rSF – Sentence Frames 5

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13 thoughts on “rSF – Sentence Frames 5”

  1. For my English learners I changed “I received” to “I got”. Because “get” in English is like “faire” in French, it can mean so many different things and is far closer to the top in high frequency lists than “received” (transparent to French students). I’ve been using Robert’s Sentence Frames in private lessons with students I’m meeting for the first time and I find it’s a great way to ease them into a TPRS type lesson without giving the impression that we’re doing something weird.

  2. Yeah y’all – rSF is a sleeper. Lots of power in it. Great to start things anew, with the exception of level 1 classes and we have the CWB heavy hitter for that. This is up there. jGR, the jobs, a few others, and now we know how to blend writing and auditory input together in a class in much the same way that jGR blends reading and auditory input.

  3. Thanks a ton for this way to ease back into the year – I look forward to trying it out! Just to clarify, rSF boosts accquisition of vocabulary (one my sticking points, I’m realizing) by giving plenty of opportunity to reinforce any necessary thematic words, right?

    1. Jason, I was reading through these rSF threads and, to answer your question, rSF maybe a good way to reinforce necessary thematic words (or, instead of ‘thematic words’ perhaps you mean core/ key/ focus language structures previously taught in the year) only that it starts the first day after the break at full-steam, grading them right-away on a writing task to put the pressure on. I’m going to try this though I will have to modify it extensively since many of my students have shown me in past free-writes that they can’t write very much, and I don’t want them to feel like I set them in a trap to fail and get totally discouraged.

      To a similar point, I’m also realizing the value in starting a Monday class with a conversation about the students’ weekend. I’ve had some success staring Monday classes by giving students 5 – 8 min drawing visuals of whatever is going on in their lives in an illustration booklet (a stapled clump of white sheets of paper that they title, “My Illustrations”), then walking around to pick out dialogue worthy visual collages to put under the document camera and discuss. Many students like their visuals to go under the document camera, making it an activity that can eat up 45 min.

      The sticking point for me after reading through these rSF threads is Robert’s point about how students need to get hit with a grade right when they come back from a break, or right at the beginning of a new term, to start them off sharp and alert from day one. I’m left wondering, though, under what criteria should I be grading this sentence frame writing task. Perhaps I should try using the following writing rubric:

      Range of Vocabulary
      Risk-taking [Carol Gabb includes ‘risk-taking’ in her rubrics] (creativity, complexity, awareness of audience…)
      Conventions (punctuation, handwriting, capitalization…)
      Grammar (subject-verb agreement, verb tense, gender agreement…)

      Or maybe I shouldn’t be so specific as to use a rubric. Such a rubric could make things too complex perhaps.

  4. I don’t know what Robert would say but in my opinion stressing about hitting certain thematic vocabulary words is akin to staring at the floor of the boat as it sails through wondrous lands. Let the language happen, set it free from target vocabulary except target structures for stories, which function as rebar (see that category) for real acquisition, whereas focusing on certain thematic vocabulary doesn’t lead to real acquisition at all. It doesn’t.

    1. Thank you for the boat image – it’s quite striking and makes me feel silly for even considering staring at the deck! Good! Instead of worrying about vocabulary like Days of the Week or Food & Drink, I should let them come up when they do – that way they’ll appear in a more meaningful context and have a better chance of being deeply acquired via The Net. Is that on the right track, Ben?

      1. Yes exactly and then what you do is you linger on days of the week or whatever:

        Class, did Jeb go on Sunday? (yes)
        Class, did Jeb or Marvin go on Sunday? (Jeb)
        That’s right, class, Jeb went on Sunday? (ohhh!)
        Class, did Jeb go on Monday? (no)
        Class, did Jeb go on Sunday? (yes)

        You know the drill, just keep it going as long as you can and then get back to the real discussion after taking this break to reinforce the thematic terms.

        Here is a point about comprehensible input that, if not grasped, may make it impossible for the teacher to ever be effective at comprehension based instruction. By repeating Sunday as in the above sample snippet, the students were focused on the meaning that Jeb went on Sunday. They were focused on the idea that Jeb went on Sunday. They were NOT focused on the word Sunday. So we never really teach the days of the week, do we? Rather, we say them so much that the SOUND of the word “Sunday” in the TL comes to mean that day of the week but it is all delivered via the constant circling of questions about what Jeb did unconsciously. That is what so many of us don’t get, to the great detriment of our fluency programs.

        Hope that is clear – we say it so much, we repeat it so much, that for CI to work our students must never really notice the word itself. It’s all being done out of their conscious control. Thus our only job is to get them focused on the meaning, not the words. Our job is not to engage the conscious minds of our students which most of us do in spite of knowing that the conscious mind is not where language acquisition happens.

        So when we stay in the TL and constantly circle, and it’s all in the TL, the deeper mind embraces the new sounds and knows what they mean and this leads to the natural creation of an alive language system.

        When we speak English and translate lists, we keep the instruction in the conscious mind. Dumb move.

  5. My vocabulary, especially for right after a break, is “thematic” only in so far as it deals with a real-life situation: talking about what you did over the last two weeks. I’m expecting to get all sorts of answers in our follow-up conversations: “nothing” (these people become candidates for an explanation of how they walked out of the school on Friday, December 19, ceased to exist for two weeks, and phased back into existence early Monday morning, January 6), visit family, see a film, go snowboarding, play a sport, play computer games, travel. Then, using the sentence frames, they will get to write about them. That will wait until Tuesday, though, because we also have a soccer game to consider, plus it’s Epiphany so I have to ask them to name the three wise men and tell me where their relics are located. (I ask every year, and eventually some of them start to remember, but everyone knows that the location answer starts with “Germany” – it’s Cologne, in case you wanted to know.) The first grade after the break will be their soccer league table; writing will be the second grade.

    I don’t use a rubric for this. If we are trying to help our students acquire language organically and holistically, we can’t keep coming at them with checklists and analytical rubrics. Besides, it only feeds the beast. Here’s a quote that I just came across this evening, and I think it’s excellent:
    “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.”
    – Clifford Stoll

    Wishing everyone an excellent re-entry.

    1. Mr. Harrell,

      I’ve read several of your posts where you’ve mentioned your classes discussing a soccer league and I was wondering if you would be willing to explain what you do in more detail. It sounds like a lot of fun for you and the kids.


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