Video from Brian Cass Peck

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19 thoughts on “Video from Brian Cass Peck”

  1. Thanks for sharing these videos, Brian. Very helpful.

    I like the TPR on the body vocab activity. Was that a video you guys were watching and following? Any chance you could share it? That would be a great brain break for me to do during my long 90 min classes.

    You certainly seem to have lots of buy-in from your students. Probably more than you even know. They are participating, asking questions, chorally responding, etc. I think you have lots of room to slow things down, and I think your students will gladly hop on that slow moving horse-carriage if you lead them there.

    I’m left thinking about the quantity comprehension checks we should use with our students. Brian, you seem to have the vast majority of your students sitting up and watching the instruction. That’s more than half the battle. That’s 95% of the battle, don’t you think? With this accomplishment, I think you can really challenge them to listen to you talk for greater lengths of time, circling and retelling and things.

    Cheers to you, Brian! And this is your first year teaching, or your second? Boy, I remember those days 🙂

  2. Thanks for getting these on here Ben. Thanks for your comment Sean. This is my first year teaching.

    The video we watched of the body parts is here…just fun to watch the little kids really…pretty creative and simple. It got old real quick though. 🙂 Watch the second half…that’s the best part.

    As far as your comments…yes, my biggest goal is to slow down. I think you are right, I do have a lot of buy in from that particular group of 10th graders; they are the more advanced group of students I have out my younger students. Those videos are probably of one of my best days! I wish you could have seen a video of me trying to do one of Mira Carion’s novels today…a total train wreck. Sean, maybe we can talk on the phone one time about how you do reading again…they just can’t take the choral translation for more than a minute. It kiiilllls them. 🙂

    1. I too have special difficulty with the choral translating. I’ve brought that up here before. I’m glad you mention it to make me think about it again. I don’t see how I can really get my kids to chorally translate unless if we are working with short sentences and one or two sentences at a time.

      I’m also reading a Mira Canion book, Tumba, with my Spanish 1 class. I’ve played around with the following when reading the novels:

      1) 5… maybe 10 minutes silent sustained reading. I’m actually getting 10 minutes of silent sustained reading from my students, I think because they enjoy the break from hearing me talk.
      2) Discuss and ask about what happened previously in the story.
      2) Storytime! Easy as pie. I read aloud and they follow.
      3) Break up Storytime with Read & Discuss (reading comprehension questions / circling around vocabulary you care to target / Parallel Questioning / character study questions / plot questions / etc.)
      4) Reader’s Theater: Prep to find a good place in the pages you’ll be reading that day for a chance for students to either 1) simply read the dialogue of the characters, or 2) act out the parts of the characters, or 3) both. Teacher can guide the student actors in L2 as needed.
      5) Freeze Frame: Students group up in 3s or 4s to create a tableau vivant as Robert Herrell termed it. As student groups are frozen in front of the class, teacher walks around the frozen actors, describes, and circles.
      6) Exit slip: “Choose any 3 sentences from what we read today, copy them on your exit slip and translate them to English.” It seems that translating 3 sentences takes on average 5 minutes for my kids.

      I think Ben would say that the Read & Discuss is the most valuable CI. It’s tricky to measure how much R&D is just the right amount given the class, the book, and the day. But if the R&D is flowing, let it flow.

      I certainly don’t do all of this in one day. I just choose what would fit nicely based on the time I have and the other things I want to get done in the week.

      The other day, I pulled out my old harmonica to accompany the reading of some rhythmic verse in the novel. Jim Tripp says he pulls out his guitar. I got inspired. Kids loved it.

      1. EXTREMELY HELPFUL SEAN. I found similar results with the silent reading. Just getting them to sit down and translate word for word from the glossary was a very nice break and I think helpful…better than the destruction that was happening forcing them to translate after exhausting their attention for 60 minutes. I have 90 min. blocks by the way.

        I love the Freeze Frame by Robert…can’t wait to try it.

        1. Yes, I took it too. I remember Robert talking about it. I just copied Freeze Frame and put it in the template I refer to when planning… I try to vary activities constantly but would forget what to do without that template. I wonder if it’d be a way to step towards actors without getting too insane.

  3. Also, the person taping is my Teach for America mentor which is probably the reason the kids are so well behaved. The story skeleton I made up about two minutes before…but it sort of worked…definitely trying to use LICT and the Matava scripts more closely now.

    1. Brian, don’t let those TFA people brainwash you! I wouldn’t be surprised if they say things like, “Students need stimulation and inspiration and a teacher who shows passion and love and is willing to loose sleep every night to plan engaging lessons and you are their only hope for the future” all without taking a second breath. Exhausting.

      but enough of my soapbox on TFA. I just had to make that public. Just please don’t take them too seriously.

      1. Sean, you are right on about that TFA narrative. I drank the punch for about a week and then I moved on and realized that the only way I could be transformative as a FL teacher would be to 1 take care of myself and 2 find a theory and practice that actually made sense which led me to you guys. As far as their support for me and TPRS, they are extremely excited and we may even make a CI course up for the Detroit region for next year.

  4. Brian, thank you for sharing your videos!

    Also, I’ve only had a chance to watch your first and second video so far, but your classroom management and buy-in are very impressive -and even more so since you say this is your first year teaching and these videos were done well into the school year. Like Sean said, and like you said is your biggest goal, I think slowing down will work wonders for you. I was struck right away by your great energy and enthusiasm in front of the kids (and your kids’ hyperness…you must have great patience!) and I think this will become even more powerful for the kids’ attention and language acquisition when it’s slowed down even more. Keep doing what you’re doing and thanks again for sharing your videos!

  5. Hey Brian,

    I enjoyed watching your video. Being new to the world of CI and teaching in general, I don’t have much experience to draw from but I got the impression that you have a positive give and take relationship with a lot of that class. Many of them seemed to enjoy being there. I think that’s awesome.

    Also, was that a singing bowl you used as a sign for the class to quiet down? That is a brilliant idea. Mind if I “steal” it? 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jason,

      Yes that is a singing bowl! I really want to integrate mindfulness training in my class…and that was one way of doing it. I tap it three times while we breathe deeply and then we are silent by the third. Sometimes I draw out that silence for a good 20-30 seconds…which is a LOONG time for them. I am going to do some more reflecting on this in the summer and maybe teach them a little about clearing the mind, breathing meditation, detaching from thoughts etc…

      I bought it on Amazon here

      at first I was disappointed at the higher pitch but it’s worked out just fine. It’s a tiny little bowl but it works and the kids haven’t attempted to steal it! They actually want to be the ones to make the sounds…

      the eye contact during the chimes is priceless. 🙂 I can see they know intuitively what i’m trying to accomplish and they very much appreciate it.

  6. My notes:

    1. Quick Quiz – I only read the questions twice. But three reps seemed to work as well. They usually just don’t need the third one, is my point.
    2. When you were teaching about the soda addiction you were amazing. You resemble Jason Fritze in your overall teaching style, and there is no higher compliment one can receive than that. Jason is the king of CI and you had all his best characteristics going on plus you were slower – he tends to go too fast.
    3. When the girl in that clip said “abuela” it was unforced and joyful output. The kids were so involved.
    4. The chant, si se pueden, was fantastic. Maybe without the camera there it would have taken off. Chants are best with younger kids. Chanting with high school kids means you have truly left your ego at the door.
    5. How in the heck have you been able to do this in one year? You have done in one year what most of us take years and years to do. Congrats on this. The big thing, you have the kids hearts. How many teachers can say that?
    6. Did I see you do a pagame in this clip? Could you address how they work for you?
    7. As you were building the story I didn’t see you working from a script. That’s fine, of course. I am able, however, to avoid going out of bounds when I stay with a script, going sentence by sentence so that I am not going all over the place. Lots of angles to this and I can see your style is to work well with no script.
    8. Loved the time out and the higher order questions from those two kids.
    9. I feel so happy that these kids are having a meaningful class, that the content of the story makes them smile and makes them happy. I am glad you are in the War Room this summer. We will learn from each other.
    10. The zoom in by the camera on the kid writing in Spanish, unforced writing, was badass.
    11. The kid in the blue shirt tried twice, by moving around the room right up there at the front, to create a distraction. Your response was perfect. You continued to work with the actors in the story and they ignored the kid who was trying to distract. Non-confrontive discipline where the class sets the tone for what is done is the best.
    12. On the body parts game Sean said he was going to use it in his 90 min. classes. Yes! It is so important for kids to move around in class. This is a super fine brain break idea so thank you for that.
    13. I would admit to wondering, for many years now, if the landscape of teaching languages would ever change in spite of what we now know from Krashen, Blaine and Susie. Having seen this work done in a first year CI teacher’s classroom, I have to say that my heart and my hope have been lifted by seeing these kids rolling along in the CI today.

    1. Ben,

      Thanks for your comments! They are extremely helpful and affirming.

      Jason Fritze…haven’t seen his videos but I’d be really curious to see him in action! You have him anywhere on the site?

      As far as Pagame…what I do for now is have one student, mi banquero, pass out poker chips that are different values up to 100 bucks which is half of their jGr grade. They get 2 whites (20% each) and a red (60%). The banquero keeps track of any perpetrators speaking English…or when I say pagale…he’ll go and pick up the chips. Their first pagale is 20, the second, another 20 (they’re at a D at that point) and the third is the 60…and they’re at a 0 (but still only a 50% with the rest of the jGr). The best part is that I give out blue poker chips (10 points) for cute answers, good translations, or anything I want…which helps when a kid gets discouraged. I just tell mi banquero…”cobrále” and he happily gives them the extra credit (my TFA mentor’s idea). It’s a damn good job for the banquero who happens to be that boy in the blue shirt you speak of (also my TFA mentor’s idea).

      They then add up and record their chips at the end on the back of their Quick Quiz which is a jGr rubric complete with Blaine’s extra credit “Tell me something about your life” which I get some pretty dramatic responses for…especially when they are harsh on their jGr or want to tell me they are pregnant (it’s happened twice in just a month) or whatever…very illuminating.

      Overall, I’m not using the pagale system to the best of my ability but since I started it, I would say they are at least more aware now of their English. It helps me hold them accountable.

      My weakness is definitely not using a script. I am going to rewrite one for the stories I did today so I am better prepared for Monday. I went out of bounds a lot today.

      1. I only do pagale on the longest day of asking a story. I might start doing it on the reading days…which have been out of control lately. It seems complicated but really, if the banquero knows what to do and the kids know the chip values…it all takes care of itself and I can quickly in put their grades every day without much hassle.

  7. Oops – that kid was the banquero. I thought he was walking around but he was doing his banking thing. Excellent. Mes apologies.

    Jason Fritze may or may not have stuff online to watch. Diana may know. He will be at iFLT this summer. You’ll see a real master in action there.

    1. no no Ben you were right, he was walking around trying to be a distraction! It was because of that we came up with the idea of him being the banquero!

      1. I love the adjustment you made in having his need to walk around translate from something negative into something positive. That is exactly what I do in the Word Chunk Team Activity, where my three biggest thugs each year are the ones chosen to stand next to me and run the game. They love it and in those moments, at the most critical time of year there in August, I am making connections with them in a way I never could if the four of us weren’t working together there at the front of the room to make the game work.

  8. It costs money but Jason Fritze has courses online through Fluency Fast. Also Linda Li…of course most people buy these courses to study the language but we can do it to study the teaching too!!!!

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