What’s working

Trying to stick to ten minutes again! I forgot that “rule” I set myself last year.

In the advanced class today, I led a discussion about two sentences from the short story that we’ve been reading in Scaffolding Literacy style. I managed to have a conversation about the sentences with only three words in English the whole period. Example of a part of the discussion: “This part of the sentence shows us what happened. It was sets up what happened. Class, which two words tell us what happened?” Oh my gosh. I couldn’t believe that I could simplify the language enough to do that. Then I went on to the part where the kids cut off the morphemes.

“There is an “o” here because it was. Class, why is there an o?” It turns out to be actually somewhat easy to do this with an advanced group. I need to videotape it. I could not believe how excited high school kids were to cut letters off. We finished discussing the grammar, in Russian, about two sentences. Then we went on and read another part of the story. Tomorrow, we’ll see whether kids can recombine the sentence. And they’ll do the modeling. It’s surprising to see how engaged they are. My grammar brain is happy because I’m actually teaching grammar, but all the kids are getting a big flow of comprehensible input. Guess what…when the bell rang (for an 85 minute class), they all gasped.

If I didn’t know how to do TPRS, I could not possibly do SL and stay in the target language. And if the kids hadn’t had TPRS, they couldn’t have understood what we were talking about for that time. This is positively thrilling.

In my intermediate class, we did the drawings in the top boxes/lower boxes as I’ve explained earlier for reporting a story, and that worked really well too, especially when I explained how the top row is what I want them all to be able to say/read/understand/write, and the stuff underneath is the details.

Out of time!

2 responses to “What’s working

  1. I miss you and your teaching and need to Skype into your classroom…

    with love,


  2. I miss your teaching!!

    I got a copy of the SL book. It’s a slim volume but I realized by reading just a section that I’d forgotten a few steps. I can probably slide back just a bit and put them in, with apologies to the kids. The book has great pictures, and what strikes me is that over and over again it says that we are dealing with meaning, not ever trying to parse grammar. Even spelling, if addressed, is based on words the kids can already read fluently. If they can’t, it says, spelling becomes a memory game rather than one based on sounds and morphemes. But mostly the book is making sense of reading and explaining how that leads to better writing. I didn’t have my advanced kids today, so I will get them tomorrow. Excited!!


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