Random Thought

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2 thoughts on “Random Thought”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    To be fair, colors and numbers aren’t themes by definition – they are semantic sets…but many a WL teacher has taught these sets and of course the (novice) textbook chapters are often set up that way, too…
    A thematic unit is supposed to center on content and integrate other disciplines…
    Like if you did a study of say, castles -there’d be some Language Arts, some Architecture (maybe some elementary math/geometry), maybe some Social Studies, History, etc…

  2. Great distinction Alisa and thank you. The fact is that this is all going to CALP. Yes we want BICS (basic interpersonal communication skills), and that has been my main focus over the years, but now working with Tina, who has a tremendous background as a social studies and literacy teacher, I am beginning to see how, once a class has been trained in BICS (the Invisibles NT approach works best for me to bring those skills), then the road is wide open to develop cognitive academic language proficiency in the kids, and that is what Tina is doing with great speed these days. It is the new frontier and we needed the CI move to NT to trigger the release of CALP. We are still wrestling with the last bits of the latest book on A Natural Approach to the Year, which is basically BICS (there is only one section that I would call CALP), and Tina goes and interrupts me with all kinds of CALP talk. Here I am exhausted from writing and she is excitedly preparing to get the CALP book going. I am amazed how her thinking is exactly on the pulse of wedding the need of secondary school teachers to “teach thematic units” with her CALP training. They can teach the heck out oft thematic units now. Bless their stubborn hearts – all they needed was to learn how to communicate in the TL with their students and not with silly stories, which made them all so nervous and half of them if not 90% went to a conference and tried and failed and went straight back to the book. So the Invisibles were cool but already they are being seen as merely a pathway to this new CALP work. I am amazed at Tina’s vision. I presented with her all last summer and am now just beginning how she is taking it to the next level. So this summer in each two week institute in three cities the (first) week will be BICS training and the second week will be CALP, and teachers can come to either one or both. I’ve been waiting 40 years to see it all finally get to this level, and it’s all Tina.

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