During first quarter, I had fewer conversations with kids than I’d like to have had…the kind where it seems as though you’re off topic for a bit, but in the end it turns out that you are drilling down into what matters.
Martina’s presentation last week helped me remember how to get into those intense conversations, and I’ve been able to learn more about kids again. One of my groups has been fairly balky lately, but because of the follow-up on authentic resources, we had a great talk about a song yesterday (whether people like to do things alone), and then continued it with a conversation about being friends today. If you don’t like to do things alone, what do you do to make friends who will join you? And, more importantly, how do you make friends? Most kids were friends with people that they’re on teams with, or kids they’ve traveled with. Going off to college and into the world, students need to remember those key means of connecting and how spending time with others at work and play is what often cements friendships.
In another class, we were reading the projects on our newest book, and it was easy to use the vocabulary as a springboard to find out more about the kids and how they spend their days. I hadn’t done much in the prep time, because it’s an easy reader, but now I realize I should have, because there’s so much to talk about. At least we’re coming around to it at the end.
I think I have always been more about backward planning from a text or a song up to the reading, and then I drop the whole thing because “we’re done.” Or we just move along to the next piece in the general theme. Martina’s “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth discussing” has given me a bookend for anything we do in class. More importantly, I can see how the discussions will overlap. It’s exciting to have a new way to follow up on lessons. Finally, this allows me to help kids get to the “big questions” of life in Russian, even at the beginning level.