07.21.2008 - 08.01.2008
I've had one conversation with Lua so far but her specialty is the closest to what I am most passionate about - learning how to teach many, many, many ways to many, many, many different learners all in one lesson or series of lessons.
In our initial conversation I took away the following:
Teaching words should be separated into two separate activities. It is important to activate the right brain so that the information will then pass into the left brain. Pronunciation and meaning should be two separate lessons.
While, what most of what Emiliano was talking to me about how to teach language was mostly applicable to basic vocabulary - Lua gave me a frame work to work in for more complex language - "absent language or language that is a concept."
Pronunciation - find a way to make the words rhyme with a word they already know. Such as numbers or animals. Words that are very basic and that all teenagers should know They should make songs or rhymes with these words and practice them verbally. In this stage the kids should not be allowed to write things (definitions, etc) but only to make associations for the sound. Then kids should make associations with the meanings (again no writing - this time it should be visual). This will help them to create images in their head of the definitions of the word (which is also an important skill we teach in 9th grade - visualizations when reading).
Fun ways to reinforce this are bingo with images on the card. Crossword puzzles. Hangman. A few strategies that we already employ in the classroom and will fit nicely with the root word teaching.
I asked her about teaching root words and she thinks it will work and I don't need to focus on the Latin aspect as much (the history yes but the grammatical stuff no). She said it is the right brain to left brain movement that is most important.
Ideas that came up where allowing kid to make up their own words with the roots (a pretend language if you will) in order to have fun with the words and to play with the idea that you can pull out meaning from different parts of a word. Also creating visual cards to match the roots will be helpful (visuals that will cue them into all the different meanings that the one root can have but direct them to the similarities between those words as well too).
I have another conversation with Lua scheduled for Friday -- so hopefully more to come when I get back from my trip.
She is also putting me in touch with her Dean at Venice University so I can continue these conversations with him and get more ideas.