I have fallen on an inability to get reps in through story for some reason, so today I took the vocabulary that we’ve been kind of prepping with to be able to read the first chapter of a book and told the kids that we were going to try for 30 reps of each word in under five minutes. I have these structures embedded in sentences on a power point, and we advanced the power point each time that we made thirty reps on a word. One of my kids counted each time that someone (I or a student) said the word.

“Wakes up.”

When do you wake up? Wow…you wake up at five o’clock? Class, Ally wakes up at 5:00. Do you wake up at 5:00 in the morning, or do you wake up at 5:00 in the evening? Oh, class, Ally wakes up at 5:00 in the morning. She doesn’t wake up at 5:00 in the evening. Why do you wake up so early? Ally wakes up early because she likes to work out.

That’s nine, already, and we’ve only talked about one kid. There are a few more reps in there because the kid is starting to use the word herself in her answers. Then on to the next. That helped so much! We spent only about 14 minutes getting 30 reps on each of four words. It was a bit exhausting, because I was really pushing it, but it reminded us all how much focus we need to really acquire language, even though it seems easy to them to learn this way.

All these words are the ones that I’ve been going over on a very basic level lately, but it was clear to me that I hadn’t really repeated them enough. For our next class period, I will start by having them do a fast write to find out whether they’ve really sunk in, but what this taught me is that I have not been focused enough lately either. Still, it helps when we’re all on the same page. Otherwise, kids can sometimes think the 75 reps as a starting point is boring.

5 responses to “Repetitions

  1. OK, how is your fast write different than a free write? It sounds like a targeted way to get some additional reps produced by the students but how do you structure that?


  2. Hmmm…hate to disappoint you, but I suspect they’re the same thing!

    I will give them those words that we used today in all those PQA discussions, and ask them to use them to write either about a day in someone’s life or to report on what we learned today. Or they could tell a story, or they could make up a situation. Good stuff, that! I called it a fast write because they have to write as fast as they can for ten minutes.

    Oh, and kudos to you for those HF words in the song contest! We are working on the “would” as well, in the sense of “X would like (or X said for) Y to do Z.” We’re also working on which/who clauses–troublesome things, because they can take any one of the 12 case endings. ICKKK!! But the kids don’t know that I’ve never taught this before, so they aren’t worried. It is one of the first times that I’ve ever considered sharing charts with them, but on the other hand, I’m finding that this is where Susie’s contrastive grammar really works to show comparisons. We keep re-writing all the level 1 stories with more advanced, educated-sounding Russian.


  3. I like how you are always reminding your students of the purpose of the repetitions–I talked about it at the beginning of the year, but I keep forgetting to revisit it. I was thinking yesterday that I would have a class period soon where I had each student write down the target structures and then place a check or tally mark next to each one every time they heard it. But then I was thinking that maybe that would be distracting to them because they wouldn’t pay attention to the context and would just listen for the words? What do you think?


    • I’m not really always reminding them…it’s kind of a focus right now, as well as being a preemptive strike before anyone complains that this is boring. It has to be repetitive, and I am not always “on” in the way that makes for absolutely fun classes. Sometimes we’re just getting a stream of CI, if I can manage.

      I don’t ask all the kids to keep track. I usually pick just one to count (I think you’re right–it would be distracting for the entire class to do it). There’s a kid who is by turns wiggly and sleepy in one class, and I have asked him to be the counter. In other classes, it can be a kid who is not focused, or one who just needs a job to be in the zone. In the past, I’ve picked three different kids to count three different structures, but that was too much for remembering to remind them.

      I’m aiming for 80-100 repetitions in context over the course of a couple days to assure that they are acquiring the words. So 75 repetitions over a class period is “proficient” for me, whereas 30-50 is not cutting it. Fewer means I need to repeat tomorrow.

      I find that I can get out of bounds a lot and not focus on any of the structures if I don’t see that kid making hash marks, just because something else will interest us. But in the end, you can almost always use any structure to talk about any subject, so having the reminder person helps me at least repeat the vocabulary we need.


  4. Pingback: Write, Draw, Pass extension | Lesson Plans for CI/TPRS Classrooms

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