Monthly Archives: October 2018

Love teaching

It’s been a fun day up here. We made gingerbread cookies in an improvised kitchen in the first-grade classroom after completing Amy Van Der Deen’s Las Galletas unit, sang songs and told the Hungry Caterpillar in Kindergarten, made a story about a lost caribou and acted it out (which I link here, in case anyone is willing to correct before we make the masks and add the pictures of the acting) in second grade. My fourth- and fifth- graders did some PQA Star of the Day (though our attempt to use technology bombed), and my third-graders drew pictures of phrases from our story about Alex and Bob, traveling on the Titanic to the Nether and not having time for tea. That last was a parallel story before reading Señor Wooly’s embedded reading for Puedo ir al baño. Then, as a wonderful end to the day, my fledgling Russian class got to meet with a boy from Canada on Skype. He wants to take Russian, and I need star power. He provided it. This time, technology assisted in a grand way.

I’m reading reading reading in both Spanish and Russian, mildly panicking as ACTFL and the spring semester approach (presentation and class with textbook), but I keep feeling my powers increase. More and more, I can speak Spanish with confidence that it’s comprehensible at least, and correct more often than not. Another teacher told me today that one of the parents said that her kids are speaking Spanish in the car all the time as they go to and from school. My spies (that’s their job, thanks to Erica Peplinsky) alert me that their classmates are using Spanish to count and sing. And my first graders were using “Dame el rojo/el morado/el azul, por favor,” coloring pictures as a sponge while I set up the cookie-rolling station. I can hardly believe it. Language is coming out of their mouths, more and more. Sometimes, just like with my own children, I don’t know how they could possibly have acquired certain words, as I have had them on a slide or read them just once.

Back when I started using TPRS, I would feel my excitement rising as I headed for school. What would my kids come up with today? I’m having that same feeling again. It’s just wonderful. It’s so much fun to let them be creative and to spin out their stories.

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CI is working!

Just a silly note. First, I am deeply appreciative of Mira Canion, whose teaching guides for novels are beyond wonderful. Second, did you all know that this stuff works on us? I know I’ve been excited before, but all my singing (thanks, Duke, for that long-ago experiment of 25 songs) and the box of books from Mira, who sent me the ones she bought while she was on exchange, seem to have just pushed me up a level. Suddenly, I can read the year three ones at almost the same speed I read in Russian. And I’m beginning to be able to make grammar pop-ups for myself as though for my kids: “fue is because he just went. Iba is what he was doing.” When I send my stories through my teacher helper, I get almost everything right (granted, it’s basic, but now mistakes are usually typos rather than stuff I had no idea about).

It’s SOOOO empowering!

Yeah, I’ve said that before. But I can feel my Spanish brain improving, and that is more fun than it has any right to be.

(PS if I have fue/iba wrong, please let me know. I have not studied Spanish! Right now I’m trying to understand why sometimes I see hacía and sometimes hacia, both in situations where to me it means “toward.” Could one be a typo? I understand that hacían means “they made,” as in “they made ceramics.”)