Today 1

Today was the third day of class. The first day was when I did the Big Circle. The second was district pre-testing. Today I started in earnest with Circling with Balls.
It was pretty cool. All the training this summer helped. I did the Circling with Balls and, since I went so much slower than every before (SLOW-LI!), each kid stayed involved. I relied heavily on the Five Finger rules as well as my own Classroom Rules.
The kids made their cards. We circled only the cards of three kids in each class. There was so much going on in this their first full day of class, so no way around it. Staying with the kid. Focusing on the kid. Talking about the kid. Circling around what the kid does. Norming the class with the Clasroom Rules and the Five Finger rules (both worked great!).
Calling roll? Did I teach them how to say “present” in French? Nope. Why not? That’s output and they are not ready for it. Seriously. Try asking them to say present in French in front of 35 kids they don’t know. They are not ready, plus they are nervous and unsure about themselves. A better way to call roll? Just look at your seating chart. If there is a desk with no one in it, then that student is absent. Takes 15 seconds to call roll that way.
I used the cards to compare one kid to the other, but only to the point of “Class, Sally plays soccer and Eric plays football.” That’s all I could do in one period on their first day. It’s fine.
I went SLOW-LI. What confidence that gives both me and the students! I explained both sets of rules – the Five Finger Rules and the Classroom Rules. Boy do they work! Those Five Finger rules are very important and very effective and I wish now that I had had them all along with TPRS these past eleven years.
Hired a MAIS echo bleater. Did the whole audition thing. Hilarioius!
Results :
The kids, as I am norming the classroom right now, seemed very pleased that they can understand and that the rules are so clear. I didn’ t let one single kid get away with not paying attention. As the class went on, the affective filter went down. The MAIS thing really relaxed everything. I recommend doing that every first day of school. By telling them that one of the purposes of the mais thing was to prank administators, we built a common bond that I can tell will last all year.
The kids are very happy in general. They know now that all they have to do is listen. They like knowing that they won’t be forced to speak, that they won’t have big tests but rather many small quizzes. They like knowing that there will be no homework and no book.



11 thoughts on “Today 1”

  1. Ben L, the word “mais” in French means but. It sounds similar to the month of “May”. In French mais can sound like a variety of other words too, so Ben S has his students audition to play the role of the “bleater”. The bleater has to be expert at making the best billy goat noise possible. The audition of course is great theater and lots of fun. Every time Ben says “mais”, the “bleater” makes his best billy goat maaaaaiiiiiis!

  2. I suppose that we can concoct a Spanish equivalent with “pero” (but) which is close to “perro” (dog). Since “pero” is a frequent word, we would have a lot of barking in the room. I gotta think about it. Any other Spanish teachers have an idea here?

    1. I’m not sure about this. It doesn’t seem to lend itself organically like “mais” and bleating does in French. When I hear the word “pero” I don’t automatically come up with anything??? Maybe just my lack of auditory imagination today. Obviously it would be good to come up with something to distinguish pero from perro. My gut says if some onomatopoeia (? sp) emerges naturally we should grab it. I am not in class yet, so have no juice going w/kids, who are usually the ones who notice these sound coincidences. Definitely something I want to be open to, as it was really cool to see the demo in St. Louis with the bleating, and the hiring of the bleater, etc!!!

  3. How do you say “however” in Spanish? Is there another, more bleatable, word than pero? I have to say that, by hiring the bleater in the first week of school instead of waiting, and by making it against the law to laugh when the bleater does her thing, I have gotten a lot of early bonding going in all three of my classes. You can’t put price tag on that. So find a word. There must be a word.

    1. It’s not bleatable, but I’ve heard a great rendition of ‘sin embargo’ to the tune of the first ‘Alleluia’ in the Alleluia chorus. I can imagine great auditions for someone who can belt (warble?) that out every time you say ‘however’ in Spanish.

  4. Someone posted here a couple of years ago that they bleat the word “si” (if) in Spanish to distinguish it from si’ (yes). Si is bleatable and it’s not too hard to work it in a lot. I also hire a pero blurter. The pero blurter blurts and gestures intead of bleating. Before I did that, pero was a hard word, but now it’s an easy word, so it’s worth it to me, even if it’s not as organic.

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