I have the remnants of a flu. And it’s snowing. We haven’t discussed autumn yet in my classroom, except for a brief moment in the second Masha and the Bear movie. It’s autumn in that movie, so the bear is getting ready to hibernate.

Because I spent the weekend sleeping, I am not ready for classes, so what I decided to talk about today was “Autumn.” Otherwise our classroom calendar will have to move from summer to winter without any discussion! (My kids always know the phrases for “in the summer,” “in the winter,” but never “in the autumn.”) I am going to ask kids all sorts of questions related to autumn, including what they did this weekend, and we’ll listen to a beautiful Russian song: “What is Autumn…it’s the crying sky under our feet, it’s the wind playing with torn chains, it’s the rocks: certainty above the darkening river…” The last class to get it will be the Russian 1 kids, and I’m going to let them circle the word “Autumn” in every verse when they hear it.

I’ll update this to tell you what happens. Hate when I’m not truly ready for classes! (And it’s hard to do lots of good CI when my throat hurts.)

Advanced Russian: I decided to start with a fast-write. The kids are sharing what they did this weekend. They’ll get to read their pieces to a neighbor, so that everyone feels that they’ve shared, and then we’ll pick a couple of interesting ones to tell the class about.

4 responses to “Autumn

  1. Here is another great song
    Nostalgia for me – college, home, old friends… Enjoy:)


  2. Leanna Buckwalter

    Hi Michele,

    When you circle in a song, do you stop and ask questions about that verse? Do students read lyrics with Eng/Russian side by side like I’ve seen on Martina’s site? Do you have a set routine – listen once completely, then stop and circle? Do you ever do written activities or only circling with songs? Do you do the song every day for a week?

    I appreciate that you’re busy, and if you can’t answer right now, I’ll understand. 🙂

    Thanks, Leanna


    • Hi Leanna (who should be getting something in the mail)! I do a lot of different things. First off, the way that my kids and I like best is to put the Russian text in bigger letters and the English in smaller font right below it. That way, they don’t have to look back and forth. See this song for an example.

      I can actually teach from a song for a couple of weeks, and have done so. Sometimes I start with giving them a cloze exercise. Sometimes I teach them the words over a couple or more days, using gestures and singing it myself to have it be slower. Sometimes I play the music for five days until someone begs me to learn the words. Sometimes it’s a song that a kid finds. (Look under the “Songs” category here for more discussions on this topic.) If I’m singing it with them and we’ve learned gestures, but not text, I’ll stop many times, asking in Russian, “What does X mean?” so that I’m sure they “get” important vocabulary and structures. Then I’ll start circling the song. Then sometimes we read through the text and pick our favorite lines. Amy Wright taught us a system for that; I think it’s on our Ning, to which I can invite you if you’d like.

      Sometimes we do a story around the song. I might ask a story before we ever get to the song, or I might ask after the fact who is singing, what happened to inspire the song, and what happened afterward. Sometimes we learn about the singer or the group or the writer.

      The higher the level, the more the interest in the song/singer/group, the more I’ll do with the song. With kids’ songs and others in level 1, we typically just learn the words through gestures, circle the information in the song, then print it out and the kids take it home to do something with it there.

      Oh…and, if we’re just singing, we might do it every day for a week, or until we can sing it as a group, and then I’ll pull it out later as a transition, to illustrate a new use of the word, or just as a fun moment when kids ask.

      This is my “Song” page for my students. I tell them that if they will memorize and understand 25 songs, they will probably gain a year’s worth of vocabulary. If you look at all the songs, you’ll find that some are side-by-side translations, and that the newest ones are in the new, “approved” style. We’ve been collecting for some time…above level 1, every student has to find me an song each year, translate it and format it, so we have many different styles on the page.


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