A video in three parts of Dr. Stephen Krashen’s and Carol Gaab’s session at the ACTFL Conference in San Diego, CA, Nov. 20-22, 2015.
Today was the second day of NTPRS15. The programm started again at 8 o’clock. I first went to the workshop of Alina Filipescu: How to expand a 2 day TPRS story to two weeks. Here’s the hand-out of Alina’s workshop. Alina is a 7th and 8th grade Spanish Teacher, Kraemer MS, Placentia, CA | Blaine Ray Workshops Presenter | TPRS/CI Teacher Trainer at Foreign Languages Academy and Tutoring, Placentia, CA. The description of the workshop as mentioned in the schedule: “In order to learn different Comprehenible Input (CI) techniques, participants will acquire Romanian through PQA, TPR, TPRS, and embedded readings. CI brain breaks will be added throughout the workshop such as games, songs, etc. In addition to the CI techniques, teachers will also learn how to use fun movements that accompany expressions requiring all students to show participation throughout the lesson
(i.e. How sad!, What a shame!, It is a problem, etc…). These movements make the lesson fun and interactive and will be added unexpectadly in the storytelling process. Participating teachers will see samples of some of the ideas presented via pictures/videos of middle school lessons.”
At 10.45 was the second part of the Chinese Mandarin lesson for beginners by Linda Li and Bryce Hedstrom. Because there were so many participants yesterday, the workshop was replaced to another, bigger room. But again: full house! There happens so moch in Linda’s lesson, too much to tell about. it’s good bryce is there to debrief. What I liked very much were Linda’s speech bubbles. And she has a beautiful and clear handwriting!
During lunch time I went swimming in the pool to have some physical exercice and then at 2.15 PM I went to Carol Gaab’s workshop Developing a flexible personalized curriculum. There was overlap with the workshop at iFLT, but this one was longer and had more hands-on. In the schedule it is decribed as: ” If the thought of writing curriculum makes you shudder, cringe and/or grimace, you definitely do not want to miss this session! Come learn how to efficiently design curriculum that is engaging, flexible and effective for SLA. Learn how to use themes to give lessons direction and purpose, how to backward plan from any source, whether a textbook, a vocabulary list or a novel and how to use authentic resources as a compelling source of CI. Discover unique resources that will help you create a rich, comprehensive curriculum, along with quick and easy strategies for organizing a student-centered curriculum with minimum effort and maximum creativity. Participants should bring at least one source (i.e. vocabulary list, a novel, a textbook) from which they will backward plan and begin the design process.” Keywords: Define- Refine-Combine. Carol uses a lot of traditional ways a having more repetition e.g. by reading with multiple choice questions and basing the reading on a short video or (funny) commercial. Carol’s hand-out: NTPRS Curric. HOGaab
At 5 PM a new round of sessions started and I went to Blaine’s : Using yourself as a parallel character. Described in the schedule as: “All TPRS should have student actors. Student actors are taught to answer a question and if they can’t answer the question they read it. Part of that questioning process might include yourself as a parallel character. If the main student has a problem, then the teacher doesn’t have a problem. If the main character goes to Spain, then the teacher goes to France. This allows a great amount of conversation between the teacher and the student actors and the teacher in the class using first person. It works amazingly well.” Blaine did a demo with to participants and then we worked in groups of three ot practice this skill – one was student/character, one was ‘class’ and one the teacher.
At 6.30 the exhibitor’s room opened and there was a reception. I first went to my room and when I arrived there it was not very busy anymore. I bought some books and then I went to look for my Dutch colleagues to go to Michael Miller to record the Dutch part of the song for Michael’s slideshow on Friday.
Carol opened the conference and then Darcy Pippins told about the succes of her students at the AP exams. The worry of a lot of teachers concerning TPRS is: will the students meet the requirements? Darcy showed that her students did very well at the AP exams, without any verb charts or whatsoever.
Then Kristy Placido and Carrie Toth talked about Global competences through service learning. They told that lathough they’re living far away form each other they’re cooperating a lot and that their students are in contact with each other. They promoted cooperating with other colleagues.
They talked about their cultural units and how they backward plan them and how they try to find people in their town who can make it more personal.
They’re teaching in rural areas where the students don’t see the need for world languages and like most adolescents are mainly focused on themselves and so Kristy and Carrie tried to make the students aware of their own power: “What can I do to make a difference?”
Activities Kristy and Carrie performed are Kids helping kids by raising money and with this money helping other kids in Spanish speaking countries to be able to go to school (Kristy) and a Spanish snackshop (Carrie) and the money they raise with the snackshop goes as donations to different projects. They talked about microfinancing at Kiva.org, loans that change lives. Empower people around the world with a $25 loan (I wrote about this last year too, when I was in the workshop of Leslie Davison; I wanted to use it last year and I looked up things for Frenchspeaking countries, but finallly I did not use it in class and I definitely want to use it next school year). All this was done to raise the awareness of the students of important things outside their own lives and towns and that it’s useful to be able to communicate in another language and to know about other cultures and how you can make a change by acting.
I was happy to hear what I also always say: “With TPRS we’re trying to break down the idea that only a few students can learn a second language: everybody can do it. anyone can learn a (second, third, fourth etc) language if there’s no brain deficiency.”
They also gave some practical tips. I liked the “Wordle battle” Carrie mentioned: you make a wordcloud at Wordle.net of a song you’re going to use in class. You work in pairs and you give each student one wordle. You start the song and the students have to encircle a word when they hear it in the song. The one who has the most encicrled words wins.
Carol showed the reading action chain. 5 persons had received a small piece of paper and on it was written a sentence. They had to show the sentence – withhout telling it – and they could use dialogues. We had to guess what was written and give a chorus answer. With it Carol had written an UNparallel story : more details to the story, which gave e.g. information about the way things were said, or why or how.
After the lunch break Carol Gaab did the session for the experienced TPRS teachers. She talked about and showed examples of staying in flow with CI Strategies, differentiated instruction. How do you create & keep input comprehensible and compelling? Define – Refine – Combine.
High frequency vocabulary, relative to your students needs & interests, situationally appropriate vocabulary. Content based CI.
Carol showed a lot of examples of what she does with the baseball players she’s teaching. She can not do plain stories with them; she adapts what she does with them; somehow it made me think of the traditional way of teaching. It’s the repetition that counts and the way you can keep your students interested, although you’re repeating.
And again time flew! Already the last day! The last day is always a half day up to and including lunch.
From 8.15 – 9.45 I went to Storytelling to Reading Japanese in an Hour (or so): Learn to read with the hit film Frozen! by Betsy Paskvan. As ever I’m the barometer, but Betsy knows how to repeat so often in a not-boring way, that I get what I need. And it makes me remember very well to takes this into account when I’m teaching myself: to give my students what they need!
From 10-11.30 I hesitated going to Raising Enrollment and Achievement by Focusing on Comprehensible Input: One District’s Journey to Transform Language Education by Grant Boulanger or to Navigating Novels: Plundering Literacy Treasures by Mira Canion. I went to the last one. I alwasy get the idea that Mira wants to tell us so much, that it’s in fact too much. Her speed is very high because of that, but it’s for me as an imageformer too fast; it does not stick. I think it’s beter to do less, but deeper and a next time give your next points. Her slides are also very filled. Compare it to Grant Boulanger. He wants things to be simple. His slides contain little text.
The keynote speech was by Carol Gaab. Unfortunately I had to go to the airport to catch my flight and I had to leave at the beginning of her interesting story how she got into TPRS. Hope I an read or see it still somewhere!
I went with the shuttle to the Chicago metra, but the train was too late because of works. I was afraid I would miss my plane, so I took a taxi ($40…). The taxidriver happened to come from Congo and so we spoke French. He happened to have had Leslie Davison also in his taxi the day before (he showed me her cart). He already spoke English quite well, but he had asked her how to improve his English. She had told him to watch television with subtitles. He told me he did not agree with her and that it was a bad idea. I asked him why. He said that the subtitles went so fast, they already disappeared before he could read them entirely. I told him that this happened to me too when I was young. In the Netherlands all foreign television programms, films, series etc. were subtitled. In the beginning I could not read all, because the subtitles disappeared to fast. But with practice my reading got faster and faster; so I told him this would happen to him too if he persevered. With my explanation he could agree. Fate first brought him Leslie and because he did not agree I was brought to complete the details ;-).
When walking to my gate I happened to meet Bernard, native French teacher and one of the coaches. He told me we also went to the airport before (I had forgotten, but yes, we did); so it was bizarre we now met again at the airport before leaving. And if we had known: he also took a cab to go to the airport on his own ($40…).
Well, and then my flight from Chicago left with an hour delay, so we got in 10 minutes after the last departure to Albany (from Minneapolis – I had to fly from Minneapolis). So I had to stay in a hotel and the next morning to get up at 3.45 to get the shuttle of 4.00 and have a plane to Atlanta (!) at 6.30 and then a plane to Albany from there. All planes for Albany or near Albany were completely (over)booked! This was the only possibility in the daytime… With a direct flight I would’ve had to wait until 7 pm…
Today I went to the advanced workshop by Betsy Paskvan: TPRS Strategies. She learned us Japanes and this way she showed us all kind of strategies she uses. Bess Hales wrote about it at her blog “Mme Hayles and the TPRS Experiment” and it’s a very good description of the workshop and I do not have much to adjust to it, so do read it here. What I have to adjust is that Betsy uses 8 embedded readings and this way she builds the text gradually up. Betsy sacrifices language time for the social-emotional learning – in order that the students get to know each other & bond.
The first thing Betsy does in the morning is play a song and show a slideshow with explanation with pictures. With us she used a very well known song and gave cultural information about it.
Betsy’s workshop was very practical and inspiring! Here you can find her PowerPoint: TPRS Strategies at Work and Play : Sequencing TPRS Activities for Optimal Learning
In the afternoon I went to Jason Fritze’s workshop session: Tools for thriving. Because Bryce had written on the white board with an unerasable marker, Jason learned one of the first person’s entering how to erase it with an erasable marker by writing over the unerasable text and then it was possible to erase. And this person had to learn to a new person entering who did not know this trick how to do it and so forth, like an erasing chain.
Jason’s workshop had a few of the same points of his workshop at iFLT, but also a lot of new information. He had us form groups of three or four and made us do all kind of group works every once and a while and before doing this he had us point at all the participants of the group. When I met the two ladies of my group the next day I felt that we really were somehow closer because of this pointing and working together.
At the end of the afternoon was the exhibitor’s reception. Everybody could have a look at the books and dvd’s and buy them and there was a buffet and drinks. There Judy Dubois introduced me to Alparslan, the french teacher of the Turkish delegation. We contacted each other a while ago on Linkedin, but we did not know of each other we were going to iFLT and NTPRS! We talked for hours and that’s one of the nice thing of these conferences: meeting your colleagues and talking with them.
Monday evening I got lost when trying to find Wholefoods and Tuesday I went there during the lunch break with a group of colleagues in the shuttle of the Sheraton hotel. I bought a warm lunch at Wholecheckbook as Jason called it and a big salad for later on and the most expensive tarte au citron (or in fact: lime tart) I’ve ever bought… I could not resist…
NTPRS 2013 started this morning! There were some technical problems and so we started a bit later. It was great to be there together again and to listen to Blaine and to Lisa’s enthousiastic openingwords. Lisa o.a. introduced the workshop presenters and the coaches. At the end they showed us the countries where all the participants come from and Lisa said it should in fact become an ITPRS in future. From Europe there were participants from Germany, the Netherlands and from Spain.
The first workshop I went to was the workshop of Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido : “Thinking on your feet”. They are a good team and always have higly interesting and inspiring workshops which are very well structured and have a good pacing and they are ‘compelling’ and they teach what they preach: “the brain craves novelty” and that’s what they take care of, not only in their lessons but also in their workshops. Carol calls the pacing something like “ebb and flow”, but I always call it “breathing in and out”. A lesson need variation between acitivity and rest.
This year the beginners learn how to TPRS and in the meantime they learn Russian from Katya Paukova and Donna Tatum. The advanced workshops are this year on three mornings instead of the four of last year, which I think is a pity, because now I have to choose between two workshops which I’d like to do both, but if it had been four days, I could have done both… New is also that the workshops take all morning and a part of the afternoon, which gave us more time to practice also ourselves. I liked it very much we had to discuss in Carol’s and Kristy’s wokshop in small groups which structures we would use for movie talk with a very funny film about a lady how is flirting with guys in a lunchcorner and how we would make a lesson out of it. This kind of thing we should do more often!
TPRS thrives on problems and today we started with a technical problem and during the lunch we had a problem of another order: our keynote speaker Dr Stephen Krashen had forgotten he had to take the airplane to go to Dallas… But now technics came to our help and we could follow his speech in the big room where we were having lunch, because he was sitting behind a webcam and we could see his face bigger than life on three big screens. Nevertheless, technics was not infallible. The sound was not too good, so unfortunately it was difficult to understand his speech very well…
After the teabreak I went to Contee’s workshop about TPR and he talked about some theoretical concepts and also did TPR with us and had Charlotte Dincher do TPR in German. We flew to the park and to Best Buy. Contee also showed the three ring circus of Berty Segal. She did a workshop about it at iFLT and you can find the hand-out at the TPRS Publishing website in the free download section – see the 3. Wed-Fri workshops – page 21 up to and including page 30.
After the sessions we could go to the coaching sessions, but Charlotte and I helped Contee to set up his table in the exhibitors room, so tomorrow I’ll go to the coaching room! There is also at least one self-coaching group that’s even coaching themselves in the evening! How about being enthousiastic!