November 22,2016

Doing What I Am Told

Today was the lat day before the three-day Thanksgiving Break.  I had a long talk with my vice-principal yesterday, who is my evaluator.  She is concerned with the “teacher-centered” nature of teaching using pure comprehensible input.  She wants to see me incorporate more hands-on activities and more output.  She suggested more projects.  I do not really want to take time to do projects since it will undoubtedly be too much of a cognitive load on thee Novice students to complete a project in L2.

I had a thought on how to have the students do more hands-on work while still receiving CI.  Years ago, I bought TPR Teacher Kits that you put on the overhead and have the students manipulate matching kits at their desks.  The teacher kits are transparencies.  Since we have moved away from overhead projector technology, I had not used them in years.  But I thought, hey why not do something with those TPR Kits?  They are organized in thematic units, like the city and the home and the classroom.

In digging through my old materials, I happened upon Simpsons Bingo that I had made years ago.  I decided to play that with the kids in French Two and One.  The bingo boards I made have the Simpsons characters doing various things.  I described the images in French and the kids put a chip on their board over the picture I described.  Voilà, hands-on comprehensible input!

I also paired the French kids up and gave them question cards.  The class was divided into two lines.  They asked and responded to a series of partners’ questions.  Every minute or so I had them move down the line to a new partner with a new set of questions.  They really liked this activity, even though they spoke a lot of English.   guess it was SOME comprehensible input since they had to read the question cards in French.  And if they get good at this, then it is an activity I can pull out to get the right boxes checked on my evaluation.

In Spanish, Rhea re-told the legend from yesterday and had the students draw to demonstrate their understanding.  This, too, is another activity that might check the “student interaction” box in the evaluation.

Part One
Part Two

My VP informed me that the evaluation rubric does not specify that the class needs to be conducted in L2.  In fact, I could speak not a word of L2 and probably end up with a better score!  If we were doing a cultural project (more like a Social Studies class), then I could have a lot more of the elements that the Danielson Framework wants in a lesson.  It is obvious that the framework is not aligned to a second language classroom because it does not even specify that we need to speak in L2.


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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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