He Talks Too Much (Matava) – English – Judy Dubois

This is actually a story that Judy wrote up after one of her classes, based on “He Talks Too Much” by Anne Matava. It is not a reading but it sure gives insight into how detailed these stories can get in class.

Then, after that, there is an embedded reading about Vincent, which is not connected to the first, but which I include here because it sheds light on Judy’s work with kids who have failed in their other English classes. This is so important to me and to all of us, I know. When kids no longer think that they are stupid, when they experience success after failure, as they have with Judy below, little bells ring in the skies.

Judy thank you for these. I think it is so neat that you are there letting the conservative French stares roll off your back and doing what you think is best for the kids. It probably doesn’t help that job security over there is so much different and that teachers  are so much more respected in France. 

Dear Ben,

I had such a hoot yesterday with a group of students that I thought I’d send ours to you.  It’s in English, because that is what I teach here in France.  What was really funny was that when I asked them what Ceasar talked about, they were saying something I couldn’t understand.  I kept asking them to repeat it, then I realized that they were saying “pen spinning” in English!  I don’t know where they picked that vocabulary up, but it may be an episode of High School Musical that I missed. 

And I’m sure you get the joke when they said that Nicolas Sarkozy ate soup.  (To grow taller)  And Claude Géaunt is the ministre d’intérieur.

Ceasar talks too much.  He talks all the time.  He talks about video games and horror movies and he talks about pen spinning.  Ceasar is a champion pen spinner.  In biology class with Mr. Azemat, Ceasar talks too much.  Mr. Azemat says, “Stop it!”  But Ceasar doesn’t stop talking.  He talks the whole time.  Mr. Azemat says,”Get out!”

Ceasar goes out of his biology class and he goes to the movie theater to see Shining.  He sits next to Stephen King.  Ceasar talks to Stephen King the whole time.  He talks about horror movies, but Stephen King wants him to stop talking.  He wants to listen to the movie, but Ceasar talks too much.  Stephen King says, “Stop talking!  Stop it!” 

Ceasar doesn’t stop talking.  He talks all the time.  So Stephen King says, “Get out!”

Ceasar walks out of the movie theater and he goes to Bordeaux.  The trip lasts one hour and eighteen minutes and thirteen seconds.  He gets on a ship, “New France,” and he goes to Japan.  The trip lasts eighteen days and five hours and sixteen minutes and twenty-seven seconds.  He gets off the ship in Yokohama and he gets on a high speed train to go to Tokyo.  The trip lasts forty-three minutes and eleven seconds.

Ceasar is in Tokyo for the World Pen Spinning Cup.  Ceasar is a professional pen spinner.  He wins the quarter finals and then he meets Vincent.  Vincent is an amateur pen spinner, but he’s very good.  Ceasar spins his pen for three hours forty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds, but he talks too much.  He talks all the time and he doesn’t concentrate.  Ceasar drops his pen.  The judge says, “Get out!”  Vincent spins his pen for five hours and sixteen minutes and one second.  Vincent wins.  Vincent qualifies for the final match.

The final match is against Nicolas Sarkozy.  Angela Merkel is his coach.  Ceasar is Vincent’s coach.  Ceasar tells Vincent to sleep twelve hours.  He tells him to eat sushi and maki and lots of wasabi.  He tells him to drink Red Bull.

Angela tells Nicolas to sleep twelve hours, but the baby cries too much.  The baby cries all the time.  Nicolas sleeps for four hours, but the baby wakes him up.  Nicolas says, “Stop it!  Stop crying!”  The baby stops crying and Nicolas can sleep two more hours, but Nicolas is tired.  Angela tells him to eat soup.  He needs to eat a lot of soup, but Nicolas doesn’t like soup.  Angela tells him to drink champagne.  Nicolas likes champagne and he drinks a lot of champagne.

The final match begins.  Nicolas and Vincent spin their pens.  They spin their pens all the time.  After eight hours they are still spinning their pens.  Ceasar talks all the time, but Vincent doesn’t listen.  He spins his pen.  Ceasar talks too much, and Nicolas says, “Stop it!  Stop talking!”  But Ceasar doesn’t stop talking.  Nicolas gets angry.  He calls Claude Guéant.  “Arrest this boy,” he says.  “He talks too much!  He talks all the time.”

Claude Guéant says, “Get out!”  But Nicolas drops his pen and Vincent wins the final match.  He is the new World Champion Pen Spinner.

The (unrleated) embedded reading: 

Vincent wants a very intelligent orange fish. He wants to have a little orange fish that he can take to school in a glass, because he wants good grades.  He wants a fish that knows all the answers to all the tests.  He goes to the market in Agen in his blue BMW.  He asks the man who sells fish, “Do you have a little orange fish?”

The man in the fish shop says, “No, I don’t have any orange fish.”

Vincent is very sad.  He goes home.  He decides to go to the market in Villeneuve.  He goes to Villeneuve in his black Jaguar. He asks the man who sells fish, “Do you have a little orange fish?”

“Yes, I do,” says the man in the fish shop.

“Is it very intelligent?” asks Vincent.

“No, it isn’t.” says the man.  “But it is delicious.”

Vincent is sad.  He goes home.  He decides to go to a laboratory in Paris.  He flies to Paris in his red private jet.
He asks the scientist, “Do you have a very intelligent little orange fish?”

“Yes, I do,” says the scientist.

Vincent is happy.  He asks, “How much does it cost?”

“It costs a lot of money.  It costs 3,465,290 euros and 35 cents.”

“Do you take credit cards?” asks Vincent.

“No,” says the scientist.  “I want cash.”

Vincent goes to an ATM.  He gets the cash and gives it to the scientist.  The scientist puts the little orange fish in a glass and gives it to Vincent.  Vincent is happy because now he will have good grades.

The End





1 thought on “He Talks Too Much (Matava) – English – Judy Dubois”

  1. Dear Ben,

    I am flattered that you thought my kids’ story interesting. What I sent you was the story as we did it in class, which I typed up by memory afterwards, adding Claude Guéant to give the ending a bit more punch and to repeat “Stop it!” one more time.

    In the story about Vincent and the orange fish I was working on the structures “goes to” and “wants” for it. I haven’t done too much embedded reading with these kids because we’re just starting out this month. They are seven kids who got failing grades in English in the first trimester and their teacher asked me to take them on. Instead of going to his class, they come to me and we do TPRS. They have the option of returning to his class if they want, knowing that if they stay with me their maximum grade will be 12/20. I am working with four groups like this and so far only two students have asked to go back to the regular class (who were not failing but had been sent to me in the first place to get them out of the teacher’s hair).

    I’m really having a ball with them, and the kids are progressing so fast! I think that by volunteering to take on the students that are failing in a traditional class, I’ve convinced some of my colleagues that there is something to TPRS.

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