Keep On Truckin’

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11 thoughts on “Keep On Truckin’”

  1. I have been using WAY too much english in my classes. I want to cry. boo hoo. my class today was a bomb. Maybe more planning is needed? I am not really doing the best job with that. I am trying to use Carol’s TPR book that goes with my Ven Conmigo, but it is not really that good. She didn’t have a lot to work with. I need to just give up on teaching them the abundance of unnecessary vocabulary in each chapter and just teach them the grammar concepts through what I know. I pledge that for Lent I will give up English and give in to planning, even over planning for my classes so that my students can blow everyone out of the water with their language prowess.

  2. Karen, I recommend to you Ben’s weekly schedule. His new stretched out sequence is masterful. Are you seriously anchored to the book? I always tell people that what I am teaching is in our textbook somewhere. Simplicity, slowing down, and following Ben’s routine has really given my teaching a logical progression that the kids seem to respond to. I just finished a longer sequence “weekly” plan. I did some meta-cognitive talk with the kids this morning and they are happy. Me too! Going slowly and deliberately will help you stay in the TL. Good luck.
    Carol Hill

    1. Thanks Chill. I am going to go for it. No more textbook. It is driving me mad and I find there is too much time not in Spanish. I think I need to follow the plan for my own self worth. Thank you for reminding me about it.

      1. Hi, Karen! Have you ever checked out Martina Bex’s Spanish website? I recently tried one of her ideas at the end of my expanded sequence a la Ben. She has a template posted that goes something like this.
        In Spanish on her handout she has the sentence “The cow jumps over the moon.” The kids have to write the English translation. She then walks them through basically a conjugation but she asks her questions a la contrastive grammar. If salta means the cow jumps over the moon, how would you write “I jump over the moon.?” What changes? It seemed the least egregious way to present a verb paradigm. If you have to use the workbook, maybe you could isolate one of “those” kinds of exercises to throw the kids a bone and work it as a contrastive grammar ex. – what makes the meaning change? I tried a page like Martina’s and what it did was take the kids processing into a totally different place. I am sure the analytical types loved it, but is it effective? Doubt it. It took us about ten minutes and I told them if they heard their friends talking about conjugating that that is what we just did. I think they got the message. They know what I am talking about – the verb paradigms are up on the wall. I laser them all the time.The difference between acquisition and learning – that which is light versus that which is heavy (HT Susie G?) – was very obvious.
        I am reminded of something else. When I was watching Jason F doing PQA at ACTFL. He had three forms of the verb pouvoir (can, to be able) on the board. The three forms were je peux, tu peux, il/elle peut. The -x, -x, and -t endings were in different colors and – no joke- the endings were written five times larger than the peu part. So simple but so clever – no need to discuss, just point and pause a few times during PQA. About the workbook. I finally told my kids not to buy it anymore. Hope you have that option.

  3. Karen I am so glad chill advised you on this. The two things really can’t mix. Not an easy thing to accept, but I am convinced it is true. I think it has something to do with the book handcuffing us into certain vocabulary/topics when in fact language is fluidic.

    1. I think that I was just using the book to appease some of the students that like the workbook (and the parents that paid for it) and feel like they need the text to learn. However, I do not know how to teach with the book and so I think that the students are learning even less that if they were with another book using teacher. It is just so difficult when all of the other teachers at my school use the stupid book. Like I said before, I should be good if I teach the concepts and not worry about the vocabulary.

      1. I absolutely relate, right down to the fact that Ven Conmigo is what my department uses. I’m not sure I have any advice. I don’t feel qualified enough to give it at the moment. Things feel like they’re falling apart on me again. Just know that we’re in this thing together, no matter how far apart we may be….

      2. Susan Gross has said many times that we shelter vocabulary but do not shelter grammar. I interpret that to mean that the kids need to hear lots of correctly spoken speech and read lot of correctly written language (i.e. grammar) for them to learn.

        They do NOT need lists of words and they do not need the teacher teaching them vocabulary. Nor do they need to be taught the phantom forms of two dimensional, ghostlike, grammar in the form of rules and such. They just don’t. They need to continually hear and read the actual grammar of the language as much as possible. The staggeringly competent computer that is the human brain will do the rest.

  4. I have been constantly worried that I am not getting enough language into their heads. What I have found with TPRS is that I am concentrating far more on what they can do, instead of what they cannot. It is a much more positive way of looking at my students and myself as an instructor. I do, however, need to be reminded of this on a very regular basis!

    1. Charlotte, after starting to use TPRS in the classroom and being part of this community, I finally knew the feeling of being a reflective and effective teacher. Teaching with comprehensible input has lead me to find my professional voice. The difference between traditional methods and CI methods is just like difference between learning and acquisition: textbook is heavy; CI is light! Love your comment.

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