Report from the Field – David Talone

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14 thoughts on “Report from the Field – David Talone”

  1. Hey, Dave!

    All in all this sounds wonderful and is a true encouragement for me when I will be starting on Sept 5th. You say you saw Scott this summer? I did too. Were you, by any chance, at the 3-day workshop in Trevose (Philly) PA at the Comfort Inn? If so, we were in that tiny room together! Haha. Anyway, thanks for sharing your report from the field. It’s giving me a big pep talk since I’m nervous as heck to get started.

  2. Jen,

    Yep! I was there in Philly – I was the mini-mus or whatever the word is for the small mouse in the German story.

    By all means, jump in, especially with the circling with balls. That has been my rock so far this year. Even if I don’t have time to prepare as well as I like, I can come in to class, put on the song to start the class, glance at a card or two for the kids, and just start talking to them and about them.

  3. Dave,
    Soooo cool! I was in your story. I was the cat that was going to eat you. I sat in the back with the guy that taught Japanese. Love that your a member in this community!

  4. Dave,
    that’s a really inspiring report. It’s encouraged me to plan a TL timer for this week as I’m in the same boat with switching from French – comes naturally, to Russian – how glad am I that we have to go SLOW 😉 Admin in their wisdom scheduled three classes of each language alternating through the day, just to add to the fun.
    I’m using tenses as they occur naturally too. What I have found helpful is gradually circling time markers: today, yesterday, and days of the week so far. The sense has come across pretty clearly according to quiz results, without any grammar explanation.
    Sounds silly but I’ve always been nervous of contacting parents. You’re inspiring me to step outside that particular comfort zone, Thank you!

  5. …I’ve always been nervous of contacting parents….

    If we were to write a Book of Honesty for teachers, this would be the subject of the first chapter. For most of my career I never contacted parents unless I was made to by a really screwed up situation – but why not be proactive? We have to do it and we will do it with every kid that pushes back, whethere we are using Three and Done or not, and we will do so in the next few weeks unless we want to kiss off the rest of the year in that class with that kid being a jerk. Look at it that way.

    1. Yea, I have such severe and REAL anxiety issues that are magnified by having to call home for a bad situation. I feel like I lose control of my limbs and break into a clammy sweat. I’m only 28 and feel inadequate when speaking about to a parent about their kid when I am only a bit older, you know? And I fear that when I stand firm, the parents will swiftly involve administration and the parent will be appeased rather than informed that I am in charge.

      To change the subject for just a minute, can anyone tell me how soon to begin working with the word wall (I’ve created a bunch of district benchmark ones). Our schedule is an A-H rotation in which I’ll see each class 5 times so I’m beginning a lesson on day 1 and finishing the lesson on day 5.

      In a related question to the latter, when should I begin with the word chunk game?….cuz if I start word wall on the first day back (im just anticipating your responses) by the end of next week they’ll have done 25 word associations….I’m still confused with when to assess, when to play the games, how long to wait, etc.

      1. As you anticipated, I would say that you can start right away.

        But I don’t even try to do five words anymore. I just do a few, like two. That is a good way to set the tone for class. Then get into whatever PQA activities you are doing (CWB, OWI) and do that for awhile. The end of class is a good time to do WCTG (word chunk team game) or you could put it off to the end of the week.

        You can play WCTG using not just the ten or so words from the week (if you play on Friday) but you can also put any other words from the week that the kids acquired (means that they heard tons of reps on them, not words that just happened once or so).

        There are no rules and the activities are just for you to use as you wish. Everybody has their own style. The links to the above information can be found on this site benslavic.com on the resources page under “workshop handouts”.

        You are laying the groundwork for stories now. Focus, however, on the rules. Train those puppies. In three weeks it will be too late.

        1. Just to make sure on the training part, every time there is a rule infraction we stop the CI flow to address it in English with the entire class listening/or in a whisper to the offender (which? I’ve read about both being done). Also, knowing who your Archies are and playing the game with the, first especially if they are non-participatory. (Went on a 4 hr ride to the adirondacks this week and read a lot on here plus your PQA in a Wink so I just want to make sure I got all my stuff in order cuz the classroom discipline is where I falter.)
          Thanks as always.

          1. For discipline, I have simply been stopping and laser pointing to the rule (number 2 especially). It slows me down, and doesn’t break the flow of target language. If a kid continues to rebel (they haven’t… yet), I would walk over and whisper in their ear, what there options are and what the consequences of each option are.

            I have also been pointing up to rule 3 (cute answers) a lot, to remind them that I want funny, cute answers.

            take this all with a grain of salt as I am no discipline guru….

          2. Susie used to go with the whisper. Dave does. I just say it to the whole class.

            Classroom discipline is where we all falter. It is the entire game. If we were working with paying and motivated adults, this whole thing would be cake.

            That is why I sound the trumpets on discipline so much in the months of Aug/Sept. Either they win or we win and the endgame is reached by Sept. 20 or so. I prefer the “I win” outcome instead of some snot nose loud mouthed jerk kid who has never been properly stopped by my weak ass colleagues in other disciplines in previous years. Screw that. I’m going with rules, phone calls, conference atoms, referrals, because I know that just talking with the kid after class DOESN’T WORK.

          3. Not to mention:

            I will not and in no way will ever again let a kid cross me in my class – is that saying it clearly? Of course, I will convey that in the most loving way.

            Don’t you see? Certain kids in class, maybe 10% of the student population, have made education a joke. These kids have gotten away with stepping on teachers who just smile through what really amounts to a very serious epidemic of teacher abuse by admininstators, parents and kids all combined on us that has ruined careers.

            Now there has been a recent conclusion over the past few years that computers, not what we do, are the best way to teach kids languages. Computers and the big bells and whistles books have completely removed the human element that is so requisite for real language acquistion to occur. Why do I say that here?

            Because of those kids, that 10% of the student population. They get threatened when real things begin to happen in a classroom (I can hear John Piazza, at least, agreeing with me here), and so they need to be shut up and the best way to shut up a discipline problem is through boredom.

            But I am not willing to give up this method (not because of the method per se but because it has come the closest to allow me to steer my boat through the teaching storms to the Pure Land kind of teaching that I seek so intensely).

            So I really will try anything here. I devised the Classroom Rules out of despair, and the Three and Done also for the same reason. And anyway, how have we gotten anywhere without taking a chance? Those few kids in each class, plus the mass of cell phone users who are making a mockery of education now, will not tread on me.

            I can’t let down the other kids in my room who are just trying to make sense of the worlds they are being stretched between – classes that mean crap to them and classes, like ours, that have some potentional to help them in their lives.

            Moreover, this is not about saving them, but my own career. Those really bad kids? I could care less about helping them become better citizens. An asshole is an asshole by any other name.

            I know that I can be of service in helping some of them make something of their lives, of course, but that isn’t the operative point here, which is I won’t let that hope be stomped on by a few snotasses.

            Those kids who want to learn need to have some hope in life. I represent a culture that is truly interesting to many of my students. You should see them, those kids who do want to learn. Amazing. They really enjoy it so much. We can get to the Pure Land together. But not with a jerk in the room who has no respect for me bc I didn’t stand up and DEMAND it, all with a lovely smile on my face.

  6. I know exactly what you mean but over the past twelve years I have seen our alignment with standards come into better and better focus and so each year we are standing on more and more solid ground in terms of making demands with parents and re-educating administrators. So when involved in these kinds of mental battles (is what they often turn out to be) don’t forget to read some of the posts in the Administrator/Teacher/Parent Re-education category.

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