MJ does amazing things with her sub plans.  She has her students practice generating stories on their own, have them write and act out their stories while she’s gone, and I’m very impressed.

Impressed, to be sure, but lazy all the same.  My sub plans usually involve sending people to the computer lab and writing me some stories based on the vocab, or working on vocabulary, or some odd activity that I’m really not needed for.

Yesterday, however, when I had to be gone for the first half of my first period German I class because I was getting my second grade daughter to school (as my wife who normally does that was off as a field trip chaperon with my fourth grade son), I was bringing the lazy.  I just rolled out some readers which we have (but which I always forget to use because I like the stories that my students make better) and said “read the darn thing and answer the questions at the back.”  That’s it.  Real inventive, huh?

That said, I chose almost the last story in the book which was among the toughest and didn’t let my students know that they were dealing with something that was supposed to be challenging.  As it turns out, they just chewed their way through it, and were pretty much done by the time I showed up.  Their basic attitude was “No sweat.  What else you got?”

What they didn’t know was that this was supposed to be hard.  In my life prior to TPRS my students would kick and scream when made to read, but now because they’ve been dealing with reading all year it’s “Is that it?”  Doing this turned out to also be useful for me because a couple words cropped up that I thought they already knew; turns out I thought they were so basic I never got around to teaching them (oops).

In summary, then, I think I like my readers again.  I can backwards plan from them as a way of generating target structures as always, but occasionally I think it’s nice to just let my students simply go for it and listen for their questions to let me figure out my blind spots.


One response to “Blindspots

  1. SO cool, Nathan! This is what we want to have happen in our classes–the kids discover (as do the teachers) that they can use the language they’ve been learning!

    Thanks for the compliments on sub plans. Really, as those teachers know who’ve been in my room, the usual sub plans are not tough. I have them on my bulletin board, just in case I can’t come in and don’t have time to write them. One is for reading, and one is for telling stories (that reminds me…I never typed them up for Ashley VanH. Will do that this week…sorry!)

    Last week I was gone all week, so left a lot of stuff for kids to do that would either become their finals or that would make it easy for me to have a document for Terry Thatcher Waltz’s culture game in Russian. I’m anxious to see how the kids did with that. I’m writing at 6:20 in the morning, so I will let you know how it went. Hoping for the best.

    In the meantime, I can say that Rin is now a graduate, holding a Bachelor of Science in Music Industry, has produced her first CD–from writing the songs to orchestrating the music, recording, mixing and mastering. Proud parents loved watching the video and hearing the results on her playback event. She heads for Romania, Greece and Croatia this week to celebrate, relax, and doubtless gather more grist for the song-writing mill. Happy travels, sweet girl!


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