Intensive Italian for Gamers – giorni 9, 10 e 11


Otto giorni since I have written about Italian 1200. Perché so many giorni have passed, and why have they passed so quickly? Perché that is what time does. It moves forward at its own pace. It is a constant pace, that oh 👆, human beings have set forth for us to keep our lives organized. Which I am totally fine with, of course. Being a mixture of mostly Welsh, German, and a wee bit o’ Swedish, I definitely love a good ol’ prompt time schedule. But the thing about time is that it keeps going, and if you are not on the time train, and swaddled in for the ride, then you may just get left behind. Perhaps you’ll catch ahold of the caboose with one hand, or even trot along the tracks with a satchel slung over your shoulder. Either way, the point is – to stay productive, successful, and ahead of the game, or at least on par with the pace, and remember that sometimes the non-essential things have to take a backseat.

Should I quit it with the transportation metaphors?

I think so.

🇮🇹 cultura:
Speaking of le metafore, last Thursday was Italian Movie night. The SLU Italian Club hosted a viewing of Il Postino (The Postman). What an utterly romantic movie full of metaphors, accidental and di proposito. The film is romantic in the beauty of its geographical location and because of the people; of course, the euphonic nature of the Italian language makes the script swirl, drip, and flow like melted cheese and chocolate. The film is also quite comedic. Comedic in language and in the lives of the personaggi. Although all of this beauty, language, and life is somewhat triste 😢 at the same time. I suppose it is because when we really take a moment to breathe in and gaze at the mare 🌊 🏝, life is bella e triste, as it ebbs and flows, just like the mare. 

‘Mario Ruoppolo: Beatrice, il tuo sorriso si allarga come una farfalla. 🦋
[Your smile spreads across your face like a butterfly.]
Donna Rosa: L’ha scaldata come un forno con le sue metafore.
[He’s heated her up like an oven with his metaphors.]

👨‍🏫 simone: + 👁 osservare:

Our lab activity on mercoledì 6 febbraio was quite enjoyable, helpful, fun, motivational, and challenging. The activity involved reading comprehension, pronunciation practice, group work, critical thinking & problem solving as we worked out linguistic ‘riddles’, drawing from our knowledge base of cognates (English<>Italian), words we may already know, and context.

Allora, I’ll tell you –

  • Che cosa?
    The task was to 1), leggere 📖 📘  by yourself the text below (which was a recensione (review) of  ‘Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap’, 2) leegere the text with a partner out loud. I took turns reading the text with a studente chiamato, Antonio. 3) Then, together, we passed through the text once more deciphering meaning and figuring out what we understood. We were not to use any translation devices, but rather try to understand as much of the text as we could based on using cognates, our previous knowledge, and contextualization. “Use what you know, and your intuition.” It was a really good exercise, which allowed us to practice reading comprehension, as well as vocabulary and pronunciation practice. To finish up, we were asked to answer if the review is positive, negative or in between, as well as provide a general meaning.

The last step was to test our pronunciation with Automatic Speech Recognition software. Individually we recorded the review into a program called iSpraak, which immediately gives you a % score based on your speaking (native-like pronunciation, intelligibility, etc.). The software also provides concrete examples of words from the text that need pronunciation improvement. You can click on the word, which provides a recording of a native speaker saying the specific word, so you have an opportunity to improve right in the moment. It is quite helpful. I achieved a 91%.

It was fun, challenging, relevant in content to the class’s theme, and a good way to connect with compagni di classe 👨‍💻 👩‍💻 🙋‍♂️ 🙋‍♀️. Additionally, while some skills were more prominent the exercise involved every aspect of language learning: reading, listening, writing, speaking, and culture.

On venerdì we took a quiz 1°. It was exactly as Simone said it would be- language concepts discussed in class and studied at home. There was also an extra credit section based off of the gaming vocabulary, grammar, phrases, and commands we have learned so far.

Per esempio,

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 7.10.03 PM

On lunedì, il 11 febbraio, we got our quizzes back. I was definitely pleased, and I also chuckled, with the myriad of smiley faces present. Of course it wasn’t perfect, but with the extra credit opportunities, and my chicken scratch verb conjugation paradigms scrawled in the margins of the quiz, I did not do so bad.

Remember those teachers who measured and assessed your competence based on what you do know, and not what you don’t know? Do you remember how that made you feel motivated and accomplished and not dragged down and bummed out? Well, Simone is a teacher of the former, looking for what you do know. #motivation

Of course, to do well on the quiz it was necessary to study and show competence in what we have been studying, but we had many opportunities to show what we know, and that is always preferred. Every human is different and assessment can be a tricky thing. Two things I enjoyed as a student, and observed as a language teacher:

  1. Test on what and how you are taught
    Were you taught something by hearing it? Test it aurally.
    Were you taught something by writing it down? Test it by writing.
    Of course we need to be flexible and remember that mirroring teaching and assessing 100% cannot always be performed due to logistics, time constraints, etc. but the variety of types of exercises in the quiz, showed appreciation of that. ✅
  2. Observe what students know and set them up for success
    Without giving away Simone’s tricks of the trade, although I am sure he will Tweet them later (🐦 @bregni1), any effort you make on a quiz, whether it be a side note to yourself in the margin, and as long as you know the basic concepts of the unit themes, using code-switching (native language <> Italian) when completing full sentences in Italian (because let’s face it, this is Italian 1), it is worth attempting! #showhatyouknownotwhatyoudontknow

Oggi è mercoledì 13 febbraio,
and we were introduced to -ARE, -IRE, -ERE verbs.

“Wait, introduction? Simone, we have seen these before and actually know how to use a few of them. ”

👨‍🏫 Simone: (with un occhiolino 😉) “this isn’t my first rodeo”.

Okay, our Native Italian professor did not use a phrase I picked up when I moved to Texas, but you get the idea.

We are in settimana quattro, and have already been tested on basic greetings and conversation points, present tense conjugation of a few very pertinent verbs, subject pronouns,  days of the week, months of the year, numbers, indefinite and definite articles, and subject-noun-adjective agreement. #i+1 💣 Boom.

Today’s Lab activity was educational, fun, motivational, interactive, and of course sparked a ton of ideas for my own teaching.


I have used Kahoot! as a Spanish teacher, but have yet to use it as an official student. In lab today we started off with a little friendly competition by engaging in a class wide Kahoot! quiz, which is always fun. This allowed us to practice and review concepts, as well as familiarize ourself with this digital platform.

Then we grouped up and created our own 5 question quiz based on content from the class.

As a learner, (io) dicoeccellente!”
As una professoressa, (io) dico 👩‍🏫 “note to future teaching self aka “Almost-Dr. Jones”: remember to engage the students more in teaching each other what they are currently learning. Teaching is the best way to learn!

Ultima cosa,
We have had this worksheet that we have been working on over the course of the past week: “Lingua e cultura: Firenze nel Rinascimento con Assassin’s Creed II“. Each day in class there is time dedicated to working on it. There are opportunities to engage in reading & listening comprehension, writing, vocabulary, and Italian slang. While we are expected to complete it on our own and turn it in this coming Friday, each day in lecture we go over certain sections as a class, and Simone provides the tools to set us up for success. I think the integration of this worksheet works well. It does not drag on or take up too much time in class, but complements other activities. We also work on it together as a team and profe makes sure we have the tools and resources necessary to understand the plot line of the story, in order to complete the worksheet. So far the pacing and expectations of this class are definitely manageable, yet I still feel challenged with quality content.



Ma, aspetta, un’altra cosa:

I am also a huge fan of incorporating music and digital realia in my own language classroom, which we also get every day in Simone’s class. As I’ve mentioned before in my Spanish classes part of the Rutina diaria includes a song in Spanish.

Our Italian song today is a great one!
Check out the song  $ ‘Soldi‘ 💶 by Italian musical artist, Mahmood. He’s egiziano-italiano, quite talented, and this song is super catchy!

Plus, there is a bilingual italiano-inglese lyric version which will help us catch on even more.

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 8.04.34 PM.png

Anche, I have to sneak this in, because it’s just so fun-
‘Pablo Neruda: You’ve invented a metaphor! Yes, you have.
Mario Ruoppolo: Really? But it doesn’t count because I didn’t mean to.
Pablo Neruda: Meaning is not important. Images arise simultaneously.’

Over the course of these 4 weeks, an idea has been brewing in my mind into what my final project may evolve. Hints: Polly Glot + Mono. That’s all I will say for today.

(If any of the Italian is wrong. Please remember I am a beginner. Grazie!)

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