Start From The Heart: A Focus

by lclarcq on August 9th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Classroom Management, Curriculum and Planning, Engagement, Start From The Heart, Starting The Year

Now what? Sometimes it is so hard to get started!! That is why I think that is important to start a new chapter by creating a list or a series of short focus statements for yourself. Try creating statements using key ideas and goals for CI/TPRS instruction: Comprehension, Interest, Interaction, Success, Acquisition.

Why?

Because if we have a clear idea of what is important, it is much easier to create a classroom based on what is important. I know it seems overly simple, but with all that we are required to do, it is easy to get away from what really matters.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Maybe something like this:

In this room, Success Looks Like:
Comprehension
Interest
Interaction
Acquisition

Or maybe….

Comprehension + Interest + Interaction + Success = Acquisition!

Need more words? Think about adopting or adapting some of these:

When we comprehend…
When we are interested…
When we follow or interact successfully…
We acquire.

All of my students can acquire language.
Comprehended Input is the basis for acquisition in this classroom.
Compelling, connected, interactive input keeps students motivated for comprehension.
Success motivates my students.

I strive to provide an environment that facilitates language acquisition.
I strive to provide an environment that facilitates successful interaction.
I strive to create/find compelling input that connects to my students’ lives and interests.
I strive to interact with students using this input in a way that honors and motivates.

We all acquire languages naturally.
We all must comprehend the language in order to acquire it.
We acquire more language when we are engaged (using the language) in an interesting topic.
When we feel that we are a successful, important part of the language community in our classroom, we grow.

Students will be able to comprehend the target language used in class.
Students will be able to explore interesting topics, ideas, and lives in the target language.
Students will frequently interact with me and other members of the class.
Students will have opportunities be successful each day in these aspects of the class.

Once you have created your “message”, post it. Post it on your wall, on your website, on a sticky note on your computer, in a message to parents, wherever it will be helpful to share your vision.

ACQUISITION-3

Now it’s clear where you are coming from, and where you want to go!!

With love,
Laurie

Start From The Heart: RESPECT

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

A Guest Heart Speaks….Andrea Shearer

by lclarcq on May 20th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Encouragment, Guest Speakers, Musings, Not So Good Days, Students and Tragedy, The Teaching Profession

A fellow language teacher posted this piece on Facebook, and has graciously allowed me to share it here with you. May you and your students find not only safety, but peace on campus this week. with love, Laurie

Teenagers Are On My Mind. By Andrea Shearer:

Teenagers are on my mind. I love teenagers deep in my aching chest. I mean I literally love this one and that one and those two over there and group after group of teenagers. I didn’t plan it. I just do.

Elementary school teachers and high school teachers view each other equally incredulously of how the other can teach their respected age group. I will pass on a room full of 5 year olds. I’ll take a room full of angry teens any day. I love working with them. They make more sense to me. Even their dysfunction makes sense.

Just on the other side of puberty and the protective force fields of their parents’ love, teenagers’ grief for their fleeting childhoods and hope for and anticipation of their futures leave them almost in suspension. They are in the infancy of adulthood, still with the tender hearts of children but the intellect of adults, their stories aren’t written yet and they are just beginning to write them. Fledgling idealists. They are experiencing their first true loves beyond that of their parents. They are stunned as they get their hearts broken for the first time. Their understanding of the world around them abruptly shifting, their values being shaped by the daily battle between their intentions and their outcomes, they are in denial of many harsh truths. Denial is, after all, a stage of grief. Nothing in their lives up to now was their choice or is their fault and they haven’t had a chance to do anything about it yet. They are surprised when they screw stuff up. Their own weaknesses stand between them and what they would do if it were up to them. They are so full of everything they need except comfort and experience. It takes time and wisdom and cultivation to make a sensible place in this world for yourself.

But I’m experienced enough to know how to cultivate comfort. My wish is that my classroom be a refuge, offering a comfortable space to cultivate wisdom. A place to bring a tender heart and a budding intellect. A fertile garden in which to grow. In providing that refuge, I witness so many of their tragic realizations about this world. I try to be present as so to catch any opportunity for joy and exploit it for wind in their sails. The rest is up to them.

I’m failing right now to express how sad I feel about school shootings and the reality these kids are growing up in. Every time I try, I end up reducing it down to how much I cherish them. They are important.

When I meet people and they find out I’m a high school teacher, often times, the first thing they do is express how dangerous it must be, to work in a profession with such a high rate of violence. People thank me for having the courage, not to deal with their hormones or bad attitudes or to shape the minds of tomorrow, but to walk into a building every day that may very well host a bloodbath because, for some reason, we don’t know how to stop that.

My sadness and sorrow is perpotionate to the degree to which I love the particular creature that is the human teenager. They are my people. They deserve to be safe. They deserve to be protected. They are trying to grow up. We are treating them like they are worthless. They are hurting. They need us.
Be nice to teenagers.

And figure this out.

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

I’m Overwhelmed and I Don’t Like It Anymore

by lclarcq on February 14th, 2018

filed under Archived Posts 2018, Encouragment, Not So Good Days, The Teaching Profession

Dear Readers,

Eighteen years ago I wrote this post to the moretprs listserv. It is a response to a teacher named Teresa and it is somewhat personal, but at this time of the year, everything seems a bit personal. Or at least we take things personally…too little sun for many people, too little time for ourselves, giving too much to others. I’m sharing in case anyone here could use it:

I have read this several times Teresa…and can identify with everything you have said. My heart goes out to you. Teaching is cyclical. We all have moments of great joy and great frustration, enthusiasm..and yes..even boredom. We are subjected to cycles of professional interest…Madeleine Hunter, Mastery Learning…and professional change, department members , heads, administrators..and the like…..we experience years whenthe students make sense and connect..and others when we hope our children never turn out like that..and wonder if we are older than we feel….Life also…moves ahead on its own cycle.

Those of us who started teaching young, and fresh out of college, jumped in with nothing else to distract us. We happily took on those jobs we were told “came with the position”, be they coaching, student council, advisorships, etc. We felt privileged to be asked. (A lovely but naive thought :o)) We saw them as wonderful opportunities to bond with students and become a part of the school and community. Teaching was our life!!! And then Life creeps in: spouses, children, mortgages, family crisises, parents’ illnesses…perhaps our own. With as many joys and sorrows as our teaching life…but all drawing on the same emotional account. And for some reason, here we are 7, 12, 18 years later, wondering why we have become exhausted and jaded. Why we don’t feel like we are good at anything….teaching,counseling, advising, parenting,bill-paying,house-cleaning,exercising,friendships, relationships, or…anything. And how could we be? Why should we feel we have to be?

My personal life has taken a turn in the past two years which has hadin irreversible effect on my teaching. On one hand, I have not been as”effective” in many areas as I once was…or hope to be again. (parental contact, correcting, professional committees, advising etc.) On the other hand…in letting go of some things I thought were “essential”, I have found areas of greater depth of focus than I ever thought possible. Yes, my teaching has had a much different effect on my students…and a better one in many ways. Without going into anything personal , let me share the insights I have received. They have come from my own thoughts and perceptions, and also those of my students, their parents, my colleagues,and friends. Maybe you will find some inspiration in them as I did.

A) CONTRARY TO PUBLIC OPINION, WE ARE NOT WHAT WE DO.

This is a myth. Perpetuated by overachievers and carried on by those of us with a great
capacity for guilt. Your worth is not determined by the number of activities you advise, the amount of papers you correct, nor even the hours you devote to your job.

B )WE ARE WHAT WE SHARE.

We are…Language lovers. Caregivers. Thinkers. Motivators. Inspirers. Mentors. Instructors. Partners. Organizers. Creative geniuses. Laugh-makers. Leaders. Team-members. Mind-openers. Confidence-builders. That is who we are. THAT IS WHO YOU ARE. Very valuable…in this profession and in this world.

C) THE JOB GOES TO ONE WHO SAYS YES.

It has taken me 18 years of teaching…and a good many years of involuntary volunteerism before that to figure this out. Sometimes not saying no = saying yes.

D) IF I DON’T SAY YES THEY WILL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.

Say this to yourself over and over again until it starts to sound believable. They (the
powers that be and your own conscience) will tell you otherwise. Look around at all the other people who are not doing what you do. They said no. Look at all you do. You said yes. If you say no, someone will step up to fill the vacuum, in many cases. Saying yes does not make you better. It makes you busier. …and sometimes makes you bitter.

E)YOUR VERY NATURE WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO BE A BAD TEACHER.

If you are a good teacher by nature and by practice, you will continue to be one. You
might be a DIFFERENT KIND of good teacher than you were 5 years ago or 5 years from now….but your knowledge, skill, caring, and love will always make you a good teacher.

F) YOU WILL EARN AS MUCH RESPECT FOR SETTING BOUNDARIES AS YOU WILL FOR TRYING TO DO IT ALL.

I did not know this. I still have to remind myself of it often. And even better, you will have something of yourself left at the end of the day.

G) IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA TO PUT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN BEFORE YOUR OWN.

We have all seen it happen. The ideal teacher or principal. The award-winning coach. With no connection to their own. The older my children are (now 7 and 9) (additional note…they are now 25 and 27!!!) the more I see the truth in this.

H) YOU ARE TEACHING BY EXAMPLE.

I have seniors who we refer to as “serial joiners”. They have signed up for every club, activity and sport available. Some are near the nervous breakdown stage. Others have eating disorders. Must do everything. Perfectly if possible. I was one, can still be one if I am not careful. I don’t think it is healthy for them. I want them to learn to set priorities and manage time. Find balance. I cannot do that if I show them…by example…that I think a good person is one who does everything and does it well come hell or high water. If I only love myself as an overachiever , how can I convince them that they have great worth for who they are…not the number of items they accomplish in one day?

I) CAN I BE GRATEFUL ABOUT THIS…OR JUST RESENTFUL?

This is the test I have been using to decide whether to say yes or no. If I can be
grateful…it is worth considering. If I will only feel resentful (regardless of how good an idea it is or no matter how important it is to someone else!!!!!!!!!!!) I must seriously consider whether it is worth the time and energy involved.

J) NOT EVERYTHING MUST BE DONE RIGHT NOW.

I have a great list of great ideas. I take comfort in the fact that someday I will do most of them(or get someone else to !!) I am learning to wait to get them accomplished… Everything in its own time.

If you have made it to the end of this ramble…thanks for sticking with me….it was probably more helpful for me to write it to myself than for you to read it!! :o) Teresa, your discomfort and frustration right now are a healthy sign that you are ready to grow. Good things are coming your way personally and professionally. But you may have to let go of some things to
make room for them in your life. It may be an attitude, an outlook, or a responsibility. For some teachers it has even meant a change in position, to another facet of teaching, or a position in another district. For others, just a shift in their approach to each day’s work. I understand how you feel. My friends who are reading this will tell you I have been there and still find myself there many days. It is part of the midpoint in the teaching cycle…who knows…maybe any point in the cycle. But the cycle will continue…I wish you peace and joy with your life and your profession as you go. And strange as it may seem, the discomfort and
frustration may just bring you what you really want and need. Keep your eyes and heart open.

with love,
Laurie

Three Days for Two!

by lclarcq on February 13th, 2018

filed under Uncategorized

Teachers Pay Teachers is offering a sale on materials and Hearts For Teaching’s items are included!! For THREE days (not just two!) all materials will be 20% off! The store is still small, but growing! Look for new items starting tomorrow!

Click here to get to our page!!

Sale runs 2/14-1/16!!

Hello Australia!

by lclarcq on January 9th, 2018

filed under Uncategorized

I would like to start this post off with a thank you to Mr. Ian Perry of Brisbane, who invited Dr. Terry Walsh, Anny Ewing and myself to present and train teachers in Australia. Here is the Hearts For Teaching space for these conferences!

Stay tuned for more!

with love,
Laurie

Creating Stories Guide/Handout

by lclarcq on December 1st, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Creating Stories

Thank you Bonnie Chichester for creating this wonderful one page summary of the Creating Stories post!!

This is fantastic!!

CREATING STORIES GUIDE

with love,
Laurie

Creating Stories

by lclarcq on November 29th, 2017

filed under Archived Posts 2017, Creating Stories

*Check the end of the post for a great chart created by Bonnie Chichester based on this post!! Thank you Bonnie!!!!

There is a great discussion taking place on the IFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching page on Facebook! about how to choose structures that create interesting stories. I have a list somewhere that is a little more complete, but until I find it, here goes….

There are a number of ways to combine structures to create a story skeleton. It works most smoothly when the story evolves naturally from the problem. So, step #1: Identify the problem or the situation using a high-frequency or high-interest structure. Step #2: Look for “natural” reactions (think cause and effect) or complementary actions to that statement. Here are some ideas:
_____________therefore____________

is hungry —– wants to eat
is thirsty —– wants to drink
is tired —— wants to sleep
loses——looks for

_______________so_____________

gets sick——-goes to doctor
needs money—gets a job
admires—tries to impress

_____________but _______________

has—–loses
looks for —–cannot find
has to——forgets to
wants to/tries to—-is not able to
wants/likes/needs—-does not have
is asked to—-but refuses to

_____________then_____________

buys……eats/drinks/puts on/gives
eats……vomits

A variety of options can be created just using Terry Waltz’ “Super 7”:

wants/likes but does not have
wants/likes but there are none
Wants____ so goes to ____
is located in _____but/therefore/and wants______
goes to ____but doesn’t have_____
has ____but doesn’t like/want______

Just one of these options can lead to many, many stories:

Is in school but doesn’t have a pencil
Is in the ocean but doesn’t have a boat
Is in the bathroom but doesn’t have toilet paper
Is in the store but doesn’t have money
Is in the hospital but doesn’t have an illness
Is in trouble but doesn’t have a solution
Is at the doctor’s office but doesn’t have an appointment
Is at the entrance but doesn’t have a ticket
Is at the dance but doesn’t have a date
Is at the airport but doesn’t have a passport

And these are just the “basic” kinds of stories. With a little imagination and trial and error, stories can be much more interesting:

Is at Costco and the credit card has no limit.
Is on a beach but doesn’t have sunscreen for his/her whole body.
Is at the cashier after eating at a restaurant but doesn’t have money.
Is shopping at Petco but doesn’t have a pet
Is at a funeral but doesn’t have any idea who the deceased is.

Then add one of Mike Peto’s “Sweet Sixteen” structures:

Is at Starbucks, and Starbucks has no milk for coffee so puts_____in the coffee.
Is on Dancing with the Stars but has no partner so asks many people to dance.
Is at a birthday party but has no gift so looks for a gift in the house/restaurant.

Looks like folks there are starting a bit of a data base for ideas…come join us!

Here is the chart Bonnie put together!!
CREATING STORIES GUIDE
with love,
Laurie