Variety Pack 1

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11 thoughts on “Variety Pack 1”

  1. My opinion – and it is no more than that – is that she just hasn’t been able to keep up with the department chair, and, I dare say, she is one of the few in the class to admit it. One of the most common errors of all of us is to go too fast. This child may just be the only really honest one in the room.

    In fact, it wouldn’t hurt the other students, or jen for that matter, to be made in this way to slow down to a speed that is comfortbable for everyone. Remember, on the topic of SLOW, we have many times stated that we must go much slower than is comfortable for us, to where it is even painfully slow, and only if it is uncomfortable for us can it be comfortable for the kids.

    I would have the talk with the mom and the kid right now, and explain that many times it isn’t the child at all. As jen pointed out, she is fluent in English and a great reader. Make the child a promise that you will do all you can to hold up your end of the bargain and go so slowly that she can understand. And then hold your end of the deal up every day next year.

    If, at that point it becomes clear that you are dealing with a processing issue, then we go to Plan B, which can involve all sorts of options, I hope. That would be one for Laurie and Susan Gross, as we not only at that point must find what to do but how to do it in a way that keeps the child’s self-confidence up, which is the real deal here. But we’ll find answers if this doesn’t work.

    Tell her that next year you will not ever let on that you are going so slowly for her, and that you will not allow anyone in the room to complain about how slow you are going, and that it will be your secret.

    Search the term “slow” for more on this topic. It’s a big’un.

  2. I am required to provide written material as part of some students’ IEP’s. That includes “study guides” for exams (we are required to give a certain number of exams per grading period–including Mid Terms and Semester Exams).

    I use PowerPoint (then import it into my SmartBoard) for structures, vocabulary, class stories, etc. The PPT can then be printed off with 3 or 4 slides per page, when needed. Some PQA questions are put on Quizlet. Quizlet includes audio (at least for Spanish), which allows students to hear and see questions and answers. Usually the Quizlet is used for PQA on the novelas we are doing in class.

    Sometimes I use Google Presentations, because those can be imbedded into my class website. Google Presentations can be printed off in the same format as PPT. I also include links to Quizlet on the website.

    Hope this makes sense.

  3. The three structures are written on the board. You point to them and to the question words every time you utter a question. The readings contain the structures in context with multiple repetitions. You ARE giving her everything written down. Have her make flash cards for her vocab structures. Use props and pictures.

    Ben calls it. SLOW is your friend. Check for comprehension with her constantly. Remind the mother/administrator that acquiring language is not the same as “learning content”. Acquiring is unconscious and occurs through the ears and the eyes. It is NOT a memory activity.

    This child may acquire more slowly than others, however. That isn’t a bad thing. She will acquire eventually. Getting people (adults) to be patient with this process and permit all kinds of kids, at all different places on the “acquiring speed spectrum” to get it in their own time is so difficult. This mom loves her kid, is advocating for her, and does not want her to suffer in any class. Good motives.

  4. If there were a TPRS/CI version of the rock group Kiss, Jody would be Gene Simmons. That is a very badass response. Everybody read it twelve times, especially this:

    …acquiring is unconscious and occurs through the ears and the eyes. It is NOT a memory activity….

    Once this student gets this from jen in the fall, once she takes it all out of the “can’t make it happen” part of her brain, we will see the change, and it will be dramatic. jen is the one to do this. It may take the kid awhile but she will if I know jen, who is all about making people feel that they have permission to succeed, which is the feeling I got from her last summer in St. Louis, and, by the way, is the mark of a true teacher.

  5. I have a similar situation this year. At the beginning of the year I spoke with the mother and daughter at the IEP meeting about the conduct of the class. Throughout the year I have checked in with her. By doing what Jody suggests – except flash cards – I have met the student’s needs. She has a B in the class based on her ability to communicate in the three modes, and she says she has no problem understanding what is going on in the class.

    So, just to reiterate:
    Structures written on the board coupled with question word posters
    Readings with the structures in context
    Props, pictures, acting

    and the student should be fine. (And I don’t always do all of the above the best)

  6. What Jody and Robert are suggesting, what we do, is just so different from what most teachers do, which is that kind of clear formal write-it-down presentation for memorization and testing that is so common. I’m sure that has something to do with this child’s problem.

    In this sense, jen has a potentially serious issue here, and it is dramatic that her department chair is there to support her next year. This is the stuff of internal department feuds, when the child who asks for more structure gets it from the protective and loving grammar teacher in 9th grade or in level 2 at the high school.

    The level 2 teacher puts a knowing hand on the shoulder of the visual child and winks at the mother and says to both of them, “There there, that 8th grade/level 1 teacher is just a little disorganized. We will take care of her here at the high school!”

    jen is very lucky to have comprehensible input whoop ass backup in the form of that department chair.

  7. And jen that reminds me that I need to put up the Learning Styles Inventory so you can determine if this is just a really visual kid who is having trouble shifting it all over to the auditory part of her brain. All the kids in a typical classroom divide neatly into one of the three learning styles, and this child may just be an extreme visual type. In that case, nothing may change very much.

  8. I’m not sure if this is where this fits in best, but I just saw this in a comment in the NY Times to the article ( SK must have seen it, can’t wait to see his response) suggesting that standardized testing is needed in colleges. A teacher quoted feedback from one of his students.

    “The worst teacher I had, he did not teach me anything I had to read the book myself.”!! The absurdity of the statement should speak in volumes.

    April 20, 2012 at 7:53 a.m.

  9. Jen, take what these folks have said and condense it into an outline”These are all of the things that I will do to make sure that everyone in my class really acquires the language. ” Tell them that you teach for success. They are just worried and advocating, because as Ben said, they have probably had to fight quite a bit up to this point. If you also incorporate Ben’s use of a class “illustrator”, then you have really covered the bases. This child cannot visualize from aural input alone. Continually matching the input with a picture, as well as the words as Jody has pointed out, should be a slam dunk!!

    with love,

  10. Jen,
    I think the child’s mom has the right to be concerned. However, there is another misconception out there people think storytelling is only about “telling” not about “reading”. Each class comes with many different learner styles. Some are more auditory, some are more kinetics and some, like myself, are readers. If one presents a picture book to me, on a page there is a huge colorful picture and few tiny lines of words, magically, my eyes would always find the words first and land on there. How my brain could completely ignore the big picture which I don’t know.
    I see it as your chair, after so many years of teaching, who is unable to identify the girl’s really learning strength and challenges; in addition, she is probably not doing the reading (illustration, translation, read, free write, etc) as what we normally do, therefore her understanding of how you teach is limited.
    If there is an opportunity you can sit down with the girl, her mom and even your chair using a graphic organizer to explain to them the procedures you would take in your class, they will be convinced and excited.
    I don’t think there is need to take anyone’s misconception or question as a challenge to what we are doing, we need to be really secure about ourselves! Keep smile, you will be the one who smile to the last.

  11. Thank you all for the excellent advice. I don’t know how I survived teaching without you!

    I seriously had not even thought of all the obvious stuff your guys pointed out: namely that I am already providing visual, written and sometimes “theatrical” input. Wow! Duh!!! And always great to be reminded to SLOW THE HECK DOWN!

    It’s great to get this feedback now. I can write an outline, like Laurie suggested, and add it to my other information / course descriptions. I’m sure there will be other similar questions and concerns.

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