New Book

Tina and I finished the book and it is gone to the publisher but we still have to finish the appendices. We’ve both been under a rock with all of it for a long time.
I was thinking about this new book. It’s not like anything I’ve ever written because it actually represents a curriculum that takes the concept of what a curriculum even is away from the textbook companies. In what direction?
This new book (really a practical application of the ideas in A Natural Approach to Stories), takes the traditional curriculum in the exact opposite direction of where textbooks have taken it for so long, which is into little pieces vs. not how it exists in its entirety, which is how is should be taught and represented (as a whole).
I just wanted to share that idea with the group, about how radical all this non-targeted new work is. After forty years of breaking apart the language and studying it as one would study the parts of a car engine that have been spread out on the floor, I now see something that lets us experience the curriculum simply by driving the car. (TPRS tries to do both and that never worked for me.)
Cameron Tayler has written an electronic supplement to the book that outlines ACTFL Performance Levels, CCSS, Can-Do Statements, Essential Questions, and Enduring Understandings for each activity in the book. It will be such a tremendous support for teachers who are required to turn in lesson plans.



23 thoughts on “New Book”

  1. Bryan if the work that went into it is any indication, yes it is a tour de force. It’s Tina’s brainchild, because last summer after we finished A Natural Approach to Stories, she thought, “Well, this is all well and good but what if we now wrote a book that tells new teachers exactly what to do throughout the year?” So we are calling it A Natural Approach to the Year. It is a pacing guide, really, but using all of the non-targeted activities in that first book to sequence the year, instead of a table of contents in a textbook or what the TPRS teacher do to align with existing curriculums, which I think is impossible. I believe that this is the first formal and pure CI “curriculum” out there. Almost 400 pp. not counting the appendices and the separate book by Cameron that aligns everything with the ACTFL proficiency guidelines, Can Do statements, etc. so that the teacher has all that stuff written out to give to admins every day w no effort or thinking. Cameron’s book is like 150 pp. so we had to split it off as another book!

  2. Greg it should only be a few weeks. Cameron’s document is mind-blowing. Can you imagine 150 pages of how the strategies in A Natural Approach to Stories align with anything anyone could ever think of asking us to align with, all neatly placed in little boxes?
    We’ll finish the appendices this week and then Teacher’s Discovery will need until June for the hard copy but we will put the electronic versions of both A Natural Approach to the Year and Cameron’s book online, probably at the CI Liftoff site where the Bite Size Books are.

  3. WOW! This probably means I need to take out the new hire to a workshop next year with y’all OR at least get these materials for the department.

      1. OMG SO TRUE! I am on here – sorry folks I have as Ben says here been under a rock since October with this book and setting up summer institutes and honestly I expect to go back under my rock again to work on some other projects for spring and summer, an online video training course and a resource manual for summer institutes – to find Robert’s piece on rigor, for the appendix called Home-School Connections. Here is the first part of that Appendix.
        Proactive and ongoing connections with your students’ families is critical in a proficiency-based program. Many families will have questions about the goals and methods of such a program, because for many parents, it is a very different approach from what they experienced as students. Of course, there is the issue that many of us who went through a more traditional, grammar-oriented program in high school and college did not emerge with any discernible language proficiency. And many parents report that they took Spanish or French or German in high school or college and “can’t say a thing” now.
        Nevertheless, many families are understandably concerned when their children report fun times in class, no homework, and a teacher who seems to be going with whatever the kids want to do. This kind of classroom, they reason, is set up for fun and games, not for rigorous learning! Of course, we know that the students are in fact doing some very rigorous work. The …
        And that is where I need the State Department’s definition. Hoping I find it fast so I can get back to writing here at 4:14 AM! 😀

  4. Cameron has all the qualities of an organizational genius. I never thought I would enjoy reading such a text, but since it talks about how OWI and all the other stuff we have been doing for so long in those terms, it is suddenly interesting!

    1. Thank you, Ben, for the kind words! I really hope teachers will find it useful not only as a resource for writing lesson plans but also for showing others that we know what we are doing.

  5. No joke: I was ready to throw in the towel and quit teaching next year. This post has given me hope. I will survive. THANK YOU.

    1. Come to summer institutes. I think they will be some of the best and most transformative CI training out there. Much different from a conference. This is coming from a person who has attended many a conference and also six summer institutes at Teachers College (for reading and writing workshop) and I know the difference between a conference approach (smorgasbord) and an institute (boot camp, marching orders for fall).

  6. The only thing is that the new curriculum is not aligned w any existing curriculum. I hope we haven’t given the impression that it does. It is aligned w the standards and specifically w those strategies I have invented over the years described in The Big CI Book and A Natural Approach to Stories.

    1. SO DO I ha ha
      I am planning on getting the Appendices written by Saturday when I step off a plane and Jennifer Gerlach picks me up to take me to a sauna/mudbath/massage/gong healing session in SoCal.
      We only have a few left to finish but they are doozies…
      Human Resources Manual: Student Job Descriptions, Interview Questions and Training Manuals for your Human Resources Department
      School-Home Connections
      Bail-Out Moves, Sub Plans, and Seatwork, and Dealing with Absences
      BUT like Ben says I think these will codify years of his inventions and ideas into one place where we take the reader by the absolute HAND and guide them through the year…in what I hope is a clear way…

  7. Robert please let me use (and credit you with) your article on rigor. I found it here and I want to paste it into the School-Home Connections Appendix of the new book…

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