FB Discussion on the Invisibles – 6

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11 thoughts on “FB Discussion on the Invisibles – 6”

  1. I really love this analogy. I don’t think it’s reinventing the wheel. My position on the Invisibles has always been the same (at least once I understood really what it was and it’s implications for my classroom). It might not be a popular opinion. I agree with what Terry said (at least in part). It’s not drastically different from what other teachers have done in the past. Where I disagree is that I mean this: The invisibles is the most aligned with the original ideas of TPRS from Blaine Ray and the results of 40+ years of SLA research. I told Ben this when he was in Portland. I feel like he has stripped away all the extra stuff and is just going back to what Blaine originally had in mind. We are meeting the kids where they are. We are building a curriculum about the kids. The frequency list stuff, the targeting, circling, and all that other stuff was built on top of the original premise. Which comes straight from Fluency through TPR Storytelling:

    People love a story.
    Fairy Tales (and other stories) have Three as a prominent number (Goldilocks and the THREE bears, the THREE little pigs, the THREE billy goats Gruff, etc.)
    It should be about the kids.
    The grammar syllabus is not aligned with Krashen’s (and now basically all SLA Researchers’) findings on the nature of Language Acquisition.

    The reason I like Kathrin’s analogy is that we are not reinventing the wheel, just building a better one. It might be a matter of semantics, but for me, I think anyone who scoffs at the invisibles does not understand either the nature of language acquisition or the origins of TPRS.

    I feel like we are in a Post TPRS era. We are squabbling over how people deliver CI. Why do we not just accept that there is no wrong way to do this and call “Same Team”? I have not said much on here because of this reason. I feel like we get attacked enough by adminz, parents, community members, and grammar teachers.

    If you don’t like what people are saying on an FB group then leave the group, or better yet, turn off notifications….

  2. “Is it [the Invisibles] new? Or something coming back around from earlier days of TPRS?” (TW)

    I just found this gem in my notes on my phone from ETPRS. Stephen Krashen said this in terms of targeting vs. non-targeting:

    “When we go to have lunch, we don’t think ‘what vitamin am I deficient in today?’ We just eat a meal and our body takes what it needs.”

    Sticking with the food analogy, is it bad to go back and remind everyone that home-cooked meals are so much better than processed food? Just because it has already been around, doesn’t make it wrong. And hell, if I have a better recipe or better, fresher ingredients, don’t knock me for not cooking with yours.

    1. Hmm…

      I wonder if this means, the learner doesn’t “think…what [input] am I deficient in today” We just eat [process] a mean [CI] and our body [subconscious] takes what it needs.”

      Kathrin, I like how you apply the analogy. To me targeting is processed. More spontaneous and emergent it is the more natural, and organic, it is.

      Funny, my principal said how organic my teaching was. He loves the “immersion” nature of it. Well, I’m going to have to begin schooling the man.

    2. This is the beginning of a new time. The time of untethered CI.

      Once you accept the premise that your job is to speak ANY words, ANYTHING that is in L2 and comprehensible, then possibilities open up left and right:

      Have the kids take pictures of interesting people on the street in Denver, bring them in, and talk about the weirdest ones. Have them bring in pictures of their childhood lovies – their teddy bears and blankies – and talk about some of them. Have three kids stand up and describe their outfits, applauding their unique personal style. Like a mini fashion show. Tell them stories from Anne’s scripts, from legends, retell an episode of Harry Potter or whatever is fun to talk about. Do martial arts like Steve said in PDX, or yoga, or cooking.

      The leap is getting rid of language targets. Then the playing field is a whole new ballpark.

      1. Thank you Tina for this comment. This work is opens up SO many possibilities. Just yesterday, I gave an opportunity for my stinker class to voice their opinions about the class. about half of the class did not want the SAME thing over and over… in other words stories.

        Though I had to keep my ego in check, I realize that this was much needed. I needed input for that class to be heard. They know that I am the only teacher who does this. However, I would say that only 3-4 students do not listen or come to class as human beings. This is a test-heavy tech type school. Eww! Anyway, I used Jillane’s Restorative Justice sentence frame from the CI Lift group. Man, these kids want other things and test have damaged them their self worth.

        My mantra (which I occasionally forget in the hustle and bustle of life experiences) this year is CREATION. We are in a constant state of creation. Even when we don’t do anything. So, I may have to switch it up. I love your ideas. I need No plan/Low plan ideas to keep the CI fire going.

      2. Leigh Anne Munoz

        Aack! What are invisibles?

        I thought I understood, but, clearly, I don’t…

        Invisibles are drawings done (animals/ inanimate objects/ ??? other ) with names and personal traits? Is that it?

        I’m in the dark! Help, somebody! Do I need to buy Ben’s book?

  3. Beniko in response to someone on the Liftoff page, mentioned many activities you can do to make the students feel they are learning (even though it makes no difference in acquisition)…like flashcards and such. For some odd reason “flashcards” got me all excited!

    While “feed the need” / “meet them where they are” are not new concepts, in the context of the pure “story-listening” it gave me some ideas for a relaxed day of teaching (for me). Again, not new, but new to me…I might try something called “choice time.” I bet adminZ will love it, because it will look group-y and project-y. I kind of tried it last week but I didn’t have many choices for the kids other than story boards and Señor Wooly packets.

    After seeing flashcards on Beniko’s list I thought that after kids listen to a story they can have choice time to play around with whatever they want…partner or solo. Maybe a group of 3. Some choices: FVR, draw your own story, act out a class story or one of the readings, make flashcards based on the reading and quiz yourself / each other. Use the written story as a mad-lib and write a new one. Illustrate the story on a story board or create a book out of it.

    Right? None of these ideas are new. Some of them are actually legit input activities, most are not, but it will give us all a break. The 80 min block is difficult for me to be “on” all day. I’m getting depleted. I try not to compare myself to others. But I do anyway. That is human nature I think. Or my anxiety speaking. I don’t seem to be able to sustain myself for 80 mins, even with a super cool variety of CI tools. It’s too tiring. Anyhoo…I am just now realizing I can give myself a break and even a pat on the back because whenever I observe students at my school in other gatherings ( class meetings, assembly, even other classrooms sometimes etc) I notice that pretty much nobody in the school knows how to “listen with the intent to understand” and nobody follows the “one person talks others listen” rule. So the fact that I try intentionally every day to make this happen (whether it happens or not) is progress!

    I suppose I will need to justify or rubric-fy this time. I know that a real teacher would use the block to create all sorts of interesting cultural projects and games and stations and such, but I have no energy for that. I can barely get through the day. Maybe the kids will come up with something like that.

    The story listening has given me new hope that I can conserve my energy. So important going into the dark time…where in Nature, there is cocooning and retreating and hibernating. Winter is not a time for output in nature, at least none in northern New England. I will try mimicking this by telling stories and then giving kids time to play with language on their own however that looks. Some kids actually want to play school, so this will give them that opportunity in a lighthearted way that won’t force all of them to be school-y if they don’t choose to.

    1. Yes. The dark time. Time to sleep to put on weight and to rest. By no means should we be the same person on November 5 as on August 5. I have always thought thusly. This is the introspective time. It’s time to conserve. Time to take care of ourselves. Nature has a plan that we cannot alter though our ancestors about five or six generations back got duped into believing that a machine should tell them when to leave the house on these dark, dark mornings. We work in an unnatural system. Let’s all pledge to cleave to the human this winter.

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