easier to wade through the things I have made that way.

The Story So Far
Here is the story of Andromeda so far. I have illustrated parts 1-3 and not part 4. There are definitely going to be mistakes because sometimes I am throwing this thing together at the last minute. But I am excited to be working on this thing.

  1. Andromeda Prima (illustrated Google Slide) (text)
  2. Andromeda Secunda (illustrated Google Slide) (text)
  3. Andromeda Tertia (illustrated Google Slide) (text)

Vocabulary Activities

  1. Match Cards (and template) I made a board using Google Slides that is based on the Memory 
    card game. The basic set up is simple: they have "cards" that they move, and below each is a picture or word. They are to match the Latin words to their meanings, either as pictures or English words. Setting up the board was a little more complex because I wanted them to be able to work independently of me and I wanted each student or group of students to be able to progress at their own pace. So I designed this so that you can set up three different memory boards and the students can change to a new board as soon as they finish the old one! To edit the boards does take a little finessing, since you are going to create a background that you then add to one of the master layouts, but I have included a video below to help you out. This game is best used shared with all students able to edit the same Google Slides.
  2. Vocabulary Categories I made a simple template for students to organize the vocabulary we
    were working on into categories that can be used in various ways. You can leave it as a basic exercise in thinking more deeply about the vocabulary itself or you can make it a competition (one I learned from my friend Patrick Yaggy): If students hit on the same category, they get points for any vocabulary words they used that no one else did in that category; if they come up with a completely unique category, they get points for all the words in that category. This template is ready to use! If you want, you can edit the Instructions in the master view and other parts, etc., to be in your target language. This activity is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
  3. Vocabulary Drawings This is a mashup of Keith Toda's Vocabulary Olympics and my Read, Draw, and Discuss. Basically, using whiteboard.fi (thanks, Meredith White!), I gave students
    nonsense sentences to draw on whiteboards that only I could see, then I would clip two images per sentence, put them on a slide, and discuss them with the class to review the sentence and the vocabulary. This is easy to prep: put sentences that will create fun images on Google slides that also use the vocabulary you want to focus on. This activity is best used shared with all students able to view the same Google Slides.
Reinforcing the Story
  1. SNAP (and template) I made a new game! I can't help myself. I get bored with old games. This
    one is meant to be a replacement for Slap Jack, which I created last year to be a more accessible version of Flyswatter. The basic idea is that I put sentences that describe pictures--some from the story and some vocabulary-based pictures--on "cards" that I could read aloud and show students, and I put the pictures in groups, lumped together in order so that students can self-select what level of difficulty they are playing at. To help explain game play and game setup, I have created a video below! This template is easy to edit for your class needs by just changing out the pictures and sentences. This game is best used shared with all students able to edit the same Google Slides.
  2. Class-Sourced Video I just learned about Screencastify Submit so I of course immediately created an activity for it. This is not an especially deep concept. Students each are assigned a sentence of a story we've been studying. They create a video using the link to Screencastify Submit that I provide. Their videos end up in a folder together, then I put all the videos in Screencastify's video editor and made it into one video that we watched as a class! voila! 
  3. Quis Dixit The last story-related thing for this post will be Quis Dixit, inspired by an activity
    John Foulk made where students chose which sentence went with a picture. I wanted to dig a little deeper into their character knowledge since we're three stories in, so I gave students either direct quotes from the stories or quotes that could have been said by characters. I also used images of the characters as the background, and on each slide, students were to match the statements to the correct characters. The activity is modified similarly to other activities such as SNAP and Match Cards: go into the Master View and to change out the character images and names (I have them grouped--you can ungroup them with a right click), then in regular view you can change out the quotes all you want. This activity is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
Culture: Connecting to the Modern World
I was thinking about how little choice Andromeda has in anything that happens to her in this entire story and that made me start singing some stuff from SiX: The Musical so then all the stuff below happened.
  1. Letter from Catherine Parr Students read this for independent work one afternoon. It is just an excerpt from the song "I Don't Need Your Love" put on a pretty background. I put this on Google Classroom as a material to view.
  2. Exploring Catherine Parr I had students use this as a guide for discussion. We broke into discussion groups via breakout rooms in Zoom and in class. Students were expected to fill out the form with their answers individually. Between each boxed "breakout" we reconvened as a class to discuss their answers to the questions. We also watched the song in context on youtube and therefore got the entire song that way. I put this on Google Classroom as a copy for each student.
  3. Gallery of Choice (and template) After we did the class discussion, I had students take the final
    question of the discussion and enter it into a Google question on Google classroom. I used those answers to fill frames in my gallery so students could explore each other's ideas about other modern stories with a similar theme. We then were able to discuss these as a class. I also got a new book to read! This is not too hard to set up and personalize, but to make sure I made a video for you below. This is best offered to students to view on their own at their own pace.
Now, for the best clarity for a few items, I thought it was most prudent to offer some videos. (I also may have been reading some Jane Austen recently so my vernacular may be a little affected.)

That is everything I am going to put into this one humongous post! I hope you find something helpful in it! Let me know if you use something in it or if you have questions! And good luck. We all need it right now.

Want more ideas? Check out my previous posts here:
Posts by others:
Todally Comprehensible Latin Keith's blog has been basically completely focused on online teaching activities.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Why I don't do RRR days anymore (kind of)

 Previous posts

  1. Everyone needs a little R, R, and R
  2. R, R, R update
RRR was a plan/activity/what not that I came up with many years ago. I presented it to my team as we embarked into Standards Based Grading and it was incredibly useful. In the past two years, however, I have all but stopped using it. In fact, last year I did not have a single RRR day for my kids. So, what changed? 

The original idea behind the RRR day (originally rest, reach, and remediate) was to allow students who were comfortable with material to get enrichment, students who had missed work to catch up, and students who needed individual support to get it. This is, as any teacher will tell you, no easy task on the best of days. With ~30 students in a room it can be quiet difficult. So, as we worked with my original framework, we experimented with a few things:
  • making a list of activities students needed to do for each standard - This was always outside of normally assigned work. The problem with this is that it put exponential amounts of work on us to create these new materials. 
  • making a list of options for students for each standard - This was easier in that I would provide a choice of a general activity (e.g. make a comic strip of our most recent story), but still required extra work on my part. It also sparked questions and, on occasion, confusion for students. 
  • RRR days on a schedule - Originally I really wanted to do these days every other week. The problem I found was that some students developed a sense of entitlement that we'd have this day and they didn't need to pay attention or work any other day because they could just get me to explain it to them on this day. For other students, the entitlement came in the form of wanting a "day off".*
  • Extra Grading - This was a major issue. I would find myself grading entire assignments just to move a grade from a 99 to a 100. Again, some sense of entitlement came out when, a few times, a student would say that I was preventing them from having a 100 or ruining GPA because I wasn't giving them a perfect score on RRR work: "But... I did the thing. That's a 100 right?"

* I don't use the word entitlement easily. It is a word often used against my generation. I want to be clear that I always try to give students the benefit of the doubt for as long as I can. Once a pattern becomes apparent, however, I will take appropriate action. 

So, I got rid of it. I started by saying that we'd have an RRR day when the grades showed we needed it. This didn't go over too well for some students. I found myself battling between letting certain students have a "free day" so that I could work with others and give them the support they needed. I was suddenly trying to manage behaviour while trying to do good work with students who needed it. 

And so, last year, I decided I would not do a single RRR day. Not a single one. Now, let's break that down. Let me address some of the very questions I got when I announced this to students:
  1. So does this mean we can't redo any work? No, not at all. There will always be opportunities for resubmission and opportunities to try again. It will, however, look different. 
  2. What about free days? I think I may have laughed out loud. I'm not super proud of that.... but I did. I don't do movies 99% of the time. The exception to this is that I occasionally do a movie short and sometimes I'll show an episode of Class of the Titans (NOT Clash). Even then, they don't take the entire period. This is not a slight on teachers who do show movies. I have on occasion shown one. It is a reflection, rather, of what I think I can do better. I can do a better job supporting the students in my room. That is what I'm always working on: how better can I support the students I see in my room. 
  3. But XX does RRR days!?!?! And that's fine. My teammates can still do RRR, and some do. For me, I feel I can meet my students needs better in a different way now.
But... how did I address all the concerns that RRR is meant to address? Well...
  • I always reserve the right to let students resubmit the exact same assignment at any time. If a student needs to fix something, or understands something new that they didn't before, of course I'm going to let them redo an assignment. I reserve this, however, and this is not available for every thing every day. This is simply for my sanity. 
  • Instead... I ensure that I make plans to reassess things as part of class. If I notice that a majority of students did poorly or missed something I will adjust and reassess again shortly after (see post: the fault in our plans)
    • Sometimes I'll even say, "check your grades. If you are missing or would like me to reconsider your grade for Standard XX, make sure you turn this in. 
  • I set my focus on accommodations. My focus is becoming more and more centralised on what accommodations I need to make for any and all of my students. Some of these include small group or one on one instruction, alternative formatting, student choice, representation, etc. 

Ultimately I am doing a little bit more to make sure that students are accommodated in my class. By doing that and regularly reassessing through my lessons, we don't need to set aside a day for them to catch up and I ultimately have less work overall. Now, if we needed one, I would have no problem doing so. But I've found that I can accomplish RRR without needing to set aside a day 99.9% of the time simply by focusing my day on accommodations. If you're sensing a shift in the way I talk about things and how I go about things, you are correct. It's a shift I've always been pointed towards, but now I am actively on this path and I haven't ever loved my job more. <3

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Teaching Digitally as an Adventure (Part 2)

Time for an update! I have done a lot of things since my last update--it's been two weeks. (See my first week entry here)

First, I continue to really enjoy the challenge. I won't pretend to be okay; no teacher is right now, in the midst of a deluge of anger, vitriol, and disregard. But I can find some sparks of happiness in my day-to-day purpose, and that is not a surprise. I am a teacher by calling, not by circumstance or necessity. It's my passion.

I love my students. I am getting the chance to get to know them and I am working on building relationships, even from a distance. I asked them to fill out a form today to just tell me "vents and brags," and while I haven't finished reading their responses, one of the best things has been finding out that all the work I'm putting into the digital lessons has been noticed. That wasn't the goal of vents and brags (a term I got from Bob Patrick), but it was so encouraging to read. 

Keith Toda often quotes Carol Gaab, "the brain craves novelty." I have done my best to keep that in mind as I plan my digital lessons this year and create activities that are engaging and feel different every day. I have worked to make every plan feel authentic to the space we're in, instead of trying to translate my in-person activities directly, though that doesn't mean I don't take inspiration from things I've done in my classes.

All that to say, here is what I've been doing in Latin IV!

Latin II is not my own lesson plan right now, so I don't feel comfortable sharing it. But you can mod these templates to work for you. Many things are made to work with Google Classroom because it is magical. Others work with Zoom. Hopefully you can see ways to adapt all!

At the bottom of the page are a quick couple of videos, including one to demonstrate how to modify these templates to fit your personal needs. I know that it's not perfectly intuitive and I want you to be able to use these successfully.

Introducing the Story: Engaging Background Vocabulary
It's been a while since these kids have had Latin in a classroom environment and we were mostly winging teaching online starting in March, so to make sure they are prepared to read anything, I can't assume they all know the vocabulary they were "taught" so it was important to me to make sure we did some things to find out what they did know and to reinforce it. Yes, that included Gimkit, an online resource that is always evolving. But I am not willing to use it exclusively. Here are the other things I did:

  1. Vocabulary Know-it Board I filtered out the vocabulary that I knew was supposed to be new to
    students and set it aside. For literally every other word, including words like "in," I asked students to sort the vocabulary into piles of words "I know," "I really know," "I kind of know," and "I don't know." From there, I created a database of words they did not know and kind of knew and used that information to decide: 25 important words to review (they went into the Gimkit) and the 10 most important words to review (they are brought into focus by me on a repeated basis in context). This template is easy to modify for your own use; you can clear out any group of words and change the words to words you need your students to sort through. If you copy one of the rectangles and then press ctrl+v it will paste in this lovely diagonal design. I simply did that over and over while typing a new word each time. Then I would select the entire stack of ten and move them where I wanted. This board is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
  2. Vocabulary Bricks I took the 25 important words I got from the Vocabulary Know-it Board and
    I created a game where students could compete to collect words. This was loosely inspired by the Vocabulary Highlighter Game but I needed a way to play in the current digital environment. So I created a game board with a goal space for two players and boxes for each word. Students choose a slide to pair up on, put their names as either Player 1 or Player 2, and listen for me to call out words in English. When I called out a word, students grabbed the Latin word and dragged it to their goal on the slide. We were on the Zoom meeting together, but we all looked at the slide instead while we played. (If you would like to add visual support, please watch the demonstration on how to easily do so on the video for Accidit Romae below.) This template is also easy to modify for your own use; simply change out my words for your own on one of the student slides, then copy that slide and paste it several times--enough for your class to be divided into teams of two. This game is best used shared with all students able to edit the same Google Slides. 
  3. Vocabulary Puzzle This is one of the few times I literally took a game I play in class and put it
    in a digital format! It just works so effortlessly as a digital manipulative. This one I gave out to students and had them do on their own, although I encouraged them to give a friend a link to their own puzzle to help each other and then they could jump to the friend's puzzle to complete it too. The template I am giving you has the easy-to-edit format first, and then an example of how I stacked the pieces once I was done. To edit the puzzle, just double-click on the words and replace them with your own. Remember that students are trying to match the Latin with the English meaning. This puzzle can host 24 vocabulary words. Then turn the puzzle pieces different directions and stack them in a random order or lay them randomly around the board--however you would like to mix them up. You don't need two slides; I included the second slide so you can see what I did. This puzzle is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
Introducing the Story: New Vocabulary
Of course, there is new vocabulary as well. I employed some usual CI approaches that I thought might translate well as well as some brand new ideas.
  1. Venatio Traditionally the school year for most of my classes starts with Circling with Balls. It's a
    quick get-to-know you routine that lets me find out more about my students and lets them find out more about each other while speaking Latin. However, this year we are in a different format, the flow of class is different, and getting students to answer questions in a digital class without feeling so much more on the spot and uncomfortable (trust me, I have attended many classes online, and I am not usually afraid to be the center of attention) is just harder. I don't want my class to be something my students dread. So this was one of those things that I stepped back from, thought about the purpose, and reconfigured. The purpose of Circling with Balls is to get to know my students and provide clear, comprehensible, repetitive Latin. So I decided I could do something similar with a scavenger hunt. I don't want it to be all period, but doing a simple class opening where I ask students to find one thing that fits thematically with the vocabulary we are studying, and then discussing what they show me, gives me the chance to get a similar feel that makes sense in our digital environment. On the first day, we did a super easy sentence that all kids would know: Find something you love. I got lots of pets, a couple of siblings, some sports balls and phones, and a lot of smiles. To modify this for yourself, simply write a sentence for each day that incorporates one word that you want to focus on, but make sure everything else is completely comprehensible. You can make a virtual slide if you want and let it be your background in Zoom, like I did, or you can write it on the board behind you, or on paper, etc., and then repeat it and make sure students know what they are searching for. Make it vague enough for more than one answer (the one I am showing here is: Find a thing you have too much of) so you can have interesting responses from the students. This is best used live in session when you can see all of your students.
  2. Vocabulary Slides I have already made a post about this type of activity before. These are just the vocabulary slides I created to go with the beginning of this particular story. This is best used live in session with teacher leading and discussing in the target language.
  3. Vocabulary Scenes Instead of OWATS, which can be easily collaborative (I am still always
    looking for ways to help students find community in this setting), I decided to ask students to create Vocabulary Scenes using a Google Slide that I had set up for them. I put them into Zoom breakout rooms randomly so that it would assign them partners and a "room number," then asked them to find the slide marked with the same room number and work on it. They were to create a scene using the five words on the slide and vocabulary they knew from previous years of Latin. I spent the class period jumping from breakout room to breakout room answering questions and making sure students were safe and on task. After they were done, I took the scenes they created and added sentences and used these as simple introductions to class and reminders of the new vocabulary, three scenes at a time. To modify this for yourself, just figure out how many rooms you might need and change the focus words on the right of the student slides! This activity is best used shared with all students able to edit the same Google Slides. 
  4. Sentence Frames So this idea is honestly one of my early ideas with manipulatives. I still think it
    was a good idea, but I made a big error when composing this: I focused so much on pushing some of the more challenging aspects of the upcoming reading that I made this activity incomprehensible--the opposite of CI. I still feel it has potential, which is why I am sharing it here. But it is one that I will be more careful about in the future. Generally I created sentences that students could either fill in or slide answers to, then illustrate in the open white spaces below. What I have linked is a finished version with a template slide included; I will include how to modify it in the video below, because it is more complex than the activities above. This activity is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
Reading the Story
When you finally get to the story, one of the important things to do is to make sure you have a chance to repeat the story many times without feeling repetitive. With that in mind, I combined several approaches, some simple CI approaches from the classroom that transfer fairly comfortably to a Zoom classroom setting, and some I definitely really had to change or create fresh for the digital class. A side note: I decided to keep this first story quite short while I gage the students' capabilities and ease them into our current setting.
  1. Picture Story This is a link to the the story I told to my class using pictures. We are starting a

    series of stories about Andromeda, the Ethiopian princess rescued by Perseus, but told from her point of view. Circling (asking questions to emphasize and reinforce vocabulary) is clunky at best in this setting, so instead I did my best to elaborate using the picture as a jumping-off point. To make your own, this is more labor-intensive, in that you will need to create your own images and take pictures and insert them or draw images on an app and insert them. However, images are useful not only for clarifying a story but for creating discussion. This is best used live in session with teacher leading and discussing in the target language.
  2. "Choral" Reading I need a better name for this. We did not read chorally. I was inspired by choral reading to create a space in class for me to find out who knew the story, who understood the story, and yet still make sure that I was clarifying the meaning. What I did, which worked very well, actually, was highlight a section, ask students to type the meaning in the chat (which I have programmed in Zoom to only send to me, so it is not public. This has been a wonderful feature because students who are sometimes afraid to speak up in class are much more comfortable in this setting), and then clarify the meaning after I got student input. It was slow, but that was also kind of nice for students who are slow processors, and it allowed those who are fast processors to get their answers in there asap and be proud they were able to write everything probably before everyone else. Then, afterward, I just opened the chat log (which I have Zoom set to save) and I had a grade ready to go! Prep is easy--a nice, large font version of your story! This is best used live in session with teacher leading and clarifying the meaning in English. 
  3. Accidit Romae (and question template) Okay, so stay with me here. I was inspired by the Las
    Vegas game that Meredith White had shared last year among a pile of review games she enjoyed. The basis is simple: students, paired up, ante up bets on how likely they think they will be able to answer the next question. The question is posted with an A,B,C,D answer option and they pick one. The answer is revealed and whoever gets it right gets the pot. All of this is done with pretend money, obviously. However, I wanted to figure out how to do this digitally. So I created a board with two players and an A,B,C,D setup, made stacks of 10 denarii apiece so each side has a total of 50, and then I had to figure out how to show them questions. The answer became this: I need a master slide that I can edit live. I have a video below to show you what I mean, and how to run the game. It was very successful! If you teach another language, watch the modifying templates video to learn how to change this game to work with your own language. This game is best used shared with all students able to edit the same Google Slides. 
  4. Andromeda Prima: Interpreting the Reading Finally, after reading the story twice and playing
    a game to make sure students understood the story overall, and a gimkit that I didn't link here because that is something that we have all been doing in our classes before this whole thing happened, it was time to do an activity that required a little bit deeper reading and asked students to use quotes from the story to support their opinions. This is a really easy activity to set up; if you read the instructions you can see that you can ask for whatever types of details you want students to find within the text. I do recommend showing students how to create comments; even after doing so, a surprising number still had trouble and placed their comments in interesting spots and almost received lower grades than they deserved when I couldn't find them at first. That said, it was a pleasure to read and grade. This activity is best used in Google Class as a copy for each student.
How Do I Do Make These Things Work for Me?
That is such a good question. I know I just threw a lot at you at once. Here are two videos to help.

Hopefully this extremely long post has helped you get started on some fun ways to expand the activities in your digital classroom! I'll keep posting as I come up with more ideas!