The Square – Using CI at the Middle and High School Levels


If you are a language teacher looking for a curriculum to use in short middle school survey classes (usually from 6 to 12 weeks long) or in a year-long eighth grade class, use this book, which is designed expressly for middle school World Language classes.

Asking middle school language teachers to teach their beginning students through worksheets, explicit instruction, practice and correction, as well as through memorization of word lists for tests, is falling out of favor in our profession. Instead, providing interesting and comprehension-based instruction to our students, putting the focus on what the language means and not on how it is structured, is gaining favor.

Dr. Amy Banner, after putting some of the ideas presented in this book into practice in her classroom, reports:

“I am loving this! The activities have given new energy to my language instruction! I have imple- mented several of the things already. The kids love creating a character! I did that for an evaluation with 34 kids in my classroom. My administrator told me: ‘I have several people here who could take a lesson from you on having a little fun while learning. You have so much engagement and every single student is involved.’”

The purpose of this book is to provide the middle school language teacher with activities that allow her students to be able to just be involved in class without any pressure, to hear the language and just have some fun. Let’s uplift our students with real language – whole and vibrant language – that is enjoyable to them. What else should we be doing, if not that?

Both we and our students can indeed learn to have a good time in our language classes. In fact, the idea of enjoying learning a language appears in the research as one of the vital requirements, precisely, in learning a language, as per:

Introduction 1

The Square

When students enjoy learning a language, their confidence goes up and they experience success even if they are not among the few college-bound memorizers. This leads to increased enrollments in our middle and by extension our high school language classes, which in turn leads to increased job satisfaction and greater job security for us.

Moreover, when students enjoy learning the language, the odds that they will choose to become life-long language learners increase. That should be our real goal. We simply don’t have enough time with them to do any more than aim for that goal, that they leave our classrooms feeling confident with the language and wanting to learn more. This is because the actual instructional minutes we have with them doesn’t even scratch the surface of what is necessary for acquisition.

Once the middle school language teacher understands and implements the activities in this book into her instruction, her current unspoken and largely unacknowledged mental suffering will greatly diminish or disappear entirely. Therefore, it will be well worth every effort to sprinkle a little or a lot of the Square program into your daily instruction.


Your Instructor


Ben Slavic

Ben Slavic

Over the past 23 years, Ben has published 14 books on comprehensible input language instruction (CI). His Big CI Book is the best selling single book in Teacher’s Discovery history. However, Ben believes that his new online training programs on Teachable, The Square and the two Star books, are far more useful and easier to implement both online and in physical classrooms than even the Big CI Book. Asked if he’s ever going to write any more books on CI, Ben responded, “No, this is it for me. I’ll never produce anything better in the way of Ci curriculums than the Square and the Star 1 and Star 2 programs, so it’s finally time now for me to hang up my CI spikes. But thank you for asking…”.



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