Support for Non Targeted

I got this from Leigh Anne. It is pretty cool:
Hi Tina and Ben,
Hope you both are well! I am deliriously happy, professionally, having seen great results this week at Final Exam time. I so appreciate what you do for us WL teachers, and our students. So, kudos to you and Tina!
So, the results….
With NT in late 2015, when you first started writing about it here, I didn’t understand right away what was involved. After I had read more here on the PLC and I read “A Natural Approach to Stories”, I decided that I was not satisfied with my students’ gains.
So I decided that I would try anything and applied what I read in your book to fit my situation.
So, I switched hard to non-targeted CI instruction in December of 2016, one year ago. The gains are with (current level 2s) who were then finishing one semester of Matava TPRS w/ acting, as Level 1s.?
Mock Abstract:
Time Frame: Initial 3.5 months of targeted, Matava-based TPRS French, followed immediately by 9 months of non-targeted TPRS French.
Setting: Suburban public high school; 200 students/one teacher.
Cohort: 70 current French II students
Result: Almost all students show strong evidence of deep, intrinsic recognition of French sentence structure and extraordinary accuracy in spelling. Evidence includes a sample of in-class writing for 10 minutes, a fairy tale or some other story.
My comments:
1) Spelling is *gorgeous*!!!
2) Sentence structure is solidly, consistently and accurately *French* and does not resemble English syntax.
1) Idiomatic functions (use of ‘avoir’ vs ‘être’ with age, hunger, fear, heat, cold, etc.) are not acquired by most students, even though a majority of our practice on a daily basis includes such functions. [I have an idea for making acquisition of idioms easier. Will get back to you on that.]
2) All students in that cohort who came into French I fluent in English, and speaking, but not writing in a language other than English *struggle* with all of the above (spelling, sentence structure and idiomatic usage.)
I classify these students under: ‘literate in English, but non-literate in L1/L2, heritage speakers, for whom French is an L3.’ Literacy is tough for them.
3) Most students with some previous exposure to French instruction w/a certain local charter school teacher have the same issues as the L2 non-literate, heritage speakers.?
Who is not benefitting:
Current Level 3s, who were Level 1s one year ago when NT began. They have not made any dramatic improvements. They are pretty goofy, as a group. [I have a plan for them, though.]
Who is somewhat benefitting:
Current Level IV-APs, who seem to be able to absorb whatever I give them, maybe b/c they are just so dang academic.
My method:
–autobiographical stories about small incidents in the kid’s lives
–invented stories about small, fictional events
–autobiographical stories about Disney characters
–invented stories about Invisibles (I have to do Invisibles differently than most of the teachers on our blog who write about their experiences, including your experience in India, Ben. Also, I have 37-40 kids in my classes.)
–autobiographical stories about Invisibles
–student-of-the-day fairy tales
–student-of-the-day mini-stories
–student-of-the-day personal interest paragraphs (à la ‘Circling with balls’)
–OWI – mini-stories (I semi-target vocab for this; students choose from 3 new verbs to practice French Q&A.)
–OWI – mini-biographies
All of the above seem pretty standard NT practice as described in your book. The results are fabulous.
Also, please note that I did not do dictées or 10-min writing in the initial 18-month period. Instead, I would dictate occasionally, and then type the correct information. So, it is a modified dictée.
Note: The beautiful writing samples are from the students’ second attempt *EVER* at writing on their own!
Very impressive.
One thing about which I am curious…
For regular reading with my upper-levels, I use a website called 1Jour1Actu. I have been reading articles out loud with them, with the laser pointer, for years. Now, each French 3(H)//French 4/AP student digs in the archives and finds articles that might interest her/his fellow students. The student chooses one article. The class writes the title in the culture section of their class notebook. The student uses notes that they prepare at home and reads the article to the class. The class never complains and the AP students are always prepared to share/teach. This leads me to think that the activity has some merit for them.
So, for Level 2 French, one day, I decided to dig in the archives and find articles that might interest these younger students. The French 2 student of the day chooses one article from a cohort of articles that I preview and select. The class writes the title in the culture section of their class notebook. They close the notebook and I just read the article to them, slowly, with the laser. These articles are difficult, but the students are being read to, and seeing some patterns in the language. In particular, they are seeing many, many cognates and lots of familiar verbs. These articles are written for 7-year-old French-speaking kids, so they are not easy. But neither are they impossible. If I read it to them, and they seem to like it, is it ok that the articles are challenging?
[All of our other reading material is student-created, BTW. The things that I want them to read on their own, in their head, are all appropriate to their level.]
To answer my own questions, I am going to create ‘extension’ type activities around these readings and see how the students actually interact with the text and how they really talk to each other about the article. I will keep you posted….
Take care, Tina and Ben!
Leigh Anne Munoz
Chino Hills, SoCal



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