Claymation – 3

Ben,
I can hardly believe how well the Ultimate CI program works. Here are a few highlights I want to share with the group:
I walked into class yesterday morning without doing any prep for this. Before CI I spent significant time and effort on lessons that worked ok but I would have to be practically mean to the kids to get them to settle down and do it. As you can tell from the video, they’re high energy kids. So, point 1: NO PREP. Amazing! Scary and amazing.
Im so proud of the fact that the kids understood me, I accidentally went out of bounds by saying “he became” instead of “he is” but they always immediately conveyed my words without looking at me. They were so comfortable and happy and playful. I was reminded of how little they still are. (In the other Spanish class they had to do speaking tests yesterday and they were literally hiding from the teacher in the hall.) Point 2: NO ANXIETY.
Im proud of myself for trying it, and I’m proud of how slow I’m going. No one complained about the slowness or repetitiveness. I thought that making a movie would be an ordeal, but it was so easy. Point 3: NO CHAOS.
These three things, prep that led to mediocrity, anxiety for them and me, and chaos in classes were the bane of my existence. Now I can move into the role of a class facilitator. I’m so much more pleasant for them. A couple have started hanging out in my room after school. That is the biggest compliment in the world.
I don’t have this 6th grade for class today, but we will do the readings and dictee on Friday. I invested in textivate mainly because the admin really likes technology. But too, I do think it’s cool for the kids to see their stories made into activities for them. Those that miss will have access to it.
The claymation is in motion. Actually the main driver of that project bought the clay herself. Also, there is an animated version on the Agustus story made with slidestory but I’m having a hard time getting it to publish.
Anyway, today are the dreaded 7th and 9th grades. Block days too. The other Spanish teacher says she dreads Thursdays. I do too. Let’s see if things change. They’re some tough customers. I spent one summer at an immigrant shelter for Central American kids. Teaching there wasn’t easy, but compared to teaching kids who are encouraged to voice their rude opinions any time and any place, (I.e. “advocate for themselves”) and not follow the norms of respectful behavior (i.e. “being ‘ ‘adaptive experts’ and not following the crowd”), it was.
Here goes Day 3!
Julia
PS I really appreciate the PLC. It’s a safe space. I don’t use other social media. I’m not comfortable with it.

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4 thoughts on “Claymation – 3”

  1. Julia those older kids in those block classes will never have even half of the interest of the younger ones, who never were instructed in the old way. There is nothing to be done about it so don’t try, is my rather harsh suggestion.
    I say this bc I tried when I was in New Delhi and the Invisibles were invented, they were invented by 6th graders. The 7th and 8th graders, who had been taught w grammar worksheets, kept telling me in spite of all my efforts to bring them stories, “we learn better with worksheets” while the sixth graders were burning up the classroom with fun and laughter.
    So don’t expect too much from those older ones, bless their hearts. Hey, seeing those kids in that Video Retell you made (QL7 in the Invisibles questioning sequence), seeing their enthusiasm and excitement, is enough!
    I just really believe that if kids have been taught in the “old way” then they can never fully give their hearts to this new work. Sad to say but in my own experience it is definitely true, and the important caution is to not give too much of yourself in trying to change them from what they know.
    It’s like with the baby ducks and how once they get imprinted w something other than their mother, even if it’s not even a duck.

  2. This is a very good suggestion, Ben. And it’s the reason why I’ve wanted to remain at this school for several years, though I don’t know if I’ll be able to, because I’ve wanted to have the 6th Graders for several years, to the point that it grows into a Spanish Lit. class. But, as you know, I don’t know if that will come to be.
    Your suggestion is a great reminder for me.

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