Wants To Be – Part 2

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27 thoughts on “Wants To Be – Part 2”

  1. I know that others will have more to say…but first…Chris…remember…we are teaching for June. That is still a long way away. There will be many bumps along the way. TPRS is not a shortcut to a newly-paved smooth highway. It sometimes takes longer than we would like, or longer than the traditional way would have. Truth is that they will see and be able to do so much more along the way that it makes it worth the change. The truth also is that doing more and seeing more means helping them to deal with all of those new experiences.
    Whenever possible, look for the good and praise the positive. Thank students who are with you, students who offer answers in the TL, students who stop you when they don’t understand.
    One by one, give students a job to do. Count reps, be a sound effect, help with the “lost” signal.
    Another idea that brings kids “in” comes via Michele. Pick a structure or two that you want to use in a story. Give the kids a few minutes at the end of the class to brainstorm a SHORT story, or the start of a story using those structures and hand it in. Then, within a day or two , use one of THEIR stories. Even better if you can use a story idea submitted by a kid who tunes out….even if you think it is no where as interesting as your story.
    Hang in there!!! Don’t give in to the temptation to judge yourself or your students. Try to resist the urge to dump kids from the class. Give them the opportunity to buy in at any time. You know what they say about lost sheep and prodigal sons. :o)
    with love,

    1. …thank students who are with you….
      So, in the hallway before class, is a quiet kid with potential superstar qualities, but who is being jammed by the slightly sociopathic (I don’t use this term lightly) kid who, in my own tough class, is a junior among all the ninth and tenth graders. The quiet kids are there, wanting to learn, and one or two kids ruin it.
      This is the responsibility of the teacher to fix. This happens all the time. The junior wolf in with the younger sheep is neutralized, by the way. Too much positive fun won out. It’s over. I dealt with it. We better be dealing with that negative energy consciously and with vigor. We contact parents, we produce a kind of ferocity in the class that might shock even us, just for a few seconds, to meet the inappropriate comment from the jerk in the moment it happens. Rest assured that all the kids are very aware of the negative kid. It’s a gorilla in the room – no less.
      The kids are waiting for US to shut the kid down because their learning is being jammed by these one or two kids. Why not show all our students in those awful moments of inappropriate behavior that we as teachers also have SUFFICIENT PERSONAL POWER (forget the teaching part) to shut those kids up. That is what the other kids want, those quiet potential superstars, all the kids, all of them, want us to step up as the adult and shut the negative kids down.
      We can reach these other kids – especially the potential superstars who haven’t quite figured things out yet about the jobs and all. We can reach them personally in the hallway before class. We can tell them directly that we need their help. We can tell them that we need their abilities even though they are quiet – I tell them that this is a new way of teaching and that I need all the help I can get. I say this all the time privately to individual kids.
      There is nothing wrong with asking kids for help. You will be surprised what happens. When they know, because you told them, that you need their help in dealing with the negative energy in the room, things change. Those kids who are then with you because you asked for their help sit up straighter, are more attentive. They are not stupid and they want to help you but you have to offer them a way to do that.
      I tell them that when I am looking at them while I am speaking French I am asking for their help. This is the way great sports teams are made, and I had my share in the day in South Carolina, in a former life as a rabid track and cross country coach. The personal element. And like Laurie said, the job element.
      Chris, on my bike ride just now I thought it through and for me the reason that story, which is so well written, by the way, really well done, failed is directly because of the two kids you described. It may hae to do with being new to all of this, but I think it is mainly those kids who jammed you. I could easily be wrong, but I think it was them.
      They have to be neutralized. Do it with your personal power on them in class – stop them with firm English rebukes each time they blurt out something inappropriate or whatever. Once this year with that hard class, that really almost mentally ill kid in the class, I turned to him and yelled STOP.
      Then when you see them in the hall do the kindness thing. Strong in the classroom, kind in the hallway. Sometimes I even tell the other kids that it is a kind of war in there, and that you want the fun part of doing stories to win. (On a private note, I believe that it is a war, but I won’t go into that).
      So I am suggesting that we develop the ability to just be strong when they act out in class, walking over to them with a look and/or some words in English that means you won’t let them go there, NEVER ignoring inappropriate comments and behavior. (It is this ignoring, this lack of dealing with it when it happens, that is epidemic in most CI teachers and probably accounts for 70% of their failures to successfully implement the approach).
      When I wrote PQA in a Wink!, I know that with Kyle and Mildred, whom I wrote about as examples of how we can turn a negative behavior pattern in a kid into a positive one, I should have added that there are times we just can’t win with those kids. Or we don’t want to make the effort, because it would be like a full time job. They may take more work than is possible given our overall responsibilities. So I have changed a bit on that Mildred position. I now I think we should have the right to toss kids who poison our classroom, and we should if we can. We are not social workers and we are not armed with the skills needed to deal with kids who just aren’t ready to be in our classrooms. This is going to happen more and more at language teachers turn more to this more human way of teaching that will be the hallmark of foreign language education in the 21st century.
      I just don’t agree that we have to be all things to all people on that point of loving the darkness out of them. It is possible, but we are only humans and we need to protect ourselves, as ours is psychologically and emotionally one of the most raw, most exposed, most difficult professions of all, one in which we are subjected on a daily basis to energy that many other professionals simply could not handle even if what we experience in one day were stretched out over a month in their professions. So my vote is toss them if you can, love them into positive behavior if you can, but, at all costs, don’t let these kids affect the learning of the group and don’t let them mess up a beautiful story script, a gem really, like the one you wrote there with love and excitement for your students,the first story script you ever wrote. And, above, all, don’t let them mess with YOUR head – you have enough going on, we all do, in our classrooms.
      Do the best you can with your spineless administration. This is is a very serious part of the problem, but they won’t help. I know it. They will fail to act on our behalf for the good of the class by tossing kids out. They will do the opposite – they will see you as a weak teacher. That really really really sucks, and forgive me for the generality, but in the US it is a fact that administrators won’t step up when we need them. Hoever, that C rule is unique in my experience and a pretty good deal. I don’t agree that those two kids should be allowed to stay in your classroom.

  2. I would be very hesitant to drop the troublemakers. Usually, there is a reason why they act out. Have you tried making those “negative” kids the stars of your stories? I am sure you have done the whole circling with (or without) balls and, by now, you have a pretty good idea of what your kids enjoy or excel in doing.
    What has worked for me was to shower the kids who least expect it (the ones you are talking about) with even more attention and affection. Once they realize that somebody cares about them, they usually turn around (at least at little bit – enough so that you can work with them).
    And, like Laurie said, maybe entrust those particular kids with an especially important classroom job. Of course, we know that they are all important, but the kids don’t have to know that. As long as they know that they are important to you and whatever contribution they can make to the class will be appreciated.
    Hang in there, sometimes those troubled kids become your biggest assets once you give them a chance.

  3. I am clinging on Susie’s admonition and I am determined to love my students BECAUSE of who they are and not in spite of who they are (what they do). I find it a struggle at times (honestly). It does not come naturally but I also feel that it gets easier the more I make a conscious choice to do it.
    Chris, try not to be angry at them. Try not to take it personally (I have my little bunch of Q-TIPS close by in my closet this year. Tawanna Billingsley suggested this at NTPRS this summer. She said to take the little bunch of Q-TIPS and rub it on yourself 🙂 when tempted to let students make it about you. It is not about you¡ It is about them. If we can get over making it about us (Ben’s beautiful prayer a few posts back) then we can REALLY help them. We can become someone they associate with loving them and truly caring about them. They will then tell others to shut up for you:)
    I wonder what would happen if you asked them questions about their behavior? It is possible that they could communicate to you why they weren’t paying attention. I wouldn’t be surprised (if you could get to the very bottom of the truth) it would have something to do with their feeling “dumb” or “insecure”
    I have heard SO many students state this year that “so and so teacher doesn’t like me”…. What a shame! We, who choose to teach because we love kids, are seen by those very kids as not liking them. I have really been thinking a LOT about this. Why do kids get that impression? Is it real? Is it ever a “cop out”/or excuse on their part to get them off the hook? Would making 11 deposits to their love bank before making a withdrawal (addressing them) help convince them that we love them?
    Good luck Chris…. Do hang in there. Thank you for sharing and being so darn honest.
    Thank you Brigitt and Laurie for your great responses….

  4. There are so many things that influence student behavior that we have to be wise indeed to know precisely what to say and do in every given situation. Fortunately, most people do not remember so much what you said but how you made them feel. All of the things Laurie, Brigitte and Skip said are good.
    We sometimes deal with students who deliberately set out to destroy their teachers. Fortunately they are the distinct minority. Many students simply do not realize the impact of their words and behavior on others (no matter how sensitive they are to the impact of others’ words and behavior on them). One time I had a student who gave me a particularly hard time. Other students told me he was actually a nice guy and never acted that way in other classes. So one day I simply asked him, “What have I done to you? How have I wronged you? In what way have I done you injury?” (I asked those questions sincerely.) It was the first time that he realized his behavior had an effect on me. Later we went on to have many a good laugh together, and his sister thanked me for teaching him because when the family went to Germany he did all the translating and tour guide duties and was constantly saying, “Well duh, Herr Harrell taught us that.”
    Yes, Chris, hang in there.

  5. Chris,
    Thank you for being so honest with your post. I acknowledge your frustration and truly believe that only you can know how it is in your classroom with your students. And though I admire Laurie and Skip and whomever else in their saying things like “don’t kick them out…” I support you in getting the negative ones out. One idea I have used was to have one student moved to another class/section where his behavior was quickly neutralized because his “new” class wouldn’t put up with him. (I have 4 sections of Spanish 1) He had no audience. Another student made a turn-around after I spoke to his dad and offered after-school one-on-one tutoring so that he didn’t feel so lost during stories. So, yes, sometimes a little extra attention, away from the crowd ie. in after-school tutoring with only 5-6 other students will help build a bond.
    At my school we also have “buddy” teachers where we will send a student to another classroom with a packet of worksheets from the text book to work on if their behavior is not worthy of participating in the class that day. I haven’t used it much, but other teachers will send a student to my class once in a while to do their English work. My students basically ignore them and they don’t come back very often. – Keep up the good work and do what you need to do. Keep us posted!

    1. …at my school we also have “buddy” teachers where we will send a student to another classroom with a packet of worksheets from the text book to work on if their behavior is not worthy of participating in the class that day….
      That is a kick butt idea. I think it is wonderful. Let’s all do it.

    2. Louisa’s suggestions are stellar. They are not as much about “kicking them out” as they are about neutralizing their power. This is what they need!!!! A CI classroom in one gigantic relationship bus and the teacher has to be the driver. With more than one driver the only option is an accident….and an ugly one. The difference is, the CI bus driver makes bathroom stops when the passengers ask and makes sure they are all back on the bus before taking off down the road again. :o)
      Students who misbehave consistently put the bus in danger by trying to drive when the teacher is driving. Louisa’s right. Let them sit at the station or put them on a different bus. That too, is love.
      with love,

  6. Chris,
    I don’t know how you have your grading set up, but may I suggest that the Interpersonal Communication grade is a potential aid in assessment? These disruptive kids are not even coming close to meeting the target for Interpersonal Communication:
    I let the teacher know when I don’t understand something by signaling. (Bet they don’t do this at all)
    I use body language to show engagement in class communication. (Bet the body language shows “boredom”, rebellion, disengagement)
    I respond appropriately to the teacher’s statements and questions (for example, with “oooh,” or “?? ??!”) (Asking about a break is certainly not an appropriate response)
    I suggest appropriate details to add to the story or class discussion. (When was the last time they suggested a detail, let alone an appropriate one?)
    I use Target Language to communicate. (English comments are not Target Language)
    I follow conversation conventions (that is, I listen to others, don’t blurt out or interrupt). (Bet they failed this one, too)
    Judiciously applied, I imagine a couple of Interpersonal Communication marks will drop that grade significantly. Based on the description, I would guess that these students are functioning at a 1 (“thanks for showing up”) level.

    1. Thanks for clarifying and letting us see, in writing, what an Interpersonal Communication grade/standard would look like. I am adapting it to my class today! I am not sure, but as one who is still struggling to just get all of this CI stuff in motion…it seems to me that those of you who have done it for years forget that we newbies oftentimes need to “see” the nuts n’ bolts of how it all comes together. For example, I love watching the videos but I would like to also watch how you transition from the stories to the quiz. Or to watch what a dictation really looks like in action. (Ok, I know…I wish I could come and observe your classes. Anyone in the San Diego area?) 🙂

  7. Robert this is great. See what happened? We forgot, or I forgot, that we spent a good part of May and June talking about grading in terms of citizenship and the Three Modes and yet I haven’t even used it in my assessments so far this year. But how easy it would be to send this message to the offending kid, tie it to ACTFL, get some administrative support, and give the kid a chance, a choice really, to change. Now have you written this into your curriculum? How does it show up in your gradebook? We just kind of dropped this thread, but, for many of us, I would bet, October is a good time to revisit and revivify this idea of participation grading based on the Three Modes.
    The big questions in my mind, however, having done similar assessments in the past (Participation Self Assessments) without a lot of success in changing a kid’s behavior (most teenagers are not big into metacognition), are “Will it work?” and “Does it work?”
    Where I am going with that last question is if a kid is on a downward spiral and is acting out in our class, and likely in other classes, will the information placed in front of that child via this assessment tool reach far enough into the kid to contribute to a significant change in behavior on a daily basis? My thinking is taking me more and more into just being a hard ass with the kid, make the frequent phone calls, get someone with a spine on the admin team to help, get the other kids to find their own voices in class against the bully, and just get in the kid’s face more on how they behave.
    Such kids, bless their hearts, have no right to be there if they can’t behave. We are educational institutions, not extensions of mental hospitals. The saddest part is that a lot of all of this chaos is a direct result of the crimes against humanity by the pharmas over the past forty years when the thinking was to simply drug the kids into behaving properly.
    Anyway, I’m all for helping a kid, but not at the expense of my own work with all the other kids in the classroom, not to mention my own mental health.

    1. Ben,
      You’re right about the need to play hard ball with students in class every day. As I’ve mentioned, I didn’t do that sufficiently with my level 1 class this year, but last week I hit the re-set button. I haven’t gotten to all of the five fingers, but my new #1 with this class is “There is only 1 conversation; it is with the whole class, and it is in German.” That at the moment is the most important message for that class.
      However, Chris needs documentation and leverage with the administration and parents. That’s where the Interpersonal Communication grade comes in. By having a rubric of what this looks like, he has an “objective academic assessment” that aligns with the Standards and ACTFL guidelines. Given a weak administration, he needs the backing of the full force of the foreign language establishment. Just as Chris noted the behavior and needed to call the parents, he needs to put a mark in the grade book for failure to meet the standard.
      What I am finding is that if I start all students at Proficient and get buy-in for playing the game, I need to keep track only of significant deviations from that. The stars will stick in your mind because they are the stars and will get Advanced grades. The students who are quiet will probably evaluate themselves more harshly than you will, so giving them a better grade than they think they earned will not be a problem (besides, discussing the discrepancy gives you an opportunity to tell them you appreciate their quiet participation). That leaves a very small group in each class (usually only 1 or 2) that you need to document. It doesn’t hurt to keep a journal of some sort in which you note behavioral issues each day.
      Just some thoughts on the subject.

  8. This is the first year that I’ve taken Ben’s words to heart, and been very rigorous with my high expectations for participation and behavior from the start. The results are really encouraging, very few interruptions or English. I know how hard it has been in the past for me to get my classes back on track if I’ve lost them early on. Not impossible, but trickier, they need some kind of hard re-set. For me it’s come down to making the students immediately accountable for disruptions via Blaine’s págame system.
    Another thing Ben said that stays with me is that I’ve worked too hard at becoming a CI/TPRS teacher to let students disrupt my classes. I like that point of view: really valuing my effort and training. It’s harder these days with all the news blaming teachers for everything. I guess I’ve internalized some of that garbage. Now I standing up for myself, clearly see my worth and don’t let students hijack my class.
    The last thought is that my own children (daughters age 12 and 14) are experts in finding ANY crack or fuzziness in decisions/ policy at home. My wife and I were just a bit (!) permissive when they were younger but not as much now. Parenting, like teaching, has required me to by crystal clear and 100% consistent. I don’t always do that, and that’s when problems come up.
    Hooray to all good parents and teachers in our group.

  9. One thing that I did this year during my circling with balls was to target my potential trouble makers, made sure they were on my team and then sent home emails to mom and dad CC’d the kids saying how much I appreciate their son being such a star students and leader in my class.
    Now all my football boys enforce the rules.
    What I would suggest: Get them on your team.
    If you know your structures are “wants to be” and “goes to” then have the kids on a quarter sheet fill out “wants to be a…” in English. As a warmup or a closure. Then you can target those students who gave those answers and focus on them. Class, Stephen says that our character wants to be… Let him think he knows the entire story. Ask Stephen what is correct and incorrect. Focus on him for the hour.
    Then call home: I noticed a huge change in Stephen today. He was a real leader in the class. Let him know how much I appreciate this and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.

    1. I never saw that aspect of PQA before, Drew, the discipline part. I knew we can and should personalize the discussion in Step 1, but my thinking has always been just to get stuff for the story and, of course, to get as many reps as possible. When you wrote:
      …if you know your structures are “wants to be” and “goes to” then have the kids on a quarter sheet fill out “wants to be a…” in English. As a warmup or a closure. Then you can target those students who gave those answers and focus on them. Class, Stephen says that our character wants to be… Let him think he knows the entire story. Ask Stephen what is correct and incorrect. Focus on him for the hour….
      it hit me how powerful that kind of PQA focus can be. When we focus in PQA on the kid who really is screaming for our attention anyway, the opened channels of communication could have an enormous effect on their behavior during not only the PQA but also the story, since the one is totally dependent on the cute stuff that comes up in the other.

    2. …focus on him for the hour….
      Drew I did this today, as I wrote elsewhere in a comment here today, focusing only on the two rudest kids I teach during the entire class period. It was so cool. Plus, this budding sociopath is going to act in a story tomorrow. And it’s going to work! Laurie you can beam in at 1:08 on this just to check on me, but I think I’ll be o.k. Thanks for the idea, Drew.
      And then Robert, your comment about implementing an Interpersonal Communication grade (that being one of the Three Modes of Communication in the ACTFL position statement, is gold. Honestly, anyone reading this might miss what it really says. Robert is saying that, in order to properly align with the national proficiency guidelines as laid out by our national parent organization, we absolutely must assess our kids in terms of that document. I had tried this before, but it got too busy with the 180 kids I had last year at East HS. But what Robert does above, and I hope nobody misses this, is describe how we can do this assessment work in a few minutes:
      …if I start all students at Proficient and get buy-in for playing the game, I need to keep track only of significant deviations from that. The stars will stick in your mind because they are the stars and will get Advanced grades. The students who are quiet will probably evaluate themselves more harshly than you will, so giving them a better grade than they think they earned will not be a problem (besides, discussing the discrepancy gives you an opportunity to tell them you appreciate their quiet participation). That leaves a very small group in each class (usually only 1 or 2) that you need to document….
      So what I will do is make a new blog post just quoting from Robert above and placing it under both the Assessment/Grading and Assessment/Robert Harrell categories. If we keep our attention on the Three Modes and what is being done in Robert’s and a very few other classrooms, we can switch the conversation away from the way Jennifer is being made to grade her kids (vastly unhelpful to her as she tries to make the method work for her), and over to a way that works, the short quick quizzes and now the Interpersonal Communication grade.
      Stop and think about this. Robert is telling us something so radical that even we radicals almost missed it, to wit, grading kids in terms of the national standards and not the old way. That’s pretty radical. If the focus for this century is going to be on communicative proficiency, then what are we waiting for?

      1. Is there a rubric on this site for an interpersonal communication grade? I threw out my participation category this year and had decided to only grade the quizzes, but today my students were rebelling and only a few would answer, so I told them I would put it in the grade book because it is the most important thing that we do.

        1. I am hoping Robert will send us his. Otherwise, we need to get on this. On the posters page are language specific 10 point participation quizzes but they don’t work that well (way too much thinking for us to do and not enough honest reflection actually done by the kid). That is why I am looking to Robert on this. M. le Chevalier?

          1. Hi Ben,
            Here is the rubric I am using, followed by some comments.
            Interpersonal Communication
            Self-Evaluation Rubric
            5=exceeds target
            4=meets target (80%+ of time)
            3=partially meets target
            2=doesn’t meet target
            1=there’s a target?
            0=what class is this?
            ____I let the teacher know when I don’t understand something by signaling
            ____I use body language to show engagement in class communication
            ____I respond appropriately to the teacher’s statements and questions
            (e.g. “ooohhh”; correct answer to “what did I just say” or issue of fact)
            ____I suggest appropriate details to add to the story or class discussion
            ____I use German to communicate
            ____I follow conversation conventions (e.g. respect others, don’t blurt out)
            I went over this with every class before they filled them out. Since we work with the 80% rule anyway, I set that as the target. Are they exhibiting these behaviors at least 80% of the time? Personally, I don’t see any reason to define the other levels for them, though I mentioned that Advanced would be about 95% of the time.
            -signalling: obviously I can’t know whether they know something or not, but if I ask a question and they can’t answer it, I remind them that they are not meeting that standard.
            -body language: I am very explicit about the kind of body language that shows engagement (slightly forward in the chair, shoulders squared, eyes focused) and what doesn’t (head or body turned away, slouching, closed eyes, vacant stare, bowed head). Here’s where modelling the behavior we want is handy.
            -response: I have to base my grade on what they give me when I ask, but they should evaluate whether or not they could have answered another student’s question
            -details: I have to base my grade on what they suggest; quieter students will not be hurt if this is low and everything else is high because anything above a 4 is a 5 (or set your own cut-off point, e.g. 4.5 and above average is a 5), anything above a 3 is a4, etc.
            -German: do they at least try to speak in German, or do they try to excuse themselves by saying they don’t know much German? [If you don’t know how to say it, then you can’t say it.] ACTFL position statement says 90%+ of class speech by teacher and students is in target language.
            -conventions: this covers blurting, side conversations, daydreaming, etc. because these actions do not show respect for the conversation partners and therefore do not meet the standard of conversation conventions.
            All of this fits on a half sheet of paper, and students write down their score (0-5) to the left of the targeted standard. I average the score and consider whether it is appropriate or not. Most of the time the student evaluation is either the same as mine or lower, occasionally higher. Then we have an opportunity to talk about it.
            Many of these actions also affect citizenship and work habits, but they are not citizenship grades; they are academic grades tied to the standard of Interpersonal Communication and were taken from ACTFL and College Board descriptions of that standard.
            In dealing with Citizenship I have found Michael Josephson’s “Six Pillars of Character” very helpful. Check out Character Counts (http://charactercounts.org/).

          2. I’ve been using this for the past three weeks, and it has worked great. I had “the talk” that Robert describes with them as well, and started with discussing how this class was different from their other classes, and what they thought of the differences. Based on that, I talked about how I needed to be hard working in my class as well, but just as my class requires them to learn differently, I need to grade differently to account for the differences, and these points are the core areas that track what they can do to learn the best.
            What is nice is that over time this becomes not just a way to highlight incorrect activity, but track effort for kids who are really trying as well. Now when I sit down with students every so often to go over their writing samples, I can pull out these grades looked at longitudinally to have a targeted discussion on how their involvement in class is.

          3. Melanie Bruyers

            I think this is lovely. Thank you. I love how it ties to the standards. True standards-based grading.
            I would like to reword the rubric, so it can tie in directly to 5 finger rules on a poster shaped like a huge hand, like I read someone here had made. I would like to just have 5, so it fits on a hand.
            ____I use body language to show engagement in class communication: sit up straight and make eye contact
            ____I respond appropriately to the teacher’s statements and questions
            (e.g. “ooohhh”; correct answer to “what did I just say” or issue of fact)
            ____I suggest appropriate details to add to the story or class discussion
            ____I use German to communicate respectfully
            ____I let the teacher know when I don’t understand something by signaling

  10. Wow, thanks everyone for the honest comments, a pleasure to read.
    Chris, it is hard for me to say one way or the other what I think you should do, because the situation could be much different that what I’m picturing. I’ve had several negative relationships with certain students since I started teaching (less since using TPRS) and so many of them have had their unique reasons and character. I have to chalk most of them up to the fact that we are all in a building for 8 hours, and it doesn’t mesh with their biology or mental curiosity nor are they being paid to do it like I am. Others have been because I was unintentionally kind of an %#@hole to them. Most probably could have been prevented and/or reconciled with some sincere communication. And a few I don’t know, we just didn’t get along or someone pissed in their Froot Loops.
    Good luck with this situation, and I hope you’ll decide which approach fits best from all that good advice above.

  11. Thank you to everybody for all the help and suggestions. So many comments to go through, so many great ideas. Good news is the mom I called is also a teacher so doesn’t tolerate her children acting like idiots, so that was taken care of. This week has been pretty good and my hopes are up. Today I had two or three structures planned but ended up having a lot of fun just PQA’ing the first one. I only did about 10% of what I had planned for today, the rest was basically freestyled. I didn’t even turn on the computer projector or smartboard. Today went very, very well.

    1. I felt, as I did “Halloween” today (PQA was yesterday, story today, reading tomorrow), how it is a great, not a good script. It’s one of the best I have ever used. Jim’s idea for finding out what each kid wants to be could have created at least two weeks of set up PQA. His structures are strong and well chosen. His script, in terms of no fat, straight on craftedness, is as good or better than Matava’s best. It makes the CI jump into the room with a sound like the crack of a baseball being lined for a triple in cool October air. The story today, of course not filmed, was off the chart. A big piece of all that was that I used no English and no kid dared cross me, but that big player script was part of it too. The reading, which is done but still at school, I will publish here tomorrow, just to share. I will indicate the embedded vocabulary with bold letters to give an example of how embedding works for me. Jim this is a home run story. When I see what a strong script and a teacher determined not to let L1 pollute the class can do, I realize, and I say this with zeal, that what we have discovered here, once we get it tamed, is a creature that will create things unseen in language teaching. Frickin’ unseen.

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