Lenox, MA – Two Day workshop – October 3-4


On Thursday and Friday, October 3-4, I will lead a two day workshop delving deep into the nuts and bolts of running a CI classroom in Lenox, MA. 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 Spanish, but all of the skills & techniques apply to all languages). Try out the activities now and get live coaching in October. Give me 24 hours to process your registration; I will send a password to your email.
  • 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.
  • Registration includes yearly membership in the Berkshire Organization of Language Teachers (BOLT)
  • A light breakfast and lunch are included.
  • Participants will also receive a copy of the book that accompanies the workshop, “My Perfect Year: A Practical Guide for Language Teachers”.

Scroll down for a full description of the workshop.

Does your school district need a purchase order? Contact me at mikepeto@gmail.com

Group Discount! When you register with 3 or more teachers every participant gets a $30 discount. Group discounts will be refunded manually once payment is processed. Send me an email with names of teachers in your group. Teachers do not have to be from the same district.

Workshop will take place from 8am until 3pm at Lenox Memorial High School, 197 East St, Lenox, MA. Registration & breakfast starts at 7:30 am.  The workshop is in the Duffin Theatre; attendees should use the Duffin Theatre entrance rather than the main entrance to avoid students.



As soon as you are signed up, you will be given access to the CI Master Class Online so that you can start trying out these techniques before the workshop.

A two day workshop gives participants plenty of time to experience how easy it is to provide clear, interesting input for their students. During the first day participants experience a CI classroom as students while I guide them through a suite of activities that makes learners the stars of the curriculum. After each demonstration participants will practice in small groups so that they can effectively lead students through interviews, picture talks and calendar talk. Learn to focus on the moment and generate great classroom conversation. We  will create a One Word Image (OWI) together, an essential technique that unleashes students’ creativity in their second language. Participants then create their own OWIs 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. I demonstrate 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); I demonstrate how to tweak Movie Talks to get the most language acquisition out of the experience. Participants get access to my 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.

We then turn our attention towards developing our classroom libraries. Teachers of lesser-taught languages will see a reliable system to produce class-created texts. 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 proper organization of your library so that your students are inspired rather then lost when browsing.

I will also present my “maravillas” (marvelous things), an activity that melds movie talk with embedded readings to present authentic target language cultures, in the target language of course. If you have ever seen CI teachers and were left wondering, “where is the target language culture?”, then you have to experience the wonder of the maravillas!  I will show you how to make your own “maravillas” in any language and give Spanish teachers access to 37 ready to go maravillas that I have made for my own classes. I am proud to have developed an approach to language acquisition that focuses on the voice of the learner while giving equal time to exploring voices from the target language cultures.

In the afternoon of the second day we put our teacher hats on and I delve into the nuts and bolts of how I run a CI classroom, from classroom management to lesson planning. We discuss what grades in a CI classroom look like and I reflect on the years before I was a CI teacher and the many common classroom activities that I have learned to leave behind. Some of them were fun, many of them had some redeeming qualities but, in the final analysis, they simply are not an efficient use of class time. We have a limited amount of hours to get our students proficient enough in the target language to continue the process of acquisition on their own… let’s not squander our time together.

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 writing samples. The sample below was taken from 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 typical, not the best. Yes, she made errors, but look at what she can express so easily!!