Where’s the Power? Archived post 8.5.10

by lclarcq on November 30th, 2014

filed under Acquisition, Archived Posts 2010, Creating Stories, Curriculum and Planning, Engagement

(Originally posted 8/5/10)

One of the amazing things that I observed at NTPRS 10 and IFLT 1 was how certain parts of a sentence or a story carry more power than others. Ben Slavic calls it part of the “flow” and when you are watching a lesson, and the teacher taps into it, you can actually SEE the power enter the lesson. It’s incredible.

Let me start with a sentence. As Susie Gross has pointed out to me many times, the brain goes where there is meaning and stays where there is interest.

So…..if you want students to stay focused on what you are saying long enough to get those reps in….there has to be some power added in the sentence. Let’s face it …not every phrase we teach is all that interesting!!!

Where does the power come from? Here are some things that I observed and that presenters and teachers modeled: Power words/phrases:

1. can be clearly gestured.

2. represent or are connected to movement or action.

3. represent or are connected to sound.

4. represent or are connected to emotion.

5. represent or are connected to taste, touch, scent.

6. create an immediate and powerful visual reaction in the listener.

7. tap into memory.

8. tap into a shared experience.

9. tap into humor.

10. are unique.These are all ways to offer the students a way to connect with the language!!!!

Take the target phrase: Jose sleeps. Not all that exciting except that Jose, my Chihuahua is a cute little guy…but…using the ideas above we can more interest…more POWER. If I talk with my students about Jose I can say…

1. Jose sleeps.(and throw a stuffed Chihuahua onto a pillow. I could ask a student to curl up like a dog and snore.)

2. Jose sleeps all day (make ASL sign for day) and Jose sleeps all night (make ASL sign for night)

3. Jose sleeps loudly. (SNORE!)

4. Jose sleeps like a baby. (AWWWW)

5. Jose sleeps on people. (put stuffed animal on students’ shoulders)

6. Jose sleeps on top of the tv. (or in the oven, or in front of the Principal’s office, or on the back of a motorcycle)

7. Jose sleeps with a blanky. (we all have a memory of our blanky or someone else’s…)

8. Jose sleeps during the math class. (oh how language people love math lol)

9. Jose sleeps in footie pajamas. (see how one sentence can tap into several possibilities?)

10. Jose sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeps. (if the word itself isn’t unique or fun, use your voice to make it unique!)As I go through these different reps with the students I can pay attention to which sentence elicits a natural, powerful reaction. What kind of reaction? A visual, audible, or physical response to what I’ve said like….

Smiles

Laughter

Denial/Rejection (No!!!! Not footie pajamas!)

Interest (I want Jose to sleep on my shoulder!)

Interaction (super loud snoring)

Verbal Response (I sleep with my blanky!)

When your students “click” with something….jump on that baby and ride it. We practiced recognizing, and responding to, strong student reactions and I saw it transform the teacher, the students and the interactions.

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to go with a sentence or a story. We are afraid of standing up in front of the class rambling on and on about one thing. It feels like pressure to us and that trickles immediately into a message for our students. They read us quickly and soak up every message we give them.

So this year I am going to try to think of the scripting or listing ideas (like I did above) as a way to look for solid ice. When I find a sentence or word that elicits a stronger response…I’ve found the power….and the place to go deeper. A trail to follow. How cool is that?!!

Go with it!!!

With love,
Laurie

All content of this website © Hearts For Teaching 2009-present and/or original authors. Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited. Examples and links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Adding Emotion Archived Post 2010

by lclarcq on November 30th, 2014

filed under Archived Posts 2010, Creating Stories, Engagement, Output, Personalizing Instruction, TPRS techniques

(Originally posted in 2010)

Interjections are great structures to introduce into stories.    They are phrases that can be used by the narrator of the story or by characters in the story with great effect.     Because they are not always easy to use as a focus structure in PQA, reading and story-asking are the perfect venue for these babies.

Joe Nielson is an expert at interjections, and if you have ever had the privilege to see him in action you know what I mean!!!    Pick the interjection of your choice and think about how you would like to use your voice to enhance it.    Have you ever seen the old Flintstones cartoons?   Yabadabadooo!!!  Same word, same inflection, every time.  It was Fred’s signature interjection!   Think along those lines when picking a way to “deliver” the interjection.   If that is not your strong point, let your students play with it!!

Some classic interjections…the English version:

It’s obvious!   ;o)                                                             All of a sudden!

I don’t believe it!!                                                           Day after day after day!

Of course (not)!!                                                             No way!!

Interjections are also delightfully colloquial.  It’s the perfect way to inject idiomatic expressions into our students’ lexicon.   Think about which expressions are unique and amazing to the language that you teach.

With love,  of course!!!
Laurie

All content of this website © Hearts For Teaching 2009-present and/or original authors. Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited. Examples and links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Start With Simple … Archived Post 3.23.10

by lclarcq on November 30th, 2014

filed under Archived Posts 2010, Creating Stories, Curriculum and Planning, Encouragment, Musings, TPRS techniques

(Originally posted 3/23/10)

Many people wonder and worry about how to choose the best structures to focus on IN STORY-ASKING OR READING.    As usual there is no one “right” answer.   I think the easiest route is to first eliminate what DOES NOT need to be a focus structure.

We DO NOT NEED TO CREATE A FOCUS STRUCTURE from:

  1.        Cognates

We want to USE a ton of cognates in our listening and reading activities….but we do not want them to be the focus phrases.   We want to build stories around other structures.

  1.        Things you have only seen in textbooks

This is just a waste of everyone’s time.   Choose  words/phrases that students are likely to come across over and over again.

  1.       Words/phrases that can be “TPRed “in a VERY clear way.

Save these words for TPR!!!

What does that leave us?  At the beginning levels we need structures that will allow for stories to take place.     If we combine the words below with other key words we can create nearly every story we need at the beginning level.   How?

Pick a phrase.   Add a word or two.   (ie  goes to the new supermarket)  Add cognates.  Add TPRables.    Add emotion (see next post) Done.

is + adjective (physical, personal, possessive…however your target language is structured.

is named                                    Lives in

Has     (to)                                  Needs (to)

Wants( to)                                 Should

Goes (to/towards)                    Leaves (from/for/towards)

Looks (for)                                  Finds

Says (to)                                     Asks (for)

Answers                                      Responds

Receives                                     Respects

Likes                                            Knows   (that/how)

Understands   (that)                 Thinks    (that)

I realize that it seems like it couldn’t be that simple.  But it is.  Start with simple.

With love,
Laurie

All content of this website © Hearts For Teaching 2009-present and/or original authors. Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited. Examples and links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.

Personalization and Star Wars … Archived Post 3.12.10

by lclarcq on November 30th, 2014

filed under Archived Posts 2010, Creating Stories, Good Days, Personalizing Instruction, TPRS techniques, Using Student Ideas

(Originally posted 3/12/10)

One of the things that we try to do is to get to know our students.  Ben Slavic has been posting some great pieces written by Bryce Hedstrom.    Bryce writes about talking with kids in the TL in class.

He says:  “One important point here is that we are NOT talking about intimate secrets concerning the actual lives of our students. We are not intruding into their personal space. We are “personalizing.””One important point here is that we are NOT talking about intimate secrets concerning the actual lives of our students. We are not intruding into their personal space. We are “personalizing.”  He says more, so when you get a chance, check it out.  It’s extremely well-written and very important.

Getting to know our students allows us to personalize stories and connect the language to our students.    And vice versa!

Today we were working with a skeleton story written by students earlier in the day.  The focus structures were:  had the desire to, just about to start, and without rest ( the last two from songs we have been using this week….the first because it is a high, high, high frequency structure in Spanish).  The skeleton story was this:

Two characters had the desire to win a race.  They practiced for a long time without rest.  Suddenly they realized that the race was just about to start.  Oh no!  Would they get there in time?

We had just finished an activity that had gone really well with the other two level one classes this morning…but not with this one.   It went…..but not well.   When we started with the skeleton story, I wasn’t really expecting bells and whistles.  Oh my was I wrong!!

Our skeleton stories often use “characters” so that each class can choose their own.    I took suggestions….Pee Wee Herman (how do freshmen even know who he is?!!),  Barney,  Terrell Owens (we aren’t far from Buffalo)…nothing seemed to click.  Then someone suggested Obi Wan Kenobi.

BAM!!!!! The class popped out of their seats!!   All of a sudden they were suggesting names for the second character….each one calling out their favorite Star Wars character and  using Spanish to explain why that character was a better choice for the story.  Three boys who rarely get fired up were falling all over themselves to get involved.

Then one girl raised her hand and said, “Nunca miro Star Wars”.  A very quiet kid YELLED, “En serio?” (sorry…I’m on the laptop and cannot do the upside-down interrogative!) Now they wanted to start to tell the story of all seven (?) movies in Spanish lol.

I had absolutely no idea that so many of the kids in this group were Star Wars fans.   Had we not started this story, I’m not sure if I would have ever found that out.   Now I have a topic that has united about 10 students who have been stubbornly resisting any kind of unification.

Self-proclaimed geeks, jocks, troublemakers, and three Twilight groupies are now uniting to make sure that the rest of the class learns to appreciate the Star Wars saga in all its glory.

So far Obi Wan and Yoda are training without rest on Tatooine, so strong is their desire to participate in and win this race.    When they realize that the race is just about to start, and that it is on Coruscant they must use the Death Star 2 to get there in time.

But look at what else we were able to do with those phrases via Star Wars…..

Has the desire to….be a Jedi, help Luke, find his father, join the dark side ( I knew we’d find a good use for “lo mas oscuro” this week!!!!), kiss Leia, etc., etc,

without rest….train to be a Jedi, fight the dark side, protect Leia, etc.  etc.

was just about to start…..the war, the search, the battle,

And that was just in the last 10 minutes of class!!!!

I started the activity thinking that they would want to talk about themselves as runners, or their favorite athletes….hoping to use personalization to “hook’ them into the story.  Well…it did…just not in the way I anticipated.     Personalization leads to great stories….and vice versa!!

with love,
Laurie

All content of this website © Hearts For Teaching 2009-present and/or original authors. Unauthorized use or distribution of materials without express and written consent of the owners/authors is strictly prohibited. Examples and links may be used as long as clear and direct reference to the site and original authors is clearly established.