September 16, 2016

Velcro for the Brain?
Emergent Language Just Feels Stickier to Me

img_4926These videos are actually from September 15, as I was out of the building today for family reasons.  This video begins with our reviewing the artists’ work from the image creation process the previous day, and this video is the continuation of the writing.

The image was a machete named Señora Claws, who was sad because everyone thought she was bad due to her being an enormous knife and all, but in reality she was a very nice machete.  It got even cuter because turns out she was a Christmas machete, not just a normal machete.

When we move into the writing, at about 3:45 of the first video, you will hear us talking about a classroom management strategy I use when writing in front of the class.  (I have been calling this “Write and Discuss” like “Read and Discuss” and “Look and Discuss” because we are basically having a conversation as a group and writing the details that the kids give me about the previous day’s work.)  You will hear me remind them that they do not NEED to write to acquire the language, but that they do, of course, need to pay attention and be engaged.  So therefore, if they cannot do that while simply watching me write, I will have them get clipboards and paper and pencils and copy as I write.  Very few kids find this an exciting option (though I do have a few who like to copy and do so as I write) so therefore the class’ motivation to attend to the input is heightened.

Working with no pre-determined target language does not mean that targets do not come up.  Of course, new language will be needed.  But I am finding that kids comprehend and retain the language that emerges rapidly.  My gut feeling is that they comprehend the emerged languages quicker and more easily because they emerged in a moment that is tied to emotion and were truly needed for communicating ideas in a real moment.

Emergent language that you will her in this class is todas las personas and todo el mundo, Navidad, cuento, and hay.  In big Tina news, I have given UP circling hay!  I figure it is going to be in every story, all year, and it will be natural to comprehend it in the context of saying what there is in a story.  So this is the first time they have seen hay but it seemed to present no problems.

img_4922Here are two videos of French 1 doing a Write and Discuss of a One Word Image from the previous class.  At the beginning of Part One you will hear me telling the class about the classroom management strategy of “forcing” them to pay attention if they cannot attend to the input, and giving kids the option of taking out their own materials and writing if they wish.  You might notice that the Gender Equality Initiative from the 25% of the class that identifies as male has succeeded and we have two Professeurs 2, one boy and one girl.  These kids are so engaged that the Professeurs 2 are EXTREMELY important for them.  In Part Two (the new part starts at 1:15), we are working with the text we just wrote.  First I read the text to them, then we chorally translate using a Reader Leader (me for now as I am still modeling it for the eventual kid who will take the job), then we do a little work with a student actor.

Words that have emerged are:  auberginecochon, corps, fluorescent (which I am recycling from a previous story), déprimée, géante, tandis que (which I put in there knowing that this was brand-new and I waited till a kid asked what it meant, so that I could praise them for asking for clarification and reinforce that expectation.)  Grammar points that came up were the fact that I needed to have a city after the preposition à, some words for punctuation, and (when working with the actor), the difference between applaudissez-le and applaudissez-la.

Here is some writing done yesterday in another Spanish 1 class, my seventh period, about a taco-caballo:  medio taco y medio caballo.  See the amazing taco-caballo below.

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This entry was posted in Class-Created Readings, Emergent Language, Images/Artwork, One Word Image, Uncategorized, Write and Discuss on by .

About Lanny Ball

For more than 23 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy and reading consultant in Northwestern Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on Twitter @LannyBall, as well as his literacy blog: lannyball.com or lannyball.blog.

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