Saturday, September 7, 2019

Day 2, 2019: some lessons about going out of bounds

Day 2

This is a series of posts about what I actually did during my first three days of class with students.  Click here to see Day 1, and here to see Day 3. 

I started each class today by giving students time to read the syllabus and assigned the syllabus homework that I have students do each year.  We reviewed how students enter class and practiced it with one group.  (Here is a sample of my routines and procedures.)

We spent a few minutes discussing the syllabus homework, then I taught them another brain break and we practiced that.  

Next, we continued with the story we had started the previous day. In the case of the class that had no time to start one, we started a new story.   (Here is the rough script that I was roughly following.)  
A vegetarian chupacabra and Elmo.

In Honduras, the class that looped up with me (they were Spanish 1 honors last year, now Spanish 2 honors), we spent very little time practicing procedures, but jumped straight to a complex story about a vegetarian chupacabra that wanted to be popular, but also refused to hunt. It was a classic TPRS story in that there were multiple locations and unexpected details- Mall of America, a roller coaster, and Elmo.  (If you want more information about how to ask a story, you are in luck!  We made a whole episode of our Summer Fun Club on this Story Asking-  and here is even more information! )

When the story ended but there was still class time, I turned to my favorite activity- a Cooperative Mural.   Students had 10 seconds to draw one moment of the story, then I narrated and verified what part they drew. 

At the end of class, I took pictures of the mural with my phone.  I know that I will use these in some way the next time I see the kids.  

For the other classes, I took pictures of the board again. 


In Cuba, Spanish 1 Honors,  I had a terrible fail.  I used WAY too much vocabulary (went way out of bounds) and overloaded them.  Although I did a good job of making sure they understood the words (linking meaning, writing words on the board, etc.), I used WAY too many words.  I have no idea what I was thinking in that moment- all I can say is that I forgot my audience. It was a pretty epic TPRS fail and I knew I had to think of some ways to scaffold the crap out the story and make sure they felt supported.  More about that below.  

In that sense, it was ok because I showed them that I am going to make sure they understand- I did all the things that I try to do- each time a kiddo showed me they didn't understand, I clarified (and said thank you and gave them a high-five), and each time they didn't answer my questions with confidence, I clarified, and I gave them lots of processing I guess it wasn't a total fail, but not an experience I hope to repeat.  I have to remember to give myself some slack, right?  

In República Dominicana and Panamá (class names), I had two incomplete stories, but we had established some hilarious facts and had some laughter in Spanish, so I was happy with that.  

End of day  

At the end of the day, I had two completed stories to finish typing out and two half-completed stories to start typing out.  Still exhausting, but I had a big block of planning time before I saw three of the four classes again, so I had some time to work.

I also had the illustrations from the mural to work with for one class.  

What I prepped for the next class:

In Cuba, the class with which I used too much vocabulary, I decided to do an input-based translation and reading activity.  I wanted to reinforce the idea that "you are going to understand everything, and I am going to help you."  This was the best way I could think of to overcome my epic fail.  

AROUND THE WORLD Translation and Illustrations

Click for examples that you can use or adapt:

1) I typed up the story and divided it into 9-12 paragraphs.

2) I created a handout with the story and a space to write a number next to each paragraph. I made one for each student.  I also included a box for small illustrations.

3) I translated each paragraph to L1 and assigned each one a random number.  (This is an easy way to teach low frequency vocabulary like numbers. Just use them!) 

4) I printed up the translation paragraphs, cut them up, and put them around the room.

Students need to walk around the room, reading the story and the translations, and write the number of the translation in each box.  When they finish, they sit down and choose some scenes to illustrate.

*The reading and matching L2 to L1 is the most important part of this activity. The illustration is an extension for kids who fly through the first one, giving them something to do while slower processors take the time they need.  I will let them know that the illustrations are not meant to be completed (although I bet I have some fast finishers who will) so the slower processors don't get stressed. This is one way that I differentiate. 

On Tuesday, when I next see them, I will have them read the text again, and we will review the activity.  THEN, I will have them cut out their illustrations and we will put them in a big pile and do some variation of a Secret Input activity. I think that this group, which is boy heavy, will enjoy some healthy competition, so I need to think about how to do that.  Or maybe I will divide up the illustrations and kids into small groups, and have the students pull one illustration and their group members have to find that scene in the text and write it on a whiteboard.  I will see how I (and they) feel.

For the other class that finished the story, Honduras, I took the pictures of their mural and put them in a quick slideshow- click here for more information about that- so we can do some kind of secret input game for our next class.  

I also went back to my notes from all the PD I did this summer and decided that I wanted to try this idea from Amy Marshall, which requires no prep from me other than having a story.  Perfect!  

I also typed up my notes from the other classes, and came up with a way to end the stories we started.  

I went to bed at 8:15 that night. 

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