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Lovin’ Laughter Archived Post …3.27.10

(originally posted 3/27/10)

Yesterday was such a great day!  It was a conference day…and as most language teachers know, it’s a rare conference day that has anything good to offer.  We have gotten used to digging deep to find a way to connect what is presented on conference days to our classroom reality.  But yesterday?  Whoo hooo!!

The presenter’s name is Randy Judkins and he hails from Maine (apparently lots of good folks up there!).  Randy is a retired math teacher but un-retired educator, juggler, jester and lover of laughter and levity.   We started the day off with a wonderful presentation and worked with him in smaller groups throughout the day.  Had Randy been inspired by a language teacher early on, he would surely have become a TPRSer.  Because the reality of it is, that what Randy is, is a really great teacher.

Here is what I observed Randy do yesterday.  With a group of about 150 reluctant (we don’t do much in the way of conferences in our district) educators.  He surely recognized the reluctance, but chose to embrace it and work with it, the way any good teacher would.  By the end of the day he had won over even the most critical and curmudgeon-like folks in the group.  How?

  1.  He requested, and worked the group up to, as close to 100% participation as possible.  How?  He made it painless, easy, and fun.  He asked questions, asked for group/choral responses, and then responded.  If the response wasn’t as strong as he would have hoped, he forgave us and tried again, by changing the question, or how he wanted us to respond, just a bit….until he had nearly everyone playing along.  Even better, those who weren’t participating found their colleagues cajoling them into joing in.
  2.  He was himself.   He showed us first that he was not afraid to be open, honest, funny, risk-taking or silly.  And very smart.  He shared a bit of his own (his)story.  Not details that made us uncomfortable or that were overly personal. …but the details that showed us what we had in common.  (hold on to that thought…)
  3.  He chose individuals to participate and treated them with kindness, respect, gentle humor and dignity…even when he was being silly.
  4.  He used humor that was pure.  No sexual innuendos, no overt violence, no put-downs.  Humor that was based on the true, the unexpected, the silly, the fun elements we all experience every day.
  5.  He spoke clearly and slowly so we could catch all of the humor, interest and passion in his message.
  6.  He accepted applause graciously…as if it were a great gift.
  7.  In workshop mode, he frequently stopped to observe and reflect on his observations….because observers see much differently than participants.
  8.  He PERSONALIZED.  He asked people what they taught, what they coached, and took note of clues that they offered (consciously or not) about themselves.  Then he responded to that information.
  9.  He laughed.  At himself.  There was no greater gift yesterday than the message that it never helps to take ourselves too seriously….and how taking ourselves too seriously is one of the behaviors that separates us from our students.
  10.  He did not try to change us.  He did not tell us what we SHOULD be doing.  Instead, he offered us the opportunity to be students for a few moments.  He showed us what laughter and love in the classroom COULD do….for everyone.

I wanted to pack him in my suitcase to take to NTPRS 10 in Chicago.  I found myself wishing that I could really attend a Maine Meeting Of The Minds this summer and bring him along.  I wanted to offer him a ticket to the SoCal get-together to meet Stephen Krashen and share his gift of humor and humility with all who are attending.

 

Since I can’t do that…I am inviting you to visit Randy’s website at www.randyjudkins.com .  If you ever get the chance to see him…please GO!!    You will enjoy every minute of it….as a participant, as a teacher, as a TPRSer.

 

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.

Planning “Backwards” Archived Post… 3.23.10

(Originally posted 3/23/10)

For years language teachers have organized instruction by topic.  Sometimes the topic was a grammatical concept, other times a thematic vocabulary focus.    Many CI-based classrooms have moved away from that organizational structure.  For many teachers, however, the organizing question now is, where do we go?

New York State has identified four main communicative functions:   Socializing, Providing/Obtaining Information, Expressing Feelings and Getting Others To Adopt A Course Of Action.  It wouldn’t be too difficult to start a list of phrases under each category.

But when I tried to place my phrases from last week into those  categories it was a rough go.

To be honest, I’ve tried to organize phrases by at least a dozen different methods over the last ten years….and each attempt was a no go.

The CI seems to be like a slippery little creature, sliding out of my grasp and going right where it wants to go….not the way I would like it to go.

So for the last two years rather than forcing the flow of language, I’ve been tracking it.

The key to this is, without a doubt, “backward planning.”   I find a story with a great message or plot, a movie of great interest, a song with great appeal AND clear, comprehensible language AT  my students’ level.     I go over the piece phrase by phrase looking for:

  1. Repetitive phrases
  2. Idiomatic phrases
  3. High-frequency phrases
  4. Interjections
  5. Cognates
  6. Already –familiar or acquired phrases

Phrases A-D become my focus phrases.   I use those for PQA, Story-asking, Games, Embedded Readings, Powerpoint activities…..whatever my little teacher’s heart desires.

I wasn’t altogether sure that this sort of planning would work.  So I tracked the language we were addressing and the language that my students were acquiring.

Wow.

Because the “curriculum” is drawn from real language the patterns that emerge are natural and high frequency.   Because the teacher the students had last year is incredibly intuitive, hard-working and student-connected, I start from a very good base.  Because I teach in a small department I have this luxury.   Because I have a number of years of successful students behind me I have this freedom.  I realize that not everyone does.

I still have to ask myself:  What is missing?  What else do they need to be able to understand and express?  How can I incorporate those?

But for the most part, things just fall into place.  When we talk about Finding Nemo, we  talk about fish and animals,nature and families, relationships and struggles.  We talk about meeting people, making friends, having dreams and making plans.  We talk about the order in which things occur and predict what comes next.

When we talk about the video “We Are The World” we talk about what different artists look like and sound like.  We talk about favorite singers, groups, songs and concerts.  We compare and contrast. We talk about international languages such as music and sports.   We speak in metaphors. We are the World.  We are the children.  We are Love.

When we sing Eres Tu, we are singing in similes.  When we read Casi Se Muere we imagine and describe characters and emotions.   We compare our travels to Ana’s and Ana’s last trip to this one.  We talk about making new friends, being left out, being scared, being nervous and how hard it is to do the right thing sometimes.  We talk about having crushes.   We explore Chile and volcanoes.  We talk about the lake district and the wine region and how much it is like the region where we live (minus the volcano!)

We were surprised and horrified by earthquakes and felt for earthquake victims.  We compared the nations of Haiti and Chile.  We talked about the challenges facing Chile’s new president…and ours.   We talked about what kind of clothing and furniture they might need…..and what we could donate.

And all of it will come around again when we watch Selena and learn her music.  In between we create original and personalized stories.   We told some, we wrote some and we read the ones that others told and wrote.   We extended skeleton stories and created artwork for our favorite parts.

Then, just to fill in spaces and have fun, we played games, read books on kindergarten day and sang somewhat silly songs.

The biggest problem?  Not enough time to do it all…………….

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.

Pumping It Up! … 3.23.10

(originally posted 3/23/10)

Now….what about going deeper into the language?

The first and most obvious approach is to play with past, present and future tense.  When you start to do this will depend on your district, your students, and your own mindset.

The truth is that any student, at any time, can learn to speak about the past, the present and the future.  What matters here is the pacing.   When our students hear the present tense, they process at one speed.  Events happen sequentially.

When we refer to the past tense, or the future tense, or a natural combination of the three, WE MUST SLOW DOWN!!   The students’ minds must travel dimensionally to “picture” what is happening.  They need us to speak slowly at first, to pause to allow them to picture, to connect what they just heard with the picture in their minds and to anticipate what may be happening next.     Once they get accustomed to all of this cognitive activity we can move closer to a more natural rate of speed ….as long as we constantly check for comprehension.     The investment of time early on is very worthwhile.     Try not to worry.  Try not to be impatient.  With yourself or with them!!

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

(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

(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.

A Chrysalis…Archived Post 3.17.10

(Originally posted 3./17/10)

Ok…Let’s face it.  Some folks don’t like caterpillars very much.   They are very wormy-looking.  They might look a little slimy or hairy.  But for the most part, lots of people think that they are cute little critters.  They appear to be curious, lifting up their little antennae-decked heads to sniff around.   Their colors are often beautiful.  And as we all know…they are hungry.  :o)

Children have been compared to caterpillars before.    Yes, I know…they often run around in a way caterpillars never do.  But……when it’s time to get ready to go to school?  Put on their pajamas?  Yup.  Caterpillars.

They are curious.  They can be fuzzy.  They can be adorable.  They can also be hairy, slimy and wormy.  And boy oh boy can they eat!!

If children are caterpillars, then adolescents must living in a chrysalis.  How perfect is that? They create a tough, ugly, protective coat of armor.  Underneath it they look as if they are sleeping…if you can see them at all.  There is little visible movement, although, over time, a great deal of change.     The shell keeps the world at bay until those changes take place.

Now caterpillars are a little luckier.  They can plant themselves on a tree branch and hang out.   No one is making them get up, get dressed, get to class, get a job and get moving while they get their act together.  Teens are not as lucky.  It’s no wonder then that they look for ways to pull the armor (hoodie, hair, shades) over their eyes and withdraw.  They need that withdrawal in order to work on their metamorphosis.

In our society, we have pushed adolescents to come so far out of their shells that it is inevitable that they find ways to crawl back in.   Society says “Get good grades, take as many classes as you can, get a part-time job, play a sport, play an instrument, go to church, have friends, have a boy/girlfriend, help around the house, volunteer, demonstrate leadership….. or you will not be successful.”

Is it any wonder that our students end up using chemicals, over-involved in sex or participating in self-injury?    That shell is there for a reason.  The evolving creature is very very vulnerable.  Yet, this is the time that we push the hardest for young people to get out and expose themselves to the world.

I’m not advocating that we lock our teens up in a protective fortress.  They are, after all, NOT caterpillars.   However, I do think that we occasionally owe them time, space, activities, and permission to withdraw…just a bit….from the childhood and adult activities going on all around them…in order to find a little peace.  They have enough going on inside to keep them busy.   Maybe if we did that, we wouldn’t find them going so far off of the deep end to do it for themselves.

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.

They Really Need Us…Archived Post 3.13.10

(Originally posted 3/13/10)

Warning:  My personal opinion only.  I know that some people will see this differently.   That’s ok with me.  :o)  (I sent a version of this to the moretprs listserv in addition to posting it here.)

This is the time of year when some kids just push us over the edge.  Maybe they are mouthy.   Maybe they are combative.  Maybe they are passive-aggressive.  Maybe they try to be solid lumps of stone covered by a hoodie.    On the listserv, in emails, on Facebook, in the faculty room….teachers are letting out their frustrations.  I know that sometimes these kids seem incomprehensible….especially since many of us really enjoyed classes in high school. There may be a lot of reasons why they are in our classrooms and why it appears that they have no good reason to be there. Here are some possibilities…(warning…maybe too many of them!!):

* They did not choose their schedules. A parent, counselor, former teacher, administrator thought they should be in there…or even more likely has no idea that they are, much less whether or not they should be.

* Students often “get” that they have to “take” a class. They don’t always “get” that that means participating in and passing a class. Oh yes, I”m serious. What they are told is: You have to take such and such. Imagine that you have a very literal mind. What would that mean to you?

* Many of them have experienced classes where they COULD sit, not participate, and pass. Who knows how or why…but I’ve seen it happen. If they got through one, they may be fairly certain that they cdan do it in your room.

* Many of them are very very bright. They are used to absorbing enough material to get by without doing much else.

* They really don’t care if they get anything out of it. School is a place to escape home. That’s all that matters.

* They are suffering from depression and/or anxiety. Just being there takes all the effort they have. Participating is, truly, too much to expect.

* They are hurting. Bruised inside by someone’s abuse or a situation beyond their control. Their coping mechanism is an ugly whiplash response to anyone and anything.

* They feel inadequate. (even, well…especially…if they are very smart) This is a new venue, or one in which they feel smart enough in. They feel lost and respond by striking out or hiding.

* They are very intuitive. They recognize when we need to be liked and find it distasteful. (perhaps because that need is so great within themselves) So they throw it back in our faces by rejecting us and our class.

* They are over-exercising their newly-developed skills of analysis don’t know it. They have analyzed us and found us lacking. it’s a natural part of growing up and yes…it can be annoying and irritating and frankly, rude.

* They don’t know how to deal with us. We may be too loud or too silly or too whatever for their taste and comfort level. Language teachers are NOT like other teachers and while they have had many math and English teachers over the years, they haven’t had many of us to deal with….and especially not CI based language folks. We don’t stand up in the front and speak at them while they sit there and absorb it. Remember, kids are HIGHLY REWARDED for being silent in other classes.

* We are women. Sorry to say it, but it is true of many teachers in the profession. Many teens are reworking their relationships with the opposite sex. Or the same sex. Or someone who is parent-like.

* They trust us enough to not behave well. They know that we are not going to swear at them, write them up every day, call  their parents and rant, be sarcastic in front of the entire class.

* They have an undiagnosed, or unaddressed learning issue. Many times they have learned how to fade into the background in other subjects. They haven’t figured out how to do it in a language. Every year we seem to uncover students with unrecognized issues.

It is probably very complicated. That is why we can rarely solve it. We can only do what we can. The hardest thing to do is to not take it personally. As I said before, when we were students, most of us would have done anything and everything necessary to do well and to learn the material.

THEY ARE NOT US. We cannot try to understand them from our own perspective. If we really want to understand them, we have to look at their world from their perspective.

If we want them to be us, well, frankly that ain’t gonna happen.

If we want to survive them, then we need to register them on our radar, but refrain from locking in on them as a target.

If we want to help them, then we need to first accept them as they are. We don’t have to like all of their behaviors, or even tolerate those behaviors in our classroom. But we do have to accept that they are their own quirky, complicated, adolescent beings. And that they have the right to be a student in our classroom….even if they don’t always act that way.

We will also have to bring in a support system. For us as much as for them.

This may seem very difficult. But I promise you…this is REAL teaching. The kids that smile and do all of their work and raise their hands and try really hard. They don’t need you. They will flourish with any teacher. But the tough nuts? They need you the most.

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

(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.

Climbing the PQA Mountain Archived Post 3.2.10

(Originally posted 3/2/10)

I have to confess…..I really had trouble with PQA (Personalized Questions and Answers).    The idea behind PQA is to use a targeted, high-frequency phrase in conversation with students so that they hear (and comprehend it) many, many times.

At first, I didn’t spend a lot of time nor energy analyzing my PQA resistance….I just avoided it whenever possible.   (Fortunately now there is Ben Slavic’s PQA in a Wink!! …but pre-Ben all I could do was marvel at how Susie and others wove wonderful questions in workshops and wish that I could do the same.)

Then one day I had an epiphany!   PQA is NOT about the focus structure.  IT’S ABOUT THE STUDENTS!   So…..instead of asking myself, what questions can I create using this phrase, I began to ask myself…

Can I get to know my students better using this phrase?  If so, how?

This cleared away many of the thoughts and emotions that were holding me back.   First…I realized that not all phrases are good PQA material.    I was able to find other ways to get repetitions with those phrases.  (Work smarter not harder Laurie Ann!!)

Second…when I started to think of questions in light of getting to know my students better, the questions became more interesting!!!  I was more interested, the questions were more interesting, and so, of course, the students became more interested!!

The third piece that really helped me was incorporating other TPRS skills into my PQA forays.  Combining PQA with teaching to the eyes, using signals, choral responses, and circling helped me to focus on my strengths rather than my weaknesses.

More later…

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.

Stopping For Signals…Archived Post 9.10.09

(This was originally posted 9/10/2009)

Today was the third day of classes.  This is the day that classroom management starts to kick into gear.  This is the day we start with the signal.  The first few weeks of class are designed with several purposes in mind:

  1. Interact with the students so that I can get to know them better as people and as students.
  2. Interact with the students in the target language so that they can acclimate to my voice and delivery of the language.
  3. Create a set of classroom routines that will make the entire year go more smoothly.
  4.  Model a number of behaviors so that the students will understand my expectations and begin to use those behaviors in class
  5.  Have students interact with each other in a variety of situations and activities so that they begin to be comfortable together as a group.
  6.  Incorporate as much of the target language into all of the above as possible!!!!!

The signal helps me with so many things, I cannot remember teaching without it!  The signal is basically an attention-getting device.  I use the term “signal” which I learned as part of a Madelaine Hunter training over 25 years ago!!  Elementary teachers, camp counselors, coaches, and scout troup leaders all use signals with their groups.  The key to a really effective signal is to make it interactive.

I start by teaching my students that when I (fake) sneeze that they need to say “Salud” AND THEN stop what they are doing and turn to face me in silence because I have something important to say.  We practice once and then I make sure that we use the signal several times that period.

It seems so simple.  You would be surprised how many students don’t get it at first.   High school students live in their own little bubbles of reality.  Sometimes it is hard to penetrate that bubble!  An entire class of 30 students can be sitting quietly, watching me, waiting for one student to realize that he/she is the only student talking (loudly!) in the room.  Even the friends he/she is talking to are ignoring him/her and looking at me and STILL the student remains oblivious.

The reality is that this particular group of students is not yet “tuned in” to my voice.  After a week, they are usually very responsive, but it takes the human brain some time to learn to connect with certain sounds, pitches and tones.    Developmentally I believe that adolescents are programmed to TUNE OUT ADULT VOICES.   I often think of the classic example of the voice of the teacher in the Charlie Brown movies.  No matter what is being said, all that the kids hear is WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH.

Using a signal to get students’ attention allows me to provide my students with a) a way to control sound and activity in the classroom b) interesting and useful phrases in the target language and c) extra opportunities to get “tuned in” to my voice.

with love,
Laurie

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