This is a situation where I feel the group’s combined experience is needed to provide a good answer to Kara’s question:
I have 10 Middle School classes (divided into 3 preps; Beg, Int and Advanced) and trying to do OWI at this time feels too much. I would say that out of those 10 classes, 8 are with me – they don’t miss the “traditional, textbook classroom.”
1. So, do I get Anne Matava’s book and work with that so I’m not feeling like I’m always creating something new, and also to somewhat keep them “together?” Also so I can “prove” to my colleagues that they are learning structures? (Since she lists the structures.)
There is just so much to read on the blog and I’m feeling like I can’t learn everything I need to know fast enough cause at the end of the day, I’m exhausted from talking so much.
2. Should I just celebrate that I’m speaking in French more in class than I have in years?
3. When do I know it’s time to introduce reading with SSR? I think my Admin is on board with getting me some readers (from A-Z readers as mentioned in our workshop by a participant) but they might not be ordered for months.
I’m sort of at the point where I need to know “where do I go next?” I start every class with Date/Weather and I’ve been expanding that to past/present/future. Then I’ve been doing a story with circling, retells, and other ideas modeled in the workshop.
15 thoughts on “Question”
I think what you can do is look at some stories created with the OWI process and the descriptions of the OWI (I have the story-writer write out both the OWI DESCRIPTION and the 7 step story process). In all of my classes I have 22 stories written since the beginning of the year.
Now what I am doing for curriculum documents and for admin is that I am looking at those stories and pulling out the structures that HAPPEN TO frequently come up in those stories. I’m listing THOSE as the targets (even though this is a non-targeted process).
In my opinion OWI and the 7 Step story process is easier than the Matava scripts. I only feel confident in diving into Matava scripts now because I’ve done a bunch of OWI’s and 7 step story processes.
Are your colleagues teaching with targeted TPRS or are they teaching with legacy methods?
Ben told me that I should start SSR/FVR with my Spanish 1’s in October. IT IS WORKING OUT!
As far as FVR, I would seriously not wait for your department or school to buy you the books. Buy your own. Set aside about $300 and go to Fluency Matters and TPRS Books websites and get an assortment. You can also look at thrift stores and Ebay (search “Spanish books” lot) for the heritage speaker books.
Here is the way I figure it. It’s an investment. If I get a break for the first 10 minutes of my classes until I retire it is well worth the money that I invest into my library. ( I make sure I put “property of” stickers on the books and I TELL students that I have paid for these with my own money. They actually respect them more after I told them that)
Also if you go to another school and your currently library is owned by your current school you have to start from zero.
I’d say you need to commit to OWI, Invisibles, and the 7 step story process that goes with that and forget about the rest of the stuff (except for FVR, I’d do that as soon as you get the books).
Forget about traditional TPRS, movietalks, etc. That stuff is too draining. Go with the invisibles and OWI and then when you get a hang of that then you can SUPPLEMENT with the traditional TPRS, movietalk, novels, etc.
Once you have a ton of stories and pictures created the possibilities are endless with how you can recycle them.
I don’t know if you are aware but Tina posted a video playlist of the conferences from over the summer.
I teach elementary grades 1-4, so your Ss are right between me and most of the Ts on Ben’s blog – high school.
If this is your Ss first exposure to World Language and they are absolute newbies (how is it that some are in ‘advanced?’ – what’s the criteria? – I fear your answer!), it’s draining. We MUST acknowledge that it takes lots of mental energy to circumlocute to keep the input narrow; and physical energy to use props and inflection and gestures and facial expression to support comprehension, and to continuously talk! I’m totally sick of my own voice by the end of the day, which is a problem when my family wants to communicate when I get home!
That said, I am not sure that reading so early for the kids without a solid foundation in the TL or the sound of the words in their head is a good idea or use of your time. If you are on the hook for common curriculum and all that jazz, it might ease your life and limit the moving parts by choosing a set book like the easy ones: Brandon Brown (BB) Dice la Verdad or BB quiere un perro, – both of whose T guides are great and require no planning on your part (or the new Daniel El Detective (no guide yet). You could get months worth of spin on these – plus all the defensible word lists, standards and, as I said, ALL THAT JAZZ.
I haven’t found (yet?) that OWI & Invisibles save me physical energy, and while I am Tina & Ben’s #1 fan of the strategies with non-targeted work, I can’t promise you that your energy will be conserved while teaching. What WILL be conserved is all the frenetic hassle of too many moving parts; the drag of boring legacy activities; the anxiety of ‘what to do next’ since these plus the myriad of Reading Options and Bail Out Moves always provide safe haven. Let us know what you are on the hook for – how flexible your dept situation is, and we will help you hammer out a livable teaching plan!
While OWIs & Invisibles may not save energy, that is, in the creation of them with the class, they do allow teachers to relax when not teaching in front of students because we know what the formula is going to be tomorrow and the next day. Our prep, with the OWIs & Invisibles, becomes taking care of our bodies and living our lives outside the school mindset.
Maybe novels as SSR material aren’t accessible yet for your students. You could try Mike Peto’s idea of having students illustrate, in graphic novel fashion, previous class stories that you have already typed up. Here’s the link to Mike’s description on this and template:
I lost my voice my first year going CI. I remember being very strict about talking 90-95% of the time in Spanish. And my skills were definitely not refined. Another reason why I lost my voice was because I was eating dinner right before bed and getting acid reflux.
I highly recommend, Kara, that you give something for students to do the first 5-10 of class and the last 5-10 minutes of class where you don’t have to talk to the group. For the beginning of class, if you don’t have much SSR for them to read, how about little passages you print, copy, and they translate. For the end of class, write whatever you talked about on the board, or on the screen – no need to discuss – just write and if students are squirrelly then make the writing a CLOZE activity or have them copy. We need to be able to clear our heads before the next class comes in!
If you want books quick, know that DonorsChoose.org is having a matching funds holiday on Oct 18-19 but only for projects where teachers are requesting books. Over the past 5 years I’ve had all 4 of my DonorsChoose projects fully funded, and in a matter of days!
Oh yeah, I forgot you taught middle school. What I said about SSR for middle school may not apply. My “Spanish 1” kids actually have had *SOME* exposure to Spanish in elementary school so they are not *TRUE* beginners.
Kara, are you doing “word chunk team game” on Fridays?
1. You can build stamina from talking so much. That is a given since you provide the language. For Anne’s scripts, when you write the words on the board, if you feel like there was a steady flow you may have them write the translation in English of the words you used on the board. Pick any three and erase the English. Then do a reading day. Use timed writes to demonstrate proficiency in a language.
2. Yes. Celebrate every day that you are staying in the target language. Take a break from time to time. Parter to partner retells or summaries can give you a break.
3. I have started SSR with my French 1 students from time to time. For French 2 I feel more comfortable since they had me as a teacher last year. THey are avid readers. I would start in NOV/DEC but dont worry. You can always type up a students interview, mini story or variation and read it to them as a warm up.
You rock! keep it up. I am very new to this work and there is much to learn but when you’re in the zone there is so much learning. Fold in other activities one at a time.
Thanks so much for all of the ideas. I knew that joining this group was the right thing to do, especially since I’m not on Facebook.
I do the Word Chunk Game on alternating Fridays; I have every other day classes, so I try to work that in.
I did get administration to get me a subscription to the A-Z readers, so that is a start to the reading, but I will check out Fluency Matters too. I just started accessing that. I want students to have more input of French than just from me, and through reading. I’m hoping to start introducing some videos (either music or situational) second semester. So if anyone has any ideas on that, send them my way.
…I want students to have more input of French than just from me, and through reading…..
I say 50% or more of instructional min. should be spent reading. And not just because it saves our voices, but bc reading is the high road to learning a foreign language, as long as it is effortless (what the research says must be happening when they read). Like Susan Gross always says, “When they read it should be like a movie in their minds.”
Kara I say an emphatic yes to your question #2 above.
On question #1 I would want to know that you were comfortable using the scripts. I will send a book on that topic. But your traditional colleagues will not be happy if they find out that the Matava structures are not directly connected to a list somewhere, like in a textbook. So the jury is out on what you ask there.
I’m at a school that emphasizes reading and most of my students like to read. I was going to wait to start the reading, but honestly, my kids were ready the throes week of school so I started then. I’m so fortunate to have a great classroom library filled with books of so many different levels. Even the true beginners have books they can read.
Sorry, I’ve never used Anne Matava’s scripts so I can’t say anything on how to use them.
Oh, and my beginners are up to 12 minutes of reading and my other levels are at 15+ minutes of reading every class (I’m on and 85-minute block schedule).
…my beginners are up to 12 minutes of reading and my other levels are at 15+ minutes of reading every class ….
The perfect way to start a class….
Have you read A Natural Approach to Stories? That’s the first step, IMO. Tina Hargaden has great videos on her YouTube channel – CI Liftoff. These videos show how she does all the steps outlined in the book, plus more.
I jumped right into it all this year and it’s been working great. However, if it’s too much, why not do Calendar Talk and then do a basic OWI in class? You can do it with just the first 5 questions to see how it goes. If you have time left, you could write up the description on the board and go over it to the students. They could do small group or partner work on it plus past characters just so you can get a break. Once they get the hang of it, they could make their own characters.
…You can do [a one word image] with just the first 5 questions….
Or even just the first 3. But do have at least an artist in place to create the image.