iFLT Day 1: GAHHHH + Keith Toda

Today I got to meet my kiddos for my learning lab. THEY ARE TOTALLY AWESOME!!!! I loved them! We are going to have an awesome week together.

I spent the VERY fast 3 hours trying to teach them as many routines and rules as possible and drilling my expectaetions into their tiny, sweet, eager little brains so that when the massive throngs (haha! one can only hope) come to visit and observe tomorrow, they can wow them with what they already know.

I am running my labs the same way I teach in my classroom. I am modeling how I have used Non-Targeted CI in my classroom this year with these little kiddos. The age range is 2nd grade-5th or 6th I can’t remember. They are great though! One little one literally spent the first hour in the fetal position in the frame of the door until she realized I wasn’t going to eat her alive and she felt like she could join us! 🙂 YAY! Anyone ATTENDING iFLT, I STRONGLY encourage you to attend as MANY language labs as possible. Also, if you teach elementary, don’t just observe me, OBSERVE EVERYONE! All of these teachers are AMAZING MASTERS and you will take something (probably MANY things) away from each and every one! Same goes for HS teachers, you should observe the MS teachers and me too! You will learn SO much from a variety of people!

After my learning lab I had the opportunity to give my presentation on Cutting Corners and Simple Shortcuts. It was awesome and had a great turn out! Though I forgot to do a talk about feedback…. SOOO, if you WERE in attendance and feel inclined, PLEASE fill out the “feedback” section for my session on the Event Mobi. Please and Thank you!


FINALLY, at 3PM I was able to sneak in to observe a presentation by the GREAT Keith Toda! There were several presentations I wanted to see, I decided to go to his presentation on MAFIA because I didn’t feel like my brain could take anything else for the day and I wanted to just laugh and have fun, and I KNEW with Keith, that is exactly what I would do… Plus… it is MAFIA…. it is IMPOSSIBLE to go wrong with Mafia!!!!

He did SO many things differently from the way I traditionally play!!! For regular mafia games I tend to just combine the very traditional theatre version of mafia (with a mafia, doctor, police, and townsmen and women) with lots of CI storytelling using ALL that I know about my students to make it incredibly compelling.

Here were some of the things he did differently:

  • Keith set up the game (there were so so SO many of us in there) with 8 mafia. That was it. Just mafia. I was so confused at first, but it made the set up WAY faster and then the pacing when we were actually playing was also more fast paced which was fun. (HIS SPEECH was not fast paced, but rather the pacing of the actual game play was faster because of the elimination of some characters)
    • What I liked about this was the fact that this would potentially be a MUCH better way to TEACH and BEGIN with Mafia and it may also be a better way to have something more fast paced for younger classes
  • Keith asked us all to make “rain” sounds with our feet (stomping on the ground) as he selected Mafia and then as the Mafia were carrying out their “duty” and murdering people in the night.
    • I LOVED that I was able to move. I really think I may be ADHD, many of you have told me this before, and I loved that I was SO engaged and moving rather than just quietly sitting.
      • I still love my Twighlight Zone theme music though so I may have to do both.
        • Mary Overton told me she uses “Creepy Doll music” YIKES!
  • When voting for people who the class thinks is Mafia he allows for just TONS of random quick blurt outs of names and allowed some eager people to provide more info on WHY they were accusing them but didn’t require it then HE decided who the “three” individuals were that kids would vote on….
  • In order to vote for the person to accuse as Mafia, rather than just raising our hands, Keith asked us to clap and he judged it by NOISE level… which also seemed cleverly manipulative and open to interpretation! #BRILLIANT
    • I will use my many different forms of clapping to vary this and make it novel each time we play Mafia.
  • When creating his “scenarios” Keith preferred to have a script rather than wing it.
    • While I always wing it, I can see how a script would benefit many of my friend’s who are still hesitant about trying Mafia. At least in having a skeleton story.
  • UMMMMM…. ACTORS…. Are you KIDDING!? HOW have I NEVER seen ACTORS up for Mafia?!!?!? As Keith tells his elaborate “stories” of how the civilians were “murdered” he gets them up to ACT… SO KIDS are FREAKING OUT, wondering if it was them!!! He then TWISTS this and as they are acting he introduces NEW people to get up and act and nobody knows til the last second who actually gets killed!!!
    • I can’t even…. Seriously….I cannot WAIT
      • I won’t do this all the time though, for kids that I know won’t want to act I will do some of my storytelling with theatrics…
    • 497F8339-4B54-4A04-A452-BDCCEB6A3BFC.JPG
      Some of my favorites


  • For the FIRST people that got out (DIED) (i.e. Karen and me when we were playing  in Latin) Keith assigned us jobs.
    • My job was to keep track of all the people that die in each round on the whiteboard
      • I also decided to track who was put to trial and died each round and whether or not they were Mafia
    • Karen had to illustrate the ways in which people died.
      • Her drawings were epic
        • I would todally (see what I did there?!?! Keith will be proud) use these the next day to RE-TELL everything again! I always tell the Mafia stories in the past tense as it is, but it would be another chance to do it!

          I wish my hair didn’t make me look like a wilted peacock…. oh well.

So for the only session I was able to attend, I would say it was a pretty killer one!!! 🙂 GRACIAS Keith! Te adoro!

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca



  1. I’m curious about what your many forms of clapping are that you mentioned above. Also, does Keith share his Mafia scripts by any chance? And finally…have so much fun at iflt! I wish I was there! Thank you for posting so I can live vicariously!

  2. I have NEVER had a blog post written about me – this is SO cool! Honestly, I was only expecting around 10-15 people to attend that particular session – I was absolutely blown away by how many attended! Thanks for making me feel so special with this blog post, my friend.

    Regarding scripts: Martina Bex has a number of them on her blog

    Beginning scripts in Spanish – https://martinabex.com/2016/10/24/mafia-scripts-for-beginning-classes/

    Beginning scripts in French – https://martinabex.com/2017/01/11/mafia-scripts-en-francais/

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