CIMidwest 17

by lclarcq on September 30th, 2017

filed under Uncategorized

A Hello! from Ripon, Wisconsin where I’m having a wonderful time at CIMidwest 17!! A wonderful shootout of THANKS to Erica Peplinski, Kelly Ferguson, Marta Ruiz, Grant Boulanger and Haiyun Lu, the organizers of this amazing event.

Here is the PowerPoint from our Story-Asking Workshop:

CI Midwest

It’s Time To Slow Down

by lclarcq on September 3rd, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Engagement, Pacing, Starting The Year, Uncategorized

Hello!! It’s good to have the “real” blog up and running again back here at www.heartsforteaching.com .

My kids and are will be starting our third full week on Tuesday (wow! so quickly?) and if you have been reading many of the posts on various Facebook pages (IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching, CI Liftoff etc.), you’ll notice a common theme: It’s time to slow down.

I AM THERE!!

We finally have a stable schedule, so students are not moving from class to class or teacher to teacher. I have had time to establish my expectations for behavior, model how I deal with “issues”, and begin to create relationships with, and among, students.

I’m crazy to do more with the language!! But…I also just gave a quiz and got feedback from parents at Back To School Night…so I know that this is the perfect time to slow down, no matter how counterintuitive it might be.

I’m going to reference a post from earlier this year: When Students Are “Lost”

Luckily, my students are “lost” yet! But, I know, if I don’t slow down now they will be soon. I just don’t want that to happen! Especially this early in the year! So I’m going back to this post, and these ideas this week to be proactive for my students.

When I was teaching in NY, I used this scale with my students to describe what is going on in their brains during class:

Stage 1 : Attention
(student is looking at/listening to w/intent to understand)

Stage 2: Identification
(student can locate sounds/text that are recognizable)

Stage 3: Comprehension
(student can visualize/dramatize meaning of the pieces they understand)

Stage 4: Clarification
(student will seek information needed to comprehend any missing pieces)

Stage 5: Interaction
(student will respond to aural input/text to the best of ability)

I want to share this with my students now, so they can begin to appreciate not only how much work the brain is actually doing during class (hmmmm can you say “RIGOR”?), but also to remind them that this is a process, a journey, and they are farther along than they may realize.

We will work from a poster than words it this way:

Stage 1: I heard/see it but I don’t recognize it/can’t identify it.

Stage 2: I can identify/recognize it but I don’t know what it means.

Stage 3: I heard/saw it AND I recognize it AND I’m pretty sure I know what it means.

Stage 4: I checked what I think it means with the context to see if I’m right.

Stage 5: I totally get it and can respond verbally/physically to it.

and I may create a smaller version for them each to tuck in their folders. It will definitely be part of parent communication. I REALLY wish I had thought to prepare it for Back To School Night…..

Then it can begin to be part of our interactions in class; with each other and with the language.

Now the REAL benefit to this is that this poster is a HUGE visual reminder for me to slow down. Why? So that their brains have time to deal with all of the stages! It really is a lot of work! In time it will take microseconds, but right now….they need time. Thinking time. Confidence time. All of which leads to individual and community success. Which we always need!!

with love,
Laurie
PS if you haven’t read the post where I originally shared this, go for it! When Students Are “Lost.”

Spanish is Easy!

by lclarcq on August 20th, 2017

filed under Uncategorized

I am SO excited to be teaching Level 1 again this year!  The classes are mostly 6th graders with a few 7th and 8th graders here and there.  Last year I jumped in with this level on November 1st…..almost 14 weeks in….so to be here from Day 1 is fantastic!!

I decided to try to convince them that Spanish was going to be easy….on Day #2.

On Day #1 I had used the phrases:

Hay un problema.

Se llama.

Hay ____ estudiantes en la clase.

So they didn’t have much to start with.   Now….let me say up front that I didn’t expect them to acquire anything from this exercise…..I just wanted them to experience success!

Me:  Your job is to respond to me when I speak Spanish to you.  If you do not understand what I said, please stomp your feet until I hear you and stop to explain so that you understand.  (I blab in Spanish until they stop me)  Excelente!  What English word do you hear in “Excelente”?

Students: Excellent!

Me:  Excelente!  If you DO understand me, just say Ohhhhhh.    Me llamo la Maestra Clarcq (we had done this yesterday.)  

Students:  Ohhhhh.
Me:  Gracias.  

I ask a student to set the timer on his phone for 10 minutes.

Me:  Clase, (I point to poster hay-there is or there are) un marcador (marker). 

Some students stomp.  I write “marcador” on the board.

Me”  What word do you see/hear in English when I say MARCADOR?

Some students respond; Marker

Me:  Clase, Hay un marcador.

Students:  Ohhhhh.

Me:  El marcador es importante.  

(If a class stomped, we stopped, I wrote it and gave the meaning.  If not, we went on)

I wrote usa (uses) and dibuja (draws) on the board.

Me:  La Maestra usa el marcador.      Students:  Ohhhh.

Me.  La Maestra dibuja con el marcador.     (if students stomp I stop and explain)
I drew a “lovely” stick figure of a person on the board.

Me:  La Maestra es talentosa.   Students stomp.  I explain talentosa/talented.

Me:  I’m going to ask you a question in Spanish.  You can give me your honest opinion.  ¿Es la Maestra MUY talentosa (I stretch my hands out wide) or UN POCO talentosa?  (I make the “little gesture with my fingers))  
I restated the sentence depending on the class answer.

Me:  Es obvio.      Students stomp.  I provide the meaning (It’s obvious.)

Me:  Clase, who thinks that they could draw a better person than I did?  

Hands of course go up and I pick one student to come up to the board and draw a person.  (I quietly asked them to do it fairly quickly)

While the student was drawing…..

Me:  Clase, hay )point to poster again) un artists famoso en la clase.   Students stomp and I write artist famoso (famous artist) on the board.

Me:  Se llama Mercedes (or what the student’s name is!)
Each time I am making sure that students “ooh” or stamp after my statements.

Me:  Mercedes usa el marcador.  Mercedes dibuja con el marcador.  Mercedes dibuja una persona con el marcador.   Mercedes es famosa a Eich Middle School. Es famosa en Roseville.   Es famosa en California.  Clase, Mercedes es MUY (with gesture) famosa.

By this time the artist was finished and we had the artist sign his or her work….to the sound of much applause (Es obvio!)   

About this time the timer also went off….if not…it was close and I could simply go back and repeat sentences until it did.

Now………..

I told the students this:

I am going to write down what we just talked about on the board.  While I am writing it in Spanish, I want you to share with a partner what it means in English.  

(Please forgive any errors because the period was ending quickly!)

Here is a sample!

Then, I read it in Spanish, sentence by sentence, and they said the English.  Talk about excitement!!  

Many of them took a picture to share at home and several asked me to text it to their parents, which made me smile.

I reminded them that they hadn’t acquired it yet, so they should not be surprised if they don’t remember it all.    But…..that Spanish was going to be this easy!!!

I started without asking many questions, or “circling.”  That is a skill we work on together and we will start next week.  But just for today, I wanted them to know that by 

a. listening well

b. responding when they understand

c.  showing me when they don’t

that Spanish will be easy!!!!

with love,

Laurie

Day #2: Winning Them Over One By One!

by lclarcq on August 20th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Classroom Management, Relationships, Starting Class, Starting The Year, Uncategorized

So, on Day #2 the students walk in and sit down.  Four out of six classes totally forgot about the names in the back of the room until the bell rang….and then….someone said, “Oh!  Our cards!”.   But once everyone remembered, all went well.

Ok….not all.

My first and third period classes looked something like this as they brought up their cards:

Student in the front of the line hands me the card.   I smile, and say, brightly, BUENOS DIAS!.  The student looks at the floor and trudges back to his or her seat.   This repeated itself 31 times!!!!!!!!   

Once everyone had gone through the process, I looked at the class and said, “Clase, hay un problema.”  And then explained in English that having your heart broken 31 times in a row is no way to start the day.

So…..they all got up again….I greeted them with a smile, a HIGH FIVE and a BUENOS DIAS!.   In the first period class, right about the middle of the line, one boy deliberately “missed” the high five.  (Ay!)  So, when everyone was done I invited him up front.  He gladly came (if not I would have gone over to stand next to him.)   I explained to the class in Spanish (these are level 2 students) that everyone gave me a high five except for “Alberto.’  Why?  Because Alberto and I had a very special handshake that was way more complicated than a high five and he was going to teach it to them right now.  

“Albert” whispered to me, “I don’t know what to do.”  I whispered back, ‘Just miss my high five and then we’ll do a fist bump.”  So “Albert” demonstrated the more complicated and special high five and I asked 3 or 4 other students if they wanted to try it.  There was about 25 hands in the air so I let them do it with a neighbor and then we went on.  “Albert” got the message, and so did the rest of them.  

:o)

with love,

Laurie

The Classroom of My Dreams

by lclarcq on August 11th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Curriculum and Planning, Starting The Year, Uncategorized

doesn’t exist.

Sigh.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamt of working in the perfect room. I’ve seen them on Pinterest. They must exist somewhere. But the truth is, they don’t exist in my world.

Perhaps your world is different. Perhaps you have unlimited time and unlimited funding. Perhaps you have no other distractions. Perhaps.

Or….your world is much like mine. The ideas all exist….in my head. The potential exists….in another reality. The desire exists…..every year.

But the reality does not.

What does?

This:

That’s my classroom right now. It might be my classroom for the next few days actually. (and classes start on Thursday!!)

Clearly there is a lot to do. In the past I would have been committed to all-nighters (or nearly) full of drawing, cutting, decorating and hanging. I would have done nearly anything to make sure that my students walked into a “classroom paradise.”

But almost a decade ago I gave that up.

I didn’t really have a choice at the time. You know, building construction, Xerox breakdown, no paycheck for July and August, two sons to get ready for school, moving to a new house, etc. etc. etc.

A few students asked me, “Where’s all your stuff?”. But not many. In fact, a few students actually told me that they liked the new “quiet” look. That was eye-opening.

And we started the year. And as things were needed, we made them and we put them up. The kids made most of the posters and decorations and they really preferred it that way. I still have dreams of the prepared and laminated loveliness of my early days. I’d love to have a gorgeous little Pinterest page-worthy environment.

But this way I get a few extra perks:

I don’t have to live up to my First Day decorating prowess.
I have more money in my bank account.
I have students who love to hang out in the room and create materials and decorations.
The students, their needs, and their work has become the focus of the classroom.

and I can still spend hours day-dreaming on Pinterest if I want to. 🙂
with love,
Laurie

Update on Trainings, Presentations and Workshops!

by lclarcq on February 5th, 2017

filed under Uncategorized

I’m a little slow, as usual, but I have updated the Training page here on Hearts for Teaching. I try to keep it as complete and current as I can, but please be forgiving. If you know of anything that should be on there….send me an email at lclarcq@yahoo.com

with love,
Laurie

Never, Ever….Give Up

by lclarcq on December 19th, 2016

filed under Uncategorized

Yes…I’m talking to myself again. The last two weeks weren’t easy. I’m still stopping, and waiting, for some groups. Ok….all of the 6th grade classes.

The 8th graders have gotten on board….there is a warmth to the room when we are together that is palpable. They smile. They share. They even try to show off their Spanish. Not everyone, but enough that it feels like we are in this together. It helps so much that a) I’ve had a week longer with them and b) they have had Spanish classes prior to this year and our work is connecting to those memories and class expectations.

The 6th graders are new to a language class. This has been their first and only experience. They had 12 weeks of one set of rules/expectations and mine are clearly different. I am asking for their attention, for their comprehension AND their positive, respectful, creative responses.
They are not used to that. They are not confident that they can deliver what I am asking for. And, let’s face it, it’s easier to chat with friends and not be prepared than to do what I am asking them to do.

They ARE making progress in the language. They really are. But they still have trouble staying focused, and not talking with each other, for more than 3 minutes at a time. And this, of course, drives me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the time Friday was over I was really frustrated. It had been a crazy week…like the week before vacation…two concerts, numbers of kids absent, a crazy schedule…ugly sweater day etc. Only it wasn’t the week before vacation…we still have school this week. I was having so much trouble seeing that this group of kids would begin to get it together and work with me instead of against me. It really seemed like more work than I had energy for.

But then, today was Monday. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better. I think 65% of the students were with me instead of against me. When you start out with only 10% on your side, that is progress.

And you know what? It is the week before vacation and much to my surprise, they brought presents. Presents! Wow. I haven’t taught middle schoolers in a while and their genuine desire to say Merry Christmas…or at least their willingness to deliver their parents’ greetings… really touched me. Relationships are being created. Trust is being built. It is just taking a while…as long as I don’t give up.

with love,
Laurie

A New Page

by lclarcq on October 28th, 2015

filed under Uncategorized

Hello everyone,

Sorry that it has been so long since I last posted! It’s been a busy few months! I’ve added a new page to the Hearts for Teaching website that I wanted to tell you about. It is a page where I have specifically posted information that I shared at this year’s TCI Maine, New England and Beyond! conference. You can find that page here:

TCI Maine, New England and Beyond!

or…if you look at the top of this page, you will find it there!

I’ll try to add things from past Maine workshops sometime this winter.

Don’t forget to check above for additional TPRS and TCI trainings available !!

with love,
Laurie

Reflections on FLENJ 15 by Piedad Gutierrez

by lclarcq on March 8th, 2015

filed under Acquisition, Archived Posts 2015, Encouragment, Musings, Sharing CI/TPRs, Uncategorized

From time to time I invite other teachers to write a guest post for this blog. There are so many dedicated, caring and brilliant people in the classroom that I would like to share with you. I met Piedad Gutierrez of New Jersey at an NTPRS National Conference in Las Vegas well over a decade ago and she has continued to be a wise friend and insightful colleague. She had so many things to say last weekend at the conference in NJ that I offered her a venue here. I’m so happy to be able to share her thoughts!! When you are finished, check out her website at TPRS Of New Jersey. with love, Laurie

From Piedad:

Something really good is happening in NJ. When the state world language teachers conference invites Dr, Steven Krashen as his keynote speaker, one of the day-long workshops is facilitated by Laurie Clarcq, and three of the one-hour workshops are presented by TCI and TPRS teachers, something really interesting is evident. There is a shift, a shift for the best.

Dr. Krashen said the obvious, what we already know he thinks: acquisition is different from learning. It is all about the story, the compelling desire to know about something. It is never about learning the language. However he said something I have not heard that clearly before, the vocabulary and the grammar come within the narrative. May be we do not need to pre-teach the vocabulary nor we need to explain the grammar. It is all about meaning, not rules. We read, listen to, and watch stories; therefore those should be our means of communication. All those eclectic activities, all those boring dittos and cloze activities should be replaced with the stories, the narratives, the legends, the comics, the videos, the poems, the songs. The language is just a tool, not the subject.

The subject is the audience. The students are the subjects of our classes. We teach them, not the books. If we focus in what drives our students’ interest, we win. With or without a curriculum, topics or themes, a list of words, a sequence of structures; as long as we are able to identify what our students care for, we can conduct classes that lead to acquiring the language.

Lauire Clarcq, a master TPRS teacher, shared that Embedded Reading strategy that she and Michele Whaley developed. Six hours were not enough to get closer to the brilliance and clarity of the techniques she developed with Michele. Story within story within story, like the Russian dolls. Keep the repetitions going while recycling known language and adding new information to the story. Keep the interest of the students by twisting just a little where the story is going. Magic! Step by step, Laurie guided us, explained to us how reading sentences is different from reading paragraphs, used cognates, embellished and enriched the story and kept it simple and funny. Ah! Humor and compassion, Laurie’s middle names.

Less is more goes not only for lesson planning, it goes also for presenting. When you have only one hour to convey a message, it is very difficult to select what to say and how to explain to an audience of teachers eager to learn new tricks. That would be my only concern. TCI and TPRS are not collections of activities, the narrative is the activity. Asking the story, the movie, the poem, the song IS the activity. The authentic communication developed between the teacher and the students, is core of CI. The students comprehend what the teacher is presenting and the teacher comprehends what the students are interested in. There is no need for pre, during, and post movie talk activities; the movie talk IS the activity! There is no need for pre, during, and post reading activities, the embedded reading IS the activity!

TPRS and CI are defined methods with clear steps to follow. The students get to know the routine; the students know when to listen and when to talk, when to write and when to read. You, the teacher train them.

Piedad Gutierrez
Educational and Bilingual Consultant
http://TPRSofNJ.com

How to Circle Like a Champion

by lclarcq on January 23rd, 2015

filed under Uncategorized

I’m sending a big thank you out to Chris Stolz tonight! Chris borrowed something that I had written on Ben Slavic’s blog and posted it on his blog: TPRS Questions and Answers

Then he gave me permission to post on my blog what he borrowed that I posted on Ben’s blog. :o) Thanks Chris!!

You can find that post here (and contrary to Chris’ opinion I am not a goddess lol)!!

with love,
Laurie