MY kids can PREACH CI as well as I can!

Arianne D. asked me on the CI Liftoff page today how I “talk” to my kids about CI and how I create buy in….

Since I wrote so much to respond I thought I would copy and paste it into a post here!

I have some great stuff to write about for y’all in the upcoming two weeks so keep your eyes peeled!

Arianne’s question: “Annabelle Allen, do you have a resource you can share about how you explain CI to your students? I would love to see how you do it bc your students rock and buy in so easily!”

So what I do is a little bit of what I do for parent’s night which I recently wrote about.

To explain exactly what I did this year in my classes who have NEVER had me (I teach Middle School). I did this on Day 1, (following what I wrote about for DAY 1 in MS age group in this blog)

First I modeled a LITTLE bit of CI. I did it with PQA, and I didn’t pre-plan the structure. In one of the two “new” classes it was le gusta (s/he likes) because a kid came in and had AWESOME Jordan’s on so I immediately said A mi me gustan MUCHO (I REALLY like) tus J’s (your J’s)  That is how the structure was established. I wrote le gusta on the board and jumped into asking questions with that and then after 10 minutes tiene (s/he has) had also emerged naturally because we were talking about how many kids had J’s in the class and how many pairs they had.

AFTER that, I switched into English for the last 10-15 minutes of class to talk about CI  and my point system (which I had been using the whole time I did the PQA).

First, I asked what they noticed was different from other language classes they’ve taken before. Someone ALWAYS says “we spoke in Spanish the whole time” SOMETIMES, they follow up with “BUT I understood it all!” if they don’t though, I prompt them to say that. If you are going to do this, YOU MUST MAKE SURE that you were SO SO SO SLOW and so so so comprehensible that first time exposing them to CI because that is when you are really really really really selling it to them. Next I had them close their eyes and I told them. “Show me ten fingers, show me five fingers ,show me 2 fingers, show me 4, etc.” Then I told them, “ok, pretend that your fingers are percentages, 10 fingers means I understood 100% of what you were saying and 8 fingers is I understood pretty much all of what you were saying but I had to guess a bit on  a few things, and 5 is I really only understood half of what you were saying and 1 finger is ‘Dude, this teacher is crazy I didn’t understand ANYTHING””Then kids put up their fingers. If you were truly comprehensible and COMPELLING you should see all 8s,9s, and 10s! Hopefully more 9s and 10s. I have never seen less than that except for last year when I had two kids who were testing me to see if I would care. I just ignored their fingers because

  1. I could tell they had been understanding me because they had been responding to my questions.
  2. Their eyes are all shut so MOST of the time they give you HONEST answers and there shouldn’t be kids “testing you” or trying to “impress others” or “hurt your feelings”

Then have them lower their fingers and open their eyes. Then I tell them that this is the BEST way to learn a language. I explain to them that mommies and daddies have a 100% success rate in teaching languages and I remark upon how AMAZING they are at speaking English (and sometimes I slide in a joke about how sometimes maybe they are still learning English too). Then I ask them when they started to learn about the rules and grammar that English has? Usually kids say 3rd or 4th grade. I then ask how old they are when they are in that grade? Then I explain WHY I am not going to have them memorize rules or do grammar drills until they become confident COMMUNICATORS in speaking and writing in the language first. 🙂 I tell them that the best way they are going to ACQUIRE is by listening and READING and I tell them that I will do my best to always make it INTERESTING but if I am doing my job to make it INTERESTING they have to do their JOB and ALWAYS PARTICIPATE and give me their 100%. Then I show them the rubric, and my syllabus. (You can find those here) 

ANNNNNND then I show them my selfies with Krashen! Because that is fun…. and they feel like I am famous ;) 

IMG_7526 (1)
Yes, this is the most epic selfie of all time… YAYY! and Look! There is Krashen! One of the highlights of my career was when THE STEPHEN KRASHEN attended my ENTIRE 1.5 hour session at iFLT17 in Denver! YAYYYY!!!!!

I hope that helps!!!! I have a sign in my class that says COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT and my kids who’ve had me can educate anyone on what CI is…. In fact, I had THEM lead the discussion in those other classes who’d previously taken Spanish. They all discussed in English and SPANISH what CI is 🙂 and why it is the best way to ACQUIRE. THAT was a #teachingWIN for me this year!

Love y’all! 

Until next time,



La Maestra Loca



  1. Love this SO much! I just heard of CI this summer and I want to start using it. Where do I start? I just order the big book of CI, but I’m overwhelmed by the amount of info I have seen. Any leads are much appreciated. Much love 😘

    1. YAYYY! GO YOU! I would read… anything and everything. You don’t have to JUMP all in if you are nervous. Some people have though, and it has worked well! Watch YouTube videos. I have more I am uploading soon to my channel. BEST thing to do is register for a CI conference this summer. Where do you live?? I will tell you some close to you if I know of them! 🙂

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