Bryce's Signs 1

Bryce sent this and it is long, so I will post it as separate installments over this week:


Installment #1:




For years I had signs up at the back of my classroom to help me remember the basics.  They were gleaned from Blaine, Susie, Joe, you and others. Now, whenever I have a student teacher I put them up.  This is a great teaching tool for them and reminder for me.



Signs for the Teacher

with Explanations


The following phrases are posted in large print at the back of my room for me to see.  They are reminders to me of aspects of good teaching that I am working on.


        • Go S-L-O-W, then slow down some more

        • Focus on the kids.

        • Teach to the eyes.

        • Check for understanding.

        • Stay in bounds.

        • Personalized, Repeated (many, many times), Interesting,                                Meaningful, Comprehensible Input

        • Give them a feeling of success

        • Praise them.  A lot.

        • 5 Second Grammar Lessons

        • Circling


An Expanded Explanation of the Signs

They are shorthand for bigger ideas.  Below are explanations of what these sayings mean.


Go S-L-O-W    What does this mean?

Learning a language takes time.  We teachers already know the language.  Our students do not.   The teacher is probably also gifted at it.  Most of our students are not.  Students need to hear a word in context over and over and over again.  They need to hear it in different situations, at different rates of speed and in crazy combinations so it sticks.  The words to remember here are SLOW / PAUSE / POINT / SLOW.  The letters in the word SLOW can be thought of as an acronym: 

          Speak slowly.  Then check to see if they get it, and then slow down some more.

          Let them catch up by pausing to allow processing time.

          Offer help by walking to the board and pointing to the new word written there.

          Walk back to where you were and speak slowly once again.


Going slow also refers to the quantity of words you teach.  Teach just one to three new words at a time.  Don’t overwhelm them with too many new words.  How many new words are too many?  Most people can hold only three to four items in short term memory at one time; think of how telephone numbers are chunked.



Then slow down some more    What does this mean?

Once you think you are going slow enough you probably will still need to slow down some more.   Our tendency is to go too fast.  We almost always do that.   We know the language; they don’t.  We are bored; they are trying to learn a new word.  We are focused on getting through our lesson; they are trying to understand what we are saying to them.


The paradox is:  The slower I teach, the faster they learn.  As the old saying goes, “Make haste slowly.”  It is easy to deceive yourself by looking and listening only to the A+ level students.  To see if you are going slowly enough find a couple of students that are at the D+ level  and frequently check to see if they are getting it.  We are talking about students that are struggling, but who also attend school regularly.  Students that do not attend regularly miss so much that it is difficult to use them as a measure of how the class is doing overall.



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