Over the past 8 years teaching with TPRS I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to organize and share readings with my students that we had made up in class together. I was always looking for a better solution.
Well, David Sceggel, Spanish teacher over in Varna, Illinois brought to my attention what I think is the best and simplest way to accomplish this: One Single Document. No more folders, no searching for the story and forgetting what I called it. I just go to the document (we use GoogleDocs at our school) for that class and it's all there. (Click here to see an example document after 4 weeks of 90 minute classes)
What I like most about this platform for sharing content with students is this: I tend to write more stuff down. And when I write more down, I slow down.
Now, I've long tried to learn about my students' families, interests, fears, etc akin to Special Chair/Person/Star (Noble/Hedstrom/Janczak), albeit with much less intention and focus than these activities suggest. However, unless those personal details made it into a story that I then typed up, they would often disappear into the audial graveyard after bouncing around in students' heads for a little while. But now, with this Single Document, I am invited to record those details, even the ones that seem mundane or downright boring.
So when do we find the time to write all of these details down on each class' Single Document?!
Well, that's up to you. But please don't turn this idea into more work for yourself. We have plenty to do already. I propose typing it all up on the projector while students read along. Have them help you out with details to keep them more engaged or if you just can't remember. If this process seems like it may be a classroom management nightmare for you, maybe quickly scribble some sentences down while students are listening to a song or doing bellwork at the beginning of class. If you aren't set up technologically to do this, you could assign a student the job of copying this content from the chalkboard onto this Single Document, whether it's electronic or paper.
But even if you do spend a little more time typing it up before/after class, my guess is that you'll be glad you did, because that written material about the students' lives is gold, and even the smallest nuggets really pay off. And to top it off, there's only One Single Document you need to refer kids to when they want/need some extra repetition with class content.
Thanks David Sceggel for making my life a bit easier this year!