Elementary Schedule

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14 thoughts on “Elementary Schedule”

  1. Ha! 25 min… I’m going to be teaching incoming 1st and 2nd graders for 4 hours (!) everyday for 6 weeks in a summer Spanish program, from 8:30 to 12:30, with a few breaks for recess, art class, snack, and a couple of other things. I imagine they won’t be as hyped up as they usually are in their regular school day because, well, I’ll get to be with them for so long. We’ll see. So, this is a perfect skeleton schedule for me as I prepare. Thanks Catharina!

    1. Sean, what an intensive program! Come September, maybe you’ll have time to share with this PLC what worked and what didn’t? In 6 weeks, your students will have as many hours of instruction as mine have over 5 years. Lucky kids.

      The 5-10 mn increments Ben posted above seem to work (as a guideline) but depending on the weather, time of day, and a million other things, can be stretched either way. The other day I was genuinely interested in hearing why? where? how? Lukas had pushed Brynne in the playground. In 1st grade we stayed 20 minutes on the story, with all eyes and ears on the actors (so rare). Lately I’ve been reading books to the children, as in Kindergarten Day, and I’ve been able to get the kids to “listen actively” for 10-15 minutes. Most of the time though, I’ll need to switch gear a few times within my -30 mn- period, or I’ll lose the kids.

      If you have a chance to go watch Jason Fritze at iFLT Colorado, you’ll get an idea of what can be done in elementary with a master teacher who can captivate his students for 3 hours straight without too many activities. He makes it look easy.

      I feel like my friend Melissa, aka the kitchen lady in our school:
      “I do my best. It’s just that my best looks different everyday.”

      1. Super helpful feedback, Catharina. I won’t be able to go to iFLT but perhaps Jason Fritze has some videos out there. I will certainly look for them. And I look forward to the possibility of staying 20 minutes on a story like you had the experience of doing the other day. Honestly, with my juniors in high school, it’s almost the same way… 10-15 min bursts of CI and that’s it. I know Ben has said the same thing with his high schoolers.

        I also can’t get my juniors to read independently much, which I imagine the little ones won’t be doing. So, all-in-all, I imagine many similarities with the older kids. I’m going to have to be sure I have plenty of bail-out moves to have students work independently on whatever for 5-10 minutes so that I can take a mental break or a vocal-chords break whenever I feel the need.

        But, thanks for expressing an interest in my sharing what works and what doesn’t work. It can’t be said enough; it’s awesome how we help each other here on Ben’s PLC.

          1. I must try MovieTalks before the school year ends !!! Besides “iPad versus paper” I’ve barely experimented with it.

            After deciding to use the end of the year to practice new skills, I am copying a lot better with students’ -funny- behavior. MovieTalks will be perfect for my lab rats next week. Thank you Eric for the reminder.

          2. I recommend Simon’s Cat videos for Movie Talk, too. Lots of good, basic situations (“wants to eat, likes, sleeps” and lots of emotions constantly come up).

          3. and songs….. We saw the English teachers use LOTS of songs with the young Guatemalan children of Safe Passage! It was so cute and very effective. It is remarkable how the mind remember songs/lyrics… I can sing a song that we did 2-3 years ago, stop and without fail students can fill in the next word…

          4. I have always used songs in class. They are useful in teaching structures and a time to get up and move. It is easy to circle the structures of a song and make up back stories with the characters. We sometimes act them out and always use motions connected to the structures. One of the first songs I teach goes: El sol se llama Lorenzo tibitón y la luna Catalina. I teach this song first week so that they know they will be required to sing and move in my class. Then if a student doesn’t remember he calls himself I just hum the tune and they get it . Soon it is their own and no help is needed to recall the phrase. Years later, even my students that now teach with me at the school, remembers the songs. Of course back then I didn’t teach with TPRS so they really see the difference with my students this year. Oh and by the way, I teach high school and even some of the students that say they don’t like the songs get caught singing them by accident in class or even sometimes outside of class.

  2. Angela Williams

    Great discussion! I would love to hear how the program works Sean!

    Catharina, what are the structures that you base each grade level on?

  3. Angela, I structure my year around stories.

    As an example, past September in preK +K the story was about a thirsty dog. It is still very warm in New Jersey in late summer, and all I hear my students say is “ I’m thirsty”. I’ll put structures like “is thirsty” “drinks a lot” “runs to the bathroom” into the story, and work on those for quite a while with massive TPR, a variety of hands-on activities, and games.

    This May we had a toothless dragon in French class who needed teeth.
    He kept saying “I lost a tooth” just like my students do. I chose to do this story in May because it fit nicely with our Kindergarten curriculum learning about the medieval time. And Kids always lose stuff, “a perdu” is of high frequency in our class !

    This morning I asked my 3rd graders -in English-, what in particular had helped them learn French? They all mentioned stories. They fondly remembered stories I would bet my house on we did not do. A pancake story? Not in my class.Yet Angela, I’ll be totally honest, did they understand the stories? Yes.Could students retell? A few yes. Most… not. It is so hard to assess what they actually retain? can say? truly have acquired? It will happen over time. I lay the foundation, nice and strong, get them to love French, and fill up some seats on Air France.

    Last summer we had to outline our program on Atlas Curriculum Map. I randomly split up the year into stories. Today was the 2nd time since June that I looked at the Atlas Map. Not that it’s useless, it just isn’t my personality to follow exactly year after the year the same path. I like to try new stories, switch things around. I must be inspired. The Atlas Curriculum Map has the exact opposite effect on me.

    I wish we lived closer Angela, and we could work together.
    I wish Eric’s energy and writing skills would rub off on me.
    And I wish Ben would never retire.

    1. I don’t know if I really answered your question Angela??

      “What structures do you base each grade level on?”

      In preK and K the focus is mainly on structures that help us function in TL in our classroom all in present tense and 3rd pers. sing.

      In 1st+2nd+3rd grade I introduce past tense (passé composé) and all our stories happen in the past: verbs like went, saw, said, fell, pushed, threw up.. in 3rd and 1st pers. sing.

      Every year I try to cut down and limit the words. Work in progress.

      1. Hello to all! Some of you I know in person, others virtually, but I am excited to join this great community. I’ve spent most of the evening poking around the PLC for the first time, and I can tell it’s going to be a tremendous learning tool for me. I hope to also weigh in on some of the wonderings and healthy discussions (I was fascinated by the convo on glossing/translating in the moment).
        I am a 21 yr veteran of the Winnetka Public Schools just north of Chicago. Our whole dept (almost) transitioned to TCI around 2 yrs ago. I am so smitten that I have sought lots of PD, have attended workshops and conferences, and joined our local TCi teachers group (that’s how I know Sean and Diane N -before she moved!) I teach Spanish in grades 1-4 and also speak Hebrew.
        Our district was friends with Helena Curtain as she consulted with us in the 90s, and I religiously attended her winter FLESFEST conferences for years. I tell you this because apparently my posts on other forums have riled her up, and I’d really like to nudge her to a place of open-mindedness (at least) or even influence (pipe dream?)
        I may revisit this PLC later about it, but I wanted you all to know that, since she’s a huge and influential name in elementary language programs (author of Languages and Children:Making the Match), and yet reveals little comprehension of our guiding principles and what we do in class. Yes, I’ve invited her back to observe, but I have no illusion that she’ll take us up on it. Stay tuned, I guess…
        I wanted to offer a document that many elementary TCi Ts have shown interest in- we included it in our resources from iflt this summer- our workshop was on transitioning to TCi: a toolbox for newbies. We culled the structures from Carol’s elementary materials, plus some of our favorite stories and TPR language, and some of Ben’s ‘words with energy.’ There are some heinous ‘classroom objects’ that we threw in because of an assessment we were required to give. Note that the list is not divided by grade level, and is Spanish -friendly. Fewer direct cognates in French and other languages. Though we had to create all sorts of UbD Backward Design curric docs, this list has been most helpful and we rarely refer to the ‘scope and sequence!!’ I love Catharina’s idea of shifting to past tense completely starting in 1st grade, as most fiction at this level is in the past (once upon a time); However since I didn’t do that yet, I sometimes do a pop up and ask (in 4th grade),”what is that -aba on estaba? (Was.). How would I say ‘is?” (Esta.). I don’t expect acquisition but I’m ok with recognition that estaba is related/connected to esta. I also do a past tense over the shoulder gesture with estaba.
        Ok friends, here’s the list. Make of it what you will. I am glad to be part of this group, and rub shoulders with some of my mentors. I look forward to reading and sharing, and hope to cozy up with a cafe con leche And dig in as much as I can over break.

        D36 Winnetka Public Schools World Language Target Structures Grades 1-6
        Super 8: [Super 7 plus ‘can’]
        Possession – has
        Volition – wants
        Motion – goes
        Location – is (in/at)
        Identity – is
        Preference – likes
        Existence – There is/are
        Ability – can

        Additional classroom verbs for grades 1-6:
        Comes/goes [arrives, enters/leaves]
        Prefers, likes, loves/dislikes, hates
        Sleeps/wakes up
        Plays + ___
        Makes (does), prepares
        Picks up
        Acts (dramatizes)
        Thinks (believes)
        Calls (i.e., phones)

        States of being & descriptions grades 1-6:
        Funny, silly/serious
        Nice, kind/mean
        Normal (regular)/strange

        Narrative Structures & transition words 1-6:
        Once Upon a Time
        The end
        When, who, what, where

        Other important classroom vocabulary 1-6:

        A lot/a little

        Numbers (as needed)
        Animal (cognates, pets)
        Foods (cognates, cultural)
        Days of the week
        Please/thank you

        And last but not least, the interrogatives (which we point to when we use them):
        How much/How many?

  4. Alisa it is so good to finally hear your voice here. Please feel right at home, since you clearly are. I love the list. Not because it will help me teach any better, but because it is another tool for us to use in creating our own Scope and Sequence docs in our own buildings so thank you for that.

    Share away. This is a hungry group of teachers – most just want to teach and feel that the more time we can focus on our teaching the better it will be. Everybody here should not hoard good stuff like the above. Share! That’s what this site is for.

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