Bring it on

This week has been as wild as I can remember and it’s only been two days!  Today we had a huge storm roll through the area that made us evacuate to the severe storm shelters during the morning and knocked the power out briefly.  A follow-up storm later today knocked out the power for an entire class period, so we were more than a little distracted.  At least I wasn’t at the middle school most of the day: all of the toilets there are electronic so when the power went out, nothing could flush all morning.  Bring it on!

One of my German I classes is rolling along great.  The first day I did basic Circling with Balls off of the pictures they drew and things went decently, if not great.  People were just looking at each other, some people were getting bored, basically just there.  So the follow up today was the Embedded Reading MJ suggested and that was an absolute hit.  I started off with
This is John
This is Fred
This is Fernando
Herr Black grills
After that, I built it up step by step to describing how I had grilled different food for each person (This is John. Herr Black grills him a very big steak.  He says “Mmm. Yummy. Thanks Herr Black.”).  Fred, however got Sauerkraut on his hot dog, so he got angry and hit me with the hot dog, whereupon the sauerkraut flew onto Fernandos Burger with bacon and cheese, so he himself got angry and stuck the sauerkraut in my ear.

They weren’t expecting that.

And they really weren’t expecting when I stood up John and Fernando, coached an angry face out of them, and role played the fight scenes using an eraser and dry-erase marker.  In the end we read over two pages of solid text today, created some burn for acting and really had fun. 

The other German I class was my distance learning class, but that is just a madhouse until I figure out the technology.  Basically I can’t see the faces of my distance learning students and when I zoom in close enough to see facial expressions, the students wig out because I’m putting them on the spot.  This is going to be tricky.  It’s still fun, because it feels like everybody is a studio audience in a live TV show, and I guess that’s what we are.  I’m stressing out because I can’t roll out my teaching playbook as much yet due to technical difficulties, but my students are enjoying it, and it will work.  Bring it on!

It will sort out next week better because I’m firing myself as both the teacher and head camera technician.  I’m going to put in some presets, stick a student up at the teachers desk, and then have them change camera angles every so often for me as I bark out the different camera angles. 

Bring it on!


3 responses to “Bring it on

  1. The weather in this country is enough to write stories about all on its own. I don’t want to think about evacuating with kids!!

    Your embedded story sounds as though you got right through to the kids. What expectations they must now have when they get a piece of paper with German on it! They’re going to be anxiously reading to get to the good stuff. I might steal your idea.

    So far, we have Ryan who watches tv on the roof at night but only when it rains, and Charmaine, who sings at Lincoln Center (sang, now) for the first of September holiday celebrating the Russian school year. Maybe over the weekend, Ryan will have seen Charmaine on tv. But that’s all I can think of. Your kids will be expecting fireworks!

    And – – the distance learning class sounds as though you should be recording it–maybe you are–so that others can use your example for TPRS teachers of the future.

    If anyone can take what comes when he says “Bring it on,” it’s you!


  2. Now, now. Don’t give me the credit here for your idea. You aren’t stealing my idea, I was stealing yours, as detailed here:

    One of the things I really like about the embedded reading format for these first year students is that if you don’t have to worry about being spectacular in front of a class. As long as you fish out some solid details while circling, such as putting Ryan on the roof to watch TV during a rainstorm, then you can always give it a little more juice while writing the embedded story. I love the idea of putting Charmaine on Ryan’s TV. Does Ryan put Charmaine’s song on his iPod? (hat tip to Laurie) Does he get so excited seeing her that he falls off the roof? I don’t usually think of details like that during class, but they present themselves nicely during a write up.


  3. Nathan and Michelle,

    Thank you for the PQA+Embedded Reading discussion above. Nathan, that story is too awesome, I will try something similar this first week of class coming up.

    Nathan, would you share [a part of] your course description with me, whatever you feel comfortable with? @herrgraff at gmail dot com, or point me to a link?

    I’ve been channeling, filtering everyone’s ideas from Ben’s blog, here, and a few other blogs, and now want to really check myself with more experienced German TPRS Kommilitonen–


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