Adding words

Today I shared my master list of 200 words with my intermediate and advanced kids. That is, I projected it and started going through it with them, asking them to mention any structures they felt they didn’t really own. It didn’t take long; we were within the first 75, and there were some that they wanted better control over. The advanced kids jumped off the list and mentioned some grammatical stuff (different forms of pronouns) that they don’t feel confident over, and so I have a new list of 12 words from each class that kids want me to hit harder in the next few weeks.

We started reading in the first group and what do you know…those basic structures all jumped out! The kids were surprised. I circled a lot, but they didn’t mind, b/c they had just told me they wanted them!

In the second group, we gestured six of the words, then I challenged them to try to add them to yesterday’s reading. I’ll create an embedded story out of the results before our next class. Yahoo! Student-driven instruction!


6 responses to “Adding words

  1. What a great idea (yet again)! Did you do this for your German or for your Russian students? The reason I am asking is that if you did it with your German kids, I was wondering if you would mind sharing your master list. I’m in my first year with TPRS/CI and struggle most with choosing structures. The list Nathan posted her last week was really helpful, but I am still so insecure and would like to see what others are focusing on.


  2. WOW! It is so exciting to see them grab onto their own instruction. It makes the classwork so much more meaningful for them. They own it. And once they own it, the world is their oyster so they say. Congratulations on liberating your students to learn. You’ve given them the tools and they can wield them to drive their own learning. Very Powerful!


  3. I did it for Russian kids. You’re welcome to look at my list; I have it in both English and Russian. The only problem with it is that it’s in flux. I decided that I had a bunch of words I needed to move to earlier spots, and at the same time, I’m trying to increase the verb structures there. Right now it has a number of nouns and a few “probably, but, therefore” structures, and I’m deciding whether they belong there. I might have taken words like “my” off, but then yesterday one of the kids wanted to have some work on all the (24?) forms of that word, and I realized it’s not a bad thing to have there. Once they get more advanced, they realize that there are a lot of ways to use each of the structures, and they don’t think it’s such a simple list any more.

    Here’s the list.


    • Thanks so much, this list is great (and very easy to adapt to German). I guess the basic, must-know structures are the same in any language. It really helps to have it spelled out. I tend to get lost in the volume. I need to find a way to keep better track of the structures I have introduced already. I probably should take a backwards approach to all of this, deciding ahead of time what I want the kids to have acquired by the end of the school year, rather than deciding on a week-by-week basis.
      Thanks for sharing and for your great ideas!


  4. I love the idea of adding the new structures to yesterday’s reading. Duh. That’s what embedded readings are all about (such as Laurie’s Oatmeal example), but I just never think to do them. I’ll pull that out for tomorrow.


    • It is really weird. Sometimes you don’t understand something until you understand it. I did that last night because Jenny from Valdez is staying with me, and she showed me her finals, which were based on using wordless videos (such as on Senora Hitz’ page up on the sidebar). I asked Jenny how she starts with the videos after she showed me the finals, and she basically described backward planning. I thought it was so weird that when I looked at the finished product, I didn’t know that I was looking at something that I am actually often pretty good at doing. The part I don’t do is the hand-em-out quiz writing part. (I plan to share those quizzes at our upcoming meeting, by the way…we might be discussing finals and plans, so if I get nuggets from that, I will share.)

      Another thing I often don’t do is go with the flow. Today I was trying to get a parallel story started for the one that I’d written up last night. I asked about Marie, who was missing, and the kids wanted to say she was out collecting girls. Without her here, I didn’t want to go off on that track (we’re practicing “collect/gather”), so I changed it to her collecting fathers. I explained I understood that because I had collected three fathers myself. A couple of kids wanted the whole story, and I told them that it was my personal story, and we were going to talk about Marie. Didn’t work. I ended up creating a story about my three fathers…totally make believe, of course, but that didn’t stop us. It was fun. We got to all the words, and I got to the first two parts of the story I’d written about another boy, who was collecting girls. It’s the first time in a while that I felt “flow.”

      And a PS: I just followed Brigitte’s directions and was able to post my notebook to our class website. I’m so happy! Take a look if you have time…it’s a bunch of practice pages from today’s story. Kids will be able to move the pictures and text into order, or read the embedded story, whatever we decide to do with it on Friday.


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