The period after the eighth graders left, two teachers came and observed my class. One is a BTSA teacher (i.e. new to the teaching profession and the district, so in training), and the other was his “BTSA friend” who uses TPRS/TCI but has gotten stuck in a bit of a rut because of family responsibilities and other life pressures. After the period was over, we de-briefed at lunch, and I got to share with my colleague about Movie Talk. They were intrigued by the fact that I have chairs and not desks in the room and wanted to know about how that is working. (Great for me) I think the visit was beneficial for both of them. And my class during their visit was great. They were on a roll, even though we were discussing and summarizing a portion of the movie “Das Boot” that we had seen the day before. (My nod to cross-curricular collaboration is doing a “unit on submarine warfare during WWII” in which we watch “Das Boot” when the World History classes are studying WWII.)
I don’t know how many on the blog have heard or read Laurie Clarq’s story about her student who came to class with a hoodie pulled over his head and how using Embedded Reading eventually connected with him. There’s a student in my first period class who reminds me of Laurie’s student. He has been quiet all year, with his head down and his hoodie up. He has tended to arrive late to class (by a couple of minutes, sometimes longer). [BTW, I have chosen this year not to track or record tardies. It’s enough that students have to come and shake my hand and say hello when they arrive – this is not to embarrass them but to connect with them and let them know that I am glad they came for at least part of the class.] Anyway, recently this student has started coming on time or even early and sitting in the room before school. The other day he offered me one of his donut holes (and has done this a couple of times since then). I took one, not because I particularly needed a donut hole, but because it was a way to acknowledge a connection with him and honor him. During class, this student is no longer hunched over but sits up and has begun to make some excellent contributions to stories and discussions. Today I asked something, and he looked at me and said, “Ich verstehe nicht.” (I don’t understand.) I repeated what I said, only s-l-o-w-l-y (and checking for comprehension), he smiled and gave me an excellent response, even though the question was not originally directed to him specifically. Big thumbs up!
All in all, today was not necessarily the best for full-on teaching, especially during the middle school visit, but I think it was a good day. We laughed, we joked, we talked in German (except to the eighth graders). I even shared a bit of German university humor. (You can see it here –