Travel is great, and hanging with my favorite colleagues is better, but I am ever so glad to be home where I can breathe Alaskan air and walk on the earth without having concrete in the way.
I feel about being home the same way I feel about teaching with TPRS-learned CI: there’s a direct connection between me and what’s important.
I always learn a lot from colleagues, and this time was no different, but for now I have one shout out of gratitude and three big takeaways from the last two weeks. The shout out is to those at NTPRS ’16 who fed me ideas, patiently listened to me practice, and then honed my language policy speech for the ACTFL ToY. Bryce, Betsy, Mike, Richard, Lizette, Lisa, and most of all Susie and Mira: I am a lucky woman to have you in my court.
Three takeaways: The first is from Keith Toda, who showed how to use Zaption as a follow-up to a beautifully-delivered MovieTalk at IFLT 2016. I’m going to be trying to copy your smooth operation! There were a number of MovieTalk adaptations that showed the power of using film as pictures, with actors, and in other very interesting ways. Keith was true to the original idea of MovieTalk, and then used technology as a perfect way to follow up. More on that later (in a different post).
The second was at both IFLT16 and NTPRS16: Justin Slocum-Bailey demonstrated using gestures to feed the needs in a classroom while honoring students. One gesture lets students point out something that is distracting them without distracting the class. Another helps them realize that sometimes we just have to rise above whatever is going on. A third symbolizes the opportunity we have in life to make lemonade of problems. These simple gestures offer profound lessons to students – and to their teachers.
Finally, I got another subtle tweak for using gestures that support comprehension. (These include ASL signs and gestures the class makes up to define structures.) Haiyun asked Susie Gross to observe her lesson for students of Chinese, and shared that Susie encouraged her to use gestures after saying the word. Haiyun is a highly accomplished teacher, so it would have been very hard to find anything to improve. Having Susie Gross return to NTPRS this year added grace and wisdom to the proceedings. And Haiyun is the example of how the best teachers are still anxious to learn.
ps: if you Twitter, find the #IFLT16 and #NTPRS16 feeds. Lots of good stuff there. Look for Jeremy Jordan’s (Señor Jordan’s) video in which Dasani and Coke bottles interact. Señor Wooly taught us all how to use Adobe Premier Clip to make films!
pps: I am still walking on air after being recognized by Blaine Ray at NTPRS16. There are many who have contributed (much more) to TPRS. The fact that it exists and that teachers keep sharing and learning and creating is what makes our work great. To (sort of) quote Blaine, his TPRS has given all of us the permission and encouragement to do what is right for our kids.