Start From The Heart: Take Care Of Problems

by lclarcq on August 12th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Classroom Management, Relationships, Start From The Heart, Starting The Year, Teacher Training

Teaching in an IB school for the last two years taught me so much!! As the oldest of five siblings and a single mom of two boys (now men!), I have a tendency to try to take care of everything myself. Not because I think I can do it better, but because I am so programmed to look for potential problems and head them off at the pass. That can be a great quality, but, it gives others the impression that a) problems take care of themselves and b) I want to do everything…..neither of which is true!! The IB emphasis on learner traits really helped me to see how allowing everyone in the class to have a role in problem-solving not only aligned with our practice of classroom jobs, but also helped us all to share responsibilities and our talents every day.

How does the Rule ‘Take Care Of Problems” connect with other Start From The Heart ideas?

Respect–

A. Taking care of one’s own problems is a sign of self-respect. Teaching is complicated. We need to
respect that. Eliminating unnecessary problems is a practical way to honor the work that we do, and
to respect the energy we invest in this job every day.

B. Students need to observe adults solving their own problems. They absorb what we model. Even better
if we vocalize from time to time what we are doing and why. They cannot see inside our heads!! They
don’t hear our hearts!!! So stopping to take sips of water water and mentioning staying hydrated
teaches more than you would imagine. So does stopping to think before responding, showing them how we
choose songs and a number of other behaviors we can demonstrate!

C. When we demonstrate our commitment to avoiding and solving problems, we tell our students that they
matter to us. Students have amazing problem-solving abilities. It isn’t always easy to see,
particularly when some of them appear to be able to solve simple problems, but don’t. But they really
do. We often underestimate the number of problems they deal with every day! When we make it a clear
goal to commit, as a class, to taking care of problems, we respect that they are human beings, with a
lot to deal with, and that they have qualities and abilities that can help the entire group.

D. When we make Taking Care Of Problems a class initiative, we continue to grow as individuals and as a community, with common goals.

Success–

Success is not living a problem-free life. Success is dealing with life’s problems in a positive way whenever possible.

A. Whether we plan ahead alone, or with the help of students, we commit to avoiding
UNNECESSARY problems.

B. When we, and our students, can identify problems as they occur, we can address
those problems before they become insurmountable.

C. When we, and our students, find ways to consciously, creatively and compassionately
address problems as they occur, we experience confidence and relief. That…is
success!

So in order to continue to create an atmosphere of respect, and to prepare and maintain an environment for success, we are going to make Rule #2: Take Care of Problems. Want to get started?! That is the next post!

With love,
Laurie

See Rule #1: LIsten In Order To Understand.

Start From The Heart: RESPECT

by lclarcq on August 8th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Classroom Management, Engagement, Start From The Heart, Starting The Year, Teacher Training

Whether we’ve been to a one day workshop or an entire week of training, there is so much excitement about using a truly comprehension-based approach! And then reality hits…..

How do I start? What do I do first? What do I need? HELP!

It looked so seamless and easy in the demo. We had some practice at the training and overcame a few butterflies. But when the reality of 100+ students a day, IEP’s, lesson plans, unit plans, evaluation, assessment, and explaining it all to colleagues, parents and students kicks in, it’s overwhelming.

So let’s start from the heart of the matter. If we (and everyone else) has a clear idea of why we are doing what you do, it all goes much more smoothly.

I’m going to suggest a one-word start:

RESPECT

I actually started with several other ideas (see next post!!), but then realized that if we start with RESPECT, everything else will flow more successfully.

What does RESPECT, in the classroom, look like to you?

This is incredibly important. If we are clear in our own hearts and minds about what is and isn’t respectful, discipline becomes much easier. If you’ve never thought about it in such concrete terms, take 10 minutes and try it. Take a look at this list and mark which actions/reactions you consider respectful and which you do not.

Feel free to share it with colleagues or even use it as a lesson plan for interaction and discussion with students.

WHAT IS RESPECT?WHAT IS RESPECT?

Look at what you feel is respectful and what isn’t. Based on what you feel, what definition can you put together for RESPECT? Here are some ideas. Feel free to adopt/adapt or consider working with colleagues/students to create a definition for your classroom.

RESPECT is a choice.
RESPECT requires paying attention to others.
RESPECT requires being aware of self.
RESPECT is an action, or choosing to NOT engage in an action..
RESPECT does not hurt others, physically or emotionally.
RESPECT is visible.
RESPECT creates a community.
RESPECT accepts differences.
RESPECT values progress over perfection.
RESPECT brings people together.
RESPECT recognizes growth.

Post this in your classroom. Put it in English/TL. Have students create a copy for themselves. Refer to it often. Add to it when needed!!

Respect is the cornerstone and building block of a successful relationship. When we begin there, and encourage conversation and discussion about respect and communication, we begin with an open door towards success…..even if it seems rocky at first!

So how do we communicate our thoughts/beliefs to our students? We each get to decide that. There is no wrong way as long as it falls under the guidelines we have identified as RESPECTFUL.

Make a poster. Make copies for students. Have students write them for an assignment. Design a game. Lead a discussion. Poll them on their ideas or on how past teachers showed respect. Use the worksheet above. Just tell them. Anything we do that keeps them alive and in front of the class will work…again, as long as it follows your RESPECTFUL guidelines..

Ultimately, focusing on RESPECT will only work if we walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Let your students see you at your most respectful. Let them see you apologize if you are not. Let them see that it is all of those things you said that it was, BY YOUR ACTIONS.

Showing RESPECT through action is LOVE in its highest form. They know that, even if they haven’t yet experienced it.

With love,
Laurie

Start From The Heart: A Series

by lclarcq on August 8th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Classroom Management, Engagement, Relationships, Start From The Heart, Starting The Year, Teacher Training

Hello to old and new friends!

It’s been a very busy summer and here we are…at the beginning of a new school year. This year, I will not have my own classroom, but I am grateful to all of you who are opening your classrooms to me so that I can visit and guest-teach as I travel around the U.S. and beyond! It will take a day or two, but I hope to have an updated schedule up very soon.

As this new year starts for all of us, I am going to write a series named Start From The Heart. I’ll post a number of different ideas and activities that friends, colleagues, my students and I have found helpful for those starting the year, and/or starting with Comprehension-based teaching anytime during the year.

Some posts will be just for the teacher…things to ponder on and work with. Others will contain activities that you can do with colleagues or students. I will post these on my Teacher Pay Teachers site (Hearts for Teaching) as free uploads!!

I hope that you will find something that resonates with you and supports you at this exciting time of year! Please write me and let me know if there is anything specific you would like to see addressed. I know that there are many resources out there…thank you for being part of this one!

with love,
Laurie

Comprehensible Online!

by lclarcq on February 14th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Teacher Training, Upcoming Workshops

Wishing you could get to a great conference but can’t leave home? Scott Benedict has created the wonderful Comprehensible Online!

From March 24-April 15, you could have access to workshops on 40 different topics by at least 15 presenters!!! That is nearly 50 hours of workshops for you to enjoy and learn from. Wow.

I’ll be offering three different workshops:

Embedded Reading: The Basics
Embedded Reading: Creating Readings
This is Us (Who We Are!)

And there is SO MUCH MORE!

Check it out at www.comprehensible.online!

with love,
Laurie

The Journey Continues

by lclarcq on February 22nd, 2016

filed under Encouragment, Musings, Teacher Training

Richard asked, “Aren’t there ‘predictable obstacles’ or challenges that most of us are likely to encounter along our way toward using TPRS primarily in class?”

This (again) is a wonderful question…and this post is just a compilation of my thoughts and observations. What are the challenges/obstacles for teachers who begin to teach with TPRS?

1. Fear of the unknown.

Will it work? What will work? How do I know it’s working? What do I do if..? What do I do when…? The list of worries is …well, unending. Without experience we are walking on faith (or hope) alone. That is not easy to do. It takes courage.

The best way to handle this is to watch other teachers whenever possible: conferences, demos, in person, via Skype, on Youtube. And watch the students. Watch them closely. When we are teaching this way, we are constantly reacting to our students….so pay attention to the students when you observe, not just the teacher.

This will give us more of an idea of what to expect from our own students…and what to ask for from them as well.

2. Not knowing how to prepare students to be successful.

Trainers and presenters have SO much to share about preparing to teach with TPRS, and usually not nearly enough time to do it. Unfortunately, we often do not show teachers how to prepare the students for this new approach. Here are some past posts that might help teachers to do that:

Rules and Expectations Part 1

Rules and Expectations Part 2

Rules and Expectations During A Lesson

R and E: Trust and the Rules

When Students Are Lost

3. Trying to be someone else (and forgetting all of the wonderful things we already bring to the classroom)

When teachers want to change their actions in the classroom, they often want to emulate the teachers/presenters they have seen. This is a GREAT way to start, but please don’t forget that you are your students’ already amazing educator. When we try to “be” ___________ (insert your favorite presenter here) we set ourselves up for failure.

Your students don’t want Blaine, Jason, Carol, or anyone else to be their teacher. They want you. They know you. You will be there every day for them. Bring yourself first. Then add the actions, expressions, motions, ideas of your mentors.

If you aren’t sure how to incorporate your teaching personality, ask someone in your TPRS/TCI community about the teachers/presenters that they have seen. There is no “perfect” personality for this job. You can be loud or soft-spoken, high energy or completely chill, left-brained or right-brained, organized or impetuous, stand-up-comedy funny or steady and serious. Really. I promise!! The steps will be the same…and you get to be you!!

4. Biting off more than we can chew.

There are many teachers who ‘jumped in with both feet” to this way of teaching. “I threw out all of the textbooks!” “I decided never to go back to my old ways again!” “I ordered class sets of all of the novels and started the next day!” Teachers tell me this all the time.

But I meet just as many teachers who say: “I tried it but it was too overwhelming.” “I spent hours scripting stories.’ “It was so exhausting.’ “I have 5 preps, I just couldn’t do it.” “I was great for a week, but then the kids and I lost interest. I didn’t know what to do next.”

My suggestion is to start small and start slowly. We set our students up for success. We need to set ourselves up for success as well. Some ways to start slowly:

a. Only incorporate circling. Practice using a variety of questions and responding to students’ answers.

b. Have a conversation with students about a picture. Ask a lot of questions using the circling techniques and practice getting choral responses and individual responses.

c. Ask a story that they already know well in English (but ask in the Target Language!) Does Cinderella or Goldilocks dance with the Prince?

d. Use a story script. ‘Ask” a story for 5-10 minutes and then stop. Don’t worry if the story isn’t finished!

e. Try a Movie Talk. The video clip will provide instant structure, comprehensiblity, and interest!

5. Trying to do it all alone.

It’s not hard to do, but it is hard to do alone. I really meant what I said about connecting with a colleague or a community of support. Talk with other people. Let them share with you. Share with them.

6. Not being able to let things go.

There is a lot to let go of. Along the way we will begin to let go of our fears and insecurities, our old lessons, our imperfections, our former expectations, our need to control stories, our desire to wax poetic over grammar topics, our beloved projects, our bell-curve practices, so much of our former teaching selves. When we hold on too tight to these things, we fail to make room for our newer selves and a new, exciting experience for our students.

How do we learn to let go? We practice embracing the unknown. We prepare our students for their new role (and ours). We remember that we are not letting go of our true selves. We let go a little at a time, and we let in new experiences a little at a time. We share our worries and our successes with others. And we relax. And it happens.

with love,
Laurie

Is The Journey Predictable?: The Beginning

by lclarcq on February 21st, 2016

filed under Archived Posts 2016, Encouragment, Musings, Teacher Training

Richard asked several great questions in a comment from Saturday’s workshop post. Here is what he wrote:

“The whole day was great, and the night before. Excellent! I was hoping that she would tell us more of HER story, of her own personal journey with TPRS, to include problems met, coped with, and how. I also have a question regarding the A-Z. She said people don’t go from A to Z, but they are where they are, but aren’t there ‘predictable obstacles’ or challenges that most of us are likely to encounter along our way toward using TPRS primarily in class? Does she mean that we don’t all encounter them in the same order? I need clarification on the A to Z statement she made. What did she mean?”

Dear Richard,
I’ll leave my own personal journey for another day…and go straight to your questions about the journey for now. It will probably take me several posts. :o)

For those who were not at the conference, I spoke about how the journey of growth as a Comprehensible Input-based teacher does not follow a clearly defined map. Teachers do not start at Point A and follow a straight line to Point Z. It would certainly be easier for teachers (and for trainers) if it were, but it would also definitely NOT be as beautiful, personal, and powerful. The truth is that each teacher’s CI (Comprehensible Input) journey begins differently.

We each “find” TPRS or CI teaching at different points in our career. So……

1. We each come with an individual “education” background, based on our childhoods, college studies, professional development histories and personal reading/research experiences. As we grow, our new experiences sometimes mesh with, and sometimes challenge our background knowledge.

2. We each begin the journey with a different level of understanding of how language acquisition works…and a different level of faith that it does. Some folks believe completely and totally that acquisition can happen in a classroom. Others believe in acquisition, but don’t yet believe that it happens in a classroom. Others are just becoming convinced that acquisition, rather than learning, actually exists and occurs. Depending on what we “believe”, our “AH HA!” moments are different as we begin to see acquisition occurs in our classrooms.

3. We each “begin” our growth as TPRS/CI teachers with different skills. Some are innate “people” skills that we use to manage the class, create relationships with our students etc. Others are deliberate “teaching” skills that we have developed; “tricks of the trade” so to speak.

4. The environment we are teaching in when we begin our journey will be different for each teacher. Some are the only teacher in the department, others work in a department of 80 or more. Some have colleagues in the same building or district who are also interested in, or at least supportive of, this teaching approach. Others are the “lone wolf” in their educational community. Some have districts that help to fund and to provide opportunities for training. Others must carve out these opportunities from their own finances.

5. We are each “introduced” to this journey in a different way. Some people first become informed by reading articles and blogs and such via the internet. Some first see it via Youtube. Some are introduced to it when a colleague begins using it in the classroom. Some see it first at an hour-long demo at a state conference. Others are immersed in a 5 day week long summer conference. Even the people we read, or see, or hear when we first begin shape our understanding as they open a door.

What do we have in common then?

Are there commonalities among “novices? I think that there are common needs:

A. A need to share our new or renewed “fire in the belly” about teaching. We find a growing level of excitement about the possibility of students who really are excited to be in class and who are successful with the language. We are blown away by what we see our students being able to do. We want to tell people about it!

B. A need for colleagues and mentors. We have questions!! Our questions are not all the same, but we have a lot of them!! We also need the support and reassurance that supportive colleagues and mentors offer.

C. Input, Input, and more Input. At any stage in the journey, but most importantly at the beginning, we need to see, hear and read about TPRS/TCI. A teacher who is going to progress on the journey is a teacher who, at some point, develops an attraction to, if not a minor addiction to, all things TPRS/TCI-related.

I believe that the best way to feed these needs is to find a TPRS/TCI community (or communities!!) to belong to. Whether we join the Yahoo group mortars (often referred to as the moretprs listserv), one of the Facebook pages, Ben Slavic’s blog community, or begin to attend the regional groups that are growing around the country doesn’t really matter. Being part of the community is one of the best parts of this journey …personally and professionally.

I once read a very insightful piece about the Camino de Santiago where the writer, who went on the pilgrimage alone, without friends or family, described the Camino as something he did alone, but never really on his own.

I think that the TPRS/TCI journey is very much like that. In our classrooms, it is our own personal pilgrimage, but we never, ever have to travel the road alone.

Thank you Richard for the questions…very, very much.

with love,
Laurie
PS If you are looking to connect with other TPRS/TCI teachers, check here for some options.

Tri-State TCI Presentation

by lclarcq on February 19th, 2016

filed under Teacher Training

Hello Everyone!!

Welcome to Your CI Journey! I’ve uploaded the documents that we will be referring to during the Saturday, February 20th workshop here. I will also upload a version of the PowerPoint presentations that we’ll see.

We are meeting in the incredibly beautiful library at Penn Charter Upper School. Feel free to bring your computers with you and we will share outlets!

If you would like to refer to printed documents, please try to print them and bring them with you.

We will be starting at 9:00 am sharp so coffee will be available at 8:30 am!!

So looking forward to seeing/meeting you all!

with love,
Laurie
PS I will be updating this throughout the day as I find different venues for the internet

Teacher Training Packet Tri State

%22Stages%22

Observations

ObservationsB

Questioning Template copy

Vocabulary in Vietmanese copy

Si uống tra. copy

grandma-2

mc-grandma

Your CI Journey: Philadelphia February 20!

by lclarcq on February 7th, 2016

filed under Archived Posts 2016, Teacher Training

I am so excited to be able to present a day-long workshop via Tri-State TCI/TPRS Teachers (Check Facebook for their page!). If you are interested, there is still space available!!

The workshop is Your CI Journey and is designed for teachers who have had some training and experience with TPRS/CI and are looking to do/understand even more. The day will be broken up into several segments:

* Examining the Details: Teachers follow detailed and interactive observation templates to identify and track CI teaching skills during a Vietnamese demo, followed by discussion and planning for personal growth.

* Increasing the Input: At every level, teachers are trying to increase not only the percentage of Target Language use, but COMPREHENSIBLE Target Language use. This segment will build on the first piece on skills and offer a number of ways to increase that percentage.

*Ramping Up Reading: Ways to increase and vary activities that build reading comprehension skills while keeping students engaged! This will include ways to use Embedded Readings and utilizing activities that are level-appropriate.

*Meeting the Needs: Looking at the particular needs of attendees and their students.

Here is the flyer:
Laurie Clarcq flier2-3

It’s not too late to sign up!! Please contact Anny Ewing for questions or details at AnnyEwing@Altamira.org

We would love to see you there!!!
with love,
Laurie

NYSAFLT 2015 Annual Conference

by lclarcq on November 1st, 2015

filed under Archived Posts 2015, Coaching, Past Workshops, Sharing CI/TPRs, Teacher Training

Thank you so much to everyone who attended the workshops in Saratoga Springs! (Don’t forget to pencil in Oct 13-14 2016 in Syracuse, N.Y.!!)

The first workshop offered on Friday afternoon was entitled: On Your Feet! Powerful Practice and Positive Feedback for the Comprehensible Input Classroom (note to self: shorter title next time!!)

What a great group of enthusiastic and passionate teachers!!

The participants worked in groups of 6-10 as we went through a series of exercises. There was a lot of laughter and a great deal of insight. I asked each group to make a list of what they observed/learned from each other during this first segment. I’m sharing these below…just remember that the lists will make much more sense to the list writers than they will to those who were not there. :o)

(I know that they appear to be going all different directions but if you click on them individually they show up correctly!!)

nysalist1

nysalist2

nysalist3

nysalist4

nysalist5

In the next segment of the workshop, we practiced with an individual sentence in each group, showing how to circle (ask a large number of questions) and to personalize (connecting the statement and the questions to others in the group) Then we added details.

Along with this segment, we added illustrations…and I want to make sure that I show some samples of how illustration helps with visualization which increases engagement and comprehension:

drawing 1

drawing2

Along with an illustration of how what we think we are drawing doesn’t always quite turn out the way we thought it would….tee hee

drawing3

I must apologize to the group that created an amazing poster/sentence for our president Francesco Fratto who makes World Languages SEXY !!! I didn’t get a picture of his poster before we gave it to him as a gift!! If one of you has it, please email it to me and I’ll include it here!

In the third segment we watched as Nora and Birgitte each taught a short lesson and received feedback from students and observers. What amazing teachers! Students and observers were able to see, experience and appreciate all of the positive attributes they had been practicing…and much more. We used the Coaching from the Heart format and there were so many insightful reflections and observations.

I’ll add the PowerPoint that outlines what we did ASAP! Thank you so much for being part of a giving and sharing community!

May you all have a wonderful week with your students!!
with love,
Laurie

NYSAFLT Summer Institute 2015 Visualization: The Power of the Picture

by lclarcq on August 6th, 2015

filed under Archived Posts 2015, Curriculum and Planning, Engagement, Teacher Training

Welcome!! Here are the Power Points, and the video, that we used during today’s presentation:

Visualization- The Power of the Picture For Sharing

Jose and Laurie

Log or Crocodile?