Comprehension-based Instruction: the Foundation, the Method, the Evidence #ACTFL15

ACFTL15_Krashen_GaabComprehension-based Instruction:
the Foundation, the Method, the Evidence.

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.

NTPRS 15 – The second day – Tuesday the 21rst of July

“Shakira” wants a boy with a motorcycle

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

Dialogue in Linda Li's Chinese Mandarin class

Dialogue in Linda Li’s Chinese Mandarin class

(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.”

Dialogue in Linda Li's Chinese Mandarin class

Dialogue in Linda Li’s Chinese Mandarin class

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!

Carol Gaab: Developing a flexible, 'personalized' curriculum

Carol Gaab: Developing a flexible, ‘personalized’ curriculum

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

Blaine Ray, Using yourself as a parallel character

Blaine Ray, Using yourself as a parallel character

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.

In Michael Miller's studio NTPRS15

In Michael Miller’s studio NTPRS15

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.

iFLT15 St Paul – The first day – Tuesday the 14th of July

IMG_3402Today iFLT15 started in Tartan High School in St Paul, Minnesota. How great to meet so many nice colleagues again and to be able to talk together ‘life’!

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?”

IMG_3433Activities 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, 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.

IMG_3434I 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 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.

IMG_3442Carol 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.

Unparallel_Story_Tarzan_Jane_GaabAfter 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.

Days 1 – 4 – Beginning Workshop Handouts
Day 1 – Afternoon Experienced Workshop Handout