Today I thought I would get cute and it almost blew up in my face; thank goodness for round two.

My German II classes were doing is missing, lifts, and otherwise, and because I teach distance learning in sections, I often find that people don’t talk all that much so I thought I would ask people to fill out questionnaires so as to elicit comments from them.  I decided to ask people to write up answers to What is something you lost? Where did you look? and What would have happened if you didn’t find it?  The plan was to basically PQA my way through the day using those phrases and moving around the class, while asking a story on them tomorrow with actors and writing the story up for Wednesday.

Now where I tried to get cute was that in German I, I realized I could teach the phrases searches for, finds, and there is and use the exact same questionnaire and set up.  Pleased with this recognition, I rolled into my first section of German I and basically started asking away.  Boy, was it boring.  Everyone talked about losing their phone.   The best thing I got was a lost wallet in a marsh somewhere, but everybody just didn’t give me much to work with, and I just stood up at the front reading through people’s questionnaires realizing that all day (both German I and German II) was going to look like this unless I changed this up something.

So going into my second section of German I, started by doing some more widely-ranging PQA, asking where to look for the best Pizza in town, or where I should look for a present for my wife.  Now they could sink their suggestions into that, and by the time I had them write up their questionnaires, I got some decent answers.  People forget how to play the game over the weekend sometimes.

The other classes went similarly: I had to invest in PQA early on something that engaged them in one context before switching to my main context for the day, just to vary things up.  I had people raise (lift) their hands for who watched the Packer game (sensitive issue right now) or who went to the local Pumpkin festival.  Once I got them talking about their weekends, then I could go retrospective and got some really great stories.  One German II kid talked about how her family lost an easter egg for about two months and kept looking until it stunk bad enough they could find it under the couch.  Another German I kid lost her cell phone and finally found it in the fridge.  I can’t script this stuff; it’s great.

Things went similar in both classes, but I had the German II class retell the stories to each other every so often so as to push themselves a bit more.

So, thank goodness for the retake. I’m glad I have multiple sections.



One response to “Adjustments

  1. It’s really weird what works and what doesn’t, isn’t it. That’s the part of TPRS/CI that you can’t get until you get it: how to turn things around. Today in my Russian 1 class, we were reviewing what had happened in last week’s stories, and I ended up talking a lot about who jumps on their beds the way Masha did in our story. Because of that discussion (not really high-frequency, right?) we ended up using time expressions a lot, and I really worked those to death almost, but it was a great discussion.

    We had “found” as well, but I can’t tell you for the life of me what part of the discussion that was in. There’s a great Russian song with “I was walking, walking…found a pie, so I sat down and ate it…” which means that my Russian 1 class knows “found” really well.


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