Popcorn Reading

Popcorn reading

1. The reading is one that you have been preparing them to read by circling vocab, asking/telling stories, PQA, etc.

2. Arrange desks so that  partners are facing each other.  I created three rows in my classroom of two desks facing each other. There were 6 pairs in each row, hence 36 chairs arranged this way.

3. Partners sit facing each other.  They each have the reading in front of them.  One partners reads the first line of the reading to an endpoint of punctuation (which may bleed over onto the next line).  The second partners then gives the meaning of that line.  Then, the one who just translated reads the next whole line to end punctuation.  The first one gives translation.  They continue this way taking turns as reader and then translator for two minutes.  They can help each other with pronunciaiton and with translation.  If they get stuck, they raise their hands for your help.

4. At the end of two minutes, you call time and ask one side of each row to get up and move down one seat so that now everyone in the room has a new partners.  Partners check in with each other about how far each got in the story.  They always begin with the place that was farthest back in the story so that no one misses anything and so that there is plenty of overlap (aka repetitions).  Then, you start them up again for two more minutes.

5. You as teacher run around and offer help where partners cannot help each other.  They raise their hands and you move around to them.  This gives you a VERY good sense of sticking points which you can design a CI lesson for on the next day.

6. Continue this way for as many two minute rotations as you want.  I did 20 minute rotations and that seemed very good.  At the end, I asked for feedback about what was happening–a little metacognition about how they are learning.  If there is time for a little comprehension quiz, all the better.

Variation:  If space allows, the same thing can be accomplished with students standing in concentric circles with the inner circle facing out and the outer circle facing in.  When “change” is sounded, students on the inside simply move one person to the right.  If you have an uneven number, the inner circle should have the extra person and there will always be one person who reads along at each change.

Readers’ Theater

Readers’ Theater

Take a story that the group has already read or is ready to read and write it up as a script.  Some texts do this for us.  Identify students to read and act each roll, including narrator who may also read stage direction portions.  The teacher’s job is stage director who will not let them get away with anything but outstanding performances.  Most stories will be short enough for multiple productions of the same story, sometimes in the same class period.  The group can vote on who did the best production, or you can establish 3-4 judges (American’s Got Talent-style) to vote on the best performers and overall performances.  The goal here is 1) to identify places that are not understood and make them understood.  This becomes obvious when a performer does a flat reading.  The teacher/director must stop the performance and find out what is not understood, offer a better way to read/act the line and then move on;   2) to get lost in the fun of the story. Lots of laughter ought to be an indicator of this, especially if you require the audience to be active with vocal responses to the story (ooh, aaah, boooh, euge!, eheu! papapae! etc).  You can always follow a series of Readers’ Theater with a timed write.


Here are some very good set up guidelines especially if the story is not pre-written as a script:


1. Students are given an embedded reading from the curriculum. It focuses on four new words already circled repeatedly with students. Students read a paragraph silently.

2. Teacher reads the paragraph out loud, with emotion.

3. Students ask comprehension and vocabulary questions in Latin.

4. Teacher asks comprehension questions to ensure understanding

5. Repeat steps 1-4 with each paragraph of the story.

After finishing the story, three students previously asked to play certain characters come up. The class divides the rest of the parts (if any) in groups and teacher is narrator/director.

Teacher reads the story and all are  responsible for responding appropriately.

Students complete a time write on the story.