Ten Point Sequencing Plan

The following sequence of activities can be used for block classes or for regular classes. Stretched over time, this sequence could require anywhere from two or three block days or four to six regular schedule days, depending on how the flow of the CI goes.

We use the word “sequence” here to describe this schedule because it doesn’t imply a set amount of time for each of the various activities suggested, as schedules do. The times suggested below are approximate. Using the term “sequence” more accurately describes a flow of activities that we can enjoy one after the other, without limiting our instruction to set amounts of time that we must adhere to for each activity.

We all know that what we do in CI is largely intuitive and represents a response, a dance if you will, with the ideas our students continually suggest to us in class. Rather than targeting a specific set of vocabulary, we limit our instruction to the three structures suggested at the beginning of the class in the form of the three targeted story structures. By building the entire sequence of instruction off of the three original structures, we guarantee that our classes will be narrow and deep. We want to learn the art of keeping any CI that gets “off the ground” in our classes stay there as long as possible.

To repeat the key idea in this Ten Point Plan: the suggested times for this sequence of activities are only approximate. Bend and shape your classes around this general plan and monitor and adjust as things go along. The activities may last a short time if the story is not that great, or they may last a long time, up to a month, if the story in your class really gets off the ground. We have needed such a flexible sequencing of classes for a long time, and I think we finally have one here, I would dare to say.

It is hoped that this sequence of activities will be useful to group members in the same way that the Two Week Schedule (see categories) and some of the other schedules we have built over the years have been useful.

Note again, most importantly, that when we use this sequence of activities (it could be called a lesson plan), we should never feel compelled to move through each activity in a certain amount of minutes, but rather adjust our teaching to the energy and flow of things happening in each activity.

(If anyone sees anything that can be added or that should be taken away from this sequence, please advise in the comment fields below. This is really kind of a rough draft. I may be leaving some things we do out and don’t want to do that. I’m going to be using and presenting this in workshops and future war rooms and want to provide the best flow of all the activities we have come up with over the years in future workshops, so please look it over carefully and add suggestion/ideas in the comment fields below.)

Note that everything below is based on working with Matava or Tripp story scripts:

1. Establishing meaning and PQA – 20 – 30 min.
2. Story* – 25 – 50 min.
3. Quiz 1 – 5 – 10 min. (provided by Quiz Writer. How would Michael’s suggestion of using GradeCam fit in here, sepcifically, or would it?)
4. Break – 5 min.
5. Freewrite (based on story) – 10 min. This addition of the freewrite is Keri Colwell’s idea. We simply have the kids do a 10 minute freewrite after their break. While the kids are writing, and this is the cool part, we have the option to start our writing of the reading for the story at the beginning of the break and then during those ten minutes while the kids are doing the free write. This can save us time during our planning period, and also gives us the option, if we want to use it, if the class happens to be dragging at this point, of going in a block class right to the reading activities (using ROA) suggested below. If the class isn’t really into the story at this point, and this happens at least half the time, it is nice to have this rapid “second half of class” sequence of activities – if it is a block class – to go to if we need to. If it is not a block class, we can just jettison the whole thing and start the sequence anew the next day as we look around for that elusive “home run” story.
6. Group Work to read each other’s free writes – 5 – 10 min. This is not a very valuable activity, in fact it is pretty much useless. However, it gets people who think we need to do group work off our backs. It also gives us and the students another break, since we all know that the last thing they are going to talk about in their groups is each others’ free writes. When the room gets noisy (this happens fairly quickly), we can then just ask permission of one of the stronger writers to put up and share her free write with the group on the document camera. When doing this, we find things to praise only. Sharing the writing of one of our students with the group gives important feedback to the other students about what is possible. This entire activity should take roughly about ten minutes at the most.
7. Reading of the projected text using Reading Option A – 20 – 30 min. (note that the sequence of activities in Reading Option A could even be stretched out more than 20 minutes by the teacher who appreciates the power of Reading Option A as an instructional tool.)
8. Textivate – 10 – 20 min.
9. Processing of Artist’s Work on Interactive Whiteboard using Look and Discuss – 10 – 30 min.
10. Quiz 2 – 5 – 10 min. (provided by Quiz Writer. GradeCam?)

Here is a kind of optional eleventh point you could throw in to this plan, involving songs:

11. Songs – 30 min. We don’t talk much about how great songs are but we all know it. We could take one line of a song and PQA that thing for like at least 30 minutes here at the end of the overall sequence described above. In the 30 minutes we would PQA just that one line, or maybe two. (The song wouldn’t be directly connected to the structures and would be a separate pedagogical target so that is why I would do this activity at the end of the above sequence.) Then I would do another line when I was at the end of the next sequence, whenever that happened, and so on. So, to summarize, it would be 30 min. of PQA at the end of the ten point sequence described above on one or maybe two lines only of a song, so that after a number of sequences the structures of the song will have been drilled into their deeper minds so far that after a few months they would know the song practically by heart. So in this sense I would try to do only a handful of songs per semester or even over the course of the entire year. This is a good example of how we like to go narrow and deep instead of shallow and wide with ridiculous amounts of in-bounds repetitions in our fluency programs based on comprehensible input. Of course, I would play the song each time I did this activity so that little by little they would start picking out the words they PQA’d each time we did that activity.

Minimally, the time needed to do this Ten Point Plan would be two hours (one and a half blocks or three regular class periods). If the story was good and the CI flowing, the time needed for the ten activities could be as long as four hours (two and a half to three blocks or five regular class periods).

Then when all this is done you could take a break with a novel, following the suggested ideas on this site about how to read novels with the kids, starting with the articles here on Read and Discuss. Just to be clear, I use Reading Option A when working with stories and Read and Discuss when working with novels.

*Erin Bas has reminded us that using all three locations in a story script written in the classic way (Matava, Tripp) would greatly expand the above sequence for us. The three locations have always been one of the anchoring features of TPRS, since the early days. Over time, we have forgotten their immeasurable value because over the years we kept adding new stuff – like Textivate – into the original Three Step plan (which the above plan is merely just a vastly expanded version of). So with all that new stuff we stopped even sending our stories into a second and a third location. So what a good reminder.

Extending the stories in this three location way is a total winner for us and the kids. It allows us to get more reps but in a different context in each new location, which tricks the brain into thinking that the information is new, when only the variables are new and the target structures, unnoticed by the conscious mind, keep getting repeated over and over and over while the students are being fooled into thinking the material is all new. That is the value of doing stories with variables in them through three locations.

Another reminder from Erin on using all three locations is this:

“Another thing I’ve done for squirrelly classes that aren’t quite feeling it (because dragging them through inventing a 3-part story can be hard) is have them do a Pictado for the 2nd location. So we spend time deciding what will happen for the first location, then they get out a paper and draw as I dictate a second part, using the same major events with different details. It’s like a palate-cleanser to get them ready to invent the 3rd location.”

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27 thoughts on “Ten Point Sequencing Plan”

    1. Angie,
      I used Textivate as a whole group activity. I’d type in a paragraph from a class story or whatever, and then have it projected on the wall. At first I chose which “game” to play and after a while the kids would call one out–usually the money one. Ha! I found that it was great if used sparingly. I’d sometimes have the group answer chorally or sometimes call on volunteers.

      My 2 cents on this. I didn’t use it last year bc they shifted it into a paid service. Is it free again? I should check! 🙂

      1. Nope, not free. I just bought my subscription. I use it more with my heritage speakers class to help break down their readings from the text we use specifically for that class.

        Pat R

  1. I’ve been trying to work out a 5 day block schedule, so this is helping me work through that! We meet every other day for one hour and a half and I’ve been basing mine off of the two week plan. I was planning to keep the same three structures for those 5 days(2 weeks).

    Should the three structures be finished in a couple of classes and then move on to another three structures? I’m still so new to this. I am so excited about everything this year, but I keep jumping from one thing to another. Here is my rough draft, and I wonder if someone could help me improve it.
    Thank you!

    Katie

    Day One
    FVR-10 or OWI 10
    Vocab intro- 10
    PQA- 30 min
    Story and quiz- 40

    Day 2
    FVR-10
    Review vocab and OWI- 15
    Reading story with artist drawing-30
    Quiz on story-10
    Grammar and pronunciation from story-10
    Dictation-15

    Day 3
    FVR-10
    IMT of story-10
    Act out story or rewrite it- 15 or Math day-15
    Free Write-10
    Embedded reading-30

    Day 4
    FVR-10 or look and discuss 10
    OWI-10
    Fast IMT- 10
    Partner read-15
    Quiz on story and grammar-10
    Textivate-15
    Verb Slam-20

    Day 5
    FVR-10
    Grammar/pronunciation from embedded story and free writes-15
    Add to embedded version of story-30
    Quiz on final version with free write-20
    Word chunk activity-15

    1. Katie you could go through three structures/one story or do that twice or even three times with three new structures over the time you want to fill. Remember, there are no rules in this work. It would have to be decided in each of your sequences depending how much energy each set of structures generates. The more energy, the more time we would spend on that one set of structures.

      Then, like Megan said, and I know that Keri does this as well, as well as lots of people, you could really benefit from a song thrown in there. We don’t talk much about how great songs are but we all know it, and my only advice on the songs is how we need to really take each line of each song slowly as we build their knowledge of the overall song. Like if it were me I would take one line of a song and PQA that thing for like at least 30 minutes – just that one line – at the end of the entire sequence described above. (The song wouldn’t be directly connected to the structures and would be a separate pedagogical target so I would do it at the end of the sequence.) Then I would do another line when I was at the end of the next sequence, whenever that happened, and so on.

      I think I wrote an article about the need to build each line of a song as slowly and deeply into the deeper minds of the students first, is all I am saying. I would still play the song each time, though, and little by little they would start picking out the words they PQA’d that day.

      1. Thanks for the reminder about no rules! The story I just finished up and started a retell on yesterday got a little flat. In fact in the retell some of the students said that it wasn’t as much fun as the first day. I know there needs to be lots of reps, but I think I could move on to new structures for next class.

        I love songs, but have a hard time making them work as well as I would like. I’ll look up the article. Popular songs seem really fast for my students, but I have found some that I like. I use Sr. Wooly songs a lot.

        I also have tried movie talk, but it seems easier to use with my Spanish 3 classes. Does anyone use it successfully for lower levels? Thanks!

        1. I use MT with 3rd-8th grade. The visual can really increase comprehensibility. I suggest you still pick out a few words/phrases. You can pre-teach them with TPR/PQA. I started this year, first day, with TPR of words then a MT with the words.

          I’m having success with nursery rhymes. Only 1-2 verses, repetitive, and simple/short language. I can get through them in 10 minutes and then re-sing in future classes. I’m also attempting to use some of that language in stories or referring back to the line of a song when kids are searching for a Spanish word that’s in a song.

          1. Eric,
            Could you give me a little more info on how you use nursery rhymes and which ones? I checked out a book at the library with some Spanish nursery rhymes that I’m planning to use.I taught the song this year on the first day for the first time. I was a little skeptical of using a children’s song, but it has been a powerful jelling force for my classes. One student last week told me about going to the Mexican restaurant and saying Hola to the owner. He then tried to talk to her in Spanish, and she said she didn’t know anything in Spanish except this little song. So he proceeded to sing it with her. What a validation for her that she knew some real life Spanish! I would love to hear some ideas on other short songs to teach.

          2. Here is a GREAT one for Halloween time. SE HACE DE NOCHE: http://youtu.be/N4K5uzxvBD8

            I do not have them repeat any of the words at first. I like to do the rhyme with one actor at a time but, of course, we do it many times–so their are lots of actors during the teaching part.

            I say in a scary voice: “Se hace de noche”. I tell them what it means in Spanish–“it’s getting dark”. They know “noche,” so we talk a little about that. You could teach them “night is falling,” but I don’t bother. When people say “se hace de noche,” they mean “It’s getting dark.” Then, we figure out a good gesture for the phrase. The actor and the class do the gesture every time I say–se hace de noche–which is many times–I say it softly, then loudly, then horribly, then creepily, etc. I get close to a kid, stare at them eerily, and say it. I turn my back to the class, turn around suddenly, and say it. You get the drill. Each time I say, they do the gesture. NO OUTPUT (yet). I choose another actor. We do the whole sequence again. If the kids are literate, I write the phrase on the board–after many, many repetitions. I want the sound of Spanish in their ears before they see the words and start laying English pronunciation/sound system on those words.

            I move on to the next phrase: Se ve un castillo. Same routine. New actors. Total class participation. NO OUTPUT. I throw in “se hace de noche.” I alternate the phrases. I do them fast; I do them slowly–etc., etc.

            That is probably all I would do the first day. The next time I see them, we review–using the same technique. I ask if there is someone who thinks they can really show us how to do the actions for the rhyme, and I call them up one by one. They ham it up; we have fun; they get more reps.

            I move on to “se abre una puerta,” y “sale un vampiro.” The suspense is building. We do these phrases and add on the old ones just like we did the first day. I do not do the final phrase with them until the third day. On the third day, we do the “saca un cuchillo” and “unte pan con mantequilla.” If I’m feeling particularly inspired, I bring bread and butter (watch out for those gluten-intolerant or celiac kids) to class and we partake after we finish the rhyme. There has still been no output.

            The next time we meet, we can do a game/circling with the phrases. I call up a kid, whisper one of the phrases in her/his ear; he/she does the action. I ask the class, “¿Se hace de noche?” I get a “Sí” or a “No.” I do that with all the phrases and the actor.

            I move on to either/or questions and another actor: ¿Se hace de noche? o ¿Sale un vampiro? OUTPUT!!! It’s whole class response, so no one is on the spot. If they are more advanced, you can do things like: ¿Se hace de noche? o ¿Se hace del día? or ¿Saca un zapato? o ¿Saca un cuchillo? or ¿Se cierra una puerta? o ¿Se abre una puerta?, etc., etc.

            Feeling confident? Move on to questions: ¿Qué se abre? Offer alternatives if you don’t get an automatic answer: ¿una boca? ¿una puerta? I don’t do too much of this because it stops being fun.

            Then, we move on to the call and response. I say the phrase and do the action. They say it and do the action. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like; I know it will eventually come.

            Then, we do the whole rhyme a few times. If some of them don’t want to say it, can’t say it, whatever–no big deal. I don’t require it. They must do the actions however.

            On another day, if they are literate, I give them a blank cartoon sheet with boxes and the phrases of the rhyme written at the top of each box. They draw a little scene depicting that phrase.

            This is a really fun rhyme with good verbs–hacer, ver, salir, abrir, sacar. Untar–not so much–but that’s the fun one! I hope this explanation doesn’t come off pedantic or too elementary. I’m sure you already do these types of things. These are just the kinds of things I do.

          3. Thanks, Judy! I appreciate the explanation and I love this. I have never seen it before. I teach high school, but they love this kind of stuff.

          4. Thank you Jody! I love the fact that you clarify when the kids listen (input) and finally output. I have been doing it wrong, with output much too soon.

          5. mistake fixes:
            unta pan
            se hace de día
            I really need an editor. 🙂 Thank you for your feedback. I am terrible at accessing the forum. Password confusion reigns.

  2. I have 85 min classes everyday for a semester. I have been focusing on 3 structures per week with this schedule: (with which I am not happy)

    M: intro structures and practice…
    T: story and quiz
    W: read story
    Th: dictation
    F: free write

    Since all of those things don’t take 85 min for me yet, I fill the extra time with song of the week activities, Mi vida loca in Sp 1 and extr@ in Sp 2, and novel reading (2 a semester). I feel like there is too much down time (not in Spanish time).

    I was reading Cynthia Hitz’s blog and she said she introduces 3 new structures twice a week (she’s on the same long block/semester). Since there is so much recycling of old structures in stories, I love this idea. The focus in her class, it seems like, is on learning the structures and reading.

    What do you think?

    1. I’ve been tweaking the 2 week schedule to fit with my blocks as well, which are 85 minutes except on Wednesdays, when they are only 55 minutes. Because I’m teaching two high school classes of the same level, I stretch a lot with having them read the other class’s story after doing work with their own. One two-week sequence was too long for my block, but I like stretching a story over a week because coming back to it after a weekend away feels like it makes things more… sticky, I guess? So I’m thinking about a 7-8 day schedule, instead of the full 10.

      Here’s what it looks like:
      Day 1: intro new structures, invent storyDay 2: Review beginning (Pictado if necessary), Finish inventing story, Dictado (if time) or Quiz (if no time)
      Day 3: L&D Artist’s pictures (Pictado if no pictures), Verb Aid (tell story using pictures, writing all verbs in the order & form they happen) & retell/rewrite
      Day 4: Reading Option A (Individual read, partner read, R&D as class w/ some choral translation as needed), Quiz if time
      Day 5: Shrinking Summaries (or other reading-based activity, like QAR questions or horizontal conjugation), Fun Friday (Sr. Wooly, Geoguessr, 360 Cities, etc.)
      Day 6: ImTranslator.com slow reading of other class’s story, discussion, then Textivate activty, then Quiz or Dictado
      Day 7: Tric-a-Quiz (Señora vs. Clase w/BEP details. Class must argue in Spanish), then Free write
      Day 8 (optional): Read & Discuss a good free write or two, Quiz/Draw pictures/etc.

      This schedule isn’t set in stone, and I find myself taking activities out of sequence. Like today, we did IMTranlator of the other class’s story, listed all the verbs, and then did an untimed Verb Aid re-write. I told them they could re-write either class’s story or an original version.

      1. I should add, my stories are on the long side. I find value in doing the Matava-style 3 locations, with something very similar happening the first two times and then something different happening the 3rd. Lots of reps that way, but it also takes a lot of time to invent/discuss/read the story. Could be the solution to filling a longer block schedule.

      2. Could you explain how you do pictado? Are you dictating about a picture for the students to write sentences? Or are you saying sentences and having them draw based on the sentences? Thanks, Katie

        1. It’s just like a Dictado, but they listen and draw. Sometimes I have them number off six boxes, sometimes it’s more free-style. I like the quiet and focus it brings to a class. A good follow-up is to have them repeat the story to a partner using their Pictado pictures, then write as much as they can remember for each picture they drew.

  3. This is a huge point Erin and thank you for the reminder and yes using all three locations would greatly expand the above sequence for us. The three locations have always been one of the anchoring features of TPRS, since the early days. Over time, we have forgotten the immeasurable value of the three locations because over the years we kept adding new stuff – like Textivate – into the original Three Step plan (which the above plan is merely just a vastly expanded version of). So with all that new stuff we stopped even sending our stories into a second and a third location. So what a good reminder.

    Extending the stories in this three location way is a total winner for us and the kids. We get more reps but in a different context in each new location, which tricks the brain into thinking that the information is new, when only the variables are new and the target structures, unnoticed by the conscious mind, keep getting repeated over and over and over while the students are being fooled into thinking the material is all new. That is the value of doing stories with variables in them through three locations.

    1. Another thing I’ve done for squirrelly classes that aren’t quite feeling it (because dragging them through inventing a 3-part story can be hard) is have them do a Pictado for the 2nd location. So we spend time deciding what will happen for the first location, then they get out a paper and draw as I dictate a second part, using the same major events with different details. It’s like a palate-cleanser to get them ready to invent the 3rd location.

      1. Great idea! Do you invent the whole second location? or do you still take some details from the class. I can see advantages to both and maybe it’s an “in the moment” type of decision.

  4. This really helped me today. Like a hard re-set. I jumped into a novel too soon with my level 1s and they had a dazed look. I took this ten point plan and backed way off with a script, and it was a home run for everyone, including me. We got as far as the first location of the story, illustration/re-tell as a review for the quiz and then a quiz. All As and Bs and the smiles of success. I’ll pick it up next class with second location, which will be familiar and welcomed. So phew and thanks for helping me slow down…duh!

  5. Another great post! In middle school, sometimes if I feel the students have still not acquired the structures (because I still haven’t said them enough). I ask the students to write down three things we still don’t know in the story. Then, using their suggestions, I add a few new details ( trying to use inbound vocab) and write a new version of the story. The students are excited to see if their question got into the story and we get to do more repetitions of the structures.

    1. I like that idea. Another way to get student input (and tech!) is using PollEverywhere.com. Yesterday, my students just got through the first two locations, so on the back of their quizzes, I asked them to answer in English, What Happens to the Stinky Cat? I chose three of my favorite ideas and put them as choices on PollEverywhere. Students used their phones to vote on the options, and then we went from there.

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