Whoa! Watch this Ted talk

I think we should start figuring out how to get TPRS teachers onto the Khan space.

If anyone can, it would be Nathan and Martina. Tech wizards!

PS and in a non-connected diversion, see this YouTube video from our very own Loussac Library…a flash mob in the library. I’m going to tell this as a a story, and see what the kids think!!


8 responses to “Khan

  1. I don’t get the flash mob appeal. Maybe I need to be part of one and then I’ll think it’s really awesome. A bunch of people from home have been talking about one that happened at the Great New York State Fair this week, too. They’re everywhere! I wonder what qualifies a gathering to be a flash mob? If my husband and my dog and I decided to start dancing in our living room all of a sudden, would that be a flash mob? What’s the minimum number?? Also, I think it’s weird that they are planned or scheduled. Seems like it should be spontaneous. Wish I could come to your class and speak in Russian so I could talk about this with your students!!! I suppose I could always do it with my kids too…


  2. I have to agree with you…I don’t really “get” why a group would think it right to impose on a space. Having said that, I’ve seen some pretty cool flash mobs with members of choruses and acting companies, where the crowd is suddenly surrounded by and becomes part of a professional performance. This one caught my eye as a great story to be able to tell, because most kids won’t believe it and then it will be a familiar space (assuming all my kids have been to the local library–something I probably shouldn’t count on). I love telling tales (like the dog and the bear one) that are actually true.

    I keep coming back to the commonality of HF language. The other day, one of my observers asked how long I look for material to get it all to line up with the same vocabulary structures. I told her I had done a lot of work on the current lesson (involving our song with the cannibal), but really, what took so long was that I had to type it up for a workshop response that I had done. She was surprised by how the story we are reading and the song we are telling/singing and the story of the dog all had the same vocabulary (as well as themes of fear). I had to burst the “Michele is great” bubble and point out that it’s easy when you just focus on the vocabulary that is similar. Just as there are always ways to link almost anything thematically, there are always ways to tell different stories with the same vocabulary.

    I still think that my most successful parent class ever was the year that I copied Susie’s approach and told every story with the same 25 base structures. Susie told me that she would concentrate on about 21 words each nine weeks, making sure that they were all in any extended story she wrote. Since I’m too lazy to write extended stories, it’s just lucky for me that we have found embedded stories, because now I can include those words in the final versions, if they aren’t in there already.


  3. You know, I don’t get Justin Bieber either, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t use him as a resource. I don’t really see a lot of use for Flash Mobs in my classroom, other than as a brain break at the end of the day, but I will make an exception here:

    Because I do a lot of stuff with music in my classroom, and because Germany is located in Europe, I make sure to follow the Eurovision song contest (all of Europe) in the Spring and the Bundesvision Song Contest (Germany only) in the fall. We take a look at some of the big acts, laugh at the stupid ones, and make our own rankings of where we would put songs. This particular flash mob came up in 2010 and just jumps people all over Europe, emphasizing the similarities between everybody. I ask students to rank the best and worst dancing countries. We see how bad, and good particular German dancers are. This video nicely scratches a multi-cultural itch I have to point out the larger world that exists out there outside of America.

    And the TED talk: WOW. I see a lot of resources there that I can use there as part of the curricular development committee I’m on in our district, and am grateful for the source. I can’t quite wrap my brain around how to get TPRS involved in there yet, as compelling comprehensible input is always centered on the students in the classroom, and that’s a tough trick to turn with a video designed to be broadcast out to the masses. I’m worried that a language teacher making such videos would either be a) overly concentrating on his/her self, or b) so worrying about making things goofy that they would just come across as stupid. If the audience isn’t part of the creation process, then the buy-in just isn’t there that ultimately drives TPRS.

    That said, I love the idea of making resources available to teachers that can then build upon them in the classroom and individually. The Khan academy is built around the idea of “build a better lecture” and does some great stuff with it, and with classes that necessarily need to lecture, this is a wonderful format. So, hopefully somebody in my school can use it, but as currently constituted, I don’t think it’s a close enough philosophical match for TPRS.


  4. With all due respect (and there’s lots of it!) what’s not to get about a flash mob? It’s about people dancing together and sharing with others! I see it as sharing joy and movement and music. I could hardly sit still just watching the link you sent Nathan. I love it. Any excuse to dance is great with me. I wish there were more of them. It’s so hard to get my students to loosen up and dance or pretend to dance in the classroom! More flash mobs, less uptightness in the world!


  5. About Khan, I wonder whether one could do a little teaser for a given language, and ask viewers to send an e-mail or post something to be worked in. . . but I agree! It would be really hard to do and keep true to the spirit of TPRS.

    About flash mobs, I too just loved that video!

    Hmm…maybe we need a flash mob at our AFLA conference.


  6. My principal sent out Khan to everyone at school (I’d sent it to him). Wow! Some people liked it, but others thought that it was just another engineer/non-educator trying to tell the teachers how to do their job. That was not the reaction I was expecting. I don’t think it can save the world, but I do think that there are ideas out there that we might not have thought of.


    • Today I approached the lead math teacher at the high school and one of the lead math teachers at the middle school with the Khan academy–you know the kind, the ones who make things happen. The high school one is very excited about the potential resource, where the middle school teacher is a bit more reserved. I’m trying out the pilot approach to see if I can get strategic people to have success with it before rolling it out on a larger scale.


  7. I was doing silly stories (using the words “try,” “every day,” “expensive,” and “peacefully”) today with my kids when I suddenly remembered this flash mob video. I pretended to be reading the skeleton stories the kids had given me and started a story about a quiet library and a noisy library, and one of the girls decided to liven up the quiet library by dancing in it. She kept inviting more people, until half the class was dancing. Then I showed this video. It turned out that one of the kids had actually participated! Now the class wants to do a flash mob of their own. We’re going to learn a belly-dancing song (kids last year loved this song, for some unknown reason) as soon as I can figure out how to get it made into a story.


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