Using The Same Story All Day

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8 thoughts on “Using The Same Story All Day”

  1. I might add that, if your class distribution allows, you are almost crazy not to use the same story/novel in your classes. If a level 2 class never did Houdini in level 1, for example, and you are doing Houdini in level 1, do it in level 2 as well. It simplifies things so much. And we need more simple in our lives!

    1. I agree with David about limiting the structures, but wholeheartedly ascribe to working the same story structures across levels. With the novels, it’s very easy to pump up the level of structures just as you did in your examples. Simple is good and in this case “less work for mother!” Isn’t our mantra “simplify?”

  2. I use the same scripts with all of my classes except for the level 4. The only reason I don’t use the same ones in level 4 is that I have only 3 kids in that class, 2 boys who are pretty introverted and very tired first period so it is almost painful to try to do stories in the typical way.

    I do try to use the same novels. Earlier in the year I had Spanish 2 read Patricia va a California and French 2 read Fama va en Californie. This was actually a bit confusing for me bc the story line is the same but different countries and character names, so it added an element of a real live need for clarification (my own) that would compel me to ask the students more questions (more reps!) so that I could get the names straight! It was kind of cool, because the students knew that I was honest to goodness confused and they were helping me 🙂

    I am trying very hard to declutter my brain, my house, my classroom and my “curriculum” so anything to make the day simpler and clearer helps.

  3. Then I think that this new thread about working within templates or frames is going to be important for those of us who want to explore it, jen. I believe that disparate activities only lead to confusion and burnout. But templates, only doing process, as it were, with no “daily goals”, can lead to mega confidence.

    I, too, am trying to clean house on a lot of levels, jen. Thanks for saying that and chill thanks for reminding us of our big goal here of simplicity. We seem to forget that.

    We really need the PLC Gold hard link if we are going to even have a chance at simplicity. It will be a place where we can find any template for any standard based goal, and work within that template and not worry about finding an activity among the 2000 tools in the farmhouse, as we’ve mentioned before.

  4. I know my Latin 3 students actually need the exact same stories and structures as my Latin 1s because they don’t know them yet. Since I am new to CI, I have found the most success basically starting everyone at the beginning. That’s where they need to be. However, the upper levels can move more quickly and their stories using the structures are often longer and more detailed.

  5. I think using the same story in multiple levels is a grand idea, to echo what everyone else is saying… SIMPLICITY! I do this a lot for news stories, since they are relevant THAT DAY and won’t lend themselves to me waiting another year to tell them.

    Re the structures, limiting them is important, IF they are new. But if we’ve PQA’d the hell out of them (or if they’ve already acquired one or two of them earlier on) there is usually one or two that just stick right away in the kids’ heads (in my experience) and so putting them in a story, even 4 or 5, to me is like taking the fully-acquired and semi-acquired pieces and putting them into something fun and contextually real. But if they’re really new, like that day new, then I’d stick with two or less.

  6. I find myself comparing my situation with yours in the States. You are teaching a foreign language that most of your students have no opportunity to hear or experience outside of the classroom. Most of your students come to you squeaky clean and innocent of any knowledge or pseudo-knowledge of the TL. To find “virgin” students I’d have to start almost in kindergarden. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time getting them to unlearn things that they believe are right than actually teaching them anything new. 90% of my students think that Wanted means “recherché” thanks to all the westerns they’ve seen. It’s really hard to get them to grasp that it means “voulait”. And they always translate Very as “vraiment” (truly). Then I give them a new word that I think is going to take some work to get across and they know it because of a popular song that I’ve never heard of.

    Anyway, I don’t feel that I have full control of what my students know or don’t know. My kids are constantly exposed to English in headlines, in music, in films, in chats on the net and hearing people who think it’s clever to sprinkle their French with English phrases, not always used correctly. It’s not CI, most of it is just noise and sometimes it can be quite a shock to hear what they think it means. I try to make everything in class 100% comprehensible and hold them responsible for letting me know when they don’t understand, but I tend to spread my net wider than you, using songs and films. As we “read” the subtitles or the lyrics, I discover what they know and what they don’t know and I’m often surprised at the fundamentals that they have not mastered and the low frequency expressions they have learned. (Not to mention the swear words that no teacher ever taught and that they all know.) I focus on the high frequency words and just give them a quick translation for the others and go on. It’s funny to see that some expressions seem to be memorable for no explainable reason and are retained after two or three brief appearances better than words for which I’m sure I got in 70+ repetitions. Once we decided that “break away” could be translated “se casser”, they all remembered it.

    I guess I’m trying to say that I often feel like I’m not really teaching the language as much as I’m patching over the missing puzzle pieces. It seems like it would be so easy to start with true beginners.

  7. For those of us who teach all levels, sticking to the same stories is difficult, as kids have already heard the stories the previous year. I have used the same novel for both Spanish 1 and 2 when picking up a new book, though. Level 1 novels have so much to offer to upper level kids who haven´t really internalized all the structures. In fact, I think because students don´t have to work so hard to understand the story line, they´re able to absorb more of how the words are put together.

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