September 21, 2016

Emergent Language – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!


This bitten-off corn dog is so darn cute.  I love how the dog part is kind of hanging out of the corn part where it is bitten.  So adorable.  (Full disclosure:  I did inform this class of my proclivity to love talking food.  So ask and you will receive, I guess!)

El perro caliente de maís Uno
El perro caliente de maís Dos

In these two videos taken today (a shortened schedule due to our monthly late start Wednesday), you will see me use the word Solamente – only – to talk about the day’s schedule.  Then later as we were creating the One Word Image (OWI),  I was fortunate enough to look back at the board (a good habit to get into when building stories off emergent language) as I was talking about the corn dog, and saw solamente up there.  Therefore, I folded that language right back into the OWI.

When working with emergent language, we must realize that it is a gift.  Language that the kids want and need to express their ideas!  What a gift to us!  Language that they are already emotionally-invested in!  What fun – it is more engaging and sticks faster in their brains!

But it is a gift like ice cream.  Some is good.  Too much – ouch, brain freeze!  We need to keep our whiteboards clearer, and learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle what we already have.  In life sometimes it is hard to appreciate what is right there in front of you.  Your old car, your messy desk, your grumpy spouse even!  But in life, and in teaching, appreciating what is already there is a place of peace and power.

May our whiteboards be uncluttered and may we recognize the language that emerges as the gift it is, and limit ourselves to working with it, appreciating it, and letting it do its job.

Other videos from today:

2nd Period French Two Review Artists’ Work and Read Story (This was a story using two Invisibles drawn by the class – an evil cat and a pineapple)

3rd Period French One Circling with Balls (I do not use balls, just cards, so I am tempted to call this Circling with Kids since it is really the kids that are the focus for me.)
At the end of class I gave them a “quiz” that consisted of my asking them review questions on the day’s discussion.  Sometimes we write.  Today we just listened.

4th Period Spanish One Circling with Balls




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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 this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

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