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.”