Grab 5 – Instructions

Isn’t it true that we spend more time talking about storytelling than actually doing it? Instead of being mystified by all the talk, maybe we should just practice doing it more in our buildings, so that we can understand it better. It’s time to walk the walk on Krashen. The time for all the talk is over, in my opinion.
A good example is a very gifted young Spanish teacher in my school, Meagan Brown, who has unpacked the new state standards about fifty times this year and who has done a lot of work learning TPRS, but still expresses a need for more training in how to run an input based classroom.
I see Meagan every day and all we do is talk. For example, when I see her after school, or as we sit through some boring meeting meant to make us better teachers but really doesn’t, instead of maybe doing a little five minute practice session to coach each other on our skills, we talk about how East High School is going nowhere with its statements about change in foreign language education.
We talk about how intractible everybody is in our department. Well, if we don’t practice instead of talking, then we are being intractible too.
It’s going nowhere because we don’t actually practice the method by coaching each other! And we don’t come with trust and open heart into each other’s classroom – we still think that a visitor in our classrooms is there to judge us, to see if we are any good at putting Krashen’s ideas into practice.
I suggest that we who are only talking about TPRS in our buildings around the nation stop with the hot air. We need a coalition of people willing to quit bitching and start trusting, start teaching, in the hall, during common plannings, after school, whenever.
[We especially need the people who claim to do storytelling, but who flat out really don’t, to stop saying that they do. I now formally ask those folks to either learn it and do it properly or stop claiming that you do it. You are hurting a lot of people, and not just your kids, when you do a watered down version of this stuff, when you casually mix it with the book. I am not saying that TPRS can’ t be mixed with the book – it can. I am saying that it can’t be casually and sloppily mixed with the book. There is a difference.]
Teachers of like mind, those who embrace Krashen’s work for real, who aspire to put it into their classrooms for real, those who don’t need convincing (not those who glare), and those with open heart, can just do a practice input session for the same five minutes on any day that they would have spent talking about the sad state of affairs in their department. Why not?
Aren’t we sick of talking about input based teaching, whether it works or not? I am. We’ve all heard that talk. It’s over. Fine, our schools are in turmoil. Let’s get over it – those little bitchy edged conversations are doing nothing for the kids – and let’s just start walking the walk for five minutes, whenever we can find them, and Grab 5 for the kids. 
Two teachers meet in the hallway, find that they have five minutes to work, go into an empty classroom, and grab one of the mini Grab 5 lessons available on the G5 link on this page. Who writes the G5 lessons? Each one of us. 
Just send me a five minute lesson describing how YOU would spend five impromptu minutes with a new teacher in your building and I will post it here with the one I plan to post today by noon.
Each Grab 5 link could form something of an online curriculum of how to do input based teaching. My idea for this first Grab 5 link is to do a lesson explaining each step of getting a storytelling class going from the first minute until the story is off the ground.
If we all do one, a step by step program of how to practice the skills of input teaching will suddenly appear on this page as if by magic. New teachers, instead of coming here to just concrete right here, and then go bug experienced teachers in their buildings on Monday to help them practice whatever G5 lesson they choose.
The closest thing to really putting this stuff into action on this site right now is only the “resources” link with all of my workshop information on there. This Grab 5 idea could add to that as specific “how to” information.
It’s time for us campers to go on a real hike in our buildings, and stop stuffing marshmallows into our faces around the campfire of hot air, staring at the fire with juvenile looks on our faces, wondering what this is all about It’s time to put up or shut up.



1 thought on “Grab 5 – Instructions”

  1. The weird thing about TPRS is that once it bites someone, it keeps them wanting to know more. We just had Katya here, and some of the teachers who attended admitted to not ever having wanted to do TPRS, but as they asked questions of a new practitioner at lunch, they found that their discussions changed from talking about anything else to discussing TPRS. Now they are hooked. It’s almost a miracle. So having a grab 5 list is a terrific idea! We have direction for quick practice. And now, practice finally doesn’t require having a colleague who knows your language. It requires having a colleague who shares your mission. Kak zdorovo! (How wonderful.)

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