Chicago IL Workshop (March 13)


The CI Master Class is a one day introduction to powerful teaching techniques for World Language teachers, coupled with a year subscription to an online course and a weekly newsletter designed to guide participants through the online course. Altogether the class is a yearlong, step by step immersion into the world of comprehensible input teaching.

On Friday, March 13th, I will lead a CI Master Class demonstration workshop in Chicago, Illinois. We will immerse ourselves in a variety of comprehensible input activities that you can use in your classroom right away.

  • Once registered for the workshop, participants get immediate access to a full year subscription to the “CI Master Class Online”, a collection of video demos, essays and class-ready materials (mostly in Spanish, but all of the skills and techniques apply to all languages).
  • This approach led my high-poverty Title 1 public high school to turn around from a near 0% pass rate to a 100% pass rate on both AP and IB exams.
  • Delve into the online tutorials right now and then come to the workshop to experience them live.
  • Give me 24 hours to process your registration; I will send a password to your email.

Scroll down for a full description of the workshop.

Does your school district need a purchase order? Contact me at

Workshop will take place from 9am until 4pm at the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop – Theatre District – 32 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601 • (312) 763-3822


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As soon as they sign up, participants are given access to the CI Master Class Online so that they can start trying out these effective techniques before the workshop.

On the day of the workshop participants experience how easy it is to provide clear, interesting input for their students. Mike demonstrates how to effectively lead students through interviews, picture talk and calendar talk, focusing on the tricks to generate great classroom conversation. We create a One Word Image (OWI) together, an essential technique that unleashes students’ creativity in their second language. Participants create their own OWI in small groups and we learn how to transform the initial excitement with the character into a short narrative.  We discuss how to transform ho-hum stories into gripping narratives. Participants also learn how to scaffold the process to inspire students to develop stories around AP and IB themes. Teachers who must teach to a common department assessment will learn how to combine these powerful student-centered storytelling techniques with the specific vocabulary that your colleagues expect you to cover.

In the afternoon we focus on Movie Talk skills. Mike demonstrates how to take a 45 second video clip and transform it into a full, 55 minute lesson plan… all without planning! Movie Talk is easy for beginners (both students and new CI teachers); Mike demonstrates how to tweak Movie Talks to get the most language acquisition out of the experience. Participants get access to Mike’s list of favorite videos for movie talk. Mike outlines key steps for using an ongoing television show as an anchor text for your classes so that you will always have something to discuss.

Later in the afternoon we turn our attention towards developing our classroom libraries. For teachers of lesser-taught languages developing a reliable system to produce class-created texts is essential, but those texts are also useful for any teacher of beginners. I demonstrate many browsing activities, which are activities that get your students familiar with your class library and help them quickly locate the “home run” novel that will turn them on to a lifetime of reading… in their second language! We learn how to manage a pleasure reading program, including how you display your library might help or hurt your reading program.

Finally I present my “maravillas” (marvelous things), an activity that melds movie talk with embedded readings to present authentic target cultures in the target language. You have to experience the wonder of the maravillas if you have seen CI teachers and were left wondering, “where is the target language culture?” I will show you how to make your own “maravillas” and give Spanish teachers access to 36 ready to go maravillas that I have made for my own classes.

Our workshop does not end there. I have collected resources, filmed myself at workshops demonstrating key techniques and arranged it all in a logical sequence to make learning each skill easy for the teacher new to this approach. Inside the CI Master Class Online I present how to get parental buy-in to this new approach, how to set up a CI classroom and essential classroom management techniques, as well as how to lesson plan for the day, week, month and even the year. Crucial basic skills are covered with video demonstrations and the nuts and bolts of how I run a CI classroom are explained, from how I develop my grade book to how I deal with frequently absent students. There is an entire module about teaching heritage language learners (HLLs), inspired by my experiences running an HLL program for nearly a decade. All workshop participants have a year subscription to the CI Master Class Online included in the price of the live workshop (click on the link to see the index). Best of all, unlike a live workshop, you will be able to return and watch the demonstration again until you can do it confidently in your own classroom. Still not clear? Send me an email with a request and I will address your question in the next video that I add to the course.

The power of CI based instruction is evident through student writing samples. The sample below was written by a non-heritage learner who had only been exposed to Spanish for 5 months, from August until January.  After Winter Break I wanted to see how much my students had retained from the previous semester. Students had 5 minutes to write as much as they could, as quickly as they could, without access to dictionaries or notes. The sample below is neither the best nor the worst in my class… it is typical of CI trained students! Yes, she is a normal Spanish 1 student who makes errors, but look at what she can express so easily!!