In the post below, Bryce addresses the spontaneous creation of CI as opposed to the standard option that we always have in the three steps. It’s the old question of whether to do stay close to the safety of stories or just roam free with one word images and PQA and the like.
Everybody has their own take on that. I prefer the free roaming stuff unless I have a great script to work from. If I have a mediocre script it just kind of sits there in the middle of the circling and the CI and emits a low grade odor.
I just got this from Bryce today:
During the initial TPR phase students learn vocabulary very quickly. Everything is new and their attention is high. It also helps immensely that the vocabulary in the first units is concrete and the verbs are very active. Words like jump, hit, desk, book, window, draw, and paper are typical. Students can see, touch and hear most of the objects and actions associated with the words. This sensory element allows students to experience the sound/meaning pair and absorb the vocabulary very quickly.
The amount of words in each of the first 5 lessons should be smaller than most classes can absorb in a one hour class. The small number is purposeful because at the beginning of the year, students need to be drilled on classroom procedures in addition to learning language. Almost as much time is spent in the first week of class explaining the way we do things in this class and then practicing them.
Students are also becoming accustomed to doing what the teacher says during this time. We are getting them used to saying yes to us. They are associating joy and activity and fun with the teacher and with the Spanish class. Students are getting a sense of accomplishment and building a sense of community as well. It is a classroom management end run that will save an immense amount of time and headache later on in the year.
Building community and becoming bonded to the teacher helps immensely in managing the classroom. In the first days we have the opportunity to convince the students of our good will toward them and to get them to associate positive feelings with Spanish class. It is not as if we were trying to be anyone’s best buddy in the first week or two; we are trying to convince them that we like and respect them so that they will grow attached to us and will become accustomed to doing what we ask. We enforce discipline consistently, but we must make it a point to bond with the students at the outset.
This is a very different classroom management idea than the classic “don’t smile until Christmas” line we were fed in teaching methods class. It echoes the style of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu:
“If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and unless submissive, they will be practically useless.
“If, when soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.
“Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline.”
Here is the seventh installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS, by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 6):
MOST OF THE TIME THE STUDENTS DO MORE WORK THAN THE INSTRUCTOR
“Duh!” It may come as a surprise, but the students actually do a lot more work more than Dennis does. He is in shape, he is the leader, and he is the model, so isn’t it reasonable to expect that he would be working extra hard to encourage us? But, in every spinning class, the students pedal more and they burn more calories than he does.
Here is the sixth installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 5):
EVERYONE IS CHALLENGED (Differentiate your Instruction)
In a typical class there are several levels of participants. Some are newbies and some are old pros. There is always somebody there for the first time who doesn’t know how to adjust the bike, doesn’t have the right clothing, doesn’t know how to pedal smoothly, and doesn’t know how to flow along with the group. But there are also those that REALLY know what they’re doing. There is an occasional semi-pro bicycle racer. A trainer of Olympic caliber athletes that lives in the area shows up once in a while. Most of us are somewhere in the middle — we have cycling shoes with toe clips and cycling shorts, and we know the routine, but we are not superstars.
All I Really Need To Know About Teaching I Learned In Spinning Class – Part 5
Here is the fifth installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 4):
THERE ARE LOTS OF BREAKS (Apply 10:2 Theory)
If you have never been to a well-run spinning class you may think that it would be incredibly boring to just sit there and pedal a stationary bike for an hour. And it could be, but in a good spin class there is variety. We go slow and fast. We do intervals. We stand and we sit. We work hard and we sweat, but there are also lots of breaks – “Resistance off, quick drink,” is a frequent directive after almost every long song.
Here is the fourth installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 3):
EACH CLASS IS A STORY (Use the Power of Narrative)
Each one of Dennis Baker’ spinning classes is a story. The story is not long or complicated, but it lasts the whole hour. He keeps coming back to it throughout the whole session. The stories are about real places where he rides in the summer and fall like Utah, Montana, and Alberta, Canada. The places are limited and the stories are often similar, but they really help to keep the riders focused.
Here is the third installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS, by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 2):
EVERYONE IS WELCOME (Lower the Affective Filter)
Dennis greets his spinners. He may greet them at the door or before the class or during warm-up time, but every student is contacted in some way at the beginning of the class. It may be just a look and a nod. Or a few words of encouragement. But every student knows that Dennis knows that she is there. The spinners know that he sees them and they know he is glad that they showed up. No matter the student’s level of conditioning, no matter their experience with cycling or spinning, everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Everyone feels accepted and relaxed.
The era of the teacher as deliverer-of-instructional-services (Sizer) in foreign languages is over. The era of the textbook is over. Likewise, the era of the teacher as disciplinarian is over. Good riddance to all three.
Now, with the narrative method, the learner and the teacher can work with the language in a reciprocal and participatory way, facing together in the same direction towards authentic, not fake, acquisition. Narratives made up by the class are now replacing books at a pretty fast clip. The image of the disciplinarian sweating bullets to maintain order in the classroom is now being replaced by teachers who specialize in procedures that are student run and that create much more discipline than one adult could ever force into a classroom.
Here is the second installment of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS by Bryce Hedstom:
(cont. from Part 1):
…here are some excellent teaching practices that I see in [Dennis Baker’s spinning classes:
• Class starts before it starts
• Everyone is welcome
• There is a routine
• Focus on the basics
• Each class is a story
• There are lots of breaks
• Everyone is encouraged
• Everyone is challenged
• The students do more work than the instructor
We are in luck. Bryce has been working on a rather lengthy article on classroom discipline and just finished it. I will break it up into segments and we can read a little of it each day as we head into the year. Here is the first installment (of seven) of ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TEACHING I LEARNED IN SPINNING CLASS (By Bryce Hedstrom, with apologies to Robert Fulghum):
Most of what I really need to know about how to treat my students, how to teach and how to pace my classes, I see in spinning class. Good teaching technique, it turns out, is not only to be found in workshops, professional journals and the latest books by brain scientists, but also in the spinning classes at my local gym.
* Write 5 questions each day. This is a very doable number of questions for even slower students to answer in 1-2 minutes.
* Remember that the questions do not have to be brilliant every day.
* I try to always keep it simple for me—not too much writing on the board. That just clutters my white board and uses up my precious brain cells. For example, matching or fill in the blank questions would be too much work for me. Most Repasito questions are translations or informational questions from yesterday’s story (if every class in one level did the same story).
Yesterday Bryce shared with us the “why” of the Repasito – to lodge learning in long-term memory by reinforcing it 24 hours later. Here Bryce continues with the “what” of the Repasito:
Each class each day starts with a Repasito. It is always 5 questions (so it is easy to calculate the total points), and it is always in the same spot for each class (so it is easy to find). The Repasito is already on the board when the students enter the room.
Students write their Repasito in thier composition books. These are the kind with sewn-in pages that will not fall out and that cannot easily be torn out. The compostion book is the only required material for Spanish class. They only cost $1 or so. If a student cannot afford it, I will give them one on the sly.
If you have read “The First Days of School” by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong, you know that there is a difference between classroom rules and classroom procedures. The authors, on page 167, (www.EffectiveTeaching.com) state:
“The number one problem in the classroom is not discipline; it is the lack of procedures and routines.”
The authors imply here that with procedures and routines (and practice of same so that students actually practice switching activities, etc.), firmly in place from the first days of school, there will be very very few discipline issues at all.
I asked Bryce for a little more information on the Friday games reward, which is called the PAT (Preferred Activity Time). Here is what he sent me:
When the class earns minutes, the kids get to decide the activities they will do as a group, within limits. I give them two or three choices – it is not free time, as students often want it to be. The choices have to do with what we are learning (unless I am exhausted, and then it may come down to a choice between two short movies!)
I explain the thinking behind PAT like this to them almost every week:
On the moretprs list Kristi asked for a good way to get students seated and on task with the bell. Bryce Hedstrom wrote the following back, and it should be put in as many TPRS places on the net as possible, in my opinion. If it works for him, it might work for some of us mere humans. Bryce runs a tightly disciplined ship up there in Longmont, and I want to follow this blog with a lot of other such gems from this master AP Spanish teacher, the pride of Northern Colorado. Here is what Bryce wrote on the list about starting class on time:
FOR TELLING A STORY
The student can use vocabulary and grammar from the current unit
to fluently retell a story, or to tell a newly created story in Spanish.
POINTS GRADE DESCRIPTION ________________________
101-120 (A+) Can tell the story in Spanish with many extra details, AND
with more complex grammar (which can include telling the story from a different point of view OR in a different Speech is fluent and smooth. No pattern to grammatical errors.
I would like to plug Bryce’s new book for Spanish teachers to go with the others found here on my site. “Stories for Spanish Class” is a compilation of original winner stories from his Spanish 1 classes. Each story can be used as a framework to either tell in your classroom or as material for extended readings. In this collection you will find simplified adaptations of authentic legends (La Llorona) and history (Christopher Columbus), as well as expansions of jokes into stories (Eso si que es) and popular culture (YouTube videos) told as stories. Each story in the collection has received an enthusiastic response from students over the years, mostly because many of them deal with real teen issues in a funny and exaggerated way. The stories are presented in order of difficulty, so that the teacher can follow them through the school year or use them as supplements to the exisiting curriculum. The stories parallel the vocabulary and structure development of Blaine Ray’s Look I Can Talk! book. For example, there is an extended reading version of the famous Cuento del Gato, and the urban legend commonly known as “The Mexican Pet” has been adapted to parallel the vocabulary found in “La Vaca y el Mono”.
The following posters and free downloadable information for Spanish teachers have been added to the resources/handouts link of this site. The heading is “Posters and Handouts from Bryce Hedstrom’s NTPRS 2009 Session on Reading”:
EXPLANATION OF GOOD TEACHING.doc (72KB)
SIGNS FOR STUDENT TEACHER.doc (30KB)
BLOOM’S TAXONOMY & FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING.doc (44KB)
Novel–Book Report ENGLISH.doc (36KB)
Novel–Book Report SPANISH.doc (39KB)
Lo siento queridos estudiantes.doc (25KB)
HOW TO CHOOSE READING MATERIAL.doc (28KB)
It’s been an incredibly blessed summer of learning TPRS – four total weeks of learning, one in June and then a blitz these past three weeks. In June, I got to be a part of a Denver Public Schools foreign language curriculum design team that is aggressively taking the district not only in the direction of TPRS but also in the direction of reading aligned with Krashen, with a special focus on backwards design. I will never forget being awakened early by those little Colorado zephyrs on crisp June mornings and riding my Klein Aura V all the way down along the Platte River to those meetings, reminded all the way of what the publisher of the Denver Post said years ago that it is a privilege to live in Colorado. That started things out in June. Then, a mid-summer dream, I got to hang around Fluency Fast and watch Jason and Linda teach Spanish and Mandarin, then going out in the evenings with some great people like Brian Barabe and Jim Tripp and and Byron Despresberry and Vera Burdick, strolling around in that neat Highland section of Denver overlooking the city, having ice cream by the big ice cream churn and loving life. I got to find out what a true human being Stephen Krashen is, sensing, in between his words and great anecdotes, that his motivation in doing what he does is not just an academic one but one that stems from a deep love of humanity. But then, the next week, there was more! I got to go to NTPRS, driving down to San Antonio and getting to know even better yet another great, vastly read, colleague in Bryce Hedstrom. That was last week – the week where I learned a lot of do’s and don’ts about presenting and met eight very special people like Joey Embro from Atlanta and Carol Jean Lewis-Zavala from Austin who taught me yet again that the essential is invisible and that one only teaches well with the heart. As if that wasn’t enough, back here in Denver this week, Diana Noonan, the DPS foreign language coordinator, had organized a World Language Institute for DPS teachers on TPRS. Yesterday I got to see Annick Chen of Lincoln High rock the house with her particularly lighthearted and slow version of TPRS – talk about totally comprehensible Mandarin! – and today I get to go learn from Leslie Davison and Noah Geisel and Annick and Amy about technology and then get another shot at presenting what can only be called the Circling with Balls magic, and it goes on and on. Not only that, also yesterday, Karen Rowan taught some of us how to coach new people and it totally worked. I was able to see how SLOW is and must remain by far and away the key skill of TPRS, and how pacing our delivery of the language must be our main focus as we teach, a very useful thing to learn for a person like me who has a tendency, shall we say, to wander. Looking back, I have been most fortunate this summer, and I am thankful for all in the TPRS community who, in spite of their fears and doubts, continue to show up with courage every day for the rest of us, letting absolutely no form of professional or personal fear get in the way of sharing this method with others because they feel and sense and see that this method has clear and irrefutable potential in spite of all opposition to shake the world of education off of its very foundations, and thus help kids in a way that no method ever has. Thank you, Colorado and Diana and Karen and Dr. Krashen and Blaine and Von, and of course my teacher, Susan Gross, the real source of so many ideas that we now take for granted as standard in the method, and everyone else who is now going full blast with even greater professional intensity to make a difference in the lives of, already, tens of thousands, and soon to be millions, of children in the world. My prayer as a teacher has always been that children suffer less, and, for the first time in my life, I can feel, as another crisp and cool and beautiful Colorado morning prepares to unveil itself in all its splendor in just a few hours, that I am part of a group of people who are working together to actually get that done. How odd that, when I was young, I thought that teaching was just a job!