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29 thoughts on “Bleach”

  1. NYC just announced that grades 6-8 will basically be using a pass/course in progress rating for remote learning grades and I am thrilled. All the pressure is off me and the students to do anything that resembles testing in the traditional sense.

    By the way, I took home all the ICC and have been using them as the content of my remote learning classes for the past two weeks. Before breaking them out I felt completely lost teaching online. Now that I have these beautiful student created images things are MUCH better.

    Sending virtual hugs to you Ben, and to all the PLC members.

      1. I get shy sharing videos of myself because I notice a million errors, but now is not the time to hold back.

        Day 1: The first video is of me live teaching. I interact with whoever logs in to the google meet. You can hear some kid voices. Some other kids are interacting using the chat feature instead. I post the video for the students who can’t or don’t join live.

        Day 2: Then the next day I do a google meet again, I share my screen and they help me write out the story by saying their ideas out loud or by responding in the chat. We write out a draft of the story together. I add a few more ideas or finish it up if we run out of time together.

        Day 3: Then on day three I post a screencast of myself reading and discussing the grammar in context. I ask them to watch on their own and give them a few questions to answer to prove that they did it. Here is the screencast video.

        Days 4 and 5 ? I am going to try some “extend” activities like making Kahoot games with the content of the videos or something else that might mimic TWCG but I haven’t figured it out yet.

        I am very very new to using google drive so if I messed up with the links let me know. Hope this is helpful

        1. Our newest PLC member Diego Ojeda is efficiently teaching full time using Zoom so maybe he’ll comment unless he’s too busy. I’m so glad New York dropped the effort. I think it puts way too much work on the teacher.

        2. Wait – Carly, is TWCG the WGTG? Has someone renamed the Word Chunk Team Game? Please say no and tell me that I’m just paranoid (more like tired of having my intellectual material harvested and repackaged).

          1. I’m talking about your game! I guess I switched the letters around by accident, sorry!! Was it at some time called the Team word chunk have? The game where the teams have a name they make up and a cool way to say it and it fosters community etc…

          2. I’ve always called it the Word Chunk Team Game but I have noticed some of my activities labeled with different names at conferences and online so that is why I asked. Thanks. It be cool, ain’t it?

        3. Carly you said this:

          …I get shy sharing videos of myself because I notice a million errors…

          Me too. Just this week I mispelled “kayak” in my new Zoom Invisibles class. It’s “kajak” in French.

          I have learned not to care, for the following reasons:

          1. I wasn’t born in a French-speaking country, and so should not be expected to be perfect in the language.
          2. There are many people in France who spell a lot worse than me and they get by o.k.
          3. My students have no idea when I misspell a word in the TL
          4. Any observers don’t know, unless they are French scholars, and I haven’t met too many of those in the middle and high schools I’ve worked in.
          5. I personally don’t care that much. I used to, back when I thought language teaching was about grammar and spelling and passing AP exams and all of that rot, but now that I know it’s not about being a “perfect 4%er”, but rather about comprehensible input, which is how people acquire languages, I’ve let it all go, and I’ve forgiven those teachers in my past when, as a student, I was made to believe that spelling counted.

  2. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    the sharing settings for the first link are saying I need to request permission, but the second screencast one of the reading is fine and wonderful!

  3. The short answer is of course yes, and no need to read on. Many here know that I tend to wax philosophic, so here is one of those unnecessarily long symphonic responses when I forget the question but keep writing anyway. Hey, I gotta be me.

    Carly as you know I have always dreamed of with this group, going on 15 years now, of exploring the sharing of video to help teachers get better at CI, but it never really happened. I think that people are generally shy.

    We have turned into a bunch of readers, when the original intent of the was PLC or as we used to say for so many years the blog – like Alisa and Carly sometimes say here to my great delight (I miss those early days!) – was simply to share videos (about TPRS back then) of us teaching. Everyone is shy. I’m shy. Making a video like Carly did and thank you Carly is emotionally stressful for me. Doing the demos in the new Invisibles Zoom groups is not easy. TEACHING IS NOT EASY.

    But I do it because I believe that we all need to start using more efficiently the divine gift of technology, a gift being thrust on us now because we did not listen well before. And the fact is – and I think this is true for most of us – that if we think of this work as one of helping others, of SIMPLY HELPING OTHERS, like Carly has done with her sharing today, and not about it being a talent contest (an idea ingrained into us since we were little kids), then we are working with CI in the much-needed area right now of selfless service to others.

    I’ve seen your videos and they are damn good. REALLY good, and more importantly they convey information to less experienced (though potentially great teaching artists some of whom may be right now be our students but will later be leaders in the wild new future we are all facing in education.

    But really there are no leaders, there’s just us. We all have our own personalities and if we are not using them in our work as CI teachers then we can’t really be said to be doing CI, because CI is about personal expression of everyone in the room, not dominance by a few.

    What is CI really about? In my opinion it is about coming together of people, a kind of a spiritualization, a COVID quickening that will, when the smoke clears, bring to us lives of increased happiness and appreciation – vs. the judging – of others. We will all be closer, and our classrooms won’t resemble tombs but rather playgrounds.

    It’s not just in teaching. Look at health care workers, who for so long have done their dangerous jobs with no real notice. Look at meat packers, largely immigrants who lose a hand or finger in the name of more profits for the big bosses with no health care protection, and whose lives are not only dangerous but dreary.

    All that is ending! Even the reign of administrators in language teaching, those poor inflated souls who know nothing of our work but still have power over us. That’s ending. I could continue in this vein but the point is that now, as we prepare for a new humanity we can rely on knowing that our lives professionally – and this will bleed over to our personal lives – are going to be much happier. We have been working to get our profession on track with the research and the standards, and no work is wasted.

    I have long known about the potential of CI and was very sad about ten years ago to see it get derailed into the current CI marketplace. The good news is that with COVID we are now finally taking that long-awaited big step forward to feeling more happiness and more APPRECIATION of our students, and they of us, so yeah.

    Most of us are shy, which is a sad thing to say. But how are we going to change unless we get to trusting each other and trusting that the work of being a teacher is NOT about being the best, the richest, but rather it is about being the most giving while never crossing the line of giving too much. So send us videos of you teaching.

    It’s time for a ride into the new. Buckle up. Put on your mask until they say we can take them off. I have two from New Delhi from Respro, a UK company – for anyone who is looking for a great mask.


  4. So Carly I know that the Peter Pencil is from this year. And as Greg has pointed out here, old drawings from previous years’ galleries are also useful at any time in any class, even though it was made in previous years.

    I’m trying to figure something out… would it be easier to draw a kid into a lesson (pun intended) with something like this or maybe rather with a nice little lesson on double object pronouns. Hmmm….

  5. Carly I watched the Peter Pencil video again and it is really masterful teaching, and those who may be using the Invisibles right now can learn a lot from it. The use of the portable white board is brilliant. I need to put this in the book. Can I? Would also like to share this link with my weekly Zoom Invisibles teams. Permission granted?

    1. I’m always honored to have you share something from me. Permission granted. Thanks for the kind words. Isn’t it a silver lining type of thought that anyone who isn’t in your household is equally far away from you whether they live a town over or in a different country!?

      1. Yes Carly about the reverersed proximity. It is interesting, because before the crisis we used to be physically close to so many people, and yet fairly distant from most of them. Think of our schools. All we want to do by this time of year is get away from many of them, students and colleagues. But now, the students are missing each other, and we are missing certain ones in our buildings.

        So the physical distancing is bringing a new kind of proximity, that of the heart. It will only get better. The internet is fast becoming a kind of “inner” net. I know that, after teaching only one Zoom class on the Invisibles last week, I genuinely like my teacher/students and look forward to seeing them bloom online, doing Invisibles demos and such in class. Learning to trust and do real PD because the Zoom classes are kept small and trust can be there and thus risks can be taken.

        Those who are shy will stay shy in those classes and that is fine. When they are ready they will take the leap out of their Brady Bunch square. Maybe we’re closer being apart. And yes, Carly proves undoubtedly with her videos that the internet can be used to teach a language. Yup, it can.

        Go watch those two videos by Carly again. They are a triumph and a pie in the faces of all those who think it can’t be done, and so they are very important to us in our profession, because Peter Pencil and his buds bring us closer to our students in the real way towards increased proficiency and alignment with the research and standards, in spite of our physical distances apart.

        Oh yeah. It’s changing all right. Once we go to increased use of online instruction in the fall, we’ll be ready. We’ve got piles and piles of Peter Pencils, and we will draw our students into our classes.

      2. Carly do you make separate videos for each level? I suggest that you can successfully use Peter Pencil, for example, for both levels 1 and 2. Both levels can learn from it. That can save you some time. Just an idea.

        1. I have 4 grade 8 classes and 2 grade seven classes and I make a different story and video set for each class, it keeps and interest high because it’s an image from a kid in that class. This year both the 7th and 8th graders are taking French for the first time, the 8th graders have class every day and the 7th graders only twice a week or the times a week. But I run the two “levels” the same way, they are basically the same level. When we were in the building I did a gallery walk week after two cycles where I could reuse all the materials and not have to come up with more stories for a bit. I have to figure out an online version of that.

          1. … but I run the two “levels” the same way, they are basically the same level….

            I ran three levels the same way in Delhi. Easy peasy and nobody knows the difference. Theoretically, the older ones move things along faster, but since they were trained with only grammar in 6th and 7th grade, they were actually a lot slower, always coveting work shits. They never came up to the level, not even close, of the untainted-by-grammar 6th graders. I had never taught that age before. Boy what I missed! I think it is the ideal age for this work. They were the very definition of locked-on.

  6. I’m having a hard time with Carly’s videos. They won’t play for me. I don’t know why. Is there something basic I need to do? Any chance you can post them on Youtube? No worries if that’s too much trouble. Thanks.

  7. Hey everyone. TCI Chicagoland is sticking to our Saturday, 5/2, 10 am meeting and will focus on remote learning. Please feel free to join us. I can share the Zoom link later, when I set it up. We plan on meeting for 90 minutes and break up into two groups: high school and elementary.

    I’m going to do my best and bite my lip before I react with skepticism to all the wonderful ideas people will share about how they’re managing remote learning. I tend to be a Debbie Downer about fancy CI activities, if not outloud, then in my head. After all, we can count on Greg and Alisa to share some tried-and-true activities that pass the CI sensibility test.

    Truth is, I’m fearful that, as you are suggesting, Ben, we’re going to have to do more remote learning next year, and into the future. I just have very little interest in it. I mean, we have spent many years juggling the idea of online learning and haven’t found an answer, at least, not with children. Are we really going to find an answer now? I doubt it. And I fear we’re doomed. We’re doomed to Zoom.

    Ben, I’m a little surprised to see you so positive about the outlook of more remote learning. But maybe that’s just with teacher-to-teacher interaction.

    1. I don’t want to put them on Youtube but I would send them to your email if you would like. I would love to be added to the Zoom invite.

      I am also anti-fancy remote activities. That’s why I was so happy to just keep doing character talk with the student images almost exactly how I would do it in class.

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