In the past I've come into class, maybe once a month, and sat at my desk in the back of the room and talked with students from there. Nothing formal, just me doing some CI from a different spot. For a good chunk of time I either check in with students about their day, ask them specific questions about a story, or whatever seems to be of interest in the moment. Not trying to teach new stuff, just chatting.
I can think of three positive outcomes that justified me being lazy and sitting for a bit.
-It's a novel way for us to converse (I'm not standing/sitting up in front or walking around)
-The students are communiting without my non-verbal cues (unless they turn around)
I've been reminding students this week about the fact that we need to process messages in order to acquire language. We have to comprehend, and in order to comprehend, we need to process. So this is an explicit question to students when I think I see fake responses or focus waning: "Are you processing what I'm saying?" If it needs to be said, I follow up with "If you're not processing, you're not acquiring." I try my best to direct this question to the entire class, to avoid shaming any one particular student, but I will make eye contact with those to whom it is directed.
Let me say first that I have a strong disdain for extrinsic motivators. Alfie Kohn (Punished by Rewards) opened my eyes to the pop behaviorism madness that exists in our sch...
In the Fall, Joe hunts deer. He hunts them with a cucumber. He shoots seeds at them with the cucumber.
In the Winter, Joe hunts Frosty the Snowman. He hunts him with a pencil. He shoots small ears at him with the pencil.
In the Spring, Joe hunts unicorns. He hunts them with his nose. He shoots boogers at them with his nose.
In the Summer, Joe hunts girls. He hunts them with his mouth. He shoots kisses at them with his mouth.
This story works without much acting (except for the kid shooting the goofy “weapons”). As you’ll notice, there isn’t much plot or resolution. For this reason, it is more like a Passive Mini-Story than it is a story. I typically tell it in the present tense for that reason. If there is energy I end up taking it to the story level, usua...
Friday I made a rookie mistake. It had to do with the reading I typed up for the class. It was too difficult. There were at least 2 words that nobody recognized at all. Then there were at least 3 more words that the majority did not know well enough to recognize without contextual support.
We have little tolerance for "noise" in text. And given that Hu and Nation (2000) suggest that 98% of the words in a text should be known in order for unassisted comprehension of fictional text to happen, this low tolerance is with good effect.
I suspect I'm not the only one who throws in a quick new rejoinder or other unknown lexical item into my spoken exchanges with students, then look at them and throw out an "Olvídalo" while waving my hand. These...
Andrew E from out in Nebraska commented in a previous post here about simplifying the stories he reads with his classes:
Ok I did a shorter reading today with my Spanish one based on the Matava script about the neighbor seeing the kid doing something weird in the yard and calling someone. The full version was about 200 words.
I used to also write much longer stories. Not only did it take longer to write them and therefore gave me less time to spend at home, but the class energy would usually fizzle about half way through or before. Now I try to keep my Step 3 story readings shorter, about 250 words max as a rule. If you are a fan of Embedded Reading (which I don't see how anyone couldn't be because it rocks...
Once upon a time there was a ghost that lived in an old house on a dark street. But the ghost had a problem. The ghost wasn't scary. The ghost wanted to be scary.
So the ghost went shopping for something scary. It found a pair of very scary socks and brought them home.
One day a couple of young kids stopped at the ghost's house to ask for directions. They were lost. So the ghost opened the door and said "Boooooooo!". The kids were not scared. They laughed because they thought the ghost was funny. They said, "Funny ghost!".
So the ghost went shopping again for something scary. It found a scary hat and brought it home.
A couple hours later, an old man stopped at the ghost's house to ask for directions. He was lost. So the ghost opened the door and said "Boooooo!". The old man was not scared....