Suggested Weekly Schedule
The Three Steps and Bloom’s Taxonomy
Below is a simple and organized (therefore stress free) way to plan what we do each week – a suggested weekly schedule. The reader may also be interested in reviewing the suggested daily schedule as well. It can be found in this same list of resources.
An entire week of comprehensible input can grow organically from just three words. When the week is organized in this way, if the “plant” that is the week’s instruction starts with and is limited to just those three structures on Monday, then the students are able to experience a more streamlined and focused period of instruction over the remaining four days of the instructional week – the instruction has a more simple quality. This assures their success. What does this organic instruction look like on Monday?
Monday – PQA of just the three structures. This is the planting of the seed of the plant that will emerge during the week of instruction. When PQA of three structures is all that is done on Monday, the root of the plant becomes strong and grows deeply into the ground. By focusing only on the three structures on Monday, the instructor is able to personalize and get lots of repetitions on them. When this kind of focused PQA is done, the seed sprouts and the root goes narrow and deep. The growth of the plant through the week is assured. It is the delivery of knowledge and content and the checking of its comprehension in the form of discussion that characterizes Monday in this suggested schedule for teachers who use comprehensible input.
Tuesday – the story is so much easier for the kids to understand because of the extensive PQA done the day before. If Monday provides the seed and root of the plant, then Tuesday, the story, is the growth of the shoot into a plant. On Tuesday we apply the knowledge and comprehension of simple information – the three structures – into the construction/illustration of same in the form of a story. Since the story script is written with no new words or structures in it, then the student is relaxed and in command of all classwork connected to the story. On Tuesday, then, we apply the knowledge/content learned on Monday to movement up the taxonomy.
Wednesday/Thursday – on Wednesday and Thursday we do the reading class. This growing of the root and stem into a plant goes beyond mere application of the knowledge and content gained on Monday and Tuesday to the analysis of the story in the form of reading, discussion of grammar and accent, writing, etc. There are two options, one focusing more on the reading of a prepared text (Option A), the other focusing more on the writing of a text (Option B).
Option A for the W/Th classes:
1. Write on the board, in L2: the title of the story, and the words who, where, what happens, what is the problem? Then tells the students very quickly, those things, in L2. (optional)
*2. Instructor reads aloud in L2 – this allows the student to make the necessary connection between the sound of the story with, now for the first time, what those sounds look like on paper. (required) [credit: Diana Noonan]
3. Silent reading, decoding of the first page of the three page prepared text (usually a generic version of five classes’ stories). (optional)
4. Pair work to translate. (optional)
[note: some classes can't handle steps 3 and 4 above and should not be allowed those options]
*5. Choral translation using laser pointer. (required)
*6. Discussion of text in L2. (required)
*7. Discussion of grammar in L1 (3 and 4 may interweave) (required)
8. French choral and individual work on accent – this can be a very special time as we finally are able to hear, after a year and a half of constant input and relatively little verbal output, how our students’ brains have organized the language in the now emergent output. We notice how well they pronounce the language IF the output wasn’t too early. (optional)
9. 5 minute write of the story, in which the students answer the questions: who, where, what happens, what is the problem. 5 minute write of the story, and he urges them to use the questions: who, where, what happens, what is the problem. (optional)
*10. Sacred reading of the text – after 4 class periods of either listening or reading input, the students know the material. So, to conclude, read it to them with meaning, dramatic tone, artistry, in a quiet, sacred kind of setting. One teacher read it with such drama that the kids told her she should have been an actress. I generally do this step without the text in front of the students. They are really pleased when they can understand it. (highly recommended)
*11. Translation quiz – pick any paragraph from the reading and have the students translate it into English for a quick and easy grade. (required)
*these are the steps I do – they form the backbone of this reading approach and they work wonders. I think that the steps with the asterisks next to them, when done as the reading Step 3 of classic TPRS after Monday’s Step 1 PQA and Tuesday’s Step 2 Story, provide the highest quality instruction possible in comprehension based methods. The power rating in the asterisked steps above is off the chart.
[credit - steps 1 and 9 above: Bob Patrick]
Put in simpler terms, with less steps, the above can essentially be described in this way:
1. get something to read up on the screen.
2. translate it with the class chorally after they spend five minutes or so trying to read it themselves (or in pairs if your kids have enough discipline to work effectively together for five minutes (this is rare).
3. ask questions in L2 about the text, pointing out grammar.
4. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “This CI stuff is easy if I work from a reading first. I can learn about stories and personalization on a deeper level next summer, or never.”
Option B for the W/Th class:
I do this when I haven’t had time to write up a story for the reading class or if I am in a lazy mood. I just ask the class to help me remember the story from their class and I do a retell with them refreshing my memory. While I am doing the retell (this is at the start of class), a superstar is writing the story out quickly in English. Once I get the gist of the story into English in this way, I proceed directly into the dictation format for the first 15 minutes.
Then, I write the correct text out and the kids make their corrections as per the dictation format described on the resource page of benslavic.com. Once the dictées have been corrected and handed in, we read the text (still on the board from the dictation) in English, discussing grammar, and then we work on accent as per Option A above. Thus, the format for a W/Th using Option B is:
1. Dictée and correction of same (35 min.)
2. Reading of text and discussion of grammar (25 min.)
3. Accent work (30 min.)
4. Translation quiz – pick any paragraph from the reading and have the students translate it into English for a quick and easy grade.
The time needed for both Option A and Option B is about 90 minutes, whether it is divided up into tho regular class periods or is in block form. Things flow more smoothly, obviously, when a block is available for this mid-week instruction.
Friday – The plant grows even further as we synthesize and evaluate what we have learned by looking at music or paintings relevant to the ideas that grew via the creation of the story and the reading earlier in the week. One example is – if one of the structures from the original story was “wants to get married”, then we listen to “L’Amoureuse” by Carla Bruni. Another example – if one of the structures is “one must”, then we read “Enivrez-vous” by Charles Baudelaire. Like that. It is always nice to look forward to a little painting, music or poetry to end the week!