Training Video 1 – CWB 1

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30 thoughts on “Training Video 1 – CWB 1”

  1. Wow, Ben, that was excellent. Thank you so much. Several things I got out of watching the video:

    1. I feel like I actually am doing ok with my CWB. I was a little worried, because I wasn’t able to stretch them out for more than 10-15 minutes and maybe that’s ok at this point. (I stuck with 2 a day, just because I stopped when I felt their attention wandering, or maybe I felt like I was boring them, but maybe I wasn’t?).

    2. I am so glad you said that it might take a 10 days or so to get to 98%.

    3. Love the hand over the head for not understanding, my kids are using that very well.

    4. I definitely was going a little too fast.

    5. I’m going to start doing the quick quiz at the end of class. I did a t/f quiz of the CWB we did for 6 students plus some questions from tpr. Most got a 9 or 10 out of 10 with one 7. (out of 75 students)

    6. My question after watching is this: how long can you really circle with one or even two people (comparing) with level 1 language ability. If we aren’t adding in too much new vocabulary, we really can’t go too far, right?

    Thanks you again, so much for doing this.


  2. …how long can you really circle with one or even two people (comparing) with level 1 language ability?…

    This depends on the teacher. What skip will do is just scaffold until he is in a story, over months. Most of us will drop this as soon as we get to every kid in a matter of weeks. (It is most important to get to every kid if only for a short while because they are waiting, waiting to be the center of attention even if they look like they are not. Plus, we naturally are able to go faster with a kid after twenty cards because where, and, not etc. – those words will be more quickly recognized in class.)

    We praise them for whom they are.

    I stop for the reasons you imply that it gets boring and I have a ton of Anne Matava scripts I want to get to as well for the humor because I like to laugh.

  3. Megan there is another thing. You can test yourself on stories now. Just get to a point of saturation with the circling and then, instead of going to another card (the obvious choice) bring in a new character or event and watch something resembling a story gather energy. Obviously wait until you are toward the end of the cards and just experiment bc they don’t have the vocabulary yet for a real story. Blaine told me about the new character or event thing. It really works.

    Unless it’s one of those really simple scripts skip talked about last fall. Those were cool. Anybody got that link – “early stories” or something?

    And don’t fret if you can’t get a lot of energy with the cards. That is not their purpose. Like OWI, their purpose is to norm the rules and personalize the class. Once that is done, at the end of the first week, you will notice that kids who can’t stand the fact that you are totally in charge of your classroom will drop, and no one will dare cross you since you will have established such a sense of focus on the language as per jGR and the Classroom Rules in the first week. If, on the other hand, you vacillate during that first week, and the kids see it, well, no comment.

  4. Reading about it (how to do something) is one thing, but nothing is as powerful as seeing it all unfold in real time on video. I am about to go into my third year with CI but I still struggle with SLOW. I think it will be easier for me this year in French because it is not my native language, unlike German.
    Thank you so much, Ben. This video is so helpful – amazing how long you were able to stay on just that one target, and it didn’t seem the least bit contrived.
    Btw, do you really get a kid to start quiz writing on the first day?

    1. No I just included the Quiz Writer in this video to make the point. A most useful student!

      Another point to make is that there is irony here. By going so slowly and focusing on team building (that’s what CWB is) and classroom management and esp. dealing with potentially rude kids before they can get rude, and by focusing on only one sentence, there is exponential growth later. This kind of class sets up huge gains later.

      I feel that after 3 weeks of this (that’s all I do it for, along with OWI and WCTA and maybe a few dictées and even starting a novel like Pauvre Anne), when stories begin in Sept./Oct., it is possible arrive at the dramatic upward curve of real language gains fairly soon. In terms of CI gains, we start slowly but soon gain great speed, like a freight train – which process mirrors real life for how kids grow into language as well.

      1. Ben, thank you for this video. It is fabulous. I love watching these concepts unfold on screen. I haven’t started school yet so I’m trying to think of everything all at once! (Impossible, I know…)

        I have a few questions:

        1) How would you respond, in the moment, if you have a kid who is just so absolutely rude and seems to know exactly what you’re doing to try to get him/her to “buy in” to the process that he/she does or says whatever seems rude enough right in front of you. I’m talking about the kid who, when you say, “Isn’t it that you skateboard?” will say something like “why do YOU care what I do?”

        2) When teaching a LEVEL 2 class, made up mainly of students you had the year before (and therefore know how the game goes) what do you do with them in those first days/weeks? Still CWB? Still hobbies? Would that be enough to engage them since you already learned that stuff about them last year?

          1. Thanks for your reply? I should have also asked what you’d recommend for a level 2 class in which the majority of students are brand new to CI and CWB?

          2. If they are brand new to comprehension based instruction they will probably exhibit a desire to learn via rote memorization. In that case – if they resist having to interact with you on a human level in class – you could give them what they want and teach the old way.

            The other option would be to treat them as beginners (they are most probably that in terms of being able to decode sound and read in L2). In that case use CWB or OWI or maybe even a really simple story, but expect resistance.

            If I met any resistance with CWB I probably would go with the second of these:


          3. Would you do the same thing if you had a class where half the kids were new to CI (because they had a non-CI teacher the previous year) and the other half were with you the year before (thus, very accustomed to CI).

          4. Sorry, forgot to mention that I was talking about the second option (treat them as beginners). It would almost be the equivalent of having a mixed class of two levels (1 and 2), right?

      2. I don’t think you can say this ENOUGH! Very wise observation, imo.

        “In terms of CI gains, we start slowly but soon gain great speed, like a freight train – which process mirrors real life for how kids grow into language as well.”

        This, we must trust. When we don’t, and we speed through stuff, gains are fewer, the gap among students grows, and the class progress gets unwieldy making it harder and harder to teach ALL. The “soon” part differs at different levels and, particularly, with different-age kids (younger is slower, older is faster-Krashen).

        1. Yes, we must trust this especially when there are colleagues or parents (or students) who are used to communicative repeat-after-me approaches. I think they start thinking they have ‘results’ quickly because kids are pressed to repeat and speak immediately. Learning not to force output was my final issue before I went all-CI last school year. I had to read Krashen’s hypotheses to believe that really was not best for acquisition. Otherwise, the more typical push to “get kids speaking” is ringing in one’s head.

    1. It’s in my body since I’ve been developing this activity for almost ten years. It starts out in your mind, but pretty soon you feel the teaching in your body. I thought those kids were really there as well. They had faces and everything.

  5. Very helpful, particularly for me how slow, how you introduced jobs, and in particular the quiz writer. I’ve noticed you (Ben) in previous videos check on the quiz writer, but didn’t realize why you did so. The thing about directly speaking to the theoretical unresponsive boy in the back.

    I had very successful, similarly organized first classes with two groups: exploratory 4th grade and incoming 5th grade (they now chose Chinese for a 4-year stint with me). I am calling it “Circling with Names” because I have found it must be simpler than hobbies — whether because of the age of my students, and/or the unfamiliarity of the Chinese language — and names personalize the class really well and fast. It provides a lot of laughter by about 4 or 5 questions into it and then it really gets fun. Plus, I get to finish by telling each child, by name, goodbye at the end of the first class. I hope to make a short video explaining it and hope it will help elementary and/or Chinese teachers particularly. I kept it within 6 words and 2 or 3 question words: 8 different syllables of new sound in total (plus names in English). We worked it for about 20-25 minutes and there was a really positive vibe the whole time.

    1. Oops, kind of didn’t finish this thought: The thing about directly speaking to the theoretical unresponsive boy in the back, more or less checking “are you with us?” before he gets settled into being passive. That was good to read. Confirmed my instincts on that point.

  6. Brilliant to circle only the names with Chinese. Simplifying things in Chinese cannot be done enough. Annick and Diana have told me that it takes two years of Chinese CI to equal one of non-Chinese CI. And if you make a video on this it will help teachers on the elementary level as well as our Chinese teachers here.

  7. In small groups when I have only had a few minutes to demo TPRS, I have done circling with nicknames. It can be really fun even when people all know each other very well.

  8. Thanks for this video, Ben. I had a lot of aha moments as you stretched one sentence out for such a long time. Repeating with different emotions, repeating with rhythm, acknowledging different kids, training the kids in CI (insisting that they gesture for help, and the repetitions that that brought), giving them a sort of brain break by pausing and applauding/celebrating them. I felt the kids in the room too.

    What was that part where you asked Jeff if he was doing the over-my-head gesture because he really didn’t understand or because everyone else was doing it?

  9. Carla the over the head motion is easily copied and therefore can fool us in reading the kids for their comprehension or lack of it. We do real assessment through the eyes and through the Quick Quizzes. Both are formative. Remember the key term in jGR is assessing their observable non-verbal behavior. My colleague Barbara Vallejos at Lincoln H.S. coined that gem.

    Thus, I was pretending in that make believe class in the video that Jeff was just copying the clarifying motion of the other students, so I let him know that. I always let kids know that I know about their level of involvement with me. Thus, if they have a 2 in the book on jGR, they can’t argue it, because they have seen me looking closely at them in class, assessing constantly.

    What a job we have – we not only have to instruct the kids using CI, we must assess their involvement at the same time!

  10. That’s why I like the fist in the other hand move right in front of the body at waist level. Quiet, subtle, and pretty private except to me who is standing in front of them and can easily see it. Pretty hard for other students to copy it.

    Of course, I’d always get a few who tended to do it more visibly, higher up in the air, depending on the level of their frustration with my speed or lack of comprehensibility. I trained them to keep me honest, and they did. It’s good that each teacher finds what works best for them and their students.

  11. Thanks for posting the video Ben. CWB has been going well for me so far this year. Last year was my first attempt and I feel like I’m doing a much better job this year. So great to watch your videos, they really make me reflect on how I go about it.

  12. I can’t watch this video enough! You mentioned that you were putting up part 2 of this video and I remember seeing it here on the site for just a few hours and then it disappeared before I had a chance to watch it. Did you pull it? I can’t find it on your “TPRS Resources” page either.

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