An update on the tape strips to Therese and the Maine Group:
I am still too undiciplined during stories to properly use the tape strips. Sometimes I do it but I usually forget and the board is typically a mess. This is of concern to me because I know how organized boards like Linda Li’s help students decode language.
However, there may be some hope for me with the tape strips yet. Today, I started writing all the (past tense) verbs on the right hand side of the board, to the right of the right hand tape strip. Of course with the English.
The kids say this helps them a lot. Then, on the left side of the board and in the middle section (there are two strips dividing the board into three parts), I list all the new words that occur during the Pause and Point moments of class.
(To repeat something that never seems to get mentioned enough: the introduction of new words via Point and Pause must be kept to a minimum or the kids will be overwhelmed with too much new information and they won’t understand the story. The three structures must be our focus in a story for the story to work.)
So I’ll try this new idea out. All verbs on the right 1/3rd of the board. All new words on the left and, when that column is full, in the middle. But the middle section shouldn’t be full at the end of class – if it is it means that I am doing too much Point and Pause.
I welcome anyone else’s experience with this if they try it.
The Problem with CI
Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and
8 thoughts on “Tape Strips”
I don’t have my own classroom so I just draw two vertical lines on the board to organize new words, and when the board gets full, I PARK. I notice that my most understood days are the days when the board has the fewest words on it. In the beginning of the year I wasn’t using any lines, and several students had trouble keeping track of the words. Now I notice that students mimic the lines I draw in their own notebooks when they write down new words.
I do like using the point and pause, but I find that the quiet is difficult for students and they think I’m waiting for an answer to a questions when I pause for more than 2 seconds so they try to answer a question I haven’t asked. Does anyone else experience this?
“…when the board gets full, I PARK…”.
Nice. Why press more facts on them when our job is to get reps on a limited number of sounds, turning them into meaning?
“…now I notice that students mimic the lines I draw in their own notebooks when they write down new words…”.
That is their visual safety. They won’t forget those words. This is very cool.
I haven’t experienced that last thing, Marie, but I will tell you that in P and P I write pretty fast when my back is turned and I let them know that they need necessarily be quiet while I am doing that.
I have used the tape with good success. I actually have 5 or 6 columns – one side of the tape for Spanish the other side for the English. I tried one tape – two columns, but that was too messy…. I needed more discipline. Now my board is neat and organized and my students handle it much better visually. It did take some getting used to but it is getting easier….
Oh, and I actually put headers at the top of the columns Spanish/English.
That is just one example of practical things that I took away from that conference. Some others were:
1. When fishing for GREAT answers I rub my chin to indicate that I am looking for cute, interesting answers and students know that it is ok to suggest ideas in English (in 5 words or fewer) Thanks Anne [ed. note: that one may be first from Jason]
2. I have been asking student actors to do something to indicate the structures. One boy did furious – it was hilarious – he, with very little energy said “rah” very furious was rah and he would, with very little energy, lift his hands…. This has really helped. (I can’t remember who to thank – Ben I think?)
3. I have been giving more brain breaks. I have been asking a student to stand, go at least 4 desks away from them, and find a partner to say 1 thing in the target language to about the current CI that we are doing. Then I ask 2-3 volunteers to say what they said to their partner. (Thanks Ben)
4. Ben talked a LOT about playing with the language by altering your voice and saying things with emotion…. It is very powerful….
5. I moved my question words down on the board so they are included in the words of the story. This came as a result of watching people teach…. It was much easier for me if the question words were down in the middle of the board…
I think I am forgetting some but just these have increased the effectiveness of the class…
Great idea. I assume the 3 target phrases/structures get placed into the point/pause column?
Great. Tying physical and visual cues to things they should do helps so much- orchestrating with hands (ooh and oh no oh no). When singing I often point to my ear while they should be hearing then extend an open hand when it’s their turn. Clear messaging.
This isn’t exactly on topic, but it goes with this idea somewhat, and that is the use of sign language for all those activities that seem to most interrupt CI – asking to use the toilet, get a drink, telling someone to sit down – all done in sign language – sends a clear “i’m in charge” message and reinforces the need for eye contact.
“playing with the language by altering your voice and saying things with emotion…. It is very powerful….”
“brain breaks” – wow, that’s great to actually incorporate learning into the brain breaks. such a no brainer. thank you!
I also use color (cred. CGaab) to highlight the grammatical features of the structures being learned. Ex. “We whisper / susurramos” with a red box around “We” and “MOS”.
Drew I haven’t figured that out. This can get very confusing. I think that what I am going to do is kind of keep that right hand column a “past tense only” column. I need to separate those boys from the rest of the crowd. Written past tense verb forms are a big deal. They should get their own section of the board during the story. Just thinking out loud here.
Now, since Anne writes her scripts by giving, usually, present tense targets, those fellas should go on the left at the top, as you indicated. So:
present tense Matava targets upper left
past tense use (after the PQA) on the right
left and middle for new P and P words.
I don’t present the targets in the past because Anne doesn’t write them that way. As things develop, the kids’ eyes can go from left to right and over time gain strong mastery of the three tenses involved.
(I mix past and imperfect forms in the right hand list so that the kids can “absorb” the differences between the two. Of course, I could spend two or three weeks doing worksheets on the differences between preterite and imperfect, but, knowing what I know now, that would be extremely stupid.)
I really like that the columns are limited in space, echoing what Annemarie said. If I end up a class with a right hand column containing more than six or eight past tense spellings of verbs I best stop and park it before I forget how absolutely difficult it is to learn even three such forms in one class period, which is why Blaine chose only three.
(As a side note, I truly believe that any trouble we are having now in November is due to three things – 1) too many new words, too much P and P and not enough repetitive focus on the three targets, 2) failure to teach to the eyes, 3) failure to enforce the rules, esp. rule #4).
What the above does is give me command of the story from the upper corners of the board – the targets are on the upper left and the past tense morphs are on teh upper right. As often happens in stories, we can be rolling along in the CI and then we use a target structure and the kids, temporarily focused on the meaning being acted out in front of them, ask what a target means and I can spin around and point the laser to either corner. It is nice to know where the structures and their past tense forms are, since the P and P words are of such minor importance compared to them. Drew if you can experiment around with this next week maybe we can follow up at the end of the week on what worked. I know, overanalysis. It’s what I do.
I just want to make sure to credit Jason Fritze on the “chin rub”.
Sorry, I learned it from Anne…… Thanks for clarifying….