Laura Post #2 – Circling at the Higher Levels

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.

Share:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

8 thoughts on “Laura Post #2 – Circling at the Higher Levels”

  1. The circling at higher levels idea must be in the air. I just got done writing about circling a story with the present subjunctive for Spanish 3. I will send it to you, Ben and maybe you can put it up in bite-sized chunks.
    Laura, in the meantime and if you need it NOW, I can send the whole article to you if you email me at hedstroms@aol.com
    OK?

  2. Hello and thank you all for your comments on my concerns.
    I am a native Spanish speaker. I speak, read and write the language all the time outside of school. I also reflect a lot on what I am saying in Spanish and how. Constantly I notice how much I am using those “higher structures” in order to communicate with whomever on whatever subject. So I feel they are absolutely necessary to work on in the classroom. It is very hard for me to get more of such repetitions in a natural way. Those kids are so good, so fast that I soon start to get self-conscious, or bored that I am boring them and move on when I know they would probably need more exposure. I find it much, much harder to “park” with new ideas and possibilities.
    I also think that in the evolution of tprs there is much more information, help, know-how for the lower levels.
    Thank you Bryce, Laurie and Michele for sharing what you do with the more advanced.
    Laura

  3. Laura, I totally agree with you that the how to and idea bank is really solid for the lower levels. I would love to see more discussion on the upper levels. This is a great discussion – both of your posts. And Ben, maybe the French teachers could chime in on the French structures. Story burnout is an issue, but I remember Bryce talking about the expenses typical of senior year: prom, etc. Meeting them in their world of stress, college app process, cheating, dating, senior trip may be the place to engage. Adding in current events,etc. I am still all over the place with my upper levels.

  4. About the circling. Michele Whaley told me when she encounters a difficult structure when she herself is reading, she circles the structure. I tried it, and it works, so the circling – the total dog with a bone staying with it – helps. I think they need it.

  5. Chill is right. I have taught my avid readers to do circling on their own.
    As far as structures in advanced groups, I may be repeating too often that I have mixed groups. But basically I follow Susie’s dictum to teach vocabulary to the lowest level in the room, and grammar to the top level. If I have high level kids, I take a phrase like “If there had been a lion here… ” and I use it as often as I can for a long time.
    So, for example, today we were talking about what we are and are not scared to do. (I have a song and it’s leading to a story.) That’s a complex construction in Russian (requiring as it does a reflexive verb and either an infinitive or a noun phrase in genitive case), but as a vocabulary it’s easy. We discussed for a while, and then I asked whether anyone was afraid of lions. An advanced kid said that she doesn’t need to be afraid of lions, because there aren’t any here. So I asked whether she would be afraid if there were lions. I just added the subjunctive bits to the phrases already on the board, and asked how they changed what we’d been talking about, and we went on. Later, we all realized that we were formerly afraid of the kid who has always eaten small children’s heads (old story). I asked “Would you be afraid to be his brother?” It uses the same subjunctive markers, and I gestured to the markers on the board, asked an intermediate to translate, and then we continued the discussion.
    It’s really only possible to do with one structure at a time, but it’s amazing that it is even possible for me. In the old days, I never would have tried to use these structures, much less with level 2 in the room. But now I bring them up over and over again.
    The big problem with advanced structures is that you can’t possible repeat them as frequently as you might repeat something like “the book,” or “the small unhappy house,” or “runs fast.” They are more like an anchor of a discussion, or part of the thesis for a whole discussion.
    When C– (help! who is it! Scott’s teaching partner! Brain freeze!) — told me three years ago that in her advanced classes, she might get to only one structure a week, I couldn’t understand why that might be. Now I find that I am trying to stick to one advanced structure, and then I am filling in a lot of the basic 100/200-word vocabulary list on a regular basis.
    I’m obviously brain dead after my first day, so this might not explain very well. Apologies in advance.

  6. “Michele Whaley told me when she encounters a difficult structure when she herself is reading, she circles the structure”
    The first time I read this, I thought “Of course. She marks up her book and then knows what structures to come back to. Klar!” However, with the realization that “circling” is in the context of parking on something rather than applying ink to paper, I don’t quite get the meaning. So when you’re pre-reading a text you stop and figure out all the possible variations and substitutions for it? Do you read through on a reading day and then derail the reading to enter a parallel reality (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
    So what does it mean that ” I have taught my avid readers to do circling on their own.” They start picking out absurd permutations of reality during FVR? I like the idea of building up towards a literacy skill, but not quite sure what it means at this point.
    Sorry to submit the query when you’re brain-dead Michele, but I’m not quite getting it. Feel free to answer later on after more gray cells come on line.

  7. Simpler than that, but it’s for me, rather than for the kids. When I hit something that I don’t quite understand, or understand and wouldn’t be able to reproduce, I circle it with myself, meaning I ask myself questions about it in my head or out loud, making sure that I am getting all the yes/no, either/or, what/who/when/why/where questions. By the time I’m done, I can usually look away from the book and reproduce the phrase.
    I took a little time last semester and taught the technique to my avid readers, who practiced it with the group listening when they hit a phrase they needed to work with more. They thought it felt silly, but they said it gave them one reading strategy for becoming stronger readers.
    It doesn’t help with “flow,” obviously, but if you’re frustrated by not being able to use a structure, it helps.
    I’ve had dinner now, so maybe I’m more clear!! If not, let me know.

  8. Got it. It’s just a practice like repeating a certain run of keys on the piano, or singing a couple of measures over and over again for choir. Using a language, though, you need not just repetition but engaged meaning making during the repetition, so that’s a good strategy. Thanks so much!

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

$10

~PER MONTH

Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben