Super Simple Schedule – 1

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35 thoughts on “Super Simple Schedule – 1”

  1. 4. Sacred reading of the text as per ROA. Lights down for that – the big payoff of all the work up to that final point with the story.
    I think that sounds really great — change of lighting signals something big, I think. Cool.

  2. And Diane it’s also a time for us to be in love with our languages. We get to stop after all that creation of something from nothing, and read what we created to them in a way that reminds everyone that language is something really beautiful, something that exalts, can bring exultance. It’s a time when the Pure Land can happen, a time when beauty can be shared. It’s a time when we can remember why we do this, in case we forgot.

  3. I think I like this.
    Last year, I tried the 2 week schedule that was being posted about here. Two weeks on one story. It didn’t work, especially with my high school block schedule.
    Now I do one week per STRUCTURE set, not necessarily per story. I’m lucky to have two blocks of the same prep, so I get more reps in by having them read the other class’ story. However, I still find myself scrambling come Thursday or Friday to get them doing something that feels different. A free write. A dictation. Writing new endings. I hate that ‘scrambling’ feeling, and it gives me too much stuff to have to grade.
    I’m interested to see what others here do to structure their classes. Two stories a week with different structures? One a week? Other options?

      1. Once you receive something from a kid, the goal is to get it processed asap. Just get rid of it physically as instantly as possible and into the gradebook as a collected assignment or whatever.
        That is part of this simplicity deal- the mental health piece. If you look at those two quizzes I give, they require almost no time to process. Then they go in the book, and the quizzes go either into the trash or back to the kids. Papers on desks – bad. No papers – good. It’s not like the kids care.
        And what does that mean you don’t “exactly” grade it?

        1. Let’s say I collect a dication, a Pictado, and a group finish-the-story in a week. I look through the dictations to see what kinds of mistakes they tend to make so I can target pop-up grammar in readings. I might use a decent Pictado to create a story board writing activity or just to Look & Discuss in a different class. Same with the alternate endings- they become future class activities.
          They don’t make it into my gradebook. So far, all I’ve graded are quizzes & Interpersonal Comm. But they make me feel like I SHOULD grade them. So there they sit.

  4. Wait, I’m confused….the above schedule is one full week, right? Yet you say that you have a new story every other block, which is every other day. Can you clarify? I’m on a 75-minute block schedule this year so I’m trying to set up my flow…today was first day with the freshmen and we already have some good stories started!!!

      1. I’m still not clear whether you mean that you are starting a new story every other day. Yes, I am basically working from scripts but I’m doing micro mini stories so my script is just the 3 structures.

    This is the schedule that worked best for me since I am on a six day flex-mod schedule – every six days, each of my five sections has a day of the cycle off. With forty minute periods, the two weeks was too long. Since you are now on 85 minute blocks, I think your original week long simple week would be close to your block schedule for the folks who meet every day off the block! The point is to use every precious second we have doing the three steps, the extras we need for novelty, and SSR if we can find the time – simplicity is the key especially for those of us with three or more preps!

  6. …use every precious second we have doing the three steps, the extras we need for novelty, and SSR if we can find the time – simplicity is the key….
    This is it – the best overall routine I can think of.
    Angie I’m just saying what is working for me. I no longer drag things out for a week, doing diverse things I thought of doing right before class with the resultant feeling of being disorganized. Highest mojo level for me is to start a new story every other block and fill in, as Carol says above, the second block after the reading and two quizzes with “the extras we need for novelty.” A much tighter schedule than before. Stories reign – all classes no matter their level doing the same story. There is no reason not to do the same story. I’m working from scripts. Are you?

  7. Hi Ben et al.
    It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve been reading when I can. Last year was a bit of a blur with a new baby in my house and I’m hoping this year to post more frequently. This post about the schedule got me wanting to share what I’ve done over the past year.
    I still prefer the 2 week story schedule, because I was able to camp on the key structures longer, and for me I felt it brought me more calm than doing one story a week. Whatever works right? And Ben, I see the value in the one week schedule too; I think a big benefit would be the freshness of moving into those new structures each week. There’s something great about PQA with new material; I feel like it refreshes the class, like opening the windows, and the creative thoughts start flowing again as the new structures appear on the board.
    But with the 2 week schedule I usually had something like this for my level 1 Latin students. I am working with 2 90 min. blocks a week (M, W) and then a 52 min. period (F). I just space everything below out over a 2 week period:
    1. PQA (about 30 to 45 min – but could go longer)
    2. Story Creation (about 45 min.)
    3. Discussion of art from artists (5-10 min.)
    4. Write out story in their notebooks (I type on LCD projector and they write in notebooks) (15 min.)
    5. Choral Translation and then some R and D (15 min.)
    5. From here I can do:
    -Dictation (usually one location); I don’t grade dictations, but I just have students do these in their notebooks and I give notebooks an overall grade at each grading period – a quick look through the whole thing and a 5 point score – almost always 5 out of 5 unless a kid was absent and missed days and never added the work in)
    -Story Retell Timed Write (this involves me retelling the story using the artist pics (3, one for each location), then students breaking into pairs and retelling as I put up pics (about 3 min. per pic), then a volunteer coming up and retelling each pic to the class (any oral production is ungraded too), and then students doing a timed write, writing about each pic (5 min. per pic) as I put them up on the LCD). (This activity takes a little time, about 35-40 min.)
    6. Also each day I have:
    -a brief warm-up, usually writing down key structures from the story with definitions or answering simple Latin questions about the story in their notebooks – I find the warm-up helps the class get started quietly and students have something to do when they come in and I’m shaking hands at the door);
    -a 5 question quick-quiz at the end of each period; I make it up on the fly.
    -several times of semester I give the students a short passage to translate into English
    For my level 2, 3 and 4 students, I do basically the same schedule, but we also read some stories from my Latin textbook which I have adapted to have better sheltered and more interesting vocabulary. I do R and D with these mostly and find they inductively teach a lot of culture since they are set in Roman times. Specialized vocabulary for these stories I usually teach using powerpoint pictures and do and L and D style presentation. I usually choose my TPRS stories to dovetail in with the vocabulary in my textbook storyline (which as I said above I’ve altered some).
    I agree, that nothing hits home like the scripted stories, especially when they have kick-ass structures that grab the kids and get good PQA going right from the start. But I like easily being able to bounce back and forth between the stories and my textbook storyline when I feel like the class can use a change of subject to stimulate interest in something different. The brain craves novelty right?

    1. And David this proves the value of the old two week schedule. My only reservation is that it took too much time on the same structures as I said above. Thus, with this new schedule I am doing everything – or almost everything – that I want to do in two blocks or four class periods. In the queue here for posting tomorrow is a new version of Reading Option A that I would love feedback on. Basically it’s:
      Block 1 – PQA/Story
      Block 2 – ROA

      1. I agree that the freshness of the structures is wonderful, especially when they are great structures.
        However, two years ago, when I followed the one week schedule, I found it (and this is for me personally) to become difficult after some time because I had 5 different stories (3 preps) to constantly keep track of. It became too much and I felt both burdened down myself with the need to keep the stories going.
        Also, at that time, PQA and story creation became an emotional drain for me, especially because then my classroom routines and behavioral norms are not working as well. I found that I would stagger the story creation piece across classes, because I was just worn-out. At that time, I probably subscribed too much to the teacher as “entertainer” image that James mentions in his comment and was needed as a police officer too in a poorly normed class. These factors weighed in on making it difficult to keep up with a weekly cycle of stories.
        I noticed that students too were having difficulty retaining the structures, probably because I didn’t get enough reps in a poorly normed class.
        With the two week schedule, I found relief and the chance to regain calm in my class. I could give myself a break and become both more present as the teacher in my class, focusing more on facilitating a non-disruptive environment for CI, and also be more emotionally invested in the unique story for each class developing it with more repetition from the various activities (which gave me structure for maintaining the class flow). For me, it was less content to manage and that helped me keep my calm.
        That’s also why at this time I began more routines in class to help me have regularity in the day for students and myself. The daily warm-up helped kids settle in while giving me a chance to shake hands, take roll and have a sip of my coffee. The regularity of the daily quiz signaled the close of the period and was a comfort too. Maintaining the class jobs also was a great benefit.
        So now, perhaps with a better normed class and more built-in routines I could better manage a one week schedule, but for me right now this is working well (especially when I balance it out with my textbook storyline, which I and the students in the upper levels benefit from in a number of ways).
        And please don’t stop the reminders to simplify! I need those and am seeing ways all the time to continue to simplify in terms of content, clutter, paperwork and other non-essentials.
        Looking forward to the new version of ROA too.

        1. …I had 5 different stories (3 preps) to constantly keep track of….
          David I have three preps but I use the same story for each each class. There is no reason not to. Some would say because the vocab has already been taught. I don’t agree. That whole thing of picking the right verbs and teaching them in different levels is to me hogwash.
          I just do the same story. How do I know what the order of acquisition is? I don’t. That will offend many. But my sanity is more important than offending people. Except I don’t want to offend the Jackal. But if I do so be it.
          The story writer hands me the story after each first block (story) class. I write each one out for each class. It takes me an hour or an hour and a half every other day. Each reading provides me with enough material for my entire second block class. So it’s worth it. I also have to write a quiz for each story for that second block. I can write a quick y/n set of 10 questions in five minutes.
          I have never done this before, but the time spent, those two hours max. every two days, more than pays itself back in smoothness of the second block (since it is all based on the reading). The resultant simplicity that I get from doing it this way is well worth it. For so many years I tried to write a “generic” story for all five classes. It simply didn’t work. The buy in here is tremendous, esp. when the artist’s work on the iPad for that particular story in each class is off the chart.
          I have so orchestrated things over recent years that I just don’t do anything else. I enter a few grades, but only from the story translation and the quiz, which take about one minute each to grade since the two (second block) quizzes are on back to back of the same sheet of paper.
          That’s all I do – write out the stories – all from the same script and write and give a quiz and enter into the gradebook two fast and easy grades each two day cycle. Simplifying and vastly pruning all the other stuff I used to do allows me to write out a story for every class every two days.

          1. I love everything about this. Am going to attempt a similar simple plan. I have always used the same scripts for each class. I agree, why wouldn’t you. Ha! Maybe because I now have study hall kids sitting in the back of my regular classes, some of whom are IN my class, and one kid actually spend 3 out of 4 blocks in my room. I don’t get it. Why does this kid have 2 study halls? But anyway, I think I’m gonna do it anyway. Dude likely has his earbuds in during study hall anyway. I’ll see if there is any complaint and deal with it then.

          2. I am having a blast with level 4 (first block) and level 2 (last block). Level 1 is a challenge. Enrollment just went up to 28. I know I shouldn’t complain bc other have 30-40+. But so many things are new for me and this is a super difficult group. Today went better bc I made rows and I modified the CI so that it felt more traditional. Wrote up a structure, had them copy it down. Did a bit of circling. Wrote the sentences I said. They copied. More circling. This worked pretty well. I shifted in some gesturing and “in place” TPR. Then back to the notebooks. I think somehow the notebooks felt anchoring to this group. Interesting. I think I will keep doing it like this. Every once in a while I say “put your notebook under the chair” and then we gesture or tpr or whatever.
            Level 2 class did a super short version of “lazy” Super short and super sweet. This is all so very new for them and they don’t know any of the rules and what everything is…duh…day 2. So when I asked for volunteers for student jobs and got none, I just “hey no worries, you are not ready for that.” And in the moment I just said to myself, “Oh, I have to show them what a story is!” So we did the structures, gesture, PQA. Kinda rushed through that but I could feel they wanted to “see a production” and sure enough once the actor got up there they were all over it. I had 2 awesome actors and then another girl got up spontaneously bc she wanted to be the customer (Letitia worked at KFC in Paris, was lazy. Did not work at the drive thru.Sat and painted her nails….etc) So right before the boss came, the “customer” wanted to yell “give me my chicken!” This all was at like 2pm in a 90 degree room. Badass. Did a quiz. Everyone got 100.
            So from a teaching standpoint I am excited. But I am not gonna lie I was just in tears talking to my husband bc I am still at school 5:45. Came in at 7:15. Not nearly done with any of the extra computer things I am supposed to do and track.
            I feel like I am in “Office Space” because everything we do here requires a TPS report. The library is across the hall but I can’ just take my advisory kids in to find a book for SSR. Have to schedule an appt. On a computer. Which is not a Mac. So it takes me 3-4x longer for every little thing. And I just found out in my after school meeting (meetings every day. not even kidding)…the advisory SSR program that i thought was going to be cool…of course not. WE have to track that too. Daily accounting of what they read. And so many restrictions on the books. It’s bullshit. What ever happened to “let the reader choose?” And why does it matter what they are reading as long as they are reading. It has to be at a certain “level.” So this makes kids more defiant, hate reading, don’t’ read, fail advisory. Whereas I think if we allowed them to read….childrens books, magazines, manuals, graphic novels, cookbooks, whatever….at least they would find enjoyment and read more…because they WANT TO!!!
            So yeah mental health and physical health/wellbeing …not so much. Really have not had time to do stuff like eat, sleep and interact with my home slice. But ??? I really should write up my stories now so I have reading to do in my classes tomorrow, but I needed a little break.
            I really don’t mean to sound whiny. I love the kids I am teaching. It’s energizing and I’m super proud of them already for being open to this new crazy lady 🙂

          3. Streamlining and simplicity. Oh if it were that simple!
            “Give me my chicken!”
            That line will be great if you do ROA step 11 when they act it out. Say it 200 times! Let them say it four hundred times! I am seeing that the dialogue is just one of the true high points of ROA. They can’t repeat their lines enough. And that line there is a winner. They’ll be saying it all over the school. It may become a catch phrase. That’s one of the best lines I’ve ever heard of in a story.
            So when you get to the acting step (step 11) of ROA have each person who says the line to say it in terms of some of those Director’s Cut terms listed in that post here a few days ago.
            “Once the actor got up there they were all over it.”
            When an actor is up, at that moment watch the student’s faces. Their attention becomes riveted. But it is a moment when the L1 can appear as well so we must be careful and have the laser pointer ready for the rules. (I AM using the laser pointer now that the first days of school are over but I still do a lot of walking, as per that thread from three weeks ago.)

          4. Hey jen don’t forget to separate chums. A cozy group of four go to the four corner chairs in the classroom, for the rest of the year. They soon forget each other because they can’t see each other.

    1. Oh, I forgot to add… Last year I had a low moment when on some feedback a level 1 student said something like, “Me and lots of people are getting bored with doing the same thing every day. Try and change.” Well, that girl is not in my level 2 this year; not because she failed–she actually did okay–but presumably because she didn’t request it, or maybe because my level 2 classes are so terribly full. So I worried all that time about this girl’s feedback and all year about her snarky looks, but what happened? She’s out of my life after just one year! No more! What a waste of worry!

      1. I remember that story, James. It is amazing how easily one negative person in a class can draw our attention and concern. Find myself doing that this morning because I had to take a cell phone during Novice class. What was she thinking? That it was ok? I wouldn’t see, in a room without desks? Done with the worry now.

        1. I agree with you James about the 98% TL being the novelty. And I appreciate the reminder that we don’t have to be the entertainer; I fall into that trap often and it’s always a relief to remember that being an entertainer isn’t my job.
          For me, having the textbook storyline (Cambridge) there when I need it, means I don’t have to create more content. I know there is some interesting and familiar stuff there to read when I feel like taking a break from PQA, story-creation, etc.
          It’s like reading a book rather than writing one and I enjoy the shift in focus and energy.

  8. …It’s like reading a book rather than writing one and I enjoy the shift in focus and energy….
    This is so true. So that is why some of us hammer the stories, just hammer them, now and then when the interest in them wanes a bit around Oct./Nov. then we start throwing chapter books in and mixing things up.

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