Playing The Game

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7 thoughts on “Playing The Game”

  1. Phoebe Abrahamsen

    Hello!
    It was encouraging to hear you tell about how you mix things up. I’ve been doing that also and find it refreshing for me too. I am always striving to keep the comprehensible input as a top priority, but sometimes we all need a break with a variety. I also like how you describe playing the game. I have some unwilling participants and will give serious thought to next year and starting out with this in place. I may even utilize it this year and give it a trial run.
    As always, this blog is invaluable!
    Thanks again,
    Phoebe

  2. Phoebe,
    The most gifted and masterful TPRS teachers can get away with stories all the time, but I have never been able to pull this off–I just can’t tell it like Blaine does. I believe strongly in CI and so I mix up the delivery to maintain interest. I wanted to tell Thomas this because teachers new to TPRS often think that they are getting it wrong and give up in frustration–and students learn less. I don’t want to see that happen.
    Bryce

  3. Thanks for all the input on this it really does help! Like Bryce said it is these type of comments that keeps people new to tprs from giving up. I have emailed several teachers and I am posting the results on my blog. [tprsthoughts.wordpress.com] Check it out if you get a chance.
    Thomas

  4. We still need a list of all who have blogs so we can all link clearly to each other off our different sites. So send your site to me and we will have a master list of blogs that we can then all put up on our sites for ease of cruising around and visiting each other.

  5. I got hit over the head with this this week. I’ve been blogging about a hateful class that I have, and a very supportive administrator thought that a class meeting would be helpful. It was pretty helpful, but some of the kids asked for homework, note-taking, and more verb-conjugation songs and chants. It really hit me in a bad way because they were asking me to go back to the old way. Most of the complainers did not have me last year and they are missing the “structure” of the old way. They want to know how things are spelled and they want to work on the clothing vocabulary for a week at a time. I’d rather PQA the vocab with props and then start talking about what characters are wearing in the stories. Talk about a crushing blow to my confidence!

  6. Hey Bess, when a class does stuff like this, it is extremely hurtful. I have been there! My suggestion is to be true to what you know is best while throwing some sops to what they want/need/seem hell bent to change. Give them homework choice–there are lists and examples on the moretprs yahoo list, I know (Carla Selters). Make it due every week or 2 weeks. Count it for as little or as much as you want. Give them vocab lists to study and work with as part of the homework. Give them verb charts to put in their notebooks and post them in the classroom. Do a verb chant or song a couple of times a week–they don’t take long and don’t cause too much harm. Write stuff on the board for them to see the spelling. Do dictations with them (Ben’s explanation of how to do it is in his resources). They self-correct and I grade them on if the correct all the errors. When you do PQA and stories, give them a few minutes to take notes on what was said. I think that covers everything they wanted, doesn’t it? and it still leaves you to do what is right. Best of luck, Chris

  7. Bess, what is best for you in this situation? Is it best for you to speak your truth in the face of the truth that these students have embraced? Should you take the offensive and try to back them down and overpower them with your ideas? I wouldn’t. It makes me think of a soldier running into machine gun fire because he thinks it might help. It won’t help.
    Those kids, their parents (their teacher last year? the administration?) do not approve of your work and have made that fact clear. But that doesn’t make them right. From where I sit, it makes them uninformed, and that is being charitable.
    But retreat right now. Retreat for the time being. Take out the book. Be boring. Just do it. You’ll still get the same salary. Maybe start looking around for other positions, if there are a lot of these kids in your program in this school. Work on your narrative skills. Breathe.
    With the group of commandos that we are, these things are bound to happen. Just give those kids what they want, like Chris says. But I would say to do it with the entire class. That is what Jennifer is doing right now over there in Maryland after enjoying TPRS here in Colorado. It was the best thing for her to do in the light of the circumstances she found herself in this year. She knows that it is only a temporary setback to her overall career vision.
    There IS a thirst for what you offer – you are just not around enough people who are thirsty. You are around hungry people. They want the dogfood of the book, so give them the book. They can then eat their food twice and feel good about it, as dogs do. Or is that cats?
    Know that your work is good even if they don’t approve of you. It is about your intent, after all, isn’t it? Don’t give up your overall vision – never give up on your heart’s vision – just give up in this particular case and teach in the cognitive way. It won’t work, but do it anyway. For now. Then watch the other kids in that class take over after about a week. Do you see? This is a very temporary problem – a minor speedbump.
    We ourselves are contaminated, so to speak. It is very painful, very boring for us, to go back to the shabbiness of that old way of teaching. We can never be contented with it again. It is just so small and so ineffective. But do it for now. For a week minimum. See what happens in your class. You know what will happen.
    Why let any of this ruin your weekend? Why not just accept what is going on, throw the dogs their dogfood next week, and think about all the great narrative classes waiting for you in the future, when these sadly misinformed students are gone, and when you have had time to fully hone your vision – you are just starting out!
    I’ve been doing this for years, and I am still scared, and often the stories we do are mediocre, and some of the kids get that look on their face that they want to be taught differently, and I doubt myself. But I don’t doubt the method. None of that noise will cause me to lose my heart’s vision!
    Now, forget about teaching for the weekend, and go in fresh to all of your classes with a good story on Monday, write it up the next day in perhaps embedded form as per Laurie, do some Read and Discuss, hang out with the kids in L2, quit trying to be perfect at it, and, when the class with the dogs comes in, give them a big smile, tell them that you have thought about what they said, tell them to open up the book to a page, and then do that in that class ALL WEEK at least.

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