It's All Gravy

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7 thoughts on “It's All Gravy”

  1. I would be interested in what folks have the students draw on their cards for levels 3 + 4. I had heard level one is an activity, level 2 something they are afraid of (this is a HOME run – it works SO well for me) and three “I am special because” – I don’t like this one. Is anyone doing anything different?
    Also, I would be very interested in hearing about what personal and departmental goals folks are setting if anyone felt comfortable sharing….

  2. I’m planning to do this circling with pictures idea the first days of school with kids drawing a picture of someplace (real or imaginary) they went during the summer. We’re then getting lots of reps on “went” and flushing out who they went with, how they got there, etc… I think I’ll do other drawings like what they like to do – and what they are scared of (like that idea!) – later in the year. Thoughts anyone?

  3. I had a generous helping of gravy today and thought I’d share! I had to run down to the office for something during my prep and I passed classes of silent kids, heads resting on hands, listening to teachers talking about what the year will look like. they’ve been listening for two days. we didn’t go there this year in my classes. i’m so excited about this. who knew we could let that stuff go and not feel as though they are missing something?
    i started off with some vocab for “who is here” who isn’t here…george clooney, sadly, wasn’t here. attendance done and a little taste of my teaching style. someone drooped for a sec and i drew their attention to the rule 4. why????? I asked…and I demonstrated me drooping, they laughed, rule addressed and pleasantly to boot. done. BONUS…they noticed the rest of the rules….. we talked about getting to the bathroom and how they didn’t have a prayer unless they asked in french, and we gestured and played around with the vocab for that. more vocab taught…woo hoo.
    i’m collecting fees so we talked about who had 25 cents for me. they “learned” 25, has, cents, who (I thought “for me” was pushing it so didn’t go there). with the grade 9’s I snuck in the past tense.
    then the gravy (I thought) i handed out the notebooks and we got started on the questionaire. i didn’t bother with drawing. as i was walking around, amidst their excited chatter in english (gulp, oh well), the thought came to me…this is all about them! and they love it! i told them that the seating plan is up to them in one sense, that i was using this week to decide who could and couldn’t make good use of their time where they were seated. we talked about the “intent to understand” for about a minute. done. one of the questions was “an unusual talent or ability i have (however strange)…I looked across the room to see M showing a group of boys how he can levitate . . .
    we wrote a quiz, so they could understand the procedure…almost all of them scored 5/5 and there was a happy buzz in the air as we practised handing in the papers under 30 seconds. I heard one young man (a sparkler i think) say, I love this class!
    walking up the hall past classes of silent kids and teachers talking so seriously about rules and lesson plans I smiled to myself. we managed to jump right over all that and into our first lessons and the kids somehow get the idea of what is to come, what to do and not do, how to learn in this class. a miracle.
    tomorrow we’ll be circling with balls, more words up on the board. a little TPR a quiz….what a great way to start the year. i can hardly wait to see what they wrote and to get to know them. the gravy runneth over .

  4. You got into the moment. You didn’t feel like the lesson plan for that day was more important than those little episodes of impromptu personalized questions. Once they know they can play and make you laugh they start to make up goofier and goofier reasons why the kid isn’t there. The uphill CI road is suddenly pointing downhill. They’re so funny. “He’s absent because …”. The possibilities are many. All we have to do is norm the rules and be so slowly clear with them that they know that they won’t be left out. So what if it takes the entire class? Those other teachers took the entire class in English! Thanks Lynn. If anybody wants detailed descriptions of some of the stuff Lynn is referencing above, find them at handouts.

  5. I love the way the class has been personalized this way. The cards may not have been used all that much in my first year class but whenever they were people learned. It is interesting when we talk about ourselves even when what we say isn’t true. I think the one time that stands out the most was when we talked about one of us who was afraid of a coconut, “Hannah a peur a la coconut? Oui, Hannah a peur a la coconut parce que la coconut est tre grande et tre grosse.” Good times, good times. The books we read could never have the same affect as a class hard wired on laughter talking about a scary coconut. That is just too funny not to learn. That is why I love this system; it’s just all too great for words.
    IT WORKS!!!!

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