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3 thoughts on “Update”

  1. I teach at a medium sized high school in southeast PA. I have been teaching for a long time. Previously I taught Spanish but am currently teaching French. I am very close to retirement and TPRS has made the last five years so much more enjoyable. I love it but I am the only one in my dept. that uses TPRS. The struggle I have is that we are a school “under warning” and I must jump through all sorts of hoops in order to get a good evaluation. Each year we have to demonstrate that we are using a certain technique when administrators do walk-throughs. This year it’s graphic organizers. The administrator will come in and sit down and ask a student to show him the graphic organizer he has for this class. So to say the least, it has been hard to be completely TPRS. Nevertheless, the kids love it and learn the most through it. I am happy that my kids can speak the language. I have appreciated this blog because it has been such an inspiration to keep going even when fighting the tide of this new era of the test and statistics. Thank you for keeping the blog going.

  2. Linda,
    At my school we have had a big emphasis on Thinking Maps. (Another way of doing graphic organizers but the marketing is slick, the name is different, and they can make money by offering something “new and innovative” to educational establishments.) Last year I had to work on adapting Thinking Maps to TCI.
    What I finally came up with may help you. When you have students do something to show comprehension, you can have them draw pictures of a story you read or tell. Now have them put a box around each picture and draw an arrow from one box to the next in order. Voila! Instant Flow Map / Chart / graphic organizer. Seriously, graphic organizers can be helpful, but what happens is that schools jump on a bandwagon and force all teachers to use something, whether it fits or not. Then students get the same thing in every class and learn to hate it because they keep getting hit on the head with it.
    I have used the Flow Map not only for class stories but also for books we have read. When we read Emil und die Detektive we split the Flow Map to show that two chapters occur simultaneously (Emil is chasing Herr Grundeis through Berlin while Pony Hütchen and Grandma are waiting at the train station), and that helped students understand the story better.
    We also are supposed to use Cornell Notes. In my advanced class I sometimes want to give an overview of a time period, so I have students draw a vertical time line toward the left side of the page. They make notes to the right of the time line and put headers to the left. It looks exactly like Cornell Notes, so administrators are happy and students join me in a conspiracy to subvert the system. 🙂
    We just have to be creative and judicious in our use of these “whiz bang, new-fangled gadgets”. /irony off

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