A couple of kids in my first-year class are lagging, so I am trying to make sure they have certain phrases down cold, as well as varying the activities so that our 85-minute periods don’t drag. I forgot that we’d started to talk about everyone’s NY resolutions and their superpower wishes. So we started with a dictation, brought people to the front of the room to talk about their powers and resolutions, took a quiz on the information, read from Poor Anna, and played a game. That’s about 17 minutes average per activity, just about right if you add in transition time. It keeps kids moving. I can start doing something in class, forget that the kids need to move and stick with a given activity way too long.
What I’m proud of is that I managed to work common phrases into every activity, to compare the kids who came to sit up in front of the class with one another and with Anna, that we reused “wants” a lot (to control people’s minds, to teleport–honest, there’s a Russian word!), and that when we did the eyes-closed, thumbs-up/down T/F quiz, only two kids missed any of the answers. Then, when we did the reading, because we were doing a game afterward, kids were very focused. The game was simple…Scott’s adaptation of “Around the World” –I gave them words and phrases from Poor Anna to translate. It’s really easy to differentiate by giving kids different words that I expect they’ll know.
Now I’ve just finished with my advanced class, in which I had superstars leading one group, a native speaker in another, a university grad in a third and myself in a fourth. I gave everyone about 25 minutes of reading and talking. I could hear the university guy talking with the kids about the “necessary” form of subjunctive, while the native speaker discovered she didn’t really know how to translate a lot of things that the kids figured out, and the superstars in the third group did an awesome job of reading together. In my group, I was taking baby-easy reading, and making the kids re-read it from different perspective because otherwise they could have just read on their own. I read in Russian out loud until we hit a word or phrase that needed to change, and the student would say that one correctly. It was fun! It’s highly comprehensible and they like the success. I could take that same reading passage and make the more advanced group put it into past tense, and with the most advanced groups, I could ask them to change it to subjunctive.
Everyone was nicely focused and reading happily the whole time. Lovely! I gave them all five minutes to draw a six-picture storystrip of what they’d read, and after that they did a ten-minute fastwrite. Then I had a song with some blanks for them to fill in for the last five minutes of class. Whoo hoo! It doesn’t feel like I taught at all–just facilitated acquisition!
And later…I went to Laurie’s blog to ask a question, and she had explained why she does TPRS, starting with a link to this page.