Hard Work Pays Off

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11 thoughts on “Hard Work Pays Off”

  1. I totally agree and love this concept about taking care of ourselves and keeping things simple!

    Today a young man thought he was getting me off topic when discussing our weekend plans, but what was really happening is we were talking in the TL about something that was funny and interesting to the kids. I went with it and for 35 minutes we talked about how this kid happened to learn so many bad words in Spanish the previous weekend, all the while blaming another kid and then another. It was so fun and natural and at the end I added, “You may think you got me off topic, but the great thing with my class is there are never planned lessons. I just go with the energy and as long as we are speaking in Spanish, we are learning!”

    1. Polly said:

      … the great thing with my class is there are never planned lessons. I just go with the energy and as long as we are speaking in Spanish, we are learning!….

      Why is this so hard to understand? Surely we can grasp that conversations can’t be driven by choosing certain words but by negotiating meaning spontaneously and letting the free flowing conversation (that is the nature of conversation!) to drive the word choices instead of the other way around.

      We need to fly non-targeted here, ya’ll. I don’t even target anything anymore. I no longer start classes with Step 1 targets but with Invisibles. “What are they up to?”, the kids want to know. They could care less about some word that I targeted because I want them to be able to read some novel that has that word in it later.

      For more, search the word “targeted”. I am with Krashen on this one. And when he really pushed for it in 2009, we all ignored him. Too California. Too hippy. It’s not enough that he is ignored worldwide by his ELA community, now we on the fringe in WL have to ignore him on the Non-targeted topic as well? Great.

      Read this again:

      https://benslavic.com/blog/lart-de-la-conversation-and-tprs/

      1. “Too California. Too hippy”. Ben, this totally had me laughing. It’s true that because ideas are radical, the do not even get considered. SLA is a beast but we all have to experiment with real strategies on the ground.

  2. I also totally agree with push towards simplicity. What we do is extremely simple by its very nature. I feel totally comfortable having conversations in L2 and making stories. Both require basically zero lesson planning and are the most effective forms of providing compelling CI for my students.

    I feel tempted to use “new TPRS” when it comes to reading classes and novels. Reading classes feel excruciating at times. I can feel the shroud of boredom falling over my classes whenever we do a reading class. I feel like a should use a bunch of complicated reading activities to just break up the monotony of my reading classes.

    It might also be that the CI is working “too well”. My kids don’t seem to struggle at all with reading pretty much anything I throw at them. Even when I give them spot translation quizzes, they seem to understand everything easily. I guess that it is supposed to be like this, but I have yet to find a simple way to make reading classes more engaging.

    1. John you said:

      …I have yet to find a simple way to make reading classes more engaging….

      I have a very strong response on this HUGE point. Look at what you said:

      …it might also be that the CI is working “too well”. My kids don’t seem to struggle at all with reading pretty much anything I throw at them….

      And since the readings are more boring than the L2 TPRS discussions and stories, which is a natural thing and especially true because in Latin you are still building your reading materials. (vs. where Carol from TPRS Publishing, Inc. in the Brandon series, etc. has FINALLY given us stuff that is fun to read and keeps kids involved – such a long time coming on that!)

      So how to make it more interesting in the reading department for the privileged little well instructed darlings who, along with everybody else in your building and maybe your entire part of the state, HAVE NO APPRECIATION OF THE QUALITY OF LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION YOU ARE OFFERING THEM AND NEED TO SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP AND READ THE DAMN READING FOR THE DAY?

      I have a little piece of kryptonite for those kids. The SSR Quick Quiz. Do it. It will make them interested! Makes sense right? If the boredom goes up when they read, give them a quiz daily. Instant interest! I wrote about it here:

      https://benslavic.com/blog/one-way-to-give-a-quick-quiz/

      Another thing that has been working for me in SSR is that I offer the kids options on what Ray/Gaab books to read. Storybooks in the original language are out, since they contain language that I can’t even understand. But something happens when three are reading one book, two another, three over there, etc. They CHOOSE the novel they read (sorry you can’t do this in Latin) but it creates a kind of camaraderie between those kids who know that their friend is reading the same book they are but others aren’t. Little reading clubs happening in silence. Of course no quizzes here but it has really been working for me as an alternative to SSR + Quiz. THE WAY TO ASSESS WHEN THEY READ THIS WAY IS A WHIP AROUND RIGHT AFTER THEY READ. I wrote about that here:

  3. Leigh Anne Munoz

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    198 students per day, for an hour a day, five days a week, 181 days per year….

    All I do is stories — I was starting to get a complex about all the stuff I’m not doing!

    🙂

    1. …I was starting to get a complex about all the stuff I’m not doing!…

      Leigh Anne a lot of that other stuff is for people to use as scaffolding to build their skills until they can do stories. Stories have been tried and tested to such an extreme degree here over the years and they ALWAYS EMERGE AS THE SINE QUA NON – and that is the perfect term here – of TPRS. I have always known since meeting you in San Diego (2009?) that you were doing it right, that you have the stories decoder switch down, and knowing that your entire curriculum has always been (mainly Matava) stories has always made me happy. I have always wanted to be like you, and finally this year I am doing it right. I have proven once again to myself that doing stories, from scripts or not) is the high road in this work. You are one of my heroes in this work, in our community, and at almost 200 kids per day, you are a treasure who is certainly under appreciated by all around you, as are Harrell and Maust and Hiben and just about all of you other rockin’ Los Angelinos, but you are not under appreciated by those of us in this PLC who have valued and looked forward to your comments for the past six years. You are a shining star whose courage has been unwavering for so many years. I salute you in brotherhood. I bow to your efforts to get better at your craft. I bow to you.

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