Interview Friday

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11 thoughts on “Interview Friday”

  1. Talk about them slowly. That’s my formula for presenting to anyone. I do CWB and I go slowly. Since you have a bit of extra time, I would get four volunteers from the three early arrivers to do these three jobs:

    Artist (use a two sided white board or a document camera.)
    Story Writer (obviously they just write down what you establish from the cards)
    Quiz Writer (see Jobs for Kids category)
    Clapper Kid (see

    So here is the schedule that I would use:

    First 15 min. – CWB
    Next 5 min. – Artist
    Next 5 min. – Quiz
    Next 5 min. – Retell if it happens. If it doesn’t just stop the lesson after the quiz.

    Insist on group responses as per vCU. Insist on the rules. Take them with you and put them up in the room and use them. Even if they are perfectly behaved, use them to show them the classroom management piece. You want to show them the classroom management piece and you want to show them kid involvement in the form of jobs. Don’t use jGR – eats up too many minutes to explain. Put up the question words. Use them. Go painfully slowly – if you only establish two bits of information about one of the people in the room, that is enough. Over five bits of information would be way too much after fifteen minutes. But never stop encouraging the person you end up talking to about what they do. Use the two questions “where” and “with whom” (have a back up laser pointer or if the room is small enough put your hand right on each question word when you ask it and count four seconds to yourself). Encourage silly responses. Do not use English. Keep in touch with the artist and story and quiz writer. Your goal is to go so slowly that it is painful for you. Do not punish yourself by thinking it is a dog and pony show. It is not. You are there to find out silly information from them, and what you learn is absolutely going to fascinate you. So you are going to have to have a look on your face and a feeling in your heart that they are being invited to a dance – the dance of language. And they are going to be the stars. And if the person has on their card that they read books ask them with whom they read and where they read with that person and don’t take boring facts as answers; instead draw them out to where they say that they read with Johnny Depp on a pirate ship, and this is very important it is just fine to say pirate ship in English if you think it will be too much AND IT WILL. The suggestions they make will be one word in English since you don’t have Word Wall up. Write key words with their translation on the board. But if you turn around after fifteen minutes and see a messy board with more than five words on it, you can quit the demo because you won’t have gotten the job – the only thing you will have done in the case of a cluttered board is confuse them. Go to the DPS videos and watch Mark Mallaney teach some Spanish. He is the Master of Slow. Let us know how it went. Now go read this:

  2. I really like Ben’s idea of cwb or one-word image pqa for a demo. Starting with a little tpr practice–doing stuff you know will come up in the cwb or owi–can be very fun and brain friendly and will give you lots of information about your group before you start zeroing in on one participant with the cwb. It can loosen up your group, cohere them a bit, and give you a better read on how truly mid-novice they are or not.

  3. Novice mid is a huge range in DPS. We even had to divide it up into Novice Mid Low and Novice Mid High. There are like fifty points out of ninety on our level 2 assessment in that range. My guess is that they think that they are novice mid bc they took a few years of the language in high school and memorized shit and so they can’t believe that they are raw beginners.

    But, in terms of what you will be asking them to do with the rigorous work involved in CWB, they are beginners. So just treat them that way. Hell, they probably never got past the name and age bullshit in terms of real acquisition.

    Jody let me tell you what I think you mean above – the teacher needs to get some reps on possible CWB/OWI verbs before plunging in on the person. Right? I think that is a great idea. Now, remind me so when I do that in San Diego I won’t forget to “start with a little TPR practice”. An excellent idea. I am bringing a Word Wall so I think I can remember to connect CWB/OWI information to the wall. It’s a nice addition to CWB.

  4. That’s exactly what I mean. Everyone gets exposed to the same verbs so that when they show up in the cwb/owi, everyone pays more attention and feels part of the game. How the class is responding during the tpr session can really tell you might proceed during the cwb/owi: which students are the slow processors, fast processors, super shy ones, slugs, people pleasers, great actors, etc.

  5. So, during CWB where there’s no single story, is the artist just drawing whatever images stand out to him/her as the conversation goes along? Ditto with the story writer writing?

    1. Yes Angie. Remember you are teaching language in a free way. Krashen has shown us that non-targeted input is the way to go. We target too much and worry if they will acquire this or that structure.

      In the same way, the artist and the story writer will write down whatever they get out of the CWB conversation, and it’s pretty likely that what they get will be what the class got.

      We plan too much, in general, and too many workshops focus on this or that technique when any comprehensible input will do, since the deeper mind is going to arrange it all in its own way anyway.

      Teaching using CI is about letting go of control. So let the artist and story writer hear what they hear and draw and write what they hear and then you just naturally react to that as you move into that second part of class. The quiz writer – same thing really.

      To teach with CI, I personally only need some words, I don’t care where they come from, and I’ll take it from there. This idea in the TPRS words of targeting this and that and planning and thematic units and all of that is pretty much a waste of time if we take Krashen’s Net Hypothesis to be accurate, and I certainly do, as per:

      I’m not talking about the three target structures here, those are necessary as rebar (see category for more on that word), I’m talking about everything we do in TPRS/CI that is not a story.

  6. Hi Angie,

    Yes, totally agree with Ben and Jody about TPRing verbs. Doing TPR will set the mood of fun using our bodies. I always do TPR with parents at the beginning of the year and they always LOVE IT. It works (well at least for a little while in the beginning).

    Furthermore, it will help with the visual/kinesthetic learners as well.

    When I do PQA and a verb is involved, I ask my kids to find a gesture and I sign that gesture throughout PQA and Story Asking and I find that signing in solidifies or helps the kids recall the structure. So I would suggest you use your hands and body to TPR or sign in whatever you are saying whenever possible.

    Although they asked you to teach a “pretend Novice Mids”, I would assume they don’t have much in terms of language, and start as I would with beginners. And if they do, then you just build on what they have. A lot of what you’ll do through CWB/OWI is establish for yourself where they are with the language and what their interests are. By personalizing you will make it fun. Tell them at the beginning that fun and crazy answers are better.

    So here are some suggestions for verbs you could to TPR/sign in to get you started:

    likes/would like/liked : I use my two hands and do a heart with both thumbs and indexes and show the heart next to my heart.

    wants/would want : I’ve used (from the kid’s) two hands joined together in a back ad forth motion (almost like begging). Really it doesn’t matter what the sign in gesture is in case of ambiguity b/c if that is what they choose and agree on, then they’ll recall it like that.
    Actually you can ask them to come up with the sign they’d like to agree on as a group.

    go/would go/went : one hand is extended palm up , the index and middle finger of other hand are in a walking motion on top of the other hand

    have/had/would have: I have so many different versions f this one b/c that is kind of a hard one to TPR so better ask them here.

    I think you could ask them who they’d like to be when they grow up (haha!), you may get some fun out of that….

    As they say in the world of theater, break a leg, Angie! . You know you are going to wow them if you do TCI, right?

  7. I know it’s probably too late to be answering this (I’m in Alaska, and it’s still sunny until midnight tonight…no one sleeps now!) but I always come back to Linda Li and her “looks,” “wants” and “has” with cups of coffee and adults.

    Stephen Krashen had a cup of coffee, and she played for a long time about how he had the coffee and a woman in the group wanted it. She looked at it. She looked at him. He looked at his coffee. He wanted his coffee. She wanted his coffee. He didn’t look at her…and so on. This is a huge hit with any adults, because someone always has coffee and someone else always wishes they did. The one time that someone didn’t want the coffee, we changed the story and it still worked.

  8. Thanks, everyone, for your help and advice. The interview went okay I think, it’s hard for me to have perspective on it. I wish I believed what Sabrina said, that TCI will always wow them. Anyway, I did my best and now it’s outta my hands!

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