Why Circling Failed

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6 thoughts on “Why Circling Failed”

  1. I totally saw the power of OWI as a means to spin off a story. I notice my French 2 bored but that is because i haven’t been pulling them in. I’m referring to scripts here. So during the reading class, I start asking kids pqa while reading sentence by sentence. There was much more excitement. Finally we ended with WCTG! Holy cow.! The doors flew open. All of them were engaged and the best thing is that my underdog, shy kids pulled threw. I might try running dictation next Friday.

    1. With my second year German students (grade 5/6 combined) we have been creating multiple OWIs so far, but we haven’t gone into stories. My 6th graders were with me last year, but the 5th graders were taught by the book. (and the first short 5 minute free write clearly showed that, because what they wrote was so standard book text) They only know that I do stories, because they asked me about the “Actors synchronize your actions…” rule and I said, “yeah, that’s really only for when I make up stories with my class, so just ignore that.” On Friday they asked me when we could start stories and I did the whole “we-can-do-them-when-you’re-ready” spiel and told them that they were working really hard in class and that I think they’ll be ready pretty soon. They are a great class, but I’m just getting them to really come up with original things, so I will let them create some more OWIs (also I have SO many kids, who want to be the artist).

      They are starting to get great set-ups in making the characters quirky and flawed and I love the combination of attributes we’re getting now. (really nice, rich and smart but super angry… that’s so calling for a “WHY??”)

      In my ES classes I am having a much harder time, but I am not an ES teacher and part of that is coming from that. I read somewhere that other ES teachers had trouble setting up stories that were bizarre, because the young students don’t really go for it. I found that really surprising, but I am thinking they were right. I had success with just doing CWB and spinning off from that, comparing them to superstars, etc. Also, I ask them at the beginning of every class, how they are. They find it hilarious that I react shocked when they say “meh or bad” so this has become a running gag. Then they come up with reasons why they are sad/ mad/ whatever and that spins into other things. One of my favorites so far was when one girl kept saying she’s feeling bad because she wants cookies. I’d ask her what kind (I call half of my group chocolate and the other gummy bears, so they already knew those cognates and we used those) From there I made a reading about her wanting cookies and being a cookie monster and found a little clip that fit perfectly and that went into asking everyone to draw what they want.

      So this isn’t exactly working with invisible characters, but invisible wants and needs. I then use those drawings to talk about what they want and why. I think it works well because it’s still student driven, emergent structures and hopefully that will take us to the invisible characters later on as well.

      1. Sounds like, Kathrin, that these ES (educational support?) students are more concrete thinkers… I don’t know. But very interesting. My classes start on Tuesday and I predict I will be having a similar response from many of my kids. Then again, they should be mixed in with kids that have an active imagination already. I’m sure I’ll have a mix.

      2. Kathrin it seems like you’re doing an awesome job. In my third week I started a mini story for my block class. It was the one where a fish buys a cat. We started first by owi of a fish then we named it after it got eaten by the cat!

  2. Oh, ha! I meant ES as in Elementary School – which is why I was so surprised, they usually have a pretty vivid imagination. But I definitely had trouble to get it out of them.

    I should have added that having them draw the pictures of what they want was a way for me to draw with them and draw something I want. That way I was able to show them that weird is OK. I drew a flying pink elephant. So hopefully, if even one student starts drawing something more in that direction, I can just jump on that and make that the first invisible.

    Steve, I tried OWI with my second graders and it failed because they didn’t see why a cupboard should have hair or be personified. I tried to have an artist in that class, but it really didn’t work. It might be an age thing and it could be better to go into letting them just draw characters as opposed to having an artist already. I also think, that I will use that first image we sort of created to draw for them during class and just show them exactly what the artist needs to do. I keep forgetting that for that age group you really have to model everything. I have 3x 60 minutes with all of my grades 1st-8th) and that just changed from 4×45. It’s a loooooong time for an elementary school student to do anything, let alone listening to some crazy German lady, speaking to them in yet another language they are still acquiring. Especially for the ones, who don’t speak English (the school language). I have build in dance/water/toilet breaks, but still.

    1. I keep forgetting that for that age group you really have to model everything.

      Yes. You have to model anything new and keep doing it.

      I couldn’t do it. Too much discipline for myself! Haha. I used to sub elementary and it was hard!

      Yes, letting them draw in their own is good for them. I personally think that at that age especially, we should be teaching the whole student. I am sure that they are very concrete at this age. Once they hit middle school, they begin to think abstractly (give or take).

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