This week has certainly underscored my belief that a CI/TPRS class is one in which we can differentiate. For example, after we’d told our story yesterday in an Intermediate class, we had five minutes left for a fast write.
(I’m going back to fast writes again, after a year in which we didn’t do them regularly. They offer the kids a chance to watch their improvement, they give me a chance to breathe and then see what the kids need more work on, and they get more confident about writing in general.)
One of my weakest second-year kids wrote eight words in five minutes to retell the story. Another wrote 50. The one who wrote 50 was proud enough of himself that he came up to me to show me. Then the other student came up, and she was relieved to know that didn’t mean she was going to flunk. They’re all on their own paths, and they all get to graph their own progress.
In another intermediate group, a student doing the weather was just jamming. I think he’s going to get a new job next week so that the Calendar job can go to someone who needs practice. Meanwhile, a student at a higher level in a different class was having trouble with the same information and the adjectival endings on the dates. They both get support and applause.
And stories…We’re keeping with the same story right now in one class while the other classes catch up, and while we do that, we’re adding new structures. It’s a new way to do an embedded reading! We PQA the new words, and then we use them as we retell the story. We’re backing up for more details and new information because of the new structures. By doing that, some of the kids can get solid on the original story, while others are working on the grammar for that original story. The higher-level kids can think of the details, while the lower-level ones are just along for the ride. I had a student who is doing university Russian in class today, and she got to answer specific grammar questions in Russian. That gave all the rest of the kids a little breather.
Finally, a second-year kid came into the first year class, along with a young student who has had a lot of Russian at another school. The second-year kid (who wanted that spot) had earlier said that she didn’t think she was good at languages. Full-length sentences were coming out of her mouth today in answer to the simple questions I was asking the first-year kids. The young student is now our “little sister,” and she seemed to relax a lot as we introduced kids via the photographs they’d sent us.