Success and Failure

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15 thoughts on “Success and Failure”

  1. Yes I will be curious myself. By the way, Chris, was it you who wanted clarification on the Point and Pause thing? I can’t remember and I can’t find the comment. The question was about when we actually use Point and Pause and how doing that – with target structures only according to Diana Noonan – conflicted, at least semantically, with what I had said Point and Pause was in my book. Well, I talked to Diana today and indeed it is just a matter of semantics. Diana told me that any time we go out of bounds we need to bring that word back in bounds and that we should do that by going to the board and using Point and Pause, but that, in an ideal world (and Diana’s vision of CI is like none other), we never do that. We are always in bounds so that Point and Pause would never be used beyond the target structures. If that makes sense. I don’t want to confuse the issue further! But really, I misunderstood Diana that day when she told me that Point and Pause is not about ANY new vocabulary that occurs in the story, that it is used only for target structures. I’ll leave it at that because I am in a hurry to go watch the seventh season of The Office on Netflix and eat some popcorn and have a cold Miller Lite. Bottom line: avoid new vocabulary that the kids don’t know like the plague, plan your stories carefully that way, don’t allow yourself to get the train off the tracks – you do that by making sure that every single sentence you say is connected to the script you are using – and keep to the script. This is not PQA – it is asking a story. I think Michael Scott would agree.

    1. Hi Ben! Me, me! I was the one who asked that – thank you! I had followed up my question with another question or two (typical me)…its all about a dozen comments down on the Oct. 3rd Presenting Structures post. If you get to it cool – if not cool. I had also put some random question on my own bio post…I’m getting pushy here aren’t I!? Lol. Your ideas and feedback are more appreciated then you realize. It’s all been one big paradigm shift for me. What a ride!

      1. Wait until you get to your eleventh year with this. Who could have known the beauty of the middle layers of this onion? I’ll try to get to this tomorrow, I still haven’t gotten to Michael Scott. If I forget remind me. Those are very perceptive points to raise.

  2. I was glad to read this blog post today. One of my six classes is just like the one you mentioned. There is such a different energy floating around the room. I struggle to remain positive and to not show my frustration. Nevertheless, kids are smart, and I’m sure they pick up on that energy. I’ve starting to say to myself at the beginning of this class, “you know this class is different, just try to have fun with them.” Although I struggle some days, this mentality has been helping me.
    I find that the leaders of each class are so crucial to win over. If the leaders love what we do, they will bring the rest of the class with them. And if vice versa happens, we’re in for a rough ride if we can’t get on top of it.

  3. Angela Williams

    I can attest to the above as well. I have that 1 class, that no matter how good the story script is, they are just not with it. They don’t want to participate or “play the game”, they would rather do worksheets. It’s a daily struggle with them, but I’m going to keep at it. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in this. I just may have the same talk with them that you did Ben. Keep us posted.

    1. I will and the thing about that, Angela, if we get down to the nitty gritty of it, is that we must develop within ourselves the personal power that we need to confront any form of negativity and to meet it with love and the resultant power, the awesome power, that comes with that. That is why teaching is the greatest of professions. It makes us grow the most. It kicks our asses up and down the road, but it makes us grow the most.

      1. My husband quoted this in a talk he was giving: “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” -Napoleon Bonaparte.
        Hearing him say that really makes you think about the difference between empires/classrooms founded on force and those founded on love.
        I’m trying to increase the love in my classroom.

  4. Thanks, Ben, for having the courage to do what many of us would like to do, but are afraid to do, namely to be honest, vulnerable with the kids. Many of them probably rarely experience an adult (especially an authority figure) speaking to them in this way. I’m sure your kids will remember it, even if they don’t show it.
    I have found that the most effective use of point and pause has been to remind students of everyday words that they may not quite remember, to reinforce those core words which may not be the first in the order of acquisition, which need to be hammered home all the time. Example: question words on the wall, which have been up since day 1, but which are easily confused. Students have a lot of trouble keeping them all straight. Now, even after 4 weeks, whenever I ask a question of the class or of a student, I do this: “Class, WHY [laser pointer to the word and definition on the wall, 3-5 seconds], WHY is the cook angry?” They have now come to expect this, and that simple gesture has the power to eliminate all anxiety over comprehending my question, and allows the students to focus on the meaning of their cute answers. When I do that, I see a shift in my students, and there is a colletive physical relaxation, because they know that they will get it, and they know that they won’t be on the spot, except to be imaginative.

  5. John that is pretty much what Diana is saying. When you say:
    …I have found that the most effective use of point and pause has been to remind students of everyday words that they may not quite remember, to reinforce those core words which may not be the first in the order of acquisition….
    It’s not like we can keep new words from coming in. That is impossible. The spirit of the task is there in what you say and what she said to me today, that we must absolutely keep our CI within bounds and that means within the bounds of only the vocabulary our kids know. I do that by “feel” and not by targeting and arranging sequences of vocabulary, which goes against Krashen and takes too much time. We all have different takes on the presentation of vocabulary, but the main thing is that we try our best to not go out of bounds or our whiteboards and their heads will both look and feel scrambled and we will only lose them and get that blank look back for our efforts. That blank look is not about them, it’s about us going too fast with too many new words – and that is a fact we must embrace and put into practice if we are going to get good at this approach.

  6. Isn’t it interesting that every class has a different energy? Its like the stuff of sci-fi right? I wish I had a ghostbuster like reader to give me some solid data for the energy force field each class gives out. Why do I feel so exhausted after spanish 3? How come spanish 4 makes me feel like hanging out with close friends? Spanish 1 classes although it takes the most work actually give me energy during the day. Spanish 2 classes make me think everything is so funny.
    TPRS is awesome and mysterious. Long live CI.

  7. I honestly believe that in that tough class I mentioned there is a junior (with very serious behavior problems over the years) in with my underclassmen who is “jamming” them.
    There is an invisible world in our classrooms. That is why I was inspired by jen’s expression, “Your only conversation is with me” line from that class she described a fe days ago. Our jobs are not easy.

  8. Grant Boulanger

    I’ve been HAMMERING the “Your only conversation is with me” line and it’s working. It’s also helping to create a more concrete image of what happens in class for parents as I talk with them at conferences this week.
    Thank you Jen!

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