It May Be The Only Time Of Day

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5 thoughts on “It May Be The Only Time Of Day”

  1. This is so funny! You’re right. I used quia for the reading part of my finals so that I could just paste old stories in and ask questions in English. Before I pasted the stories, I changed the facts…a different-looking girl hid a lamp, not the sun, under her computer, not her pillow, and so on. Every single kid had to call me over and tell me about the mistakes. And they all did it with a degree of accusation. “Is this the way the other class wrote the story? This is not our story.” It happened even with some added details of stories that I kept from the beginning of the year. They really did not like to have their stories messed with.

  2. I’ve been out of touch for a bit, Ben, but nice to see things are still going strong here on your blog.
    This entry reminded me of something I read this morning in Teaching With Love and Logic by Jim Fay and David Funk (p. 68-69): “We all want to have some control over our own lives and when we feel we are losing that control, we will fight to the end to get it back. Likewise, if our sense of self worth is being attacked, we will rise at all costs to defend it.”
    In a TPRS class story lesson, it may be one of the few times in the day where the student feels like he has some kind of control over his learning process. It may one of the few times when the value of his personal creativity and input is appreciated, and recognized as essential to the success of the class. When this individuality and creativity is appreciated as more than just a tertiary or unnecessary part of the lesson. I guess it makes sense that kids will fight for that.
    In August, when I start my second year of teaching, I think this will be one of the major differences in my understanding of TPRS. TPRS doesn’t work because we are great storytellers, but because stories create a rich forum for interaction between teacher and student that wonderfully facilitates the learning process.

  3. Last Friday I spent so much time (more than I should have probably) in discussion with my 6th period class reviewing and finishing our story. We were having so much fun! We had great actors that were engaging everyone with their buy in and energy in acting out the story. We were arguing in French. We were all laughing. Some of us even had tears in our eyes (of joy).
    Did Nessie (formerly of Loch Ness but now living in Lac Titicaca) eat the baby (who was a Ninja Assassin) or did the baby win? One of my students really wanted a zebra in the mix. I’m not sure what he was going to do? I wanted Nessie (whose egg had been fried and who I related to as a mother!) to win and have a barbecue with the baby Ninja! (I’m a vegetarian but I was hungry!) Then there was the faction who wanted a shark to come out of the lake and …
    We are so lucky aren’t we? I think the kids really feel a difference when they get to play and be creative with us! And those images/stories they create are so powerful to them and really do stay with them a long time.
    Youpi! I love those moments and those days that might seem like nothing much got done and yet there was so much French so much laughter and real engagement from so many students!

  4. Michelle, what a great way to review! This is very similar to how I actually tested the students at the end of the semester, but I did not do any practice with that exact format. That is a great way for them to really get some more CI in the form they will see it on the test. thanks for the recommendation.
    And right on Ben, Steven, and Ruth! It is relieving to be able to have a bunch of kids contradict your suggestion for a detail, and to be able to just say, “oh, ok, he’s not ugly, he super-handsome” without feeling we’re losing the important control, the control over the rules that keep the CI running uninterrupted.

  5. Something occurs in the invisible world when the kids know that what they say counts. It’s no longer you teaching the class, it’s you and the students working together. Whenever I see a teacher working so hard – sometimes even frenetically – and there is that sense in them that they are nervous that the kids really need to learn what they are teaching, the students feel that and shut down because they know that they won’t get to play. It’s not even personal with the teacher, that shutdown, although many teachers like to think that the kid is shutting down because they don’t like the teacher or because they want to be a jerk. That is not true. They don’t participate because they don’t understand what is going on and because they don’t feel valued, that the curriculum is more important than they are.

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