Cheap Jewelry

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10 thoughts on “Cheap Jewelry”

  1. Ben,
    Thank you for posting this story! Loved the flow and simplicity! It ties so many things together! Numbers, currency, bargaining, body parts, of course, jewelry!
    This structure could for a perfect level 1 story. For the high level, we could even add feelings and reactions. I got to remember it or even just copy it into my file to do something with it in fall. Spring is just about over, so fast!

  2. Great story! Thanks for the ideas about the prediscussion. I am a great believer in setting them up for success by setting out those expectations right before we begin and getting them to “transition” from whatever they were thinking about before (their friends, their problems, what they want to do after school, etc.) to what’s going on right now. From my experience, you can repeat this stuff every day before the beginning of a story and it NEVER gets old. They just start repeating it with you. (Good. That was my plan, he, he.)

    BTW – “be sure to explain the difference between behavior and behaviors” are my words–not Robert’s–although I am sure he agrees with me. 🙂

  3. Whoops I will fix that. I just think of you two West Coast gurus, along with Drew, as one big think tank and I get you mixed up. I will fix it as I think it is important to keep accurate notes on who says what. In the past many ideas have been credited to Blaine that he had nothing to do with and that he doesn’t even claim. Does anyone know if he even came up with Circling? And Joe Neilson is the one who came up with the idea of the structures, as I understand it from Susan Gross and Diana Noonan. This is not to get petty, but, if we can, we should know accurately where these ideas come from to give credit where credit is due and if Jody had not corrected me I would have had it wrong and trust me that distinction is huge not just in explaining the game to the kids but in talking about acquisition and assessment with all the adults involved. The behavior vs. behaviors point is going to be HUGE in the future in what we talk about. It will be a huge point in norming our classes in the fall.

    By the way, that story is more and more easy to PQA bc most kids wear jewelry these days. Boys where earrings and girls where lip rings and all of that. And the tats! I must ask Anne to do a story about tattoos. OK everybody, let’s sing a loud version of the first verse of “We Now Live in a Different World!”

    1. Thanks, Ben. “Circling”, as a questioning technique for language acquisition, was taught to me in the early 80’s as part of how we taught Kinder/1st grade children in an immersion setting. It was also used to teach ESL. It is a very old language acquisition technique (I believe Krashen uses examples of it in Natural Approach).

      However, in those days, it wasn’t called Circling and it certainly was not part of high-school FL classes. Was it Karen Rowan? I am curious, too.

  4. All I know is that I had been going to Blaine’s workshops from 2000 to 2004 and then, sitting in the front row of a workshop here in Denver in 2004, I watched as Blaine took about 100 people through this circling process and it kind of blew everybody’s minds as we all at once realized this was like the Golden Fleece for CI. And ever since then we have been associating it with Blaine. So thanks for pinning that term down for us historically. I have to say that nobody knows Krashen like you do, really. Not even Susie. Just stay with us to keep us straight so we don’t get stupid here in the PLC. There are so many ways to funnel myth into truth in this game we are now playing. There is no set way and you are the Keeper of the Keys on that point. The other day I got an email from a grateful teacher thanking me for inventing TPRS. If I invented TPRS, then the Pope is an Armenian Jew.

  5. You said turn their desks to face you. One of us did away with desks this year. Who was it and did it work?
    It’s an idea I am toying with next year.

    1. I haven’t had desks for a couple of years. My kids use comp notebooks to do all their writing, so they have something firm to write on if they need. Everything else is supposed to be on a table at the back of the room. I have mini white boards if they need more surface. I love not having desks. If someone is suddenly holding a bag on their laps, I know it’s because they are texting. It’s easy to form circles, double circles, small groups, or pairs. The kids can shift to face the front or the Smartboard. I can separate out language levels and reading groups. I do have six tables in the room along the back and sides of the room, but mostly they gather backbacks or sets of books. I don’t ever want to have to go back to desks. Some of the teachers in our school have taken old bus seats (the plush tourist ones) or our old auditorium seats and created risers with the seats on them for a sort of stage seating. They don’t have tables or desks either, but I wouldn’t like the immobility of that seating. The kids like the comfort though.

      I have carpet squares, and the chairs are mostly stackable, so for Kindergarten days kids can choose to sit on the floor. I’m going to start collecting those comfy dog beds from Costco because they’ll stack and then kids will be happier on the floor.

  6. It wasn’t me, but I did shove the desks to the wall and I grabbed a few beanbags and had the kids laying around – that was about five years ago. The result? Fights over the beanbags, and all kinds of trouble focusing. We are in a prison environment, let’s face it, and we need the restraining devices – it’s what they know. Just my own experience, of course, and I did away with that set up after only a few classes. They can’t handle it, is the bottom line. So now I usually have a kid or two sitting on the (wide) windowsill but that just happens naturally.

    Next year I am going to do traditional seating with the room divided into quadrants, each a different French-speaking country, and run the metacognition discussions primarily in those groups, bc I don’t think the kids, mine anyway, can step up to the big group metacognition thing that we have been talking about. They need to be in their country with a president in charge to speak freely to the smaller group about how they learn. Then they’ll have to report back to the French United Nations from those discussions. We’ll see how it works.

  7. Robert Harrell

    I removed the desks this year and haven’t looked back. Because of the environment in which we work and the (im)maturity level of our students, we have to walk a line between letting them feel more comfortable and letting them think anything goes. I want to get something for Kindergarten day and encourage sitting on the floor for that only, but I couldn’t go to bean bag chairs – especially only a few of them.

    As Michelle points out, advantages include
    -greater flexibility and ease of re-arrangement
    -lack of things to hide behind
    -no place to put the head down
    -atmosphere of greater freedom and roominess (less like a prison)
    -greater ease of interaction with students
    -lack of places to hide phones (texting), notes, etc.
    -room looks and feels more welcoming
    -greater ease in moving about the room even when chairs remain “as is”

    Disadvantages include
    -greater ease for students to do unauthorized shifting
    -greater tendency to put feet on chairs
    -less space for “storage” unless you have cubicles or tables somewhere in the room (I don’t)
    -initial dislike because this isn’t what students are used to
    -lack of writing surface*

    *Like Michelle, I have the mini-white boards that students can use. This works for my classes because primary emphasis is on speaking and listening, and the writing that we do can be accommodated with the white boards. For the standardized testing, we went to a different room that had traditional desks so that students didn’t have to juggle the various materials.

    I have the chairs in a “U”-shaped arrangement, which naturally forms three groups. I need to remember to use this better, and Ben’s mention of the countries is a good reminder. For German, three groups work very well because the primary German-speaking countries are Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Liechtenstein usually gets overlooked (that would be four), and German is an important secondary language in Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland and Alsace.

  8. I thought they outlawed German in Lichtenstein. Just kidding. Got’cha.

    My failed no desk days were in a middle school. It has not a chance in my current school. I can see where it would work in the right setting. I’d love that but this is my last school so I guess I won’t get the chance to feel the fun and relaxed kind of CI inherent in such an arrangement.

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