Robert's Scope and Sequence Summary

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13 thoughts on “Robert's Scope and Sequence Summary”

  1. Trisha this is not unlike like jGR, a workhorse as we trudge with hope and a little or a lot of trepidation into the comprehensible input fields for another year, knowing that we need to convey to admins and parents why we teach this way and to educate our students that the Interpersonal Mode (jGR) is real, consistent with our national parent organization ACTFL, and not at all part of past looney tunes in assessment at the secondary level, not that I ever gave such tests.

    1. A pacing guide (at least one that lists vocabulary and grammar content) doesn’t make much sense in our field. I think ACTFL gets that and it’s why there is not a list of vocabulary and grammar aspects that are deemed part of any one proficiency level. The word “organic” or “personalized” comes to mind. We do have our eyes loosely set on high-frequency vocabulary, but we allow plenty of flexibility to tailor the CI to the students.
      Let’s say over the course of the year we do 20 cycles of the 3 step TPRS process, i.e. 20 stories. So, lay out your pacing guide with spots to fill in the blanks with stories and structures. I’d do it after the fact, not as pre-year planning. We don’t need to know the “what” of teaching anymore, but the “how,” especially since we deeply understand the “why.” Would you really want to pull out that vocabulary and grammar and say that it is what you are going to teach every year? Yuck. And yet, isn’t that what gets done in Denver, only with novels? This business of Scope & Sequence is done for others, not for the teacher’s benefit in her classroom. And until we’ve sent admin and FL depts to proficiency and SLA school, we’ll be creating these docs. A good argument against any pacing guide can be based on one against standardization in the FL classroom.

      1. I read over that attached doc. Personally, I see possible confusion with:
        #1: “Follow the order of acquisition.” – We would NOT want to do that.
        #4: “The natural order is: listening, speaking, reading, writing.” – I’d delete that line.
        #5: I would make it clearer the role of any explicit instruction (to make comprehensible) and not as rules to be acquired and practiced.
        D. “Our real goal should be to give students ‘real life’ language skills.” – I’d be more specific what we mean when we say “real life,” since every program claims this. What is it exactly our students will be able to do? Have an implicit mental representation, comprehension, microfluency (fluency within limited vocabulary).

        1. “microfluency (fluency within limited vocabulary)” Every student and teacher has a limit to his vocabulary. How limited do you mean? How about fluency with known vocabulary?

          1. I love that term microfluency. I am glad you mentioned it Eric. I think I first heard Terry Waltz use it. She mentioned that with 180 school days per year that language teachers aren’t really teaching for fluency…but rather microfluency. Microfluency as she meant it was to say the we want students “fluent” with the language they are exposed to.
            I will settle for microfluency…
            I loved that term because it is important for all of us to use it because outsiders would say something like, “well your kids don’t know how to use reflexive verbs.” That very well could be true. Nonetheless, whatever language we decide to expose students to they get really good at…
            Completely fluent through any method with a couple hundred hours just doesn’t happen. Eric…this is where your communication with Paul Nation is such a huge factor for all of us to consider. The research you shared about frequency lists is relevant to this discussion about scope and sequences and shaping instruction.

      2. Eric,
        I totally agree with you but we are more up to date on research and best practices because we love this stuff…and people on this PLC live and breath for language learning. What do we hand over to the “other” types of teachers. New hires…pay check collectors, old schoolers, and nonbelievers…

  2. Stephen Krashen /Blaine Ray teaching scale
    (Input)—Krashen —————————–Blaine—————————-(Output)
    Ben, I think this is a great topic. I have an idea where you are on the above scale so I understand the purpose of your questions. Correct me if I am wrong but you are a Krashenista. Input will do its job… so when we try to control input teachers mess things up. Going with the flow of acquisition is the preference for most of us.
    Once TPRS/TCI becomes apart of what a teacher does, we do need a variety of documents that cover our butts (rubrics, lesson plans, assessements, evidence, etc.). For us, in this community pacing guides are a joke…we teach organically and it is hard to define something that can be so unique from year to year or class to class.
    If we can make a story last several weeks rather than 2 class periods we are really doing a decent job. We aren’t worried about coverage because mastery often takes longer…and some classes are willing to be more personal and share than others. However, we only have 180 days to concentrate the language and we answer to others in our schools so having documents that protect us like the fine print in a contract is needed nowadays.
    Developing a flexible/hybrid scope and sequence is probably the best we can ask for. One that allows a variety of teachers to teach language the best they can. In my large department I designed in my PLC something that allows a little for everyone.
    Over the years, I have had rough discussions with my department head about making sure I am on the same page with the 5-10 other teachers. We have gone from dear friends to “acquaintances” because of her lack of understanding of SLA best practices. Plus, when parents and student rave about my classroom this creates a bigger division rather than more trust. The best thing I have been able to do to help her understand the shift in instruction, has been to incorporate a pacing guide with novels and the use of a grammar/textbook syllabus simultaneously.
    She repeatedly would tell me we needed to provide a document to the district and new teachers so they could step in and understand what is going on.
    We all need an ANCHOR that can be placed in a scope and sequence so that they can comprehend the complexities of CCCC Input. If it is short stories, PQA topics, novels, video, themes, or whatever…outsiders need something tangible. They have to look at a test, or list, or topic and judge IT so that they can evaluate US.
    I guess I will pose another question to this discussion.
    What do we hand over to a new hire teacher? Let’s say this teacher is wonderful and wants to know what their responsibilities are. Let’s assume they are a native speaker and they say,
    “Okay, what should I do this school year?

  3. How would you summarize this even more into a general course description?
    I agree with some of the things being talked about above, and I think I would edit a few things to better fit my beliefs about language acquisition. BUT I LOVE the idea that most of the principles are spelled out above and wonder if they could be paired down even more in order to serve as a general description of all CI/TPRS language classes offered within a school.
    I would love to hear if people have already done similar work in doing this.

  4. New hires in DPS are handed the words in the DPS Scope and Sequence that is based on the novels. We first isolated out two highest frequency lists, one with 100 words and one with 200 words. From those it became possible to bundle those those lists into story-friendly triads. Doing that set up stories and the reading of novels, the two main tools of TPRS. First we do PQA and stories and readings based on stories and then, since the targeted words were used in the stories, it became easy for our students to rad any of the simple kind Gaab, Ray Canon and Rowan have made available to us. Of those bundled verbs, we tell new people that we would be happy if their students could show mastery at the end of the year of 25-30 of them. That is a massive amount of knowledge in context with all the little words that also came along for the ride – even if the kids weren’t consciously aware of that happening during the year. (Thus, summative testing in TPRS is bogus.) By choosing how and when to teach the three at a time in stories, PQA, MT, etc. each teacher controls his/her own curriculum while staying true to the big list, which is the SPS Scope and Sequence. Diana reports that now in January, interestingly (actually very interestingly), when she goes around observing DPS teachers, many of them report that they are working on the same words. In our debrief after Julie’s class, Mary Overton, another new rock star DPS teacher who has mastery of TPRS and technology, and Julie found out that they have both targeted almost exactly the same verbs so far this year. Was that just by chance? I don’t think so. So that is to answer this question:
    …What do we hand over to a new hire teacher? Let’s say this teacher is wonderful and wants to know what their responsibilities are. Let’s assume they are a native speaker and they say,
    “Okay, what should I do this school year?…
    So those two word lists generated from the novels but bundled so that the teacher knows that she/he is meeting the requirements of the new DPS Scope and Sequence as derived from the novels form the anchor you are looking for, Michael, here in DPS. It is as you say a “flexible/hybrid scope and sequence”. Julie told me that without those base lists to work from and serve as training wheels in her first few years (she is in her third year with TPRS), she could never have developed into the experienced storytelling teacher who rocks the house in every class she teaches. That is a hugely significant statement that explains how new teachers in DPS are trained properly by an effort of will by Diana over the past ten years (she became our district WL Coordinator in 2004) that defies description. Talk about dedication and hard work! BUT we now have 80 of the 100 WL teachers in DPS doing this work and getting better at it every day when just five years ago there were only a handful of us whackos (or so the teachers who are now gone thought).

  5. …she repeatedly would tell me we needed to provide a document to the district and new teachers so they could step in and understand what is going on….
    This is nonsense. It is a false request. This request for a universal document of thematic units/pacing guide information that is always reflective of the design of the textbook du jour for that district is extremely limiting to the teacher who wants their career to be more than a boring cookie cutter experience of doing the same thing on the same day in the same way, etc.
    What I do is tell the new arrival that I am going to not grade them for two full months while they figure out how to do the class. When they demonstrate that they can honor the requests of jGR, etc. then I start giving them As or Bs based on what I see in class. I know I know. Some admins would have a problem with that. But I want the child to integrate successfully into the class and so give them that two month grace period before holding them academically accountable. Besides, you can tell a lot more about what a child knows by observing them in class than by testing them. You can’t fool jGR and you can’t do fake learning (memorization) in this outrageously bodacious or bodaciously outrageous new way of teaching that we embrace because we know it is best for our students and best for us.
    With those kids, I only grade their quizzes if they ask me to. Giving them this grace period cements good will between us, motivates the kid enormously and as if by magic, since I am constantly repeating vocabulary presented prior to the kid’s arrival, the focused kid keeps the A and at the end of the year moves to level 2 at or above the level of the kids who were there all year. That is the power of constantly repeated understandable personalized comprehensible input. We don’t need to all teach the same thing as your colleague suggests. All we need to do is get super frequent amounts of repetitions of high frequency vocabulary in meaningful ways so that we water the seeds of language lying dormant in the deeper minds of our students, craving water/input.

  6. I totally agree. I cannot design my course for an unknown teacher who would potentially replace me. If they don’t know or cannot wrap their brains around TCI, they would pull out the Discovering French Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge circa 2003 and take it from there which would certainly be their prerogative. Any word or verb that I use is for sure in any one of those three textbooks.

  7. BTW, when we were forced to come up with a curriculum map two years ago, all of my colleagues opened their textbook and copied the table of contents divided by four quarters. I was the lone wolf left howling to the wind and pulling my hair out while trying to make what I do look like what they do. Frustrating, to say the least.

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