More AFLA 2011 notes:
I mentioned that Carol helped me understand how to do class/text reading better. These are the times you have short texts, not when you’re reading a novel. Nick and I briefly discussed today how much more prep can go into reading a novel than we’ve been doing, but there are a lot of techniques for the daily reading that we can use to change the daily variety. “Brains crave variety,” is a big Carol quote. Here are some ways to vary:
Group choral read: this is what I do most often. It’s when I’m sure that kids know the meaning of the structures as a group, and we read it all together (or they do) as I point to individual words on the overhead. I think I remember that Ben “conducts” the group to keep them together, if they’re reading from a book. But watching Carol, I saw how she points to words in the order they occur in English. A lot of other languages have different word order. It’s really useful to have a laser pointer. I don’t, right now. It’s hard to be without it.
Fill-in: Teacher reads, and the kids fill in missing words. Also, teacher asks which specific word meant what.
Partner read: kids read in pairs. At upper levels, one can read in TL and one can read in English. Mostly I have my kids read in English, as fast as they can. Carol says that when people read out loud in TL, they can become distracted by their ability (or lesser ability) to read orally.
Jigsaw (hand out story strips with all part one on red, part two on yellow, part three on green, and part four on orange): each kid gets just a piece of the text (color-coded), and they meet up with one other kid with a different color to put the texts in order. Then they meet with other colors and figure out the order of the whole story. Or, all the kids meet in same-color groups to figure out what the piece means. Then they go back to mixed-color groups and put the story together.
Marcia sent me notes from this session, and one thing she noted that I had forgotten was that Carol said try not to circle during this time, because kids will get really tired of circling if you use it during reading and during storytelling. Instead, try to ask a million questions using the target structures. Keep pointing at those target structures within the text. Read a little, personalize a lot. And if you’ve done a complete job, you shouldn’t need to ask comprehension questions at the end. In fact, you shouldn’t have to ask comprehension questions at all.
Vary whom you call on. I almost always call on the whole class, but Carol makes up new names for the different parts of the room, so that each week they have to listen for something new to answer. The last couple of days, I used Russia, Siberia, and Chukotka for my three parts of the room in Russian 1-2. Other ideas: call them by colors, sports teams (at specific times of the year, or by your own preference), nationalities, numbers, professions…Carol also gave each set of partners a number, and would call on a pair of kids to answer. That way everyone is ready to answer but no one has to answer alone.
Her basic plan is that one day you might call on the whole class, the next day on halves of the room, the next day on partners, and the next on team members.
Now I feel as though I have what I need to really talk my kids through a reading. This type of reading is what Blaine demonstrates so well, but it confused me because he did it with novels, and my kids were about to mutiny on me the times I did this close personalization with novels, because they thought we were never going to “get through” the novels. Of course I didn’t think of “getting through” as the goal, but kids like to see some serious progress.