By the book, after a fashion

Today in the beginning group, I went strictly by the book.
We presented vocabulary. We put it on the board. We gestured it.
Oh no…I didn’t go by the book…I forgot completely to PQA it. I have an excuse, but I’m not going to get into it.

Next, I admitted to the kids that I didn’t have a story, so I gave them just one minute to come up with a one-sentence wonder that included “lives,” “beautiful/handsome,” and “can/is able to.”

They had a number of suggestions, and I tried to take them all, and we came up with a Chuck Norris with one leg story. It was fun.

Then I had them all turn their chairs to look at the overhead, and I typed up the story as they watched. Then I used Betsy’s idea, having them draw pictures of the story as they read it.

(I just realized I forgot another part of the playbook. I forgot to have them read it in English to clear up any word issues.)

Then partners sat so one could read and prompt the other as the second looked only at the drawings and told the story.

They switched.

A kid came up to tell me this is the most he’s learned in a day ever.

I am not sure that is the case, but that’s how it feels to them. It’s kind of cool. It’s not Movietalk, at all, but tomorrow is my day to demo for the Russian TV guy how to do TPRStorytelling. I’m going to give him the basics.


6 responses to “By the book, after a fashion

  1. Please tell me you are on a block schedule…I can’t imagine doing all of this in one 52-minute class period. I’m curious about how long the drawing stage took you. I really have had trouble with my artists wanting to spend tons of time on amazing drawings…even when I prod and encourage them to sketch quickly.


  2. I am on the block schedule, but it felt like it went by in a Friday-type 50-minute span today. I’m glad you are thinking that’s a lot, because it felt like we didn’t do enough for a day. All the stuff I forgot makes me feel like a beginner! And that’s just adding Betsy’s drawing piece to a truly basic plan.

    I told them they had only five minutes to read the Russian story to themselves and draw the pictures. I demonstrated the kinds of drawings I was looking for on the board. They really do want to draw better, and I’m always telling them they have to be fast. But in this case, the main thing I wanted was for them to look at the words and turn them into pictures.

    The slow-drawing thing makes me think about how Susie would have one group draw one part of the story, then walk to another group and “dictate” the section they had to draw, dividing the class up into artist groups. That way she got to keep repeating and repeating, because kids couldn’t remember what they were supposed to be drawing and would want to hear it again. Lots more reps that way!


  3. It sounds like I just need to be more instructive of what types of drawings (simple!) we’re looking for and then set a timer. The first couple of times will be challenging, but surely they will catch on. Thanks for sharing your “by the book ordinary day.” It sounds like a winner to me!


    • I am just thinking about this. . . Betsy always does a ticket out, meaning that kids have to tell her something about the day on their way out. I think that having a daily assessment is a really good idea for kids. That way they know what they’ve learned. This little speaking activity was a form of assessment that told them where they are with telling the story, much like some of the fast writes in my other classes. I am pushing some of my new level 2’s too hard with fast writes, and I have to figure out how to help them. Maybe a little more structure…anyway, thanks for the comments and for making me reflect on why the kids liked this.


  4. I am no expert but I do love art. I was an art major before I was a language major. I love it when my kids take their time, re-read carefully and draw cool images with detail. I have time and they love the drawing time (it serves as that down time you talked about today when your kids were reading). I usually do play music too as it seems to sink in when they are not paying attention to it. We have 55 minute periods with shorter periods on days like today (homecoming assembly!). It’s Friday, everyone is excited and it’s lovely to have that relaxed time with them.


    • So there’s a reason to let them take their time too! When people ask questions about embedded reading, especially of the sort “Does it work better this way or that?” Laurie always says, “Yes!” Same thing here, sounds like. It just depends on the purpose and the time. It’s very nice to be relaxed and to enjoy time.


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