The Three Structures

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6 thoughts on “The Three Structures”

  1. I used to feel a big pressure to get all of my repetition on one day. I still try to get as many reps as I can,but I have found more success with repetition over time in different formats. [TPR, chants, PQA, Mini-situations, Stories, Reading, etc.] This helps me to get reps in an interesting, natural way.

  2. I like both these ideas–I’m going to try to remember to assign different kids the counting job for each word. Last year, I told my counter to pick any one of the words on the board without telling me and count that. It kept me honest, but having more jobs is better. I like giving a super-star kid the story-writing, and suggest they write in Russian if they’re advanced enough. The quiz-writing task is good for either a super-star or blurting-type kid. Word counts are good for the wiggly ones who get into trouble elsewhere. They like being able to tell me whether I’ve achieved my (75) or not. I’m going to switch to 50 too.
    Thomas, your comment reminds me of something Carmen Sanchez said once: that in her AP classes, she sometimes focuses on only one new structure a WEEK. I tried that one-word lesson idea last week with my adult group, and found that this week they were already using the word spontaneously. I focused on using it in the story, the PQA, the reading, the discussion, and last night they were using it to answer “Why” questions, to my surprise. It was easier for my brain to have only one word to focus on.

  3. For me, it happens similar to the TPR phase. I am constantly cycling in new words while review previous ones. After a little while words that have obviously been acquired get cycled out in order that the students don’t get totally bored and are constantly challenged. The high frequency words make come backs throughout the year. It helps me to achieve a realistic i+1 with the students.

  4. I prefer to focus on one structure at a time…I do a MUCH better job. Then, it seems that one or two other structures NATURALLY begin to appear and to reoccur. It works much better than trying to find three structures that somehow will magically connect. So….instead of looking for three…I look for and choose one…and then wait to see what emerges….and pick one of those “magically” appearing phrases to include as well. Sometimes it is a completely new phrase, other times a former phrase that needs more reps…but it is amazing how often it happens!
    with love,

  5. Thomas I know what you mean about the big pressure. I don’t think we need to fret so much, though, about getting at least 70 reps. We do what we can and don’t let the desire to get reps overtake the fun and happy timbre of the story. I mean, our mood is so important, and we can’t let frustration show through our teaching as we try to hammer that one structure home.
    Plus, some of the structures rather suck, and I like the way Laurie implied that she tries to be responsive to a NATURAL emerging of energy with a structure – at least that is how I read her comment. In fact, I have been known to stop right in the middle of class and say, “Hey, you guys, these structures suck, don’t they? Let’s try something else…”. Of course, that rarely happens because I primarily use Matava stories with their structures that appeal to the minds of our little teen darlings.
    But we need those “hurricane rods” to hold our story together. It’s such a dance, isn’t it? We must be aware of the structures, yet be able to be the pinball, going in whatever direction the flippers (story) send us with the structures, all the time staying with them.

  6. I really like how you phrased, “We must be aware of the structures” and earlier “We do what we can and don’t let the desire to get reps overtake the fun and happy timbre of the story.” That says it all for me. A constant awareness in us that takes advantage of opportunities in which repetition can flourish. Great mental picture!

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