Intensive Italian for Gamers – Settimana dieci 10

¡Ciao!

lunedì, il 25 di marzo

So, I did it. I ‘gamed today’.

No, that is a lie. I attempted to play, which lasted about 3 minutes.

What really happened was I picked up the controller…

…no, that is not true. The controller was handed to me.

Okay, I entered class earlier than normal and the control was handed to me to begin Rise of the Tomb Raider.

I really did want to play, but to be honest, I was so nervous! The last video game I played was Super Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch for an entire summer in 2017; and before that, Super Mario Kart on the PS4 in 2003; and before that I endeavored to pass Level 6 of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis in probably about 1995….Nah, there were a few breaks in between, with random games like Mortal Kombat, Guitar Hero, and my ex tried relentlessly to get me me to play Overcooked on the Switch, and Star Wars: The Card Game – Fantasy Flight Games…to which I forcefully fought back.

So, Lara Croft fell off the snowy and icy ravine about 5 times while Simone was positively supporting by gleefully shouting ‘a destra, salta!’….’Triangolo‘….’Avanti!’

After about nine lives the students started to filter in and I heard a student laughing. I thought maybe he was on the phone, but no, not so much. He had been standing at the door watching me die over and over again. Which is okay. I will get the hang of it. And repetition is great for language learning!!

Actually, repeating the stages over and over again on a video game is pretty great for language learning. I was receiving oral input regarding how to move forward and play the game, such as “destra!”, “quadrato!”, and “velocemente!”. Additionally, there are Italian prompts and subtitles written on the screen, so there is visual input matching the actions, which is extremely helpful. And of course, there is the added pressure of wanting to not be a total idiot in playing in front of a group of more advanced gamers. The background music is also quite intense. As Lara Croft scivolava (slides) over and over again down la montagna ghiacciata 🏔 I grasped desperately at la console trying to mimic what I had been watching i miei compagni di classe do with such ease over these past couple of months. Well, as soon as more students started taking their seat I handed over the control and gladly watched from my seat. I do feel good to have finally broken the ice and now I feel more ready to try again.

mercoledì, il 27 di marzo

Oggi was un girono di tutto! (Today was a day of everything!)

1️⃣ Prima, for our warm up we huddled up into our groups again for a few rounds of Sapere è potere. GrlPwr did quite well again, I must say. 👩‍🎤

2️⃣ Secondo, we went over the daily plan which includes annunci, and a bit of review in the ‘ripassiamo‘ stage, and practicing new concepts for a few moments of ‘parliamo‘.

Regarding our libro 📕 progress, we are immersed in el tempo, el cibo, as well as parlando about la hora, mastering concepts of reflexive verbs, expressions with avere + noun, and a whole lot more.

👩‍🏫 insegnare: Simone said something on Monday which just cracked me up, “please don’t suffer from reflexivitus”….”when you learn about reflexive verbs in Italian (or Spanish) for example, and from then on feel the need to make all verbs you encounter reflexive” 🤣 Oh, how true this is. È la verità, for sure. Not only do I witness my students making this error in my Spanish classes, but I know I am guilty of it as well. Not only can ‘reflexivitus’ change the meaning of your sentence, but it can also cause hilarious and or embarrassing situations.

Per essempio, diece anni delle passato, I sat with 4 quattro Spanish donne in a small Moroccan casa di tè in Cádiz, Spain. It was la nostra hora di conversazione, trenta minuti in spagnolo e trenta minuti in inglese. During our Spanish speaking time they asked me what I had done earlier that day and I proceeded to tell them….”trabajé, regresé a casa, me corrí, cambié mi ropa…” and I continued on. Although only for about two seconds perché all of a sudden i loro occhi  👀 got very wide, they laughed quite hard for a few minutes, and then thank goodness proceeded to kindly explain why perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to use correr in the reflexive form (correrse) in such a casual and public setting. Of course, this case is particular to Castellano, but it is a good example to be extra careful when throwing around i verbi riflessivi…..

Ma, torniamo all’italiano!

We reviewed la quantità, il verbo ‘bere’ e le bevande, and possessive articles. We finished up watching an Assassin’s Creed 2 video on YouTube, Simone passed out Worksheet #4, ‘I verbi di azione, le attività, il tempo e la famiglia con Rise of the Tomb Raider’, and all of a sudden class was over and we headed over al laboratorio. The 50 minutes are also so jam packed and end so quickly!

Once in lab we watched a complementary video clip,  and went over a few sections on the worksheet together.

We wrapped up the last 20 minutes or so playing Hidden Agenda. I loved it! It was so fun, interactive, we worked together in small groups, and it was actually pretty intense. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Dah dahhh…..

Questo gioco è multigiocatori. I downloaded the app (for free) on my iPhone and our team Subze (I typed in Sub Zero as the team name, but it got cut off #fail), played along with the other teams collaboratively making decisions, while the action was being presented on the big screen. There were options to compete against each other or work collaboratively as a one large team. The situations presented were very similar to those old school books, “choose your own adventure”. Of course the primary language was set to Italian and we were following along based on our novice and intermediate levels of Italian. Although, I found that we could also easily draw upon the context to understand more of the situation, quickly allowing us to move forward in our decision making and progression to the next situation.

The room was dark, the music was loud and intense, and we were choosing whether we should save the ostaggio (hostage) or our police partner….good times in Morrissey 3800.

venerdì, il 29 di marzo
Oggi 
we…
…took Quiz numero tre 3.
…reviewed gli aggettivi possessivi practicing with la famiglia.
la mia famiglia, la mamma, il papá, i fratelli, i nonni...etc.
studiamo i pronomi possessivi.
     – il mio appartamento ha molta luce….
la mia migliore amica è americana.

On the near horizon is the creation and completion of our progetto finale. Il lunedì prossimo we will meet with our groups and decide on a format and topic. Our team is comprised of a unique and eclectic group of folks, which will bring a diverse set of skills and ideas to the table. I am very much looking forward to our brainstorming session on Monday!

¡Ciao!

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Intensive Italian for Gamers – settimana nove 9

Nella serie TV Friends, qual è il cibo preferito di Joey?

🥪 🥪 🥪 🥪 🥪 🥪 🥪 panini!!!!

Whodathunk that being the ultimate Friends fan and possessing more Friends trivia than perhaps even those six actors do, would come in handy in progressing our pink-haired personaggio into first place? Even if it was just for a brief moment…

Today’s class was so fun and perfect for this sunny venerdì.

Perché? 🤷‍♀️ 

Because it was un ‘Giorno di gioco’ 📱

At each table lay a tablet, and at each table sat 3-4 nerdy gaming linguists excited to compete, push buttons, create their avatar, and practice their Italian.

We did not even know what game we were going to play, but we were animated for whatever it may be. It was like back in the day when your middle school teacher rolled in the clunky TV stand, complete with a VCR, and overflowing with tangled up cables. You had no idea what movie would be shown, but movies in class were such a treat and departure from the normal structure of reading, writing, and arithmetic. I remember in middle and high school any movie was really welcome, whether it was Bill Nye the Science Guy in 7th Grade Science or ‘Los Viajeros‘ in 9th Grade Spanish, movies were welcome! I would have to say I think the only time when students grumbled about watching films in class were those two days in middle school, which were awkward af, when boys and girls were split up into two rooms and were flash-taught Sex Ed with educational films made in the early 90s…

But those days are long gone…or are they? I am quite glad it is not 1999 and I am no longer in 6th grade, but rather hold a Graduate student position in the year 2019, and I find myself enrolled in an Undergraduate Italian class being taught by a digitally savvy profesore with years of experience using digital realia to augment his Italian instruction.

So, what appeared on the screen was not an uncomfortable educational film about STDs and 28-day cycles, nor was it a fuzzy 80s film of socks-‘n-sandals-wearing tourists exploring the streets Oaxaca, but rather the super fun trivia game ‘Sapere è potere‘.

IMG_5767

First, we picked out our avatar, who was a hoot and a half. She wore rainbow spandex and had capelli rosa and un grande baffo rosa. Her fanny pack was hilarious and upon submitting a right answer, her mannerisms wavered between spanking her own cartoon culo, clapping with delayed Gumbi arms, and doing awkward wiggly dancing. I was playing with two other ladies, so we appropriately and geekily named our character, GrlPwr. Aren’t we super cool?

9scrmax3 It was such a silly day and the activity couldn’t have come on a better day. I know, personally I was feeling rather squirly, what with it being Friday at 2pm, with sunshine and all. The sun is finally peeking out from behind these winter clouds and as I walked through the clocktower square to our class, there were tons of students out on blankets, slack lining, or hauled up in hammocks. There was also a DJ blasting sweet jams and the faces of students seemed to glow with sheer delight of just a small amount of warmth.

Anyway, getting to play this trivia game, in Italian, with Italian culture also integrated in the questions, on this sunny Friday afternoon was just perfect.

A few takeaways:

  1. Cultura
    Many of the questions involved themes centered on Italian culture, such as literature, history, famous people, music, and so on.After we finished with our 11 rounds, Simone pulled up a couple of these italiani famosi to add a bit more context about why these people were note worthy.  We discussed a bit about Giocomo Leopardi, who was a un poeta, studioso e filosofo italiano in the 19th century. Although, according to our profe the filosofia of Leopardi would have been described using one of our favorite new phrases, ‘qué barba‘ 🧔🏻

    We also chatted briefly about a modern YouTuber called Sofia Viscardi, who is also una scrittrice, who I may or may not have started to follow on 📷 @sofiaviscardi. Hey, it’s for the Italian practice, okay?

  2. Vocabolario
    We got the opportunity to learn new words, such as Abbinamento and  Smistamento, and to practice them over and over again in a fun and highly contextualized environment, due to the various rounds we played.
    The repetition of activities really helped established new vocabulary words, such as the act of choosing categories and the ‘strapoteres‘, and of course the regular game words such as ‘continuare’. 

    As I am finding with all of the games we play, whether it be Assassin’s Creed II, Rise of the Tomb Raider, or Sapere è Potere, the combination of group work, critical thinking, Total Physical Response, repetition of words, and repetition of their corresponding actions, and so much more, really makes for an extremely efficient tool for language learning. 

  3. Lingua
    Nerding out on languages is one of my favorite things to do. Being a native English speaker and having a strong base of Spanish almost always provides support to my efforts in reading other languages.

    And today was no exception. One of the rounds we played was a sorting activity in which the names of animals flashed, and we had to pull them either into the category of ‘pelle‘ or ‘pelo‘. Such as 🐖 vs. 🦍 or 🐍 vs. 🐇.

    Fortunately, Italian and Spanish share many words and roots of the words, which made quickly sorting the words that appeared relatively easy. Although there were many words that were definitely not the same, what did add to our success in this round was my knowledge of latin and greek roots. Even if I had no idea what the word was, in the 2 milliseconds we had to guess what the word was, in order to drag it into the appropriate category, even having knowledge of roots aided in GrlPwr also winning this round….🥇

We played Knowledge is Power for about 40 minutes and finished up by reviewing a few exercises from our book. Book wise, we are in Chapter 4, and practicing i verbi reflessivi, avere + noun phrases, el cibo, e molti verbi, regolari e irregolari.

🌇 Mi sveglio alle sei.
😋 Ho fame.
🍷 Vorrei un bicchiere di vino rosso.
🚶‍♀️ Vado a scuola a piede.
🖨 Gli studenti vengono al Language Resource Center per printing and tutoring.
🛌 Esco presto perché mi piace addormentarmi presto.

A la prossima settimana ¡Ciao!

Intensive Italian for Gamers – Giorno 21

¡Ciao! 

mercoledì 20 marzo

Per the ush, as the students go along entering class and warming up for our Wednesday in Intensive Italian, Simone has a game playing on the big screen on the right, and our daily plan presented on the left.

🎮 Gioco: we continue to immerse ourselves with input and activities from Assassin’s Creed and when I came in to class a fellow student was marching Ezio around the streets of Firenze vecchio. The background music was playing, and while most students were paying attention to the game, some were paying attention to their cell phones.  I popped in a wee bit later than normal, just as Simone asked the giocatore to finire. Our classmate closed out to the main menu, and arrowed down to esci. I thought to myself ‘that means to go out or exit’. Then, ‘wait a minute, how do I know that?’ Well, even if you have just a basic knowledge of video game set up, one can configure that normally the option to ‘exit’ is listed at the bottom of the menu. However, it suddenly struck me, I knew the word from our homework last night from MyItalianLab, non-gaming related.

I just checked to make sure. There it is, clear as the non-blue sky which insists on persisting well into March 😣.  There on page 123, Chapter 4, a list of 3 irregular verbs appear, including ‘andare‘, ‘venire‘ and ‘uscire‘.

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 4.27.07 PMI’m sure that was no accident, the alignment in the book lesson with our gaming practices 😉

Bravo, Profe! ✅

 

 

 

Lecture followed the normal structure today:

  1. Annuncio!
    Simone let us know there would be no class on il primo di aprile….🤔 I was tempted to ask if that was a joke, but he seemed serious and the reason was legitimate, so I let it go. I hope I am not April fooled!
  2. Parliamo! (warm up- speaking practice in large and small groups)
  3. Studiamo! (introduction to and practice of new concepts such as, grammar, vocabulary, and culture)
  4. We also finished reviewing our Mid Terms, which we got back this past lunedì.

👁 Osservare: when practice together as a whole class, Simone makes it a point to call on every single student. There is no one left out, which of course has many benefits. As a teacher myself, I love this tactic, and experiencing this strategy first-hand is always a good reminder to integrate into my own practice, as it almost forces students to pay attention. If you are not paying attention and you get called on….well, your loss.

👨‍🏫 Simone: “Brown always makes you look like a hick”
As we reviewed l’abbigliamento in our conversation today we were contextualizing it with what we would wear to job interviews. Apparently in Italy men’s dress shirts are never white, but generally black or blue. Same with a woman’s power suit, dress, or really any kind of business or business casual clothing. In Italy, in this situation, the expected colors are nero, blu, azzurro, and sometimes grigio, but never marrone, because “brown always make you look like a hick”.

Speaking of clothes and colors, on ‘Wednesdays we wear’…don’t say  it…rosagiphy.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, but actually, on Wednesdays we have laboratorio italiano, and we always get into something fun there.

Laboratorio 4 – Using adjectives & learning about agreements (M/F, S/P)
DESCRIVI UN VIDEOGIOCO/CREA LA TUA RECENSIONE!

Today’s activity involved a worksheet, and exercises in listening, speaking, writing, research, and group work- Tutto that abbiamo bisogno for a well-rounded and fun learning environment.

  1. First, we became familiar with the grammar we would need to write a proper video game review, such as vocabulary, adjectives, verbs, indirect articles both masculine and singular, etc.
    > this set us up with the linguistic resources we need to write our own review.
  2. As a class we watched and listened to a recording of una recensione del gioco ‘Super Mario Sunshine‘  that Simone had prerecorded. The script was printed on the worksheet, and included a couple of blanks per line prompting us to fill in various verbs. First, we just watched the video and listened.
  3.  We listened once again to the review, but this time with no visual, just audio, while we followed along on the script.
  4. Next, as a class we went through the review filling in the missing verbs with their proper conjugation.
    > All of this set us up for success, as our final product was to work as a group and complete an original review of a real video game, which we will orally present next week.
    It was really good practice, and we had all of the resources we needed right there on the worksheet, such as adjectives and the model to follow. Plus, my group of 3 was very diverse in the fact that we had myself, a non-gamer whatsoever, who when asked what game she plays over the weekend, responds with ‘ho giocato correre’ o ‘gioco con le lingue’; there was also the student who is extremely into video games and who hauls around what seems like a 15-pound computer around; and, the third group member fell in the middle. She is quite neutrale, as she has more familiarity with games than I do, but can’t name all the consoles or versions. So, we were a good team.

La prossima settimana we will present our recensioni in front of the class. I will of course sound like an expert when I present on a video game in my third language…

¡Ciao!

 

The elevator pitch

I was in Georgia last weekend for a Graduate student conference and during a coffee convo with a Hispanic Linguistics professor I was asked about this class, “wait – what? Italian for Gamers?”…”Intensive Italian?”…”Gaming?”. Our chat was actually put on a brief hold while the professor took a brief time out to Google the class.  #Simoneforthewin

And, as I did my elevator pitch of this class, so many of the intentions, angles, and purposes behind all of the pedagogical strategies and methods became a lot clearer and more apparent to me. Sometimes it just takes you explaining something to someone else for you to really fully understand it in a more general way and to appreciate it from an outside perspective. Explaining the class to someone who had absolutely no idea about what it entailed allowed me to bring myself outside of the nitty-gritty details of indefinite plural articles, vocabulary, due dates, and irregular verb conjugations, and really understand the value of the class on a more comprehensive level, while zoomed out looking at it from an eagle’s perspective.

  1. Everything is a complement 
    Each exercise and activity is very intentional. There is a careful balance of  content and book work from learning the basics of Italian 1 & 2, and while we are following along with the homework on MyItalianLab, our in-class activities, lab assignments, worksheets, and extra credit options on quizzes and exams, are all based around our experience playing video games.I feel like there is this parallel balance in our progression of acquiring the basic language skills and cultural awareness set forth by the book, and the new and authentic material, including tons of digital realia, that our profesore is providing. Which results in an immense, and quite quick, enrichment of our Italian knowledge and ability to apply this knowledge.
  2. Real life language
    An extra skill we gain by gaming and our corresponding worksheets is exposure to language that is used in real life, including slang and informal conversations. As a language teacher I am always aiming to integrate ways in which the language is actually spoken in real life, to help motivate the students, and prepare them for real-life situations. Because, as we know, when you are on the streets of Madrid or Milan, you don’t speak vertically while reciting a memorized diagram of verb conjugations…just sayin’….For example, the following are just a few helpful real-life Italian phrases and constructions we have been exposed to from our game playing:
    • ‘Sali!’ – to get on, to climb on, to go up
    • ‘Dallo a me!’ – give it to me
    • ‘Stai vicino!’ – stay close! (*note – prepositions are part of capitolo 2 in the unit about l’università e la vita degli studenti)
    Sei in gamba! – right on; good thinking; smart girl/guy
    Aspetta! – wait, stop!
    Andiamo! – let’s go! (*note – Andare is one of the first -are verbs we learned in class).
    Fidati, ok? – Trust me. [*fidati dime]
    Scherzi? – Are you kidding?
    • (Per) di quà – This way, over there
    • Meglio + infinitivo – to be better off doing something…like ‘meglio tornare a casa‘ – to be better off returning home.
    Mi va – I feel like it…
    Ti va…? – do you feel like…?
    ^ I feel like this is the equivalent to ‘tener ganas de‘ in Spanish…’to feel like doing something.’
    Ma dove vai? – But where are you going?
    Mi basta – it’s enough for me. p.e. ‘mi basta un caffè‘ ☕️ – just a coffee for me.
    Viene! – come!
    Vieni qui! – come here!
  3. On the streets
    Siamo nel 1476….e nel presente...’ (*millequatrocentosettantasei)
    If you are learning a second language and are unable to physically immerse yourself in an environment where the target language is primarily spoken, such as with a Study Abroad experience, or snatching up an Italian ragazz🐌, then perhaps hopping into a video game is not such a bad substitute. As language learners and instructors, we are always practicing and advising our students to watch movies and shows in the target language, listen to Podcasts, watch Telenovelas, and now some of us are trying out the ‘Language Learning with Netflix‘ Plug In. These are all effective suggestions to increase our language skills. But wouldn’t it be cool if you were actually inside of the movie, speaking and moving along with the characters? How much would that increase your exposure to the Target Language, thus improving your linguistic competency?

    Well, playing these games is almost like that. As giocatori we are plopped down onto the cobble stone streets of Firenze in 1476 moving about the world of la Repubblica Fiorentina e their nemici. We hop across roofs, speak with brothers, steal soldi 💶 to pay medical bills, shout at the enemy, hug our brothers, and even manage to sneak into the case 🏠 🏠 of our ragazze….As gicatori, not only are we able to temporarily entrar into the real world of this language and culture, but through our digital time travel, we expand our exposure to the culture as we creep into its history…

     

    ¡Ciao!

Intensive Italian for Gamers – Giorni 12 e 13

¡Ciao!

We have moved into learning l’abbigliamento 👗 👔 👕 👖and what people wear, i colori, plural indefinite articles (dei, degli, delle), bello (pretty) and quello (that), and tons of -ARE, -IRE, and –ERE verbs. We are also studying for Quiz #2 which is slated for this coming venerdì, and this past lunedì were handed a new thematic worksheet, “Lingua e cultura: Firenze nel rinascimento con Assassin’s Creed II Lezione 2 & 3″ – Describing self and others / verbs and expressions of being and actions.

Well, this is perfect because a) ❤️ adoro i vestiti e b) voglio dress up my Avatar, Polly Glot. (Yes, I am a 11). So, here we are-

Polly Glot, also ama 🖤 nero , just like me 😉

Poly Glot full body.pngI started up this draft quite a few days ago and had to go on sabbatical for a while from writing as the spring time flings of academic work just whisked me away.

However, thank goodness Polly Glot is clothed. 😎 Although I will need to be careful since there are in fact more colors other than nero, and if Polly only wears black all the time, which she will, then I will need to find a way to incorporate other colors into her world. I plan to do this as I integrate other characters into her mondo 🌏 di molte lingue. At least when her monolingual sidekick arrives into the picture he will be another color…I am thinking he will a mammal in the simian family and of the color marrone. (*Stay tuned to meet Polly’s sidekick who speaks just one language and see how she helps him understand the importance and value in speaking more than 1 language.)

Dressing up Polly was an effective exercise in our strategy of following the content of our standard Italian Pearson book, Percorsi: L’Italia attraverso la lingua e la cultura, and complementing the content with exercises related to the world of video games. So, in capitolo tre as we learn about l’abbigliamento 👗 👔 👖👕 👠, we have the opportunity to apply and practice this new content based on our gaming theme.

An example is found in our second worksheet ‘Italiano con i videogiochi – 2 – Week 5 – Lingua e cultura: Firenze nel rinascimento con Assassin’s Creed II’. As we learn to describe ourselves and others, we also practice with our characters, such as Ezio Auditore.

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 11.48.35 AM

As I type this up and I reflect on our work with l’abbigliamento 👗 👔 👖👕 👠 I am understanding just how many various types of input and output we have been able to produce with the structure of this course. We have our homework on MyItalianLab, which includes basic exercises such as matching and fill in in the blanks, and in class we practice as a large group, listening and responding to Simone about our real-life clothes, and then we practice as a small group. Furthermore, with activities such as those included in the language and culture worksheet based off of playing Assassin’s Creed II, and dressing up our Avatars, we are really doing everything needed in L2 learning: comprehension- reading and listening, production- writing and speaking, and of course involving the cultural component. ✅ 👍 👍

¡Ciao!