This wonderful report from Annemarie is just further proof that we all got on the right train:
How are you? Are you counting the days? I can’t believe you are almost totally done. Good for you!
The school in which I work is considered an “exemplar” school within EL and the chief academic officer for EL sat in on a workshop I gave for colleagues at our annual site seminar a few weeks ago. I invited him to come to it because he is an expert within the EL community on student self-assessment and project-based learning. One of my main questions for him was how do I make my students’ learning more visible in a TCI classroom? Especially since I do not do projects and EL Is all about projects/project-based learning/deeper learning, etc.
I did the Susie Gross Cat/Mouse demo-story and the 10 people there loved it. Many of them knew no Spanish and they all completely understood the story when I did the retell. I’ve never tried this with adults before. And one of the coolest things about it was the discussion that followed afterward. This man from EL asked me if I’d heard of Paulo Freire…(I was doing cartwheels in my head because Freire and his book the Pedagogy of the Oppressed is the first book I read in the field of education and he’s one of the reasons I entered education in the first place.)…he told me that the story telling aspect reminded him of Freire’s work with adults and the importance of adults learning to read and write through story telling and using language in a meaningful and personal way. So, in other words, this EL guy totally got it. And he dug it. I told him I didn’t do projects, and he said after what he’d experienced in the workshop, he wouldn’t recommend switching what I was doing with TCI to take on even the most amazing projects he has seen in WL classrooms at EL schools.
I mean, if I have the Chief academic officer of EL schools (over 150 in the country) totally supportive of TCI, that means Ben, you are pretty badass, and so am I:) Or shall we say that TCI is badass…
Also, my friend and colleague Becca and I are helping our district’s middle school program transition to using more TCI and have even picked a common novel. All of us met last week for 4 hours. We had a woman come from another district in Maine in which the middle and high school both use TCI. And this teacher was the last one to jump on board. So she talked about the doubts she had had about it. I think this was really helpful. Becca explained step by step how to do a story….this was super helpful also. And I did a PQA demo because it’s my favorite thing in the world and I can do it all day:) You would have been proud. And I have to thank you…I know sometimes you think you aren’t clear when you present or whatever, but it was YOUR presentation in Maine in 2010 or 2011 (I can’t remember which year) that clarified the story asking process for me…it gave me the confidence to make the jump.
One last thing…as I have been having so many visitors in my classroom observing me using TPRS/TCI, I created a form for them to fill out so that I have evidence of these visitations…I’ve attached it…it’s simple, but I’ve received some great feedback. In fact, that choir conductor I visited a few months ago is going to use something similar. I’ll be able to use these forms as part of the Danielson framework evaluation process. I thought of using the TPRS checklist for administrators, but unless you are familiar with TPRS, the feedback form is a bit complicated. If you have any feedback on the form I welcome it.