Two Strikes and You're Out – A Plan for Blurting

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9 thoughts on “Two Strikes and You're Out – A Plan for Blurting”

  1. I am so divided on this. I guess it’s cuz I really do believe that at least for my 1st-4ths (I really only ‘enforce’ blurting in 3-4) they are so caught up in the moment and developmentally programmed that they are often unaware that they are blurting out loud!! Just yesterday, my first graders were passing out the Spanish name tags. It’s a lil beginning of class courtesy routine where the receiver takes the tag, shakes the passer’s hand and says, Aquí estoy, gracias.’ and the passer says, ‘de nada.’ (I’m here, thanks. You’re welcome). Anyway, as the tags went out I started to notice some random blurting going on, and I started to redirect, but then I realized it was DIN, and not random blurting – the 6 yr olds were ‘practicing’ the names and the courtesy chunks (“Aquí estoy, gracias” and “de nada”).
    The older kids aren’t usually blurting input chunks (sounds disgusting, I know!) but do seem unaware & sometimes unable to control a detail they want to offer. Often these enthusiastic students have one or both hands up, and are softly then loudly ‘Oh, Oh, Oh’-ing, then they just throw the towel in and blurt, “James bond!! His name is James Bond!!” By then they might be standing up!
    The blurters category for me includes those kids who shout out appropriate answers out of turn; or turn to a neighbor or classmate and comment/converse in English during Spanish flow time; or raise their hands and ask/offer random English verbiage (as in: ME: Clase, ¿cómo se llama el niño? KID: We’re going to Disneyworld tomorrow!) and in other such annoying ways derail the train.
    On the one hand we are really working the unconscious – making meaning through comprehensible messages. Maybe the kids lose track of their surroundings, so engrossed in the unfolding of the story or scene? Many don’t have great conversational courtesy skills to begin with, and this might be the first place they are asked to consistently use them…it’s quite different than a regular classroom, that prolly does not feature this type of collaborative communication…
    It’s a delicate balance – we don’t want to quash the enthusiasm or desire to contribute…
    Let us know how the Baseball game goes, Ben. I am anxious to see if it gets the results we all seek!

    1. Alisa as usual you make subtle points about this work. In this case, between inappropriate blurting that they can control and “appropriate” blurting that is part of the Din and developmentally almost expected.
      When I think about the individuals in my classes who blurt, it is almost always the former category above – inappropriate based on a kind of lack of respect (not with any ill will but just a seventh grade thing). So I will continue the experiment.
      My main concern is how they are going to need some massive brain break time to get their ya-ya’s out after all that disciplined input. But at the end of the day for me, I am so weary of blurting that I will do what I have to do.
      I think the big factor is not the two strikes but the fact that I also cannot use English. I don’t know if I wrote that above, but it’s part of the plan. I can’t ask for timeouts anymore. I am the worst CI derailing factor of all! If I want to say something cool in English, I have to go write it down on the tripod paper where the structures are and say it after the CI session, however long that is (right now I am planning for 30 min.)
      If anyone has any really good brain breaks that we haven’t yet shared here, now is a good time. So it looks like my class sequence now is going to be:
      Word Associations off the Word Wall with some WCTG fun as well.
      Sabrina’s greetings thing – man that rocks because you can spin tons out of how each of them is feeling that day!
      30 min. of Two Strikes CI
      Brain Break – mega
      A grammar sentence. Gotta have me my grammar pontification moments.
      Story or ROA if a story has been finished or a novel for R and D.
      I know. That is a 2 hour class. Oh well. Have you noticed that as the year goes on we keep changing our class use of time differently? I think it’s healthy. It just feels weird that I know that in the above schedule I am leaving out some kick butt strategies like vPQA. At least it beats those years before TPRS when I wondered how in the heck I was going to get through class – it’s a good problem to have!

    2. I think I wrote about this here before: once I watched a junior kindergarten class for an hour or so. (Several years ago at the previous school.) The teacher amazed me by how she had taught the students to converse in a human way: listening, waiting, asking questions about or telling a connection with the speaker’s comments, saying thank you, taking turns leading conversation and sharing information. I had not really believed children could do that consistently at age 5, and she proved they could. If a child blurted, or raised their hand to speak but said something not related to the speaker’s comments, the child was corrected verbally. A repeat disrupter – one blurt, I think, then moving around and bothered a classmate – got moved out of the group by the co-teacher. It was all done calmly and firmly, but not really with a smile, either. Respectfully and presuming that the child was able to do the right thing, certainly.
      At the time I was teaching 5th-8th graders. The preK-4th grade teachers were often frustrated seeing the older kids in the hallways and lunchroom, out of control (by comparison to the preschool-4th graders).

  2. I (try to) INSIST that the first grade teacher’s associate accompany the 1st graders to my class. I see the youngest kids after lunch – 2nd graders and then the 1st graders are my last groups of the day- they are totally cashed by then. It’s a constant challenge to get and keep them engaged, and I find it utterly exhausting.
    I am struggling with staying smiley, positive, nice and energetic when they come to me, though 2 very challenging kids were recently moved to a (temporary?) self-contained classroom arrangement – and the dynamic immediately improved.
    When it’s time to go, I get lots of hugs (I hope it’s not cuz they finally get to go home – but it just might be….).

  3. I wished a bigger response on this Two Strikes idea, since, like all new ideas, I think that they will all furnish us with the one thing that will bring our blurting woes to an end. Consider this an invitation to test this possible abd boy with me. The preliminary report on Two Strikes and You’re Out is very good. It’s more than good. Like today I had an actor start randomly singing in L1 at an inappropriate time during a story. In the past I would have said, “Oliver, stop that please.” or something lame like that. Today, because I know that children need clear consequences – in the real world in the moment of the offense – that at the same time don’t disrupt the instruction, I followed my Two Strikes plan and it worked beautifully. (Children don’t respond to vague threats or advice from the teacher. They are deaf to such things). So, since the class had had the new plan explained to them, I simply said in the TL, “Oliver [done in TL] sit down in one of those chairs along the wall.” Then I checked where he would be going if he blurted* again (Zach or Linda’s classroom depending on if they had a class or not). Oliver knew I was checking it off a little wall chart next to my desk, and I didn’t hear a peep out of this somewhat challenging (in the past) blurting type of student. So this idea is now only briefly tested and certainly unproven, but I am liking what I am seeing after testing it in only a few classes. The hardest part is keeping my own sorry self from blurting in L1. But that’s the deal – it cuts both ways. One class even has a chant ready to remind me if I am blurting. They used it once loudly when I spoke English (all I can say is as per the above “What did I just day?”). It was like they were waiting for it.
    *Usually its blurting, but my definition of blurting is anything that disrupts class, anything that dams the free flowing waters of CI.

  4. Before I heard about CI instruction, and at least 25 years ago, I distinctly remember telling two colleagues from area high schools in Horry County, SC that that year I was going to try to speak in French in all my classes all the time. The thing I remember is the laughter. Their “Good luck with that!” faces. I really believed I could do it. Of course it lasted for about three minutes into the first class period. Now, just maybe, not during the entire class period but when we are doing CI, I may be nearing my goal with the Two Strikes rule. Maybe not. Still testing, But me likey likey so far!

  5. There are two things in my view necessary to make Two Strikes and You’re Out work:
    1. The skills necessary to stay in uninterrupted CI in class for long periods of time.
    2. The determination to make it work by pulling strength from your core to act in every instance of anything resembling a blurt.

  6. Ben and All,
    I have been riding high this past week. During stories, there isn’t any English spoken, and the kids are stoked about it. I think there are two major reasons:
    1) Changing the culture – When we had our meeting, I thought this really resonated with the students. I think it made the students feel like they were on the edge of a revolution and made them excited. I haven’t had to enforce my students or even start using the 2 strikes yet.
    The class that needed this the most was, thankfully, the class that saw Ben and Linda’s classes. They were amazed at how much their peers knew. Their paradigm shift was, “Well, if they can do that, we can too!” And it was their determination that really started all this for me.
    2) I stopped blurting! – For me, the biggest takeaway is I am the WORST at blurting. But with the new change in culture, we go 10-30 minutes without a single word in English because no one starts speaking in English. Nobody starts the domino effect. Including the worst culprit: me.
    I’ll try to report back every once in a while about how things are with this, but blurting used to be my most frustrating issue, and now, I am just blown away at how much Spanish is spoken during PQA/Stories.

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