Jim Tripp – Recycling

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15 thoughts on “Jim Tripp – Recycling”

  1. Jim,
    I, like you, have done this (recycling other class’ stories/readings) for a long time due to my own inability to get things typed up in time for the right class. I have also saved them from year to year which has saved my ______ on a number of occasions.
    It may be the ages of the kids that I teach (10-12), but they are really only “somewhat” interested in others’ stories. This year, I have been more organized and less hard on myself—somehow getting shorter, less complicated, personalized-to-the-class stories typed on time. I have noticed a marked positive difference in their interest. It really is “all about them”.
    However, reading is reading. On some of the home-run reading hits of yore, I go in and just change the names of the characters to names of kids in current classes. That certainly heightens interest even though this particular class wasn’t the stimulus for the story. I just try to match personality to character–or do exactly the opposite for the bizarre effect.
    My lowest kid I have is the one who asks me every single day, “Are we going to get in groups and make up a story today?”, referencing the first stage of the embedded readings that I write for them. He, of course, likes to be able to discuss the ideas in English with his buddies and only be responsible for getting it down briefly on paper.
    I am the one who brings it to life in Spanish, but he still feels the glory of having created the “cool story” for the class. If the Spanish gets inside of his head, I don’t really care how it gets there–even though it was English that sparked the event. That’s a big change for me in light of my “immersion program” history.
    The fact that the lowest kid of any of my six classes:
    • approaches me to talk about learning something
    • wants to do “work”
    • thinks an activity that involves reading is “cool”
    …thrills me no end.
    I really like how this whole reading thing has juiced up and evolved over the last several years. The kids get access to so much more language.

  2. Jody I was doing a reading based on a story yesterday and could not believe how powerful the CI that came from it was. I think that favoring basing CI on a reading text that the kids can see in real time right there in front of them is a direction in which I may be going (I can never be sure what direction I am going so take that with a grain of salt). But the idea I am trying to express here is less stories as the focal piece of the week, and more readings.
    Stories from readings and not vice versa. It’s the chicken or the egg thing but isn’t it true that we have a lot of reasons to avoid stories, not the least of which is that for over a decade now very few of us seem to be comfortable doing them. Then why not pop up a reading from something that the kids create at the beginning of class and CI that? It makes sense and brings in the P right away in a strong flow.
    Ever since Michele – a few months ago now – suggested to a group of her kids that they put together a story in just a few minutes right there at the beginning of class and then she would start the class from it, we have all been kind of on a tear with that idea.
    Laurie then kicked in with the bodacious idea of embedded readings, and the entire concept of CI seemed to be let out of its shackles from just the story form and it became apparent to many of us that CI can be done with readings in a powerful way.
    We have known this, of course, in terms of music, etc., and there are those who would claim that there is nothing new here but there is. Michele’s and Laurie’s and many other ideas have led to a recurring image for what we are now doing as a constantly expanding galaxy of ideas that we need to just allow to expand (it will anyway).
    Where we used to have just one star in the galaxy to grab from for the development of CI in the form of listening and reading activities, we now have more options and each of those options will appeal to certain of us in ways that they will not to others. This is a good thing. I just posted on a ninety minute “effortless” lesson plan that offers yet another option to the many ways to present CI to our classes.

  3. This is a great thread to read this time of year when the kids are sliding away towards summer and we need to have all of our skills available (and we no longer have all of our energy!) Being able to weave story-writing, story-asking, reading, parallel stories and PQA together is such an amazing lesson plan combination!! (I’ve got to start dictados Ben…)
    I’ve also been throwing in a reading to write component every chance I get. For example….
    I take the starter stories written by the kids that I don’t use for other activities and type them up as 5-7 line story outlines. I put a lot of space in-between each line. Then we use them to practice adding details and interest as a writing activity. We’ll start with one as a class so they get the hang of it. When they are ready, I’ll pass them out and they can work in groups, pairs or as individuals. I don’t even have to have everyone working on the same story.
    In fact, my strategy is to pass out 3-4 different ones to the class. They immediately notice that they are not the same and want to read their classmates’ versions to see if it might be better to work with!! Tee hee. I’m tricky. If I TOLD them to read 3-4 versions and then pick one no one would do it. tee hee. They think that they are being sneaky, reading other stories and trading for them. I “pretend” that I don’t know what is going on while they read and read and read!!
    I can then take those stories and use them for listening practice, reading, pop ups, embedded reading or a quiz.
    This is really fun!!!!!
    The key is, as Jody said…it’s all about them…one way or another. AND it takes away a great deal of the creative pressure that sometimes holds us back.
    That being said, I think that it is important to note that all of this takes place AFTER we have lead the way, providing modeling, coaching and clear guidelines about how and where a story should go. If those guidelines have not been provided and built into the classroom routine, this entire process could be a real mess. But because they know us and our expectations, because they know the goals and the patterns, because they know the parameters and the “infrastructure”, it can be very very successful!!
    with love,

  4. Laurie what can we call these? Labels help me when I plan. We have Student Generated Stories from Michele, so what can we call these?
    I just want to say back what I read, to be sure I get it: we take some of the student generated scripts that don’t get used in the process invented by Michele, and then we type them up – 5 to 7 lines – and pass them out so that no two are the same (great idea!) and, leaving space to add details, we let the groups come up with new things for each story because as Jody said it really is all about them. Then we can do anything with their texts – the fact that they created them is the crack of the bat home run factor to get them involved in class. (By the way, the fact that it is all about them is exactly the reason I wrote PQA in a Wink! – I wanted to suggest concrete ways to personalize instead of vague ones).
    There is a pattern here. As we move forward, there is less focus on the wonderfulness of the teacher as master of ceremonies of the skills involved in input based instruction and much more focus on the kids, so that the role of the teacher is becoming more to implement just a few basic skills of CI discussion and lead the kids forward without all the pressure to be wonderful. (The kids know we aren’t wonderful anyway – that’s one of their jobs in school, to prove that they and not we are wonderful, and they will, even if it is via the destructive path of passive aggressiveness or by putting their heads on the desk, which is basically the same as screaming to the teacher that the teacher is not cool enough to reach them).
    They will win. They have taken out hundreds if not thousands of TPRS teachers. So we devise ways like those above to allow them more creativity and things change. (I agree, of course, Laurie, that this would only work once we teach them routine and discipline in the first months of the year, where all is lost or won).
    O.K. let’s give this thing a name. Maybe something like Student Embedded Scripts?
    Laurie also on your comment about dictation – I have been around the block on this now for years and years. Yes it’s output, yes it conflicts in theory with best practices, esp. at lower levels, but it also really adds a lot to a class. It offers many valuable things to class. I like dictation. The kids like it. So why not do it? I don’t do it much at all, but whenever I do, it makes class better. It’s also a great way to get them focused at the beginning of class, huh….

  5. I don’t know why in the world I haven’t been just changing in the names of kids in the current class so as to read stories…my gosh! Every story can do triple time.
    Laurie, could you embellish on your guidelines for stories? I’m assuming that the guidelines are the understanding that structures are repeated, that there are boundaries around some topics, and that these are supposed to be funny…we had a story the other day about a kid who gives away gum in class, but he gets the money for it by babysitting some kids; the pay is really good because the kids eat garbage. I thought that was okay, but the kids said it was too sad. A first…they self-corrected…
    Student Scripts should be fine, right?

  6. You’re right Jody, sometimes the kids aren’t into the other classes’ stories at all. I had that happen two days in a row with a group of girls last week (yeah, a class of 18 girls, an interesting chemistry). I don’t know why I tried again after they completely rejected the story from the “other” school the day before, but at least they said it was better that the one the day before. But, this did coax an interesting developments… they wanted to create their OWN story because “the other school’s stories suck.”
    And Michelle, I hear you. Why have I not been swapping student names before doing the readings. Jody, this is a much better idea than reading stories created by another class with other students’ names (unless, perhaps, the kids in the story are older “cool” kids that they really look up to)! Have you ever had kids find out that “their” stories were used with different names in other classes?

  7. I’ve been reading about “Embedded Stories” on Laurie’s web site and thinking that “Student scripts” is a good title for what kids make up in the three minute period out of structures.
    There are two French classes here in Anchorage whose teachers are sharing stories. One group starts a story, and then sends it to the other teacher at the end of a class period. Then the other class continues it, and as far as I remember, the first class gets to finish it. They’ve evidently been having a heck of a lot of fun.
    It really depends on the story and the day and the kids whether students enjoy reading what other classes have written. But last week, when the Abby in period 7 thought that the period 3 story about Megan and Abby was about her, she was delighted. If I’d thought to change out the names of both girls, it would have been perfect. I’m going to go see what stories I have left from last year!

  8. Ben,
    They are basically the same thing…just used two different ways. First, choose one to expand on/storyask in class. Second, type up and hand out for students to expand upon in writing. In my mind they are both Story Outlines or Scripts. I use the word outline because it gives us the opportunity to give credit to the students for the ideas and still leave the details open for others (including ourselves) to add.
    I think that having students add details in a writing exercise has benefit as an output activity for several “educational” reasons:
    * allows students to be individually creative (differentiation)
    *also allows students to collaborate (cooperative/collaborative learning)
    * encourages upper level thinking skills (moving up Bloom’s taxonomy)
    *prepares them for the NYS Regents Exam section in writing where they are evaluated on organization and including details. (test preparation)
    Being able to use one product several ways has been in INCREDIBLE help in lesson planning/prep. I am so grateful to Michele for suggesting the story outlines. In the past I have tried to have students write entire stories and use those….and while they loved it when I did that, it was always challenging and not always successful. In the past few months that I have incorporated the story outlines I have not run into any of the issues that I used to.
    with love,

  9. I haven’t done as many dictations this semester, but I think it is just that I get caught up in doing other things and forget to do them periodically. First semester I alternated them with timed writes. I think they are input, not output to any significant degree. Students are listening in a focused way, listening to the rhythm and intonation of the sentence as well as the meaning in order to discern the words and spell them properly (especially in Spanish). The correction really helps with accuracy without spending a ton of time on it. When I use them, I have a rubric in which catching the majority of the mistakes and correcting them provides the grade. I did see a lot of growth in ability to know what is being said at the basic level of recognizing the words. Chris

  10. To tack on to Laurie’s reasons for adding details in a writing activities is:
    *that’s the best way to write in any language!
    High school students (and most college students) do not develop arguments. They don’t add details. If they have a three page paper to write, they will write a laundry list of arguments or ideas that pop into their head under the rationale that more is better. But it’s not. The basic rule of thumb in writing is that it is better to say a lot about a little rather than a little about a lot.
    The best way to write is to go back on the second draft and develop arguments, add details and expand what you have. This is EXACTLY what embedded reading does and I love the fact that we are modelling proper writing technique for our students in any language. We’re not just world language teachers, we are language teachers, and I’m able to teach some writing skills now to my German I students that I didn’t really understand until I was an upperclassman in college.
    I love that.

  11. Well said, Nathan. And the marriage between reading and writing can never go away. It’s a dance with reading being the courtier, and writing being the logical outcome of the courtship.
    In a class I walked out of just now (we were reading an embedded reading), I actually thought to myself – while the kids were reading chorally out loud with my hand on every word as it went by – how this was going to be great for their writing.
    The key there was that I didn’t interrupt the flow of the reading with needless discussion that just confuses them. I think Dr. Krashen talks about that uninterrupted flow in Power of Reading or somewhere, can’t remember. The only thing I was interrupting the flow of reading with was the French language to process the reading, with no English to speak of, as it were.
    I was very aware during the flow of reading today that I really didn’t NEED to explain stuff like object pronoun placement – the kids were seeing it and their computers were registering the patterns MUCH more efficiently without my intervention and so I can, for me in my world, look happily forward to less and less conscious explication of stuff next year, and more and more unconscious exposure to the language in massive amounts reading and listening – just letting the mind do its thing as it does when we are small children instead of going with the now outdated “teacher explains” model. Susan Gross would be very proud of me for that last statement. She knows that it was hard, very hard, for me to let go emotionally of the need to overexplain stuff in class in English. It was a kind of sickness, and few kids ever heard me.
    Reading and listening are the meat of CI, and meat is “what’s for dunner”.

  12. OT – Ben, the title of this entry reminds me of one of the high lights of my year.
    One day we were using Michele’s idea of having the students write a story in English around 4-5 structures real quick and then use it for a story in class. One of the lines that came out of that and has become a powerful bonding tool in our class was:
    “Pantalones en el suelo pantalones en el suelo
    parece necio con los pantalones en el suelo”
    TPRS enables so MANY powerful memories and allows for such bonding with the class. Those are OUR memories forged around our “playtime with the language”
    Sorry this doesn’t have much to do with the entry but the title of the entry brought me back…..

  13. …those are OUR memories forged around our “playtime with the language”….
    To me, Skip, this kind of says it all. Those kids don’t forget stuff. Just more proof about ownership and personalization on those deep levels, individually and as a class, that honor all and put down no one.

  14. Skip wrote: TPRS enables so MANY powerful memories and allows for such bonding with the class. Those are OUR memories forged around our “playtime with the language”
    That’s so true.This afternoon two students “Ben” and “Rachel” were absent, so I asked the class where they were. The answer: At a party dancing like Michael Jackson in the McDonald’s on the moon. We haven’t talked about that since October.

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