Reading Authentic Texts Using cRD – 2

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5 thoughts on “Reading Authentic Texts Using cRD – 2”

  1. Ben, thanks for your response complete with detailed explanations about the mechanics of your Little Prince cRD. I’ve been processing your explanations all week, just haven’t been able to get on here and write back until now. Also, thanks SO MUCH for your critique of my CWBing. And you’re right…I have been allowing that class to “detail me out” of bounds. It’s just that I’m so easily amused by their funny ideas (especially with their French accents…I just can’t resist). I’m going to share a video with everyone here of me doing CWB (or something) as soon as I can get my hands on a camera…I’m ready for a proper evaluation.

    Any luck yet with video of one of your Little Prince sessions? I attempted “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” (which I had forgotten is also written by a pilot) today in the advanced class I wrote about. The seagull was not a pretty sight. The seagull didn’t even get off the ground, even though I tried for 30 minutes, just on the first sentence, with lots of questions and circling and translations and checking for understanding. But the boredom in the room was palpable. I definitely should have moved on sooner, but I was fighting my urge to rush into something more “fun”. It’s just that I got a little carried away and decided to REALLY resist the urge to rush on and instead bored them for 30 minutes. Oops! Lessons learned. Luckily I had CWB to fall back on to rescue the last 20 minutes of class, and CWB shined brilliantly, and les français were happy, and all was good. All of that to say, I can’t wait to see some video of what you’re doing with Le Petit Prince.

  2. I have made friends with boredom when I teach. I don’t try to will it out of the room when it appears. It is going to be there. Home run stories, great reading classes, are rare. The people we teach are not paying for our services. This fact will increase the level of boredom in ANY class, even in a fun CWB or story class. The students never stop to think that it is they who might be the boring ones, the lead weights.

    Natural human conversation is going to always be interesting. It is only the unnatural human conversation (where the teacher “needs them to pay attention” and so immediately becomes needy, and where the kids stink up the place with the bland expressionless faces) and so then we lose the chance for natural happy interaction with the kids because one side is needy and the other is boring and that is not what makes for good conversation. Sigh.

    It seems like no one is willing to wait for some good stuff to emerge in a conversation. It’s always got to be funny and wonderful all the time. Hey, I am still needy with those advanced CI kids. I was needy for decades and that isn’t easy to let go of. I want my level 3 class to take off with the reading of the Petit Prince. I would like to tell you Greg and Leigh Anne that yes, my level 3 classes are always movin’ and groovin’ and my kids always respond to my RAT idea with great interest because I am able to:

    a. make myself undertood via absurdly slow circling
    b. spin sentences, once they know what they mean, into magical and mirthful discussion in the target language for long periods of time before we go back to the text for another helping of art.

    Alas, nine of ten videos I sent you would not show those things, unless we were able to catch one of those rare classes where we get the plane off the ground. There is this expectation with CI that there are people who can really get great classes going almost at will. I don’t believe that. I’m not saying I won’t do a video, but getting real good samples of an idea is hard to do. Sometimes I go too fast. Other times I let too much English in, like today, Or the kids are crabby because their scholarship essays are due today and they don’t want to be in French class because they haven’t done them yet and I won’t let them write them in class. Or all manner of things happen. As we all well know.

    My point is that it doesn’t have to be all wonderful. We can be crappy at this and still teach them our language. So I take an authentic text, translate it, circle it to an insane degree, try to keep the kids with me, and then PQA the sentence and just keep it going for as long as I can, like spinning plates. Ain’t no magic formula. Ain’t no experts. It’s just us. And a bunch of kids who are professionally licensed to do anything required of them, but who by the time they get to be seniors in high school, have lost something of their real authentic selves, having left them behind somewhere in sixth grade.

    1. leigh anne munoz

      Ben — I see what you are saying. Just to explain — the way you dealt with your students in your video made a huge impact on me. My PQA went into overdrive after I saw ‘Brrrrrr 1.’ The video was a career-changer for me.

      I just need to see the manner of working with the students and the text, nothing else. Whatever you can produce, if it helps me teach Le Petit Prince next spring, I’ll be ever so grateful.

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