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Takeaways from IPA work with Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell

After our last meeting ended in a much bigger than expected snowstorm, our department finally had a full day with Sara-Elizabeth!  Woohoo! I was pumped!  We developed Integrated Performance Assessments for our level 3 students.  It was wonderful collaborating with our peers.  (On a side note, I have to encourage more administrators to set aside complete department work days on the first week back.  It was truly time well spent.)  Here are some of my take-away messages from today:

  • Eliminate “Imagine” from any prompt with an IPA.  If students have to imagine that they are running into their Peruvian best friend on the metro, and they have to describe 8 different things, it probably is not realistic.  With IPAs, the students have to believe that it could actually happen.
  • With that being said, many times there are realistic scenarios waiting for you!  For example, Sara-Elizabeth gave the idea of describing your house in Spanish to rent out for a week while your family is on vacation.  This is done many times throughout the country.  That is something that would be applicable and accessible for a novice student.
  • Make sure that you think about how to make the interpretive section more realistic as well.  For example, you do not need to ask students what color the shirt is on the main character.  Students should be able to use the information that they learned in the interpretive activity.
  • She also shared a great resource page with us!  Have you seen the Ohio Foreign Language’s IPA page?!  It is chock full of information!

Finally, I wanted to take some time at the end to share a wonderful Latin idea that my colleague Kristin came up with!  Many times I know that Latin teachers have trouble finding a way to be realistic with IPAs, but I thought this would be applicable to many teachers and students throughout the country.  There are many museums that either have Greek and Roman exhibits or feature them.  (This Greek exhibit is coming to the NGA soon!)  There are also students who have to visit these exhibits, but there really isn’t any information on these exhibits in Latin. You could have your class create a pamphlet for the Latin school groups that will visit the exhibit!  They could also read the background information on the pieces with the mythology in Latin.  How wonderful is that?!

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