Category Archives: Invisibles

September 9, 2016

Creativity in Community

It’s amazing how much training students need to be able to participate respectfully in the class community.  Sometimes kids are “just joking around” and disrespecting each other, and they have to be reminded that what is OK amongst friends outside the classroom is not OK to bring into class.

My eighth grade French class was reviewing the calendar when a student suggested the “cute” answer that instead of Friday (which it was), today was Monday (Oh no oh no oh me oh my!)  Whereas I make a big deal of hating Mondays, I was nonetheless happy to see the creativity of this student in suggesting a cute answer.  However, his classmates were not as willing to roll with his creativity.  Some even went as far as to call him out with some funny yet insulting language.  It was time for a class intervention in L1.  Speaking in English is, to me, like putting savings away.  You can’t put your WHOLE paycheck in savings, but if you put aside a little, especially if you do that early in your career, over time it will grow and bear fruit.  I see L1 in the language classroom the same way.  More L1 use in the early months pays off with better-trained kids who are ready to be creative as a group.

Building group creativity is not for the faint of heart.  Facilitating true human connection, community, and creativity, especially in the upper grades, especially in today’s schools, is a tall order.  Doing it without ever using L1 just might be too much.  Give a little to get a lot.  It’s like saving for a rainy day.

In this French 2 class, we reviewed the calendar, then worked on a One Word Image of a teeny-tiny rainbow colored pig who is magic, but is sad because he only speaks English and does not speak Pig.  You will see me using L1 to discipline the class as well as to praise them for letting me know if I am not being clear.  Both uses of L1 are setting the foundations for important work this year – being a respectful community and making sure that Hargaden is clear when she speaks French.

In this Spanish 1 class, the OWI illustrates the important concept that Ben Slavic was so into this summer in all his workshops – the teacher needs to LIKE what she is talking about.  I LOVE THIS TINY EWOK!  He is small even for an Ewok!  So cute!  I am discovering that if you can get your kids to give you things to talk about that you genuinely love, the period will come to an end far quicker than you want it to.

Sammy the Salad

I love this story.  It was created by the students in my sixth period class back in April using Ben Slavic’s Invisibles, as I was assisting Ben with piloting the approach and writing the book.  The story was really cute.

Había una ensalada, que se llamaba Sammy la Ensalada.  Era una ensalada pero no era una simple ensalada.  Podía hablar y tenía sentimientos.  Pero nadie sabía que no era una simple ensalada.  La gente pensaba que era comida.  Pero en realidad él era un personaje muy importante en el cuento de sexto período.  Vivía en el pelo de Kaitlyn.  Su pelo era castaño.  Sammy era verde.  (Es normal;  ¡era una ensalada!)

Un día, una persona muy mala fue a la escuela.  Se llamaba Sr. Fork.  Tenía hambre.  Mucha hambre.  Quería comer a Sammy.  No sabía que Sammy era un personaje importante.  Pensaba que era una simple ensalada.  Kaitlyn estaba nerviosa y Sammy también.

Kaitlyn tuvo una buena idea.  Fue a un salón de belleza.  El salón se llamaba Hair N’ Stuff.  En el salón había un empleado, un vestidor de pelo, que se llamaba Taryn the Cool Guy.  Kaitlyn le preguntó:  Señor, yo quiero pelo verde.  Un hombre muy malo quiere comer a mi amigo Sammy.  Necesitamos camuflaje.  Necesito pelo verde.

Pero Taryn the Cool Guy no era un simple vestidor de pelo.  Era en realidad un agente secreto.  Trabajaba para Sr. Fork.  Él le llamó por teléfono a Taryn the Cool Guy.  Le dijo:  Señor, Usted tiene mucha hambre y quiere un a ensalada verde.  Tengo una ensalada verde aquí en mi salón.  Voy a tintar el pelo de la chica pero voy a usar un verde diferente.

Taryn the Cool Guy tintó el pelo verde oscuro.  Sr. Fork llegó al salón y comió a Sammy.  Después, comió a Kaitlyn.  Después, comió a Taryn.  Después, comió el salón.

(My kids like sad endings…sorry!)