Plans for November/December

This is a note to myself re: planning through to Xmas break and I post it here for anyone else who might like me be getting wigged out by too many things to do in the vast universe of CI strategies at our disposal:
I will continue with stories, which is all I have done since August, with great response from my classes and great reading gains because of ROA.
But I am going to also introduce:

  1. a new novel, but only for twenty minutes a day (85 min. block.). And I will use Compact R and D instead of the snow plow reading technique with those novels. I also love what Laurie said here recently about not feeling like we have to finish novels and offering them to those kids who want as part of FVR. What a great idea!
  1. I’m going to do some MT, but since I don’t feel that confident with MT (nor do I feel confident that MT, unless seriously reined in, is that effective – the last thing we want to do is go out of bounds on our kids), I will first make a reading of the selected video clip. We will read the story that I write first, and the kids won’t know it is leading to an MT video clip until we then talk about the clip. As I said above, I don’t like to show content that has not been prepared first, that is not 100% comprehensible to the kids, and perhaps writing up the MT clip first and reading it before showing the clip will help. (I will make the reading below their level, as all reading should be in my opinion. If this idea works we have a new warehouse to build as with vPQA PPTs. It will be a warehouse of readings in various languages of MT clips, for those like me who would like to read the MT content before showing the clip and digging into it with our big circling scythes.)
  1. Of course with five “interview” strategies – houses and pets added in by Angie and Robert lately – how can I not explore those? But time is a factor, there never is enough of it in a CI class.
  1. vPQA. I love vPQA. I don’t do nearly enough vPQA. I want to do more. We have a basic set of PPTs right now even though the idea of vPQA is not getting a lot of attention right now. I believe.

We’ll see what happens as we move up to Xmas. After that, I suppose many of us will do much less stories, since the kids naturally tire of them in about February, and more reading. Spring is the time for reading activities*. Of course, they don’t have to be chapter books. We can read anything we create in class. That’s why our story writers are so valuable to us.
(On that point about not forcing too many stories on kids over the course of an academic year, letting up on them as the months go by, I remember that Annick Chen actually didn’t let her second year students do stories at all, all year. Then, when they came back to her in third year Mandarin, she was able to rip the stories all year. I thought that was pretty clever.)
*Spring is also the time for the summer conferences and for seeing each other again. We’re all summer campers and we will have all grown another foot into CI adulthood and maturity. Can anyone say Agen 2016?



5 thoughts on “Plans for November/December”

  1. Ben,
    I hear you about being cautious when using MovieTalks. I often worry about quality control when it comes to MTs. In fact, the presentations I did at NTPRS and iFLT were based on some of your concerns and feedback about using MTs.
    In my basic opinion, MTs are another way to engage students in story. Establishing meaning, Ask a story, and Read and Discuss strategies are still main components of MTs. Recently, Blaine posted a video of doing a MovieTalk activity. What is interesting about his take on it is that he loves using student actors while engaging students in the video. He bounces from character to character and inserts himself into the story as well. It is an interesting take in how I use MTs…I typically will create PQA opportunities but not the student actor part…
    I am going to email you the version of the story Blaine is doing in French. Maybe you will see some potential for using it. Also here is the link to Blaine doing the story in French.

    1. Thanks Mike for sharing this!
      Blaine does an MT exactly like he would a story! haha. The video characters are student actors, he adds parallel characters, and makes himself a parallel character. In this example he does a lot of storytelling. With this format it’s also very easy to storyask extra details from the character actors and totally customize the parallel story.
      I’m doing it this way now with my 7th and 8th graders and working beautifully. This is really TPRS with a visual – video TPRS. Another way to do it. In the past I’ve treated the video like a guided reading – trying to tell and enjoy the story and mixing in PQA. Both ways pile on the CI and the more ways we have to do something, the more novel (engaging).
      Personally, I don’t have student actors and ask stories every class, because then I think adaptation would set in. Although, I do think this creates the highest quality CI class.

  2. VPQA comment – I read through the VPQA thread today from August (I’ll admit I didn’t pay any attention to it in August) where Ben was understandably annoyed by the lack of response from the rest of us. I’ll make a point over the next few week to go the extra mile and make all of my VPQA stuff from Creative Commons so that I can share it without fear of problems, and post a link here to all of them. Maybe that will get more of us inspired to share our vPQA resources?
    It would be FANTASTIC to have that kind of “plug and play” bank of vPQA stuff on the Google Drive folder

  3. Thanks Tim. Such a lesson plan bank would save us TONS of hours of prep throughout the course of a year. Right now it’s Ruth, you, me and a few others. Send whatever you do to me. I’ll send them to our little group. I don’t remember what Ruth and I had decided about where to keep those PPTs, what their formats would be, etc. But Tim you teach Spanish right? We have mostly French and Spanish ones right now. It takes 15-20 min. to translate one of those.

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