Life is good. I love kids. And having resolutions to follow is very helpful.
The kids LOVED reading their postcards. I had them up on individual notebook pages. I read each one out loud and the kid who wrote it got to translate.
Progress on Essential Questions: I have written them on the board each period. It’s pretty funny when the kids notice whether we got to the answers. Today, we never got to the second verse of a poem in one class, but they all did know the vocabulary. I’m thinking that I need to do Betsy’s “standing exit ticket” again to have a demonstration of the knowledge. That makes the question and the answer(s) come full circle.
Progress on teaching poems through TPRS: a no-brainer. I just do the same thing as I do with a song: introduce structures, use gestures if possible, and then circle the information. We did two lines of a Pushkin poem today with four kids who were on their very first day of Russian. Awesome. I should start mid-year at the beginning of every year!! Couldn’t believe it. By slowing down to a s n a i l ‘ s pace (really, that’s how it felt), not only did we get a lot more in, but the second-year kid who then told the story and recited the poem sounded like she was a native speaker. It’s hard for me to believe that.
I also remembered to have the whole class tell the story to their hands today, and I walked around and listened. There’s a lot of information coming at the teacher when everyone is telling a story at once.
Progress on the “25 words for the quarter” is also good (so far, I know, I know). The kids are totally relieved to realize that I truly expect them to get only 25 words a quarter. I explained to them that it’s a matter of gathering forms and cases.
Last night I was practicing with my early music group, and I had an ah-hah moment about that. We were practicing music that we’d played for our Christmas concert, getting it ready for an upcoming event. All of a sudden, this part that I’d just been playing revealed a whole bunch of connections with what others in the group were playing. I realized that even though I’d played the music adequately back in December, now I am able to get it on a whole new level. We all thought we were playing better suddenly.
I shared that with the kids, and explained again that there are all the levels of understanding this new language–I think I started to understand first from Jody:
recognition of having heard a particular word/structure before
hearing and understanding
understanding in different contexts
being able to spit out the structure as an answer
being able to use that structure in a whole phrase
being able to use it naturally in a story
being able to use it correctly in several forms (usually third-fourth year)
being able to use it correctly in all forms (usually fourth-seventh! year
It takes time, even for the teachers: I’m beginning to understand some of these pieces better in my fourth year.
(I’m updating this to tag it to the speaking and assessment categories because of the great ideas in the comments that follow.)