This report from the field is from Robyn who is now famous – in my mind at least – for her decision to be observed on her first day of ever doing CI. I just think that is so cool, really brave. Below, she explains a bit more about that choice:
Hi Tina and Ben,
Thank you so much for the info and support over the last few weeks as I try to navigate the CI waters. . . and doing it very much alone in my building.
The video links have been so helpful and I’m working my way through the book — which is fantastic.
Yes, it was crazy that I chose to begin CI on the day I was observed. However, after all the research I have done on this topic and knowing what I know now, how could I not begin as soon as possible? I should have started out the year doing it, but I didn’t have enough self-study nor the confidence to do it then. I still probably don’t, but I’m actively working on being a better, more effective teacher. Now that I know about CI, I feel a deep responsibility to implement it.
So now, an update from the field:
A week ago I was observed and overall, I think it went well. It was most definitely not true CI — more a mash up of TPRS/CI/RR (Robyn’s Ramblings). I ditched the scripted circling TPRS questions after one period — couldn’t teach and read a script; it felt incredibly unnatural. “Teach to the eyes” I kept hearing in my head, so I just asked my own questions, repeated, went slowly, and it went better in the next classes.
I wasn’t observed until the afternoon, which was a God send. By then, I was more confident. My students were great. What wasn’t great — my principal walking in 15 minutes late for a 40 minute class. 10 minutes in, I figured he had forgotten and was trying not to get super irritated about all the work I had put into our pre-observation meeting the day before. . . Anyways, he did show up and it went well. Fast forward to yesterday when we had my post-conference and he started off by saying, “I was really confused in the beginning. . .” Arghh!!! Of course you were, you missed the whole set up! But then he righted the ship and was mostly complimentary.
For me, I purposely made the stories short. I did have to target some vocab, but the kids didn’t know otherwise (but I can see how they might revolt in the future as you have pointed out). I’m wondering if I made the stories too short. It was 2 days story/ 1 day reading/ 1 day writing. Then did a semi-MovieTalk today with my 7th graders, but not my 6th graders. I feel like I puttered out this week. We had back-to-back shorter days (advisory/assembly schedules) so maybe that dampened my mojo, too.
Feedback from the kids has been really positive so far. 82% rated doing the stories a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5. No one gave it a 1 and only 3 kids gave it a 2. I sent out an email to parents with the interpersonal communication rubric this week. I sent out 133 emails and 3 responded — 2 very positive (one parent had met Dr. Krashen a few years ago!) and 1 was passive aggressive (“Does this mean you won’t be speaking as much Spanish?)
If you are still reading this, thank you for letting me rant on. My husband is quite supportive, but is not an educator. Having this PLC is vital to me.
Have a great weekend,