A First Week Explosive Combination

I lost my yellow card with the One Word Image (OWI) information at NTPRS. If anyone maybe got it mixed up in their stuff, please send me the cool new information we added to it. I want to do that new stuff this year, but the only new prompt I can remember from the list we made is the one about whether the kid is a superhero or not.
Anyway, that’s not the point. Here’s the point: today it hit me that there is a tremendous, like in “Wow!”, potential in simply combining the Circling that we do with the kids’ in the Circling with Balls activity with the prompt list used when we do the One Word Images (this site/resources/workshop handouts – p. 11).
That’s how complex this idea is, by the way – it’s really simple. All you have to do is start a class in which you are going to circle with balls as usual, but have the One Word Image prompts in your hand. (I always put that list in a plastic folder on colored paper because it is easier to hold (because of the plastic folder) and not lose amidst other papers (because of the colored paper). If I do put it down, I can then find it easily.
So, if you are talking about how Larry repairs cars/is a mechanic because that is what he told you in the Big Circle on the first day of school and what he drew on his card the next day (it must be important to him!), you can then just grab the OWI prompts and go ahead and get ready to double whammy the class with the Circling with Balls circled question process and the One Word Image prompts. How?
Circle normally but then if you feel that drop in energy (because you don’t really care if Larry is a mechanic after Circling kids’ cards all day and your blood sugar is low), then link what you are circling (Larry is a mechanic) to the prompts on the OWI sheet in your hand.
For example, you may be circling normally along with the regular question words and that might lead to a question about whether Larry owns a car or not, and, of course, since he knows to lie to you, he would say yes even though he is fourteen years old and in poverty, and then, following the order of the OWI prompts, you could ask about the car and develop and extend the PQA much more than if you didn’t have these OWI prompts:
– its quantity
– its size
– its color
– its intelligence level
– rich or poor
– mean or kind
– hair color
– eye color
– other physical characteristics – see TPRS in a Year!, Portrait Physique
– its mood
– where it is
– when this occurred (time, day of the week, etc.)
– superhero or not
One more thing – don’t be in a hurry to leave this PQA. Extend it as far as you can. Stay with Larry. Few people may have ever stayed with Larry in his whole life and now he is not only the best mechanic in the universe (a cause for real celebration because the best mechanic in the universe goes to Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver and is even in our French class!), he also owns the coolest car west of the Mississippi, or in the entire United States (or wherever the class decides together).
Next week – and I will make the following information into a new blog post too because I think it is important – I plan to test out the potential of a new plan to have kids counting each PQA target in the Circling with Balls cards (“Larry is a mechanic”) in the same way that kids count structures in PQA sessions building up to stories. I may even have a kid time me and point at me only when I have circled “Larry is a mechanic” for two minutes. Kids love to time things anyway, right?
So, to restate that (I don’t know if will work, but I’ll try it), I have a kid count how many reps I get on what is on each Circling with Balls cards, and another kid count how long I circle it and point at me when I have done at least two minutes of circling (using the question words combined with the OWI prompts as described above). If I am on  roll with Larry and his car, I stay there. This is Dr. Krashen’s Net Hypothesis in action, by the way. Just do it. Make a net of language around Larry and his great car!
Why focus all that repetitive PQA on only Larry? Why stay with him so long? It’s because I refuse to blow what I learned in St. Louis from going to four of Linda Li and Bryce Hedstrom’s five sessions at NTPRS last month. If Linda can circle and personalize the simple fact of someone drinking coffee (Krashen was drinking coffee that morning) for her entire session, then I can at least try that.
One last time: whether you combine Circling with Balls with OWI or not, do not be in a hurry to leave a kid’s card. The extended PQA you do with a kid is like  planting seeds in fallow ground – you will reap the rewards all year when those plants, the information you got from each kid during these first few weeks of the year, grow into mature plants. Just keep on circling the same thing (“drinks coffee”) over and over and over and over. That’s what Linda Li does, and I remember thinking to myself during her sessions, “I want to be like this”.



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