One Story Per Day?

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12 thoughts on “One Story Per Day?”

  1. The first obvious talking point about this idea is to inquire if one class period is enough for acquisition. I think it is. But the script would have to be simple and the discipline on our parts would have to be huge in terms of SLOW, Staying in Bounds and Checking for Understanding.

    1. “What if we did one such simpler story a day? ”

      I like this. I’m in. Tomorrow I get observed and we were just finishing up a story. I am teaching the kids right now the vocab for ¡Eso sí que es! a Bryce Hedstrom story and because they are SP 1 there is much that I need to teach them. I think that I am going to ramp it up tomorrow with the beginning of teaching 3 words a day. I think you are on to something Ben et al, if we keep it simple it can work. But we cannot give them these words for a day and not come back to them in the future like Ven Conmigo and other shitty text books. I think it is important to have an accumulative über story like ¡Eso sí que es! in the end of many days of simpler stories to put the proverbial cherry on top of the proverbial acquisition sundae.

      I am nervous as hell to get observed by the same DB that told me he had been to many language trainings and I basically was not teaching the language right. AHHHHH.
      I have this planned: PQA possibly into a simple story script as suggested above; quick quiz; break into a revamped kindergarten day; some TPR for getting those pesky prepositions in; and finish it of with 10 minutes of movietalk. We shall see if I get that far. Better to over plan.
      My problem with movie talk is that I wanted to do it today but I could not get the technology to work in my classroom that is located in the “best” school in the state (what a flippin joke). So if I do do it it will be only my second time doing it. I am FEARLESS. I am going to take Robert’s awesome advice and “act as if” I know what in the heck I am doing.

  2. Tangentially related, on Monday my structure counter said I had used one of the structures 73 times during the period, but some students said they still needed the support of the words on the board. I think 73 was an all-time high for me.

    We were working with Anne Matava’s “Table Manners 1”, and dad was annoyed because daughter was talking to Mitt Romney during the meal. In German, she was talking “mit Mitt”. One of the girls in class started giggling, so of course I started finding more reasons to repeat “mit Mitt” until she was nearly falling out of her chair, and the rest of the class was enjoying either the language or watching her.

    Also, I have discovered something. Have you ever worked with the idea of acting “as if”? A counselor I know told me that he often uses this during marital counseling. When a husband says that he no longer loves his wife and is thinking of divorce, the counselor will often ask him to practice “as if”. The husband is to think about what he would do if he still loved his wife (e.g. buy flowers, give compliments, etc.) and then act “as if” he loved her. Far more often than not the husband who follows through will report back that he has once again fallen in love with his wife.

    Well, this re-alignment of emotions works in other areas as well. I have for some time made a point of thanking my students for slowing me down and letting me know when they don’t understand. When I first started doing this, it was an act; I often wasn’t really thankful, but I acted “as if”. Guess what? I have discovered that I now genuinely am thankful when my students signal or otherwise slow me down. It really does make me a better teacher, and I don’t have to remind myself to thank them – it just comes naturally.

  3. I am going to try the story in one class. I have such trouble doing a whole class on PQA. I am simply not very good at it. The story part and questioning during the story feels so much more natural to me. Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. I support anyone trying to do this, but I know it would not work for me. First off, I can’t do stories everyday. It gets old for me, and my students will surely let me know they are getting sick of stories day in and day out. If I do one story per week, I can get 6.5 hours of CI (optimally) from that content, or at least CI revolving around the target structures, including a song or a read-aloud or a short film or something else that relates to the story’s target language. Plus, we can always embed new vocab and use other structures during the reading or other discussion re the story. And for someone who hears every once in a while that we don’t “review” enough, I think jumping from story to story every day would make that perceived issue worse. That’s just my take on it. I can’t even imagine trying it with 5o or 60 minute classes, let alone my block schedule.

  5. Jim I was just thinking out loud there and didn’t mean to suggest that we do one story per day for an entire week. That really is too much. The thinking and open ended discussion I wanted to spur here was about the idea of fitting more stories into less time, really. I have a tendency to be exhaustive with PQA and stories. I figured I needed to do PQA for an entire period bc the research says that we need the reps. My thinking was that if we need all that repetition then I’ll just PQA them for longer and why not drag out the story for at least a few days as well? But that can result in lost time. So I am rethinking our use of time during the week. But no, I didn’t mean to infer one story per day all week long.

    1. So you’re saying Ben that instead of doing one story per week, do two, or three. I think I’d still much prefer working with just one story, and if the feeling is that they aren’t getting enough exposure to different and new structures, like I said before, we can embed new stuff.

      But really, I shouldn’t even be allowed to participate in any discussion of schedule. I’m horrible at keeping a schedule. I just try to keep whatever input that I happen to pull out of my book/computer/a#* compelling and at i+1. (I’m a lone wolf in my district, so I have much freedom and little oversight… allows me to more easily go where the interest is.)

  6. I’ve been figuring out that fewer stories work better too. Besides jobs (one of my wiggly kids auditioned for “Where to” and won), the best thing in my beginning class right now is my popsicle stick rotation device. I can’t do the folder thing for some reason, but I take popsible sticks with names on them out of the rubber-banded group and use about two a day when I remember to ask questions of those kids, or to give them acting jobs. The really shy kids like it a lot, because they don’t have to volunteer. And when I pull the name of someone who has been in a story recently for some other reason, they all object loudly. It’s got to be fair! The popsicle sticks are in a big messy pile on my computer table, but when one of the rubber-banded sets is all empty, I gather up the color-coded class and start over.

    Sometimes we don’t get into a story at all with these popsicle stick things, because the stories just don’t get anywhere for some reason. But sometimes they develop, and the kids love them. Right now I have kids traveling all over the country and world. I don’t know whether the disjointed pieces will ever work into a story. But they might…

  7. Similar to the idea of extended/embedded readings, I was thinking of another type of weekly schedule that *might* work for some, depending on the class dynamic.
    Monday-PQA structures
    Tuesday – story
    Wednesday – Reading
    Thursday – Story “sequel” or “prequel” – a slight continuation of the story with a couple of new structures. An extended, or embedded, story. Heck, instead of a sequel or prequel, you could even do a Tim Burton ‘remake’ and do the story again, maybe with one new structure, and have it be weird as hell, Tim Burton style.
    Friday – reading of the extended story

    I have not tried this, but I’d possibly like to. It’s just an idea that came to mind.

  8. Ben, this is funny that you should post this. I did exactly this yesterday with one of my classes. We are starting the family unit – so I PQA’d some words/structures, then had them close their eyes (I told them I was going to tell them a short story – they were to close their eyes, but NOT fall asleep 🙂 and then I was going to have them write down for me what happened in the story)
    They did write it down. It was so telling — my superstars had every single detail, and my slow processors had the bare minimum, and some of it wrong at that.
    This works! Every little way we do it — it works!!! But they LOVE the stories!! (I have more to add on that – but I’ll do this weekend.)

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