New Year’s Resolutions, Anyone?

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13 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions, Anyone?”

  1. My New Year’s resolution is “to take time.”
    Now how that all plays out I am not sure. But it is broad enough for me to explore.
    Certainly with TPRS/CI it means to SLOW DOWN. Develop the word, structure, and stay focused. Not to put so much on the plate but to savor the taste of the day.
    The thought “to take time” is general enough for every aspect of my life. So that’s mine.

  2. For me, it’s all about organization. I need to find the best way to organize my time with my students. My 4th graders (my novices) have not accomplished nearly enough, in my opinion–they are the level with which I struggle the most. I need to find story scripts that they can understand that are accessible to them. It’s already January and I feel like we’re still back in September, and I have never felt like this.
    Once I figure out how the hell to get back on track, I need to re-read Ben’s “Most Difficult List” every day, maybe even before every class. I am about to post it on my “important paper” podium, which is my central workstation.

  3. You wrote “So I no longer need a hundred wonderful ideas, because by the time I get around to implementing the new ones, I’ve forgotten the old ones which worked so well” –that resonates with me. I’m too enamored of novelty and novelty wears thin quickly. Stick with a few things that work, and work at perfecting them–my motto for now.

  4. While the brain LOVES novelty, that is only if it is feeling safe and loved. So, for many students (and teachers) the structure and routines of the classroom is what provides safety and acceptance (love). The novelty comes with what is new that we will discuss, using the personalization as the target for that novelty. This allows the classroom community to move forward with all understanding the expectations and each participating at their level of safety (some will give output others will continue to absorb until output is the novelty their brain reaches for).

    1. Great reminder, Kate, that not all of our kids feel safe and loved and therefore can’t be blamed for not jumping out of their seats with excitement at the CI we bring them. We have no right to get upset with recalcitrant kids. We DO have a right to challenge any kid who upsets our work, as Drew said he aims to do more of this year.

  5. I wanted to be sure I was getting in those seventy repetitions, so yesterday I asked three students to keep track of the three structures He wants, he goes and he has. We spent almost the entire hour on PQA and when I asked for the tally, they had counted only around 20 repetitions of each structure. I was sure I had done more, so today I asked them to continue counting the same structures and we did a story. (This is a new group that I’m just starting to work with, eight students who are failing with their regular teacher. ) Today we spent the entire hour on the story, they were involved and played the game well, (I had been planning to bring in another activity if they ran out of steam, but it didn’t happen). When I asked for the total count for two days, they said there had been around 55 repetitions of each structure. I was sure I’d gone way over 70. Now, are the students who are keeping track missing a lot of repetitions? I guess if they’re not hearing them, it just means they need still more repetitions. Next week we’ll read the story and then they’ll get those 70 repetitions. But I was wondering if others find that students have difficulty counting all the repetitions. Or am I overestimating the number of times I’m saying the words?

  6. Think about it: If your students, who are counting, accidentally pay any attention to the content of the story (which is the whole point of doing language in stories), they are going to miss counting the structures. No one can do two things with the brain at the same time. You’re either doing one, or you’re doing the other. It would be asking a teenager’s brain to do a lot to keep track of both seamlessly and perfectly.

    If we are only asking them to keep track of reps, we are seriously shortchanging the best use of their class time in my opinion. I figure it is my job to be aware of how I’m doing my work–not theirs. Alternatives to student counting: videotape yourself and then, count them yourself, or ask a colleague to count your reps. The colleague won’t have any easier time than your kids. They will either overestimate or underestimate. And they will be bored beyond belief.

    Hope this doesn’t come off too strong. I don’t think it’s the kids’ job to do this. Others have other opinions. I figure we can always give them more reps. Tomorrow. The next day. The day after that. The kinds of structures you gave as examples: “he wants”, “he goes”, and “he has” will show up in just about every story you ever do all year long. You won’t stop using them after this story. That is the beauty of this wonderful method as compared to a textbook. You are very likely doing just fine.

    1. I differ from Jody in that I like to have my best students, who are just really good at counting, do so only in PQA. I am aware of who is counting what, and I watch them. If they miss one, I tell them. That’s just me, though.

      1. I don’t do this all the time. I have asked a colleague to count reps, but I very rarely have one on hand, so usually I go by how I feel, whether I’ve got in enough or not. It was just an experiment to see whether my “gut feeling” was anywhere near accurate. Apparently not.

  7. My new years resolution in my classroom is to minimize negativity. Too often I react to negativity in a way that creates more negativity. Easier said than done but I’m going to give it a good shot.

    1. That’s a biggie, Ray. If a person never even gets any real success with stories after years of trying, personalized comprehensible input has given all of us a model that functions as a magnet for good energy, and, as we all keep trying, we slowly turn school language classrooms into much more positive (read “human”) places.

      We can’t see the earth turn, but it turns, ever so imperceptibly, each day. That is the way iin which I view the work we are doing, slowly moving from darkness and judgement in language classrooms to laughter and light. At least, that is what has happened to me over my career.

      I used to hate going to work. Only God and/or his angels helped me through that. Now I enjoy going in to work.

      The biggest new piece that has helped the most lately? Thank you for asking! It has been the absolute simplicity of my choice of how to teach, and the total absence of physical clutter in my classroom.

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