November 28, 2016

Back to the Invisibles!

How do I love the Invisibles?  Let me count the ways:

  1.  Stories with the Invisibles are easier to start.  The class meeting focuses us and brings us together, and reinforces the importance of the student jobs.
  2. They are easier to tell, because the only thing I need to focus on is kids’ comprehension.  Not circling as they tell you to do in TPRS workshops, not repeating a certain piece of language a bazillion times like I used to do.  Just telling a story comprehensibly and in an engaging fashion.  I just want to make sure they are following the gist of the story.  I do not have to check up on them all the time to see if they are getting every piece of the language.  I have more energy for looking them in the eyes and thinking about my skills as a storyteller.
  3. They are easier for the kids to remember the new words that come up, because they emerge in the moment they are needed to drive the story forward.  I have been surprised to see the emerged words just spontaneously pop up in the kids’ writing and speech – and yes, in the videos you can start to hear the first emergence of speaking.  And I would like to point out that SOME of their speech is already in the “creating with the language” stage not simply memorized phrases.
  4. They make me happy.  I just like them better.  They are fun and surprising and unique and just fun.
  5. They are EASY.  Today I had to teach the Spanish classes unexpectedly.  All I did was grab a cute character and GO.
  6. They require less management.  In my experience, kids are more content to just let me tell the story with less asking for details from them.  The fewer moments of deciding on details, the more CI I can give them and the fewer times I have to manage their competing energies. See #2 above.  Just as I do not have to think about my language choices as long as it is comprehensible, I also do not have to manage a bunch of transitions into storytelling and then question asking.  It is more like zipping down the highway than driving the Tri-met bus.  More like open road and less like stop-and-go traffic.

    Bill el Contable Part One
    Bill el Contable Part Two
    Bill el Contable Part Three

    Bob la Burbuja

    Maria el Pop Tart Part One
    Maria the Pop Tart Part Two

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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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