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11 thoughts on “Maine”

  1. Hi Ben,
    Thank you so much for coming to Maine. I think that this year went even better than last year. You were more organized, or something. The PQA session for Don’t Drink the Water was inspirational–I have never done that much with PQA. It was truly masterful and gave me an ideal to aim for. The story itself went well too.
    I heard a lot of people saying that it helped them to see their peers working. It’s as helpful to watch someone who is making some mistakes as it is to see someone like you who makes it look effortless. It helps me a lot more to watch someone else than to teach and be coached myself. I’m too focused on what I’m doing to take in any feedback.
    I think it was the right combination of modeling and instruction on your part, and participation on the part of other people. Your instruction was firmly rooted in Krashen’s teaching, which gave it consistency and authority.
    What makes your presentation different from most of the others I’ve been to is the sense of collegiality that you emanate. You don’t come across as an expert but rather a brother-in-arms. Your humility makes it easy for us to identify with you and gives us permission to be less than perfect. At the same time, it is clear to everyone in the room that there is a reason we have you come all the way out here from Denver–you are a veritable treasure trove of experience, wisdom, and encouragement. A gifted teacher and a loving colleague.
    We are very fortunate to have had you here. Thank you.

  2. Hey Ben,
    I was thinking how it must be greatly satisfying to know that because of you (your expertise, encouragement, coaching, amazing insight and knowledge) many teachers will enter the classroom more effective than they were on Wednesday the 6th.
    I spent some time at school today (Saturday) putting blue tape on my board and moving my question words down on the board near the tape. I spent some time on Sunday looking over my story structures and thought of questions I could ask and directions I might go with the PQA.
    I feel like for the first time I finally have a good idea of PQA and what it is supposed to look like. Watching you do it and then watching Anne really crystallized it for me.
    I took a LOT away from those two days. I had lots of very grateful people come up to me after and tell me how much it meant to them to have this training. The peer coaching model is SO POWERFUL. It is so helpful to watch other teachers deliver Ci. I know that what I learned Thursday and Friday will be of great help to my students. It will make language even more accessible to them.
    So, thank you amigo! I really do appreciate all you have done for us here in Maine.

  3. Thank you, Skip, for organizing this! What a treat to see Ben in action, watch Italian being danced, meet the Insolant Emperor, as well as the mastermind behind all those great story scripts (Anne!)…It was a sweet couple of days– definitely worth the “lange fahrt” from Vermont! Hope it can happen again next year.

  4. I told Ben in an e-mail that those two days spent with him are going to keep me in teaching. I’ve wanted to join the TPRS band for years but never knew really how/where to start. Well, I did it. When students came in on Tuesday, the textbooks were gone, there were new rules up, new posters, and a teacher with a renewed sense of hope that I can do a good job and actually teach Spanish instead of teaching about it. Each of my classes so far has roles assigned, we’ve learned/gestured a handful of verbs, and have done a card activity based upon one of the students’s drawings about themselves. It was wonderful and the kids were really excited about the changes. I left the day hoarse, exhausted, and fulfilled. We even held a short funeral service for the textbook in one class!
    Thanks, Ben, for giving me something good to lose sleep over (creating stories between 2:00-4:00 instead of worrying about how to grab those kids with numbers 1-30). Thanks to all who were there for being fellow learners with me even though many of you were experts. I feel like I’m part of something really big!
    Blessings to all,
    Dave Knightly

  5. Dave you are more than welcome. The Kool-Aid is not too bad, huh? Once you start slugging it down. And don’t worry about the waking up at night. It’ll stop happening in less than ten years from now, I promise. But it’s a good waking up, right? Like, “I can do this!”, kind of feeling. I never felt resentful about waking up at night thinking crashingly about what we have here from Krashen and Blaine and Susie and Jason. On the contrary, for the first time in my teaching career, I felt alive after meeting Susie. That’s worth losing a few hours of sleep over, n’est-ce pas?

  6. Thank you, thank you for posting this. But it just makes me so so sad that I couldn’t come this year. Last year was so helpful for me, and to think that this year was even better…Sniff.
    The passion and love comes through in your post, Ben.

  7. Those Maine/NH/Vermont homeboys are so direct and honest and it seems like they are fearless. But yes we sure did miss you, Kit. I am writing up a storm here this week to make sure that I can convey at least some of the energy that that workshop released. It is hard to put it all into words but if that’s what we got, we’ll use it. Have a great year and keep swinging your Krashen Slugger.

  8. Wow! Two days into this and what did one of my Spanish I classes want to do with the two stories/pictures generated? Write a kid’s book! That came from them! So we’re going to compile them for the daycare program next door! Somehow I gotta wonder if I had told them they had to do that for a grade they might have whined at the idea…

  9. I was trying to think of how to circle “había” (There was) and I thought about doing a memory activity with a picture. Put a picture of something up for a few minutes, ask students to look at it, then take it away. Say a series of statements about the picture (There was a girl with a white shirt, There was a beach) and have students write “yes” or “no”. Repeats “había” , reviews a ton of descriptive words and nouns, and can be a competition of sorts for the highest # of correct answers. Any ideas ay or nay?

  10. Sometimes I just circle with other verbs… habia una camisa o comia una camisa (there was a shirt or a shirt was eating)… habia una playa o jugaba una playa (there was a beach or the beach was playing)…

  11. One unfamilar with the notion of the bizarre in TPRS might wonder about such strange images as an eating shirt or a playing beach. We do that because the bizarre or the exagerrated or the unexpected lend themselves to “catching” the interest of the mind. That is why we do that. When everything is expected, when it’s all kind of robotic, the kids tend to fade out. It’s got to be weird and it’s got to be about them and it’s got to be slow and comprehensible.

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