Laurie and her success grid

Some of you attended Laurie’s session on her success grid last year here at the AFLA conference. I had to leave another teacher in the session in charge of recording it. I promised Laurie that I would send it to her. I didn’t say that would be after I watched it…and I’m doing that now, the second-to-last day of spring break. I’m not sure I even got the whole thing…but here are a couple of the gems I picked up.

First of all, the stuff on the first page is what is non-negotiable for first and second year. It is what you want to be able to fall out of the kids’ mouths. If you add anything to that page, you have to take something else off.

The same goes for the other top-ten lists. If you added more to those pages without taking anything off, Laurie said that you’re trying to get too much curriculum into the kids.

Laurie had everyone write a five-sentence story that they could use Monday and every kid would understand. A story requires a character, possibly a setting, and a problem–not a solution (how freeing!)–and you’re going for something the kids can understand without any teaching up front.

Then she had everyone come up with a phrase that they could repeat three times in the course of that story that would be useful or fun for the kids to know. It could be, “Oh my goodness!” or a question, “Where did he go?” Kids will respond to that kind of repetition because they were brought up on it.

After watching Laurie and re-reading Jody’s post on teaching kids, not curriculum, I feel a bit guilty about “teaching to the (con)test” that I am going to be doing for the next couple of weeks. But guess what…after that, I’m going to re-read a bunch of the good advice that folks have contributed here and on other blogs, and I’m going to retreat to “simple.”

Oh, and I’ll mail Laurie her DVD. Luckily I’ll be seeing her daily at NTPRS, and will be able to pick her brain whenever no one else is talking to her! Anyone else going?? I can’t wait!!

But first I get to race through the last weeks of the school year and attend another wonderful couple of days of OPI with Ben Rifkin and talk to teachers in Fairbanks about textbooks and take kids to Russia to do bird counts…meanwhile, Laurie will be in Cancun at TPRS/Carol Gaab with Stephen Krashen, and oh my I wish I were too.

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