Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg on Data Collection – 1

This from our Alisa is the best way to look at data collection and admin requests that I have yet seen, and we have hundreds of articles on this topic here on the PLC.  This is the way to do it:

The more we can assuage teacher and admin anxiety, by providing documentation: rubrics, can-do’s assessments, growth over time, charts, portfolios, video, even HF word lists, whatever paperwork they crave – snow ’em with it!  The more confident they will feel that we are ‘on top of it.’ It is a pathetic sham, but it allows some T’s to continue teaching using research-aligned strategies who might not otherwise feel empowered to do it….

Many of us have tried the honest route of educating our admins and parents, and for some of us, it has (so far) worked!  I for one can’t say whether I’d have the energy to struggle against a skeptical system all day every day, year after year….

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17 thoughts on “Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg on Data Collection – 1”

  1. Interesting and timely. I spent a good chunk of yesterday making a folder in Google drive called “Curriculum documents.” It has rubrics, scope and sequence, unit plans, competencies and course descriptions that I rewrote (not sure if they will be approved, but they are written down and aligned with research and puposely vague “to allow for student-driven topics”). I even added a testimonial from Darcy Pippins that she posted yesterday about how the AP program she inherited grew from 9 students to 70, due to her 100% CI program with zero grammar, in a school with 50% of the kids qualifying for free/ reduced lunch. Personally I aspire to never teach AP, but adminZ will eat up those stats / data. Especially since I am a dept of one in the whole district with a similar demographic profile. They are supportive but these docs will help a ton bc they only can compare me to what they know about their own Spanish classes that they took. I will add HF word lists. Great idea! I realize I have been agonizing and looking over my shoulder when I should just put the papers out there to shield me 😀

  2. Share them with us if you feel so inclined….We can put them up there in the Curriculum Docs hard link with some stuff that Alisa shared from her elementary program.

  3. Darcy’s results are tremendous. It would be nice if all TPRS teachers got results like that. I guess results like that depend on having teachers like that and also the school population plays a factor, obviously. Then we could draw some solid conclusions about how TPRS works. When TPRS is done fairly badly in schools it becomes a a target for traditional teachers.

    I think it is done badly because it is so hard to do. The Darcy Pippins of the world can do it. But not everyone can. That leads to skewed data. Ergo, why not just make it so easy that anyone can do it? That’s what Tina and I are trying to do. Share that message of no planning, no pressure, very little data collection, etc. Sorry if it offends anyone. But we think TPRS is too hard.

    1. Yep. I can’t tie myself down that way. I need to operate mostly “menu style” so I can suss out where the attention / energy is and not force something that doesn’t need to be forced. Although, she says she does not do a lot of TPRS. Mostly PQA and reading.

      I can definitely share what I have. A lot of it is stuff that other ppl wrote, like my unit plans are based on Jilane Baros’ and I have Bob Patrick’s portfolio reflection (that I haven’t used yet, but I like it so much that I asipre to use it!), etc. I still need to add Tina’s “Habits of strong readers” rubric. I will get that to you later tonight. It is just compiled…some documents are straight from the source and I have not edited them (like Bob’s still says Latin, etc).

      Speaking of reading…I did a reading reflection today with a couple of classes. Still trying to dial in enjoyable reading material for those kids who don’t read. One of the questions I asked on the sheet was “How helpful would it be for us to read a book together as a group? Keep in mind that “group reading” of a book is for the purpose of enjoying the story together. No testing on books.”

      Here is what I found interesting. Level 2 class had more kids in it who finished more books than level 4 class. Also, Level 4 class had a majority of kids who think “group reading” will be very helpful, while Level 2 only had 2 kids say “very helpful”. I wonder why this is? I would have predicted the opposite. Interesting. I guess we will read something together in level 4! I’ll have them pick, of course. Am planning to “read” this mostly SL style, then maybe throw some of the most compelling chapters up on the doc camera.

      Everyone prefers SL to everything else because it’s easier to pay attention, can use visuals, context clues, dramatic voices for help, they understand more, etc. A surprising comment from several kids was that they like SL “because I can ask questions if I don’t understand.” This is so strange, because it doesn’t feel like many kids ask during SL, but maybe they just feel more confident bc they understand more so they feel ok to ask??? Or because I am watching more closely I intuitively go back and retell or redraw bc I know they’re lost? I found that really odd, but many kids expressed that they were happy they could ask questions. HM. OH…maybe they are talking about when I pause sometimes and have them do a quick partner share. I bet that’s it…bc it is not public??? I’ll ask them tomorrow!

    2. It’s definitely too hard for me and I’m so glad I found the PLC just in time before I had stressed myself by trying to target structures and get the required 50 to 70 reps on them.

      My reunion with TPRS after two failed attempts happened last year when I heard about Susan Gross and bought her training videos. I was so impressed that I watched them several times and realized that this was sth I had been looking for for ages. But when I tried out the heavy circling, although it went well, I got the feeling, I would be sucking at this and I felt an awful lot of pressure to do it right and to tell the truth I hated it but I thought I would have to master these kind of skills, and all of them by just reading books and trying again and again, without being able to attend a seminar.

      Ben, Tina and all the other PLC-ers, you have taken a load of my mind bc I’m sure with your ideas I can beccome a much better CI- teacher without burnout.

      I want to LIVE the language with the kids and come into my own as a teacher.

      1. Yes Udo and I asked Susan once about the 50-70 reps. I asked where she got that number. She said that she made them up. I think her point was that it didn’t matter and that is fine, but I also spend years, fifteen and a half in my case, trying to get that many reps in my stories and it is perhaps one reason why I burned out on them. There is no way a teacher can assume that after a certain number of reps of a target word that the students will have “acquired” it. It’s not the number of reps that bring the acquisition, but the interest.

    3. Ben, TPRS is too hard. However, if the mindsets are there (though rare they may be) teachers doing NT can definitely throw the adminz a bone showing academic achievement.

      1. Good point. Heavy circling is like sprinting. You can go hard and heavy with it long enough to wow an admin, although you may have had to have done it enough to have trained them.

  4. At the end of this school year I’ll be 1.5 years old in CI. I am pretty decent for a first year TPRS-er at MovieTalk, creating a OWI, Embedded Readings, teaching novels, Persona Especial, volleyball reads, PQA, gestures, BVP style data collection activities, and I few activities I got from the Natural Approach. I’ve de facto become kind of an eclectic CI teacher, just because I’m figuring this all out as I go along. The students and parents are happy though, so I think something is working.

    I will say that the traditional TPRS has been a struggle for me. I’ve had some stories that totally have sucked and I had to bail them out. I’m using a Matava script now in Spanish 3. Those seem easier than the Blaine Ray stuff.

    Ben, would you say though that it’s pretty necessary to practice the Blaine Ray method first before branching out?

    For me, MovieTalk actually was what make circling click for me. The kids really like One Word Image too. I think the issue with the traditional TPRS is that when it is good it is REALLY good and when it flops it really flops. That’s kind of how it has been for me.

    1. Greg I share your experience there where TPRS was either great (rarely) or ranging from kind of flat to real flat (very often).

      You also asked:

      …Ben, would you say though that it’s pretty necessary to practice the Blaine Ray method first before branching out?….

      My response is absolutely not. I wouldn’t need to learn how to drive a Mercedes after learning how to drive a Chevy, either. I could just start in learning how to drive in the Mercedes. Again, that comment is liable to piss off people, which seems to have become a sport directed at Tina and I these days, so sorry to those whom I may offend with the analogy. But then, a lot of people who are offended have never driven a Mercedes, nor even looked at the manual in the glove box because they don’t see a need to. They are happy with the Chevy. Good for them. I wasn’t. TPRS always felt to me like a 2001 Chevy to me, which is the year I bought mine. And all around me in spite of huge amounts of time and money spent at conferences to learn it, year after year I saw a kind of Demolition Derby going on, with the drivers not wanting to quit because then they would be walking the traditional teaching textbook walk. So with no alternative, they kept (keep) trying to make it work. How long can you try before you throw your hands up and say it’s too hard? I learn by writing so that is why I wrote those books on TPRS and they have gotten good reviews but now it is time for me to move on. I am thinking of giving them away for free now since I have moved on, to those people who genuinely prefer TPRS. No blame, no negative energy there. We all have our favorite car brands. Ultimately the stories just were bland. Without Matava’s stories to keep that old Chevy on the road over the years, I would have driven it to the junkyard and done the Funky Broadway out of the junkyard, happy to still be on my own two feet still after all the work. Now, thanks to the way Tina has helped me see what I created down there in India last year, and how she has UNDERSTOOD it and validated my work, I am loving the view from the drivers seat of my new car. Good questions, Greg…for 1 and 1/2 years of working with this stuff, you seem to be putting the peddle to the metal. That’s another thing – it took me 7 years from 2001 to 2008 to even begin to figure TPRS out. That’s too long.

      Related: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIuJH3qroDY

  5. As far as the data collection and curriculum documents….Isn’t that the game the legacy teachers play when they “align to ACTFL”? I mean I’ve heard of schools that are “ACTFL aligned” but then I find out from someone who teaches there that actually, even though they bring in some ACTFL trainer, teachers are still teaching “boot verbs” and doing verb races.

    ACTFL is actually more on the side of TPRS than they are on the side of legacy teaching if you actually read their materials. Main points of contention are the forced output, use of authentic resources that are NOT interesting nor comprehensible, and the idea that you need to do “everything from the beginning”.

    1. “I mean I’ve heard of schools that are “ACTFL aligned” but then I find out from someone who teaches there that actually, even though they bring in some ACTFL trainer, teachers are still teaching “boot verbs” and doing verb races.”

      This is the problem with many mindsets. Since many do not align with the foundations of the research, they become ecclectic rather than evaluating activities, methods and strategies that deliver CI. Some teacher ROCK at SL. I am just beginning because it requires some planning. I prefer invisibles, OWI and Special interview right now. These require little planning which I like. To me that is my Mercedes.

      1. I think I’d like to run a whole class some day on Persona Especial and OWI. Those two activities are the ones where I hardly ever lose the kids. In Persona Especial you are talking ABOUT THEM and OWI you are talking about a character they created. If they think it’s boring, it’s like…well YOU CREATED IT.

        1. “If they think it’s boring, it’s like…well YOU CREATED IT.

          Good point!
          Could you elaborate a little on Persona Especial? How does this work?

          1. Udo, I just tell students that someone will be interviewed. I call them “Stars”. So I say “Today the star of the day is…. DRUM ROLL… James!” Of course, I choose students who generally are extroverted or even volunteer. I do not like forcing students who do not want to. Later some will warm up and volunteer. I ask about 5-6 questions but in the beginning I ask about 3-4 maximum then start adding questions in. You can search it in the search bar on the top right of the BLOG.

            I asked students to create questions as well and this has helped. I start adding those in like “what is your favorite show” or song or music group/artist.

          2. I want to be sure that people know that the Persona Especial was originally from Jody Noble and was called the Silla Especial and was pretty much the same thing as is described above, and that the Star of the Week was originally from Sabrina Janszak of Denver Public Schools. We must give credit where credit is due.

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