By Ben Slavic
Format: PDF Digital Download
This new book completes a trilogy. The first two books in the trilogy are A Natural Approach to Stories (ANATS) and A Natural Approach to the Year (ANATTY/Year One).
ANATS laid out the philosophical underpinnings of a new language curriculum based on images of student-created characters. It is a way of teaching languages that I created while teaching at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India in 2015-2016.
ANATTY efficiently expanded the ideas presented in A Natural Approach to Stories into a year-round curriculum.
The Invisibles focuses on the unique and powerful Star Sequence Curriculum. This new model of what a WL curriculum can be has the capacity to completely change what we do in our language classrooms.
The Invisibles was also written in order to clarify some of the rather convoluted information that has found its way onto the internet from various people about One Word Images and the Invisibles by laying out how they were originally meant to be used.
Based on Student Created Characters
There is an interchange between the pilot and the Little Prince in Chapter 2 of Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. When he first meets the Little Prince, the pilot says:
Pilot: Mais…qu’est-ce que tu fais là?/What are you doing there?
Pilot: Et il me répéta alors, tout doucement, comme une chose très sérieuse/And he repeated to me, quite softly, as if it were a very serious thing…
Petit Prince: S’il vous plaît…dessine-moi un mouton/Please…draw me a sheep…
The Little Prince asked the pilot to draw him something! That incredible relationship – the stuff of legend in the literary tradition of France – didn’t start out with words. It started out with a
child wanting a drawing.
Children are interested in images, especially ones that they themselves have created. Images have the power to coalesce languages in our students’ minds, much more so than lists of words or worksheets.
Invisibles are characters invented and drawn by students and the Star Sequence is how we use them in class.
When we spin such characters into existence in the way that Saint-Exupéry did in Le Petit Prince, the usually closed gates of student engagement suddenly open wide. The students, fully immersed in the zany details and interesting peculiarities of the characters they have created, forget that they are in a class in which they are supposed to be “learning” and they lock onto the messages being conveyed about the drawing. The language magically comes along for the ride.
We all know that the only thing we have to do to be effective at language teaching is to create ways to really engage our students in the target language. That’s the trick to be found in this book.
“I am recommending your new book The Invisibles to my colleagues who are trying CI for the first time. It is because of the step-by-step way in which you present the information – clear and concise and easy to follow.”
Robin Ann Martin:
“I’m thrilled about this emotionally-connecting-with-characters world of the Invisibles. It’s like finding a Golden Ticket.”
“Thank you for sharing these new books. I am loving the simple elegance and logic. I also really like how you go through everything step by step, which makes it easy to do.”
Leigh Anne Munoz:
“I have had a great year with the Star Sequence, and am getting great feedback from kids on a regular basis. The nice thing about dropping straight TPRS is that I can turn on a dime to meet the learning need for the space that my students need to inhabit.”
“There are tons of new ideas and strategies in The Invisibles that aren’t in The Big CI Book.”
“Your books provide an instructional routine that I can count on to get me through a class period, but with much lower stress levels than before…”
“The Star Sequence is amazingly intuitive and allows new people to CI, those with the deer-in-the-headlights look on their faces, to chill out. The concept is solid. The Star Sequence itself is a fabulous support graphic.”
“I love thinking about the invisibles; they are true genius.”
“I need to understand the entire picture. Your books get into the nuts and bolts and, from what I’ve read so far, they explain all aspects of the topics from top to bottom. Exactly what I was looking for.”
“I’m so excited! I’ve been trying to figure out so much and your writing has been a godsend this year!”