K

One of my colleagues was talking about how well her Spanish students are writing now, after a couple of years of TPRS. They wrote a class novel in four days for their final…when I get details from her (probably in early August), I’ll share them. She has a great framework that I wanted today, but we were talking about this after a nearly three-hour meeting, so couldn’t take the time to pull it out of her. Anyway, she said that she used to teach a very rigorous Spanish class. Kids had to be on top of their game and work hard to get good grades. They pushed and struggled, learned all sorts of tricky grammar points and the vocabulary to illustrate them, and at the end of the year, what they had was “useless.” Her word, not mine. She said that now the kids truly have facility that she is not really able to explain or quite take in.

PS The meeting was for planning our 17-19 September AFLA state conference, which has just 14 more days of early-bird sign-up. Carol Gaab and Terry Thatcher Waltz will present (with three other national presenters in French, German and Japanese). The theme is literacy, and we are excited!!

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3 responses to “K

  1. Did you ever get to follow up with this? I’d like to know how they wrote a novel in four days, and to see the framework that they used. Amazing!

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    • Oh my…I will have to ask Karen about this. She and I are two of the three (now maybe five) in charge of putting on our state conference next month, so the answer might be a little while in coming.

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  2. OMG. I can’t believe that Karen and I are still doing this!! It’s the same situation all over again! Luckily, we have great folks coming, and more on line for next year…

    I can share our novel plan in the meantime: I had just one student come up with a plot outline. He did that on his own time. I asked him because he’s a wiggly boy who was very particular about his reading choices. Usually it’s harder to get boys to read, and girls will typically follow what the boys enjoy. It doesn’t work the other way most of the time (sort of like going to the movies).

    After he did that, we discussed the plot outline in class to make sure everyone was on line, and each pair of students got one of the adventures. They did have to collaborate to keep things reasonable, but because it was about a kid who kept having mishaps as he tried to talk with a particular girl, the formula for each chapter was the same: he had an idea about how to approach her, tried to carry it out, and failed…until the end.

    The students had two days to discuss and write their chapter. Then we read the whole narrative, smoothing out things that needed more continuity for several days, but the book was essentially finished. Then the whole thing went to a class editor, then to me for oversight, and finally to a Russian native for correction. The last two steps took longer, but the hard work happened over only a four-day period.

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