Invisibles Question

Big question from Ryann, one of the first, in Washington state, to have strong successes with the Invisibles at the high school level:

Hi Ben and Tina,

My ADD brain is struggling and I am feeling burnt out. I feel like there are too many options, too many possibilities, and I REALLY need some kind of structure. I need some kind of template that I can follow to stay on track during the day and over the course of a week. I am spending way too much time lesson planning and coming in early and staying late at work and I am feeling grumpy and overwhelmed. I get hyper focused on the details and have a hard time stepping back and looking at the big picture.

Is there a structure that you can recommend for lesson planning? I know you have the suggested daily schedule on your website and a suggested weekly one, too, and I am looking for a more updated version of that using what we all have been working on over the last year or so with NT input. I would love to have some kind of template for the day and for the week where I can just plug in different reading options, writing options, etc… I’m sure someone or several people in the PLC have developed something like that. Any ideas?

Thank you so much!




17 thoughts on “Invisibles Question”

  1. How often do you see your students? I’m on an 85-minute block schedule. Here’s what I do so far:

    Weeks with just 2 blocks:
    Day 1 – SSR 10-15 minutes; 10-15 minutes Calendar, weather and chit chat; Invisibles Story
    Day 2 – SSR 10-15 minutes; 10-15 minutes Calendar, weather and chit chat; Reading Options, including dictée

    Weeks with 3 blocks:
    Day 1 – SSR 10-15 minutes; 10-15 minutes Calendar, weather and chit chat; Invisibles Story
    Day 2 – SSR 10-15 minutes; 10-15 minutes Calendar, weather and chit chat; Reading Options, including dictée
    Day 3 – SSR 10-15 minutes; 10-15 minutes Calendar, weather and chit chat; 15 minutesFree Write; Word Chunk Team Game

    Once in a while, I’ll do a Story Listening fable or fair tale or let the kids review in partners (just go over their stories and vocab lists.

  2. Dana I made a category for “Block Schedule Invisibles” and this is an excellent first contribution. I will post it with a commentary tomorrow as it is a very valuable resource. I added a few things in so tell me if they are all right. Unless you are in Udaipur – true Rajasthan!

  3. The Invisibles Star is the way I would plan. It literally requires no planning. I just go to the easel and see if we have art to talk about and do Write and Discuss, or if we have no art and need to make a new character/story. I literally plan NOTHING these days.

    1. Including my presentations…but they, and my classes, tend to go OK. Russ, it was so great to see you this weekend. I cried from happiness, literally. Ryann, I loved seeing you too. Interesting talk we had there in the registration hall about CALP.

      1. Tina it was so great to see you! you are the best. I am interested in the CALP discussion because I teach second year and they are not really working with invisibles in at least one of my classes and at the end of the year we have a big unit on immigration and I want to use your GLAD techniques to really make it more comprehensible and do it justice.

    2. The Invisibles Star Sequence puts the entire Invisibles program together in a process that literally blows out of the water all concepts of lesson planning. It returns to the teacher the right to have a life and still be professionally responsible to her students without having to bow down to the unnecessary and unwarranted requests of ignorant administrators for lesson plans, which have no value and in fact stagnate the wonderful spontaneity of unfettered language.

  4. Thanks, this helps! I think I will put the star at the back of the room and go from there! I have classes 4 days a week, about 60 minutes each. I have no planning/prep time during the week at all…it is all done in a few hours on Wednesdays when I don’t have students. I am planning on starting SSR with my Spanish 1 kids next week, so that will give me some breathing room! I always feel like I need to drive them/give them input from the moment class starts until the moment it ends, and I think that is why I am feeling so scattered since I never have even a moment of downtime. I just need to build in some reading/writing daily and weekly where they can work independently so that I can breathe, and gather myself.

    1. I really think a system of aural input followed by a reading day will help a lot. And as Ben has said if you do SSR that’s 10 min a day plus a game like WCTG on thursday that’s like 25% of your planning done.

  5. So I did an “Invisibles” drawing day yesterday. (I needed a break and I’m running out of new characters).

    I added two questions to the back of the paper which students had to provide: Favorite greeting in Spanish and Date of Birth. I just slipped those in there.

    The reason I am doing this? I noticed that my students (level 1) don’t know greetings when I see them in the hall. Greetings is one thing that the rich kids who do well even in the textbook classes know pretty well. I’m just throwing them into the input as a CYA thing for myself.

    My point is that this Invisibles/One Word Image system can be adapted to everyone’s particular circumstances despite what the haters say.

    1. For greetings I spend time taking role by saying their names and I greet them, students catch on and greet back. Just a Buenos does or buenas tardes but it works. Sometimes I greet them at the door but I’ll hold off until the flu/cold season passes. Also I play mafia as a break during those block days… In it I have students greeting each other but I also play and greet as many students as possible while shaking their hands.

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