Question About Submitting Readings

We got on a roll sending in readings from Matava and Jim Tripp stories before Christmas break. I am wondering if they are actually helpful. I think they might be cluttering up the category list. I asked Jim and Brigitte what they thought, too.

The question to answer is if people actually go and use those readings. In my view, stories should be written as readings by the teacher from specific (read personalized) stories created by the actual class, and not not some other group of kids. Let me know.

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17 thoughts on “Question About Submitting Readings”

  1. I have saved a lot of them because I like to have a base of readings….BUT, it seems the readings always have too much out of bounds vocabulary.

    My theory is each teacher develops his/her own vocab set over time. The vocab varies based on communities, whatever comes up during Circling with Balls, etc.

    So no, I haven’t used any yet.

    david.

  2. I have saved a bunch of them. What I do is generally to use the story as the seed idea, and I tweak it to fit my students. We then use them to create our own readings. I appreciate having them for days when my (or my students’) energy needs a boost to get started.

  3. Ditto what David and Cheryl say… I think they make good “jumping off points” and spark ideas for good stories but David’s theory is right on. Vocab varies even from class to class because the KIDS in each class are so different and have such different creative ideas to add to the stories! I’m actually struggling with this right now because I am getting formally observed next week and have to present my principal with a list of EVERYTHING I will be teaching in that lesson. How can I say to her “well, I know that I will teach these three main target structures but other than that…who knows?”. Gulp. But anyway, I digress. I have not used the stories yet but like having them as inspiration. It’s good to share ideas, especially this time of year when creative spirits start to drag with the winter doldrums.

    1. Kate make sure that administrator gets this before the observation:
      Supplemental Handout 2 – Administrator Checklist for Observing a Storytelling Classroom (credit: Susan Gross)

      The teacher demonstrates enthusiasm:

      -for the language and its culture
      -for the students as a group and individually
      -for teaching

      The teacher checks for comprehension:

      -by asking individuals
      -by carefully observing all students in class
      -by listening for responses from the whole class
      -by asking for translation

      The teacher offers opportunity for sophisticated language use

      -by embellishing the basic statements
      -by asking a variety of questions in a variety of formats
      -by inviting students to create in the language

      The teacher raises the level of student’s attention

      -by involving students in the narration
      -by allowing student input to direct a portion of the lesson
      -by talking to one or two individual students
      -by talking ABOUT one or two specific students
      -by referring to places/locations/people of interest to the students

      The teacher models pro-active classroom management

      -by remaining clam and in control
      -by showing genuine interest in the students
      -by taking time to listen to student suggestions
      -by looking at individual students with a calm demeanor
      -by moving close to possible disruptions
      -by offering choices to students who fail to co-operate
      -by using facial expressions that are appropriate to the situation
      (smiling, not angry, blank expression)

      The teacher speaks the target language: 50%, 75%, or 90% of the time, depending on the activities that day.

      Students are actively engaged in the lesson:

      -by acting
      -by responding to questions
      -by contributing ideas to the lesson

      The students are held accountable for the lesson

      -by speaking the language when asked
      -by helping each other
      -by unannounced quizzes
      -by retelling the story line in own words
      -by translating when asked

      The teacher promotes grammatical accuracy

      -by explaining the meaning of unfamiliar or new items
      -by using the unfamiliar or new items multiple times, in different contexts
      -by asking students to predict correct grammatical usage
      -by requiring increased accuracy throughout the year

      The teacher demonstrates appropriate correction techniques

      -by modeling accuracy: rewording the student’s attempt while acknowledging the content of the student’s statement
      -by demonstrating the value of accuracy: stating the meaning of the inaccurate construction
      -by inviting the student to correct him/herself

      The teacher promotes higher-level thinking skills

      -by asking students to synthesize the language in a story retell
      -by asking students to create imaginative situations
      -by asking students to supply motivation for actions in the story

      The teacher tailors the tasks to individual student abilities

      -by asking many types of questions
      -by expecting multiple levels of answers to questions (on-word, phrase, sentence)

  4. I haven’t saved any to my local drive, but I have referenced them as they are posted.

    I agree with David that they contain much out of bounds vocab and that a teacher’s vocab bank is particular to a set of kids. However, reading them also gives me ideas. Matava posted a german script “Important” (https://benslavic.com/blog/2011/12/08/14660/) that just made me laugh my ass off. Seeing how she taps into kid culture and imagining myself coming up with similar details helps me be more creative in my own story writing. So, I would say there is value to it as muse, but not perhaps as it was initially intended, that being the creation of a bank for people to use in their own classes.

    1. I like using other people’s stories as an alternate reading or for inspiration, much like what everybody said above. The main structures will be familiar to the kids, and a lot of the “out-of-bounds” vocabulary consists mostly of cognates, so that shouldn’t be a deterrent.

    2. Grant, I’m glad we could make you laugh! However, I didn’t come up with those details at all – it’s all the kids. Lately, we have a strawberry cow in every story – go figure.

  5. ben could you post that checklist under your resources page. I think a lot of us could benefit from using that. I’d hate it to get buried in a post. It’s a good thing to think about.

  6. O.K. we’ll keep doing it. I will post some recent ones from y’all in the next week. As long as people use ’em. But you have to send in your good readings from Matava and Tripp scripts.

  7. Ben, here’s my response to your question:

    I haven’t used any other readings yet, simply because I have only seen one other reading posted that wasn’t one I submitted. But when I do that story again, I will definitely open that other reading and consider using it.

    I think the correct question is, “is this more work for you than we can expect you to take on?” If the answer is yes, perhaps you should stop doing it for that reason alone. If the answer is no, then I hope you will continue posting them because I like the extra help it will give me (if others post readings in Spanish).

    May I make a recommendation? Streamlining the titles of the entries. All English.
    1. Name of Story Script (as originally named by author)
    2. Name of Person Submitting.

    Example: “He Talks Too Much – Ben Slavic”

  8. But we have to specify the language, right? To make it clear before somebody wastes a click on it.

    And don’t worry about the amount of work on me. I will do it if it helps others. Have you ever heard anyone talk about being in flow and how the time goes by unnoticed because it is so much fun? That’s me on this blog.

    You guys are great – you are rocking the world and you don’t even know it. Somebody has to chronicle that. When there is great work to be done, our wings will have great life, great air, under them.

    So don’t worry about moi, Jim, I am privileged to be working with y’all. I had those 24 years alone, truly alone, in South Carolina, with not a colleague to talk to – not one significant conversation about language teaching in a quarter of a century.

    Now I’m not alone anymore. It makes me very happy. My prayer is, “Lord, help me so that I may be of service to others.” No shit – that’s my prayer of every day.

    1. You are serving many, quite effectively, in my opinion.

      We don’t need the language if you’re putting them in categories beforehand. Unless you mean when they come up on the blog as a headline post. Then yes I suppose you’d want that. Maybe then the language could be part number 3, after name of story and name of submitter. What do you all think about that?

  9. I think we should make it more clear as per the below. And I would like to drop the name of the teacher that sent it in (we could just put that in the body of the post). So the blog post would look like this:

    Reading from Matava Story Script/ He Talks Too Much /French

    Good?

  10. Ben–
    My life has changed because of your work and encouragement. I cannot think how hard my struggle would be to learn as well as teach if I hadn’t met you. Everyday I get closer and closer to thinking in Mvskoke. I am growing so fast because there is a way for me to get deeper on my own that I didn’t have 12 months ago. I had ideas, but I didn’t have a path that was encouraged and blessed by so many others.
    This blog has been a godsend for me. I am truly grateful daily. MVTO!

    1. I remember from last summer how all you who are working at keeping native languages awake, Jacob and Josh and Mosiah Blue Cloud and all, have a calling that is qualitatively different from the work being done by the rest of us. It is more immediate. I dare say that it is more important.

      If I have played even a minor role in helping you do the monumental thing of thinking in your own language, then all of my work over the past ten years with comprehensible input will have been worth it. I am truly honored.

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