Report from the Field – Ben Slavic

I just wanted to write out the activities I am doing the most this year, to share, but also just to have a list for myself, to refer to before a class, when I’m deciding what I want to do in that class. No, I never plan lessons, and yes, in CI, that’s a good thing:
1. Stories from scripts – mainly Steps 2 and 3 unless the targets are really good and then I do Step 1 just for the fun of it. After we create the story I do about half of the Reading Option A steps (takes days of class time).
2. SSR and Discussion of the novels. The spinout discussions are the featured item of this activity, but all the quiet reading time brings big gains as well. Big winner.
3. Word Associations. They just work. They especially teach verbs well. Some Word Chunk Team Games when there is time.
4. Sabrina’s greetings.
5. Free Writes much more often – sometimes as often as every other (block) class. The kids just like to do them. They like counting up words and making their bar graphs. Who am I to deny a kid from enjoying their time in my class? Kids need output.
6. OWATS is up and coming and we will see how that plays out, but it’s going to get a lot of playing time over the winter.
7. Straight grammar translation. I make up some sentence in English on the spot and they translate it into French. No pedagogical value here at all, but they enjoy it.
8. Dictee. If I don’t feel like working.
9. Textivate – of all stories as part of ROA as described in the new and updated description of ROA.
Notes:
1. Of the other 20-25 other fantastic CI techniqes we have collected here over the years, I either forget them or don’t have time to do them because the above things eat up so much time. We all know that one of the high roads to a long and relaxed career (besides putting our own self care far above our work because our work with CI allows us to do that) is to do things that eat up time, so class goes by fast and we don’t have “that feeling” of being in hell like in the old pre-storytelling days. The above 9 things really eat up lots of class time and we don’t even notice.
2. Only one of tho above activities involves projected images (Textivate). Why? I’m too lazy to turn the projector on most of the time. I just want to hang out with the kids and not have to interact with some machine like some tech savvy teacher (God save us!). I also find it distracting and undependable – machines seem to get wiggy at the wrong time for some stupid tech reason. (Like the time Krashen was in my room and I had it all set up to demo a reading class in one class after doing a story in the preceding class and the machine just magically wouldn’t do it. I was sitting there for ten minutes with Krashen in my room messing with a projection device. Now THAT is nervous. Luckily it was Krashen, who tossed it off because he is a real gentleman, where some observing administrator would have “dinged” me for being shitty at tech.)

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