Job Change

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11 thoughts on “Job Change”

  1. Andrew I spent eight years in middle school after teaching AP French language and literature before returning to the high school level in 2009. During those years, I had exploratory seventh grade classes and eighth graders.

    I was able to learn that the seventh graders, because of their age and because I only had twelve weeks with them, didn’t hang too well with stories. It was probably me, because there are many really accomplished members of this PLC who teach middle schoolers and make stories work. But I could only make stories work with eighth graders. (I see that age as the very best for stories, or such has been my experience.)

    My book Steppingstones to Stories describes exactly what I did with those seventh graders, all the stuff that we all already know about and that can be found on this site like CWB, OWI, Word Associations (working with word walls is huge with seventh graders, who love lists), WCTA and all those strategies.

    I’m sure some of the middle school experts will add to this discussion below.

    When you say you will be teaching three levels, I say, and was just talking on the phone to John Piazza about this a few days ago, that you may want to be very cautious about teaching kids beyond any beginning level one students using CI. Kids who are used to one way of doing it tend to freak when asked to do CI. Just sayin’.

    By the way, today John interviews for a Latin job in the Bay Area. Send wonderful thoughts to him. I can’t wait to hear about this opportunity for him.

  2. I have an exploratory 4th grade and 4 levels (grades 5-8).

    Exploratory: I aim for highest-power verbs along with fun words (like hamburger, pizza, ANY cognates in Chinese), some numbers, polite phrases, and some culture stuff about Chinese New Year. It’s not all totally CI, but exploratory is by design kind of show. It MUST be fun in my case, and I have heavily game-oriented colleagues so I have to gamify as much as possible. I also have acting and Special Chair scenes.

    Grades 5-8 I just teach normal CI stuff modified to their pace, interests, and beginner-level abilities. It took a while to adapt some of the great high school-based ideas for them. I do not have Blaine Ray-type storyasking in my classes, but lots of modifications of that concept. Shorter & more concrete is key.

  3. Dude! you’re stoked. ditch all texts and plans. freeewheeling’ CI it is. I’d go short and concrete with younger kids. I like stories w/ younger kids cos the stories “package” CI into meaningful units– a big deal for these kids. ahhh freedom, no grammar teacher to hand your CI kids off to 😉

  4. Andrew, I have some suggestions as I found myself in a similar situation 6 years ago and am still here. I learned some things that might help you out. I currently teach 3 levels of Spanish and a rotating exploratory elem program. If I don’t follow up, you can email me at trippatmail2jimdotcom.

  5. I have been in this situation for years, and recently discovered this site. I’ve been slowly attempting some methods described on this site, but I’m a little lost. The students mostly seem to react well to me using almost no spoken English. It is nice to not have to worry about a different language teacher, but (until now) was horrible because I have no one with whom to brainstorm. I was recently asked to go into MS and am slightly intimidated, but not a quitter. I haven’t made any investments into training yet, but I am planning on it soon. Anyone know of any workshops for anything in this PLC or relating to TPRS near Chicagoland?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Steve! There is a group of awesome teachers from the Chicagoland area who meet quarterly or so, hosted at a different school each time. I don’t live there anymore, but could put you in contact with those who do if you like. Some of those teachers are part of this PLC too. My email is questyn @ hotmail.com Or — perhaps one of them will see your comment here and give you more information directly.

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