IW Question

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18 thoughts on “IW Question”

  1. I have been using Doceri on my iPad for my artists and it has worked well. So far I haven’t had to pay a fee, even thought the website says you will have to pay to project it through the computer attached to the board.

    How do most people use these? I have been having students draw while we are telling the story, but some of them get so involved in their artwork that they don’t really pay attention to the story and don’t do well on the quick quizzes. Some students really listen and do a great job with the artwork then do well on the quiz. Just wondering if you have students draw after the story or during.

  2. Getting kids to actively interpret meaning is the name of the game and we demand this by checking on this constantly by requiring gestures, choral responses, or drawing. These response strategies each has its flaws. I like TPR because the kids have to react to everything, but they can look at others for the correct response (so have them do some of it with their eyes closed). Choral responses are okay, but even then kids can fake it (so mix up the questioning – small groups & individual). I would like to have kids draw the story as we go, but I have been wondering how to “manage” the drawing. Some kids will be doodling. Some will draw and not listen. Do we stop every 5 minutes and give the kids 1 minute to draw what has happened until that point? Instead of drawing, we could also have kids, after every 5 minutes, write for 1 minute in L1 or L2 what has happened. This would also expend more materials – paper and markers.

    1. I’ve done this before as a way to break up reading–giving them around 1 min. every 5 min. or so to draw where we are at in the story now. At the end, they can go back and give the picture L2 captions, etc.

      I’ve never done this during auditory CI, however. I’ve always thought it would break the flow.

  3. That’s a good way to handle it. I think I need to do that. They were more concentrated when they drew on paper, but the IW is so tactile that I think they just get involved in it and don’t listen well.

    But you are having them draw as you tell the story, right?

    I have a question about story-asking. How do you work those variables in without bogging down? I like to have the students contribute, but many times asking them to think of a choice gets us all off track. It’s hard for them to do in L2. Today on my 3rd class using the Christmas tree story I listed some items for them to choose for the cutting instrument, like scissors, knife, ax, chainsaw. I hadn’t done that with the other classes. It worked well. But the awesome part was when the last character was a little old man with a cane who I suggested to cut the tree with the cane. But the actor told me in Spanish that the cane was also a chainsaw.

    Back to the variables, in that particular story, did you just keep it simple with always using ax and changing the size?

    1. Yes the drawing is done as the story is being created by the class.

      On the question about the ax, as a variable, by definition, anything could replace the underlined word. Some of the more literal kids might have a problem imagining a car cutting down a tree, so when I did that particular story I usually stayed with the ax. So, and I hope this answers your second question Katie, it really depends on the class and their level of tolerance for really weird ideas. Each class has its own silliness quotient. The one thing that I personally would not do is make suggestions for them. The underlined variables, in this case different size axes, are there in case the class is a bunch of dullards, but I am always too lazy to go so far as to suggest ideas for them to replace the variables. If I suggested too many possible cute answers, it’s like mom dressing the kid in the morning when they are fifteen years old. But that’s just me. I must say that one of the great things about this approach for me is that it truly hides my laziness. I get my own sequence of things going.

      When I say sequence I mean those things I did kind of in order all based on the DNA of the Three Steps, which are basically this:

      1. establish meaning (just say “this means that”, getting gestures from the kids and then practicing the targets via PQA, etc.),
      2. get reps on the targets (now via the mini stories, later via full stories, MovieTalk, Look and Discuss and the rest of the CI arsenal we have).
      3. read what you created with them.

      So as a reflection of my own teaching personality (each one is different), I sometimes expanded it in this way, and rode that through all my classes, as only a truly lazy person can do. So one way I take the lazy river through class is to:

      1. say “this means that” for each target (i.e. establish meaning).
      2. decide with the class on some gestures for the target structures (almost always verbs in super mini stories) that we want to teach.
      3. do some PQA around the target structures, using our PQA counters.
      4. create the mini story, using our story writer, story artist and timer.
      5. give a quiz on the created mini story written by your quiz writer.
      6. discuss any art work created by your story artist (either for the document camera or on an interactive whiteboard).
      7. collect the story (written during class in English by your story writer), and, after putting it in the TL, present the reading to the class the next day.

      But then I could even take those seven steps (they being based on the Three Steps) and expand them out like an accordion in this way:

      1. Establish meaning for each structure.
      2. Ask the students to show you a gesture for each structure.
      3. Practice the gestures a few times.
      4. Ask some personalized question about the three structures. If the students are tight lipped during this time, use PSA).
      5. In super mini stories, first start working with seated students as actors.
      6. If the first sentence in the script is “John wants to buy a car” (with John and car as the underlined variables), replace John with the name of the student or a name that the class makes up for the actor.
      7. Say that John “wants to buy” (try to remember to gesture it when saying it to make it easier for the class to understand you).
      8. Ask what “John” wants to buy.
      9. You now have a personalized sentence along the lines of “Class, Big Eddie (student in your class) wants to buy a nutcracker!”
      10. Now don’t go to the next sentence right away! Spin whatever details you can from this sentence using Circling. Remember what is happening here – the class is focusing on an image that they think they have created but you are focusing on getting as many repetitions as you can on “wants to buy”. Don’t forget that you can circle in questions about the subject, the verb, or the object. In addition, you can also constantly personalize the questions by asking parallel questioning about other students in the class as described above.
      11. Do the same process whenever a sentence in the script gets exhausted – just go to the next sentence and the next and the next and work your way through the story. You don’t have to work hard to remember everything that the class suggests – everything is being recorded by the story writer.
      12. With the story now created, ask for a round of applause for the actors.
      13. Now is the time to process the artist’s work done on an iPad or just on a sheet of paper for the document camera. Ask lots of questions about the images – they provide greater and greater amounts of repetitions, which is the entire point of storytelling, to drive the language deeper and deeper into the minds of the students.
      14. During this processing time of the artist’s work, remember to give ample praise for the artwork. Also try to get into the habit of asking for rounds of applause whenever merited.
      15. An option at this point is to use the image created by the artist to ask for a retell by the class – led by you using a cloze technique – or for an individual student retell – not led by you.
      16. Give a Quick Quiz on the story at the end of class. These are yes/no or true/false questions. Avoid asking questions that are not y/n or t/f unless you have a lot of extra time to grade the quizzes. When we ask for y/n or t/f answers, we save ourselves lots of time. We give the quiz at the end of the class because the information is still fresh in the students’ minds. As the students leave the class, collect the quizzes and the story in L1 from your story writer. Don’t forget to toss the quizzes if you are busy that day. Only keep and grade quizzes when you need a grade. There is no contract with your students that requires you to grade and enter a quiz into your gradebook. Workaholic teachers, of course, can ignore that suggestion.
      17. The next day, having written up the super mini story in L2 (takes about one minute to do that for these really short stories, present the reading to the class using Reading Option A (Appendix D in Stepping Stones).
      18. At this point another quiz option is to ask the students to translate the story for a really easy grade. This builds confidence and trust in the students that you are on their side. It will pay off in higher enrollments later. And when the students are older and doing real stories, you can ask them to write possible optional endings to the story in the TL.
      19. If you want yet a third grade at this point, throw in a jGR self evaluation at this point if you need one or if you feel like it.

      I know – too much information. And perhaps with editing issues. I’m kind of excited because I get to go to Paul Kirshling’s house downtown right now where they are having a FAC for the DPS TCI team and I miss them so much being retired now. They are such wonderful people. And I will ask Diana if I can share all the San Diego iFLT videos – there are 20 of them – with the group here. I know she will say yes.)

      1. As an alternative to gesturing the reading (i.e., teacher reads and students gesture), which is something I do a lot, I tried some Snap Reading. I picked up on Snap Reading from Carla of the Winnetka3 during our last TCI Chicagoland meeting; one of many tools shared during our meeting. It worked well.

        Snap Reading: teacher reads and snaps their fingers at any word to indicate for students to shout out that word.

          1. Stomping… definitely something I need to incorporate more. It’s amazing how these little things help so much.

  4. Thanks, Ben, for the long explanation! It really helps to see the short and long answer, kind of like an embedded reading.

    Great advice about the applause. I have been doing that more since I noticed the kid in Eric’s video using the clapper when students do something well.

    When you say the variables are there in case the class is a bunch of dullards, do you mean if you ask for suggestions and don’t get any or they are lame, you just use what you have and move on? I think I have been trying to pull too much out of some classes and giving too much wait time. A couple of classes are good with cute answers, but one class is almost comatose. It’s always good to end the day with a class that plays the game well.

  5. Exactly. Use the variables if you don’t get anything good. Tell them the story if they can’t create it themselves. I deal with comatose classes in the way I described here in a comment a few days ago – I get an inner mindset that forgives me for not being a perfect teacher and we just have a more boring story than other classes. I’m still doing CI and that is all that matters.

    One option I use a lot is to go up to my most upbeat students during class and tell them quietly on the side that since everyone around us is boring why don’t we try to make up some silliness ourselves but I need their help. When we do the class that way it’s like there are three people in the room. It sometimes draws some of the dullards into the class, however. (We know that they are not dull at all but have had their sense of play beaten out of them.)

    I really hear what you said about trying to pull too much out of the class. That comes with the false image that has been out there for twenty years of the teacher being a comedian or some kind of master of ceremonies. I am not a master of anything. I am just there to get through my day by asking questions and enjoying a laugh or two before the end of the day. To do that I let my students do most of the work of making class work via their jobs.

    Make every effort to turn the tables on them. Think, “Those kids in front of me are there to entertain me.” The model for that is the dog or cat who think that our only job is to pet them. My prayer is that we all take this less seriously. There’s something to that – when we don’t take this work so seriously, we just somehow get better at it.

    1. “Make every effort to turn the tables on them. Think, ‘Those kids in front of me are there to entertain me.’ The model for that is the dog or cat who think that our only job is to pet them. My prayer is that we all take this less seriously. There’s something to that – when we don’t take this work so seriously, we just somehow get better at it.”

      Hells yeah! That last paragraph spoke to me. We have to allow ourselves to be boring. We can’t set an energy standard that requires an over-caffeinated teacher! I was sick today and didn’t feel up to TPRS, but I did a little PQA anyway, but I put in a lot less energy, and yet everything went just fine. When we relax, the kids relax. There is really something to that.

      1. This may be relevant to Katie’s comment: we can just TELL the kids the line. We don’t have to ask everything. Especially in classes that aren’t used to TPRS – they won’t know the difference. And even when they just add periphery details like character names and locations, they’ll still feel ownership.

        1. I’m finding that there is a real sense of being present in the moment to know how much to mix up PSA and PQA. Sometimes I find it necessary to state something like 5 sentences before I ask 1 question… like with a squirrelly bunch who get talkative when I ask the class a question. Of course, those 5 sentences are all either retelling what we already created in the mini-story or flat-out repeating sentences over and over with perhaps a slight variation each time.

          Starting stories has often been a difficult one for me. I used to always start a story by asking for a main character. I’m finding it better to start a story identifying a place or a problem space. After identifying the space or problem space, it’s more fun to then imagine a character. This worked for me yesterday:

          There is…
          There is a store…
          There is a fabulous store..
          There is a fabulous store that is called…
          The fabulous store is called…

          I went real slow. We spent the previous day circling “store” (and another structure). I got the name of the store, let’s say, Best Buy. After that, though, I had a bit of a break down:

          ____ goes to the store.

          I threw in another variable to quickly. I should have done something like:

          Best Buy is a fabulous store. Best Buy is a big store. Best Buy has electronics

          Here, like with the word “electronics” I could activate those in-the-moment skills of adding cognates or recycling previously taught vocab. Then I could go into another variable:

          One person goes to the store Best Buy.
          There is one person in the class that goes to the store Best Buy.
          The person that goes to the store Best Buy is called _______.

          Like this, I need to space out my variables more. My students are too much in the habit of getting talkative when I through out variables. This I need to reign in.

      2. That last paragraph was awesome for me to hear as well. I sometimes feel a need to entertain, and I’m glad for the reassurance that it is not required. Those moments when the students entertain me and make me laugh cause a nice reciprocal good will that doesn’t come from entertainment that I had to make up. The moment when we are all in the zone together makes the dead moments fade away.

  6. And what happens with every teacher who has wrestled with the fear of not reaching the kids is that there is a moment when one kid says one cute thing that the class breaks up at, and of course that is exactly what you were thinking (or so we tell them) and slowly the ice breaks and the love trolleys start to come in and the room is never the same. It all starts with that first cute answer. But to get it, we must trust and stay in the moment and wait to see what comes and, of nothing comes, do as Eric says above, just tell them what happens. But always leaving room for those cute answers, which are born in a spirit of beatitude.

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