OWI Video from James

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10 thoughts on “OWI Video from James”

  1. James thank you for this video. I could see that you were reading from prepared notes. That made it clear for us. I must do the same. These short videos that we are starting to create must be clear. (My camera problem is solved and I should have that video on CWB for new people at some point soon – sorry about the delay.)

    Not only was your presentation clear, James, the activity itself is clear and simple. You were trying to teach if clauses in the imperfect with the result clause being in the conditional. So you gave them the textivated word scramble which forced the kids to think through the grammar and structure their sentences properly (at the bottom of the page) and then you had them draw the image which put it into deeper mind.

    We must note, however, that you did a lot of sound input on the grammatical structure you were trying to teach first. So this video shows a kind of guided writing output activity set up by lots of comprehensible input to teach the if clause structure to the deeper mind first, again via sound.

    There is a lot of grammar in this activity – laser pointed grammar – but it came from a sound bank in the deeper mind and the conscious organizing mind had no role in the lesson, which is as it should be in language classes.

    Of course this applies to Rita’s experience with that kid. Do we listen to the kid or teach grammar in the way James describes in his video? It’s an important point. The thing about teaching grammar in the old way is that it is proven not to work. I will say that again – it just plain doesn’t bring any gains in grammar.

    I had that point brought home to me in a very dramatic way four years ago.
    My fourth year class at East High School which had done nothing but fill out worksheets and write way before they were ready (they had no auditory grammar well to draw from – nothing but grammar activities for three years in a row) astounded me in that they really had very little idea of how French is structured. They were just confused.

    That experience really opened up my eyes to the dangers of using English to talk about object pronouns and verb forms and such to learn a language before they are ready. And these were college bound privileged kids taking all sorts of AP classes – the supposedly best of the best.

    The problem was that they had never heard the language in the auditory way. So how could they learn grammar? It had never been presented to them correctly because grammar is properly spoken language – it exists in three not two dimensions and the student must hear it three dimensionally before studying it in two dimensions on paper.

    Using textivate and requiring the kids to provide an image teaches grammar in the real way. James first created meaning in their minds via comprehensible input using OWI and only after doing that did he ask them to write. He provided lots of input before asking them for a limited amount of output.

    That is how we should teach grammar, by speaking to our students correctly first and then, in little doses as they get more comprehensible input in the form of listening and reading having them arrange things on paper as James shows us in his video.

    I want to be clear – the teachers that your student told you about at the next level, Rita, those teachers who made the student think she had not been prepared, are charlatans and should not be in our profession. They sell snake oil and say it is good for the kids and the kids believe them.

    These imposters (bless their hearts because they think that what they sell is a real product) won’t be around in the future. My experience at EHS really brought that point home to me. We must learn to teach grammar using sound input first – that is the paradigm shift and it is real and it is here and it is time for it.

    Then, as the students continue to read more and more – reading at least 50% of the time in class for all four years* – all the little details about agreement of participles and subjunctive forms will be naturally straightened out over time.

    *so relax if you think you have to tell stories and speak to your students in L2 all the time. You don’t and we don’t do that in TPRS/CI. Our kids in Denver Public Schools read at least half of all available instructional time in class. The real gains come from reading.

    1. Ben, what you said about drawing pictures being a chance for the structures to get into the deeper minds of the students is very important, I think. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but drawing does seem to provide the students with a good opportunity to get that “kathunk” of true understanding. Drawing as a provider of the “kathunk” might be worth more attention.

      1. Kudos, James. Thank you for your concise and clear explanation of what you do. I am glad you showed the students’ drawings and pointed out the importance of requiring them to illustrate “exactly” what is in the sentence–word for word almost. It’s not about the art; it’s about the thinking and the meaning. It goes IN deep from my experience with students.

        This was a great video, James! You showed how simple, but deep, these activities are. They’re doable in a classroom. Thanks for making that so clear to teachers–really a gift!

    2. “The real gains come from reading.”

      This is probably answered somewhere …. When should we start our students reading and what? I made up a story from information I had gotten from the Story Writer and it I did Reading Option A. It went well but what are some other things I have my students read? Children’s books? Should I go ahead and start them on a novel?

      1. I am doing CWB now with my first year students and I have started having them read short short written versions of all the info about each person we discuss. So the readings are only a few sentences long, but they can at least read them perfectly because they have the auditory foundation. I’ll probably keep having them do this, reading the written versions of stuff we talk about in class, for as long as possible. Eventually of course those readings will be longer and more in story form (after we start with stories), but for now I’m fine having them read just a few sentences based on CWB or OWI. I figure reading short, highly personalized stuff now will help us transition to the longer readings later.

        1. Ok, so what you’re saying is SLOOOOOOOW. I’m so impatient. Ok, I’ll keep doing like James and just make super easy short stories/sentences ONLY from the CWB activities. I’m also going to try the OWI like you showed too, James! Thank you again for sharing that!

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