Note: where I mention horizontal conjugation in the following post, I am not presenting it correctly! I’m going to leave this up like this for a couple of days, and then I’ll edit it to take out the references that are incorrect. But if you read the comments right now, you’ll get confused unless I leave the wrong stuff in. (You’re probably confused now, and it is probably important only to me to do it like this!)
Here’s the original post:
Figuring out what vocabulary words to use when students are reading different books is a bit of a challenge, but I think we nailed it today. I asked the upper-level kids (5/AP in the 2-AP class) to offer three words they felt they needed to repeat, then did my two-minute-write-a-story-in-English-on-a-tiny-square-of-paper-using-these-words activity (man! are they fast at this by now) and then we told two of the stories. That worked out really well.
One level 5 said that she can never remember the word “remembers.” She’s offered this up before, but no one commented; we all have those words we just can’t get. Instead of giving “remembers,” I gave the form that means “having remembered” for their story-writing, and then as other forms came up in the story, I put them up in horizontal conjugation form (thanks, Susie!) with their meanings. I checked whether they got them all as they came up in the story. It was a very satisfying day.
I’m also pleased with myself because in the first story, I remembered to use the rewind button idea twice. (We inserted a flashback into the story.) We also assigned one girl to say “Bing” in a high pitch every time we used a form of “remember.”
In the three of the four Russian classes that met, I also gave Laurie’s sliding-scale quizzes again, except this time I didn’t write whole sentences. Instead, I did this:
1. goes home 2. (she) went to the store 3. (the girl) who was going to school 4. in the town, 5. will come up to me 6. (she) had been talking with you 7. sees me (but it looks like “me sees”) 8. having seen him
Now the kids are watching those forms closely when they come up in reading. This quiz gave me a chance to find out whether the advanced kids are catching the structures, and whether the beginners are getting the gist. Everyone is still getting more right than I expect them to get. I like how sliding-scale quizzes let me quickly discuss other ways to say things so that meaning changes (in not quite the same subtle way that Susie leads contrastive grammar). It’s a grammar teacher’s resting spot, but the kids really care because they’re trying to get as many points out of each phrase as possible. They seem to love this kind of quiz…it’s almost a game. Following that short quiz with story-telling worked out very well.