Updated for 2022
The weekly packet forms part of the core structure of my CI-based classes. I don’t have students write in it everyday, but just having it there, helps ground me and my students in a routine, in accountability. I have kept the text of my first Weekly Packet post below, but what follows is the most recent evolution of my weekly packet.
Over the course of 3-4 years, I have modified the original design of the Weekly Packet (borrowed by Jon Cowart–see below), to make it more generic. I found that having too many specific sections for each day created an expectation that I give students something to write in all those boxes each day, which limited my flexibility and responsiveness in real-time. As a result of this, each day’s page now specifies only the basics of our classroom routines (day, date, and weather; and a space for writing something: warmup, exit activity, or in-class activity). This reflects my practice in class based on my daily and weekly schedules (link). I now have two core packet formats.
This packet I use for my Latin 1 and 2 classes, where students (and I) require more structure, and I have more specific tasks during the class day.
A student helped me streamline this packet for use in upper level classes (Latin 3-4) where our daily routines are somewhat limited, and we might instead have an ongoing written assignment over the course of a few days. This packet has 2 pages instead of 3 (Saves paper!), and is more efficient for students to use, and for me to look over!
These packets assume 5 classes per week, all the same length of time. If you have some form of a block schedule and teach fewer than 5 classes per week, or have a separate handout for your longer block classes, you will want to modify accordingly. You may want to start out more specific, and then revert to a more general template once you figure out what sections students are actually using on a regular basis. Just remember, don’t let the packet format dictate or pressure your routines. It is a tool that provides structure and accountability, but only as much as you need.
Original post (2018?–beware of dead google doc links)
Lately I have been inspired by Jon Cowart, a Spanish teacher in Tennessee who works with urban kids and uses his own modification of a CI-based approach. One of his adaptations is to have students putting pencil to paper frequently, at the beginning of class and at the end, as well as during activities that many CI teachers do, like asking or telling stories. Cowart says that doing this helps kids to regulate themselves so that they can listen and receive the language input. This is something that can help any classroom management challenge, regardless of the demographic of one’s classroom.
Recently I found his Weekly Packet, which he shared as a word doc on the facebook group CI LIFTOFF. I have shared it here (giving him full credit), as well as my own adaptation (which is in Latin, in addition to containing a few changes.
My version of Cowart’s weekly packet (word doc template)
PDF of my first weekly packet (with additional worksheet page and song of the week attached)
Update after 5 weeks of using the packet (originally posted to Latin Best Practices Facebook group:
Weekly packet update: So I have been using weekly packets with my Latin 1 classes for about 5-6 weeks now. Here are a few thoughts, mostly positive, about the process.