Thank You, Carol!

Just some more ramblngs on what I learned from Carol this week about RT:

Our biggest observation of the year in my district is always unannounced. So mine was today (Friday). I had just enough time to throw my bike into a closet and do the Superman clothes change thing and start class, of course without having done any planning, which I just can’t do.

In my mind, being thus observed on five minutes notice, I thought it best to bail to a story, but I chose instead to work with what I was doing on Thursday, seeing how I could integrate writing with RT, so I just decided to wing it and not care if the class didn’t work.

So I started this formal observation with the vague idea that I think that kids can only write to the extent that they understand something they have read know it deeply. Then only can they write. I explained to the class that we had read a passage in le Voyage de Sa Vie and we had discussed it and now we were going to try to write about it. The foundation was the R and D of the passage, the house was going to be the writing.

This is a variation on one of the many jewels I got from Carol Gaab’s presentation here in DPS a few days ago. She said that we can’t make Reader’s Theatre work unless the kids truly know, have acquired via much repetition and circling the scene from the novel that is being acted out.

So yeah – I just extended that idea to writing. We should base writing on strong, exhaustive reading and discussion, was the idea. If the kids have sufficiently read and discussed a scene from a novel, then we can assume that if we ask them to write a five sentence summary (only in second semester level 2 should this begin, in my opinion), then they could do it very accurately, either by copying the five sentences from the novel or by writing their own version.

Anyway, all of that to make a simple point that I unexpectedly ended up throwing Reader’s Theatre into my lesson, brazenly keeping in my mind what I saw Carol coaching and modeling for us in Readers’ Theatre. It worked.

I reviewed the scene of Jean-Luc in Le Voyage de Sa Vie confronting the insect lady in the train and I just did what I saw Carol do, we did the scene, and then wrote it’s basic plot out, and I never even got the use of Textivate. I just imitated Carol.

I’ll be more specific on this later, since I now have the sense that RT is one radical puppy that has the capacity to completely transform our teaching. Because of RT , according to the way Carol presented it (only a  few details were missing in my understanding of it and I have them now), my big observation went famously, as in, the kids were more involved than I have ever seen them.

So thank you Carol for being so clear in your training. And, by the way, everybody in the Northeast who reads this blog you may want to go  to Carol’s site and see if you can get to one of the four trainings she is doing up your way in the next two weeks.



10 thoughts on “Thank You, Carol!”

  1. I was first in line to reserve my seat to see her this coming Friday on Long Island. Can’t wait!!! I hope she brings up RT. If not, I’ll definitely ask her about it.

      1. I’m emailing my principal to see if I can. I can’t afford it, but I am going to “rob Peter to pay Paul” if need be…..I *NEED* this shot in the arm right now!!!
        AND…..I know I can get a sub, just need to come up with some sub plans for the 3rd day of NEW classes!!! arghhhh. My classes are: 1A (I can show ANY movie – they haven’t seen any of my videos yet! haha) 1B (pretty much the same here I guess) and 2B (this will be tough! this is going to be a tough class — some are from my pre-TPRS days and HATE me!! hahaha, and some are from my ‘just started THIS semester with TPRS and don’t know what the HELL I am doing!’) – but I still feel that way, hence the desire to start off the semester seeing Carol in action!!! 🙂

  2. Gosh, Ben, now teachers are creating unrealistic expectations of me. LOL
    THANK YOU for your always kinds words. 🙂 For those of you attending any seminars this week, PLEASE come introduce yourself and remind me how “we know each other.” And if possible, order warmer weather! Look fwd to seeing you…

  3. Ben said: ” We should base writing on strong, exhaustive reading and discussion, was the idea.”

    I can never hear the strong, exhaustive piece enough. Just like I can never go slowly enough, I feel I never go exhaustively enough. The siren song of the traditional textbook teacher whispers, “you gotta move on.” I have been working on rsf structures since we returned from midterms and I feel myself wanting to move on. Maybe I need to linger and extend.

  4. We saw the strongest writing on the midterm exams about the material that we spent the most time on (duh!) in terms of visual, aural, and literacy-based correlation. If we talked about it, saw pictures related to it, read about it…particularly using Embedded Reading, acted and re-enacted it we saw it show up in abundance and in detail in writing. Not just that more kids wrote about it, but that we saw evidence of what we did there show up in writings about other topics as well!

    with love,

  5. Personally, I really agree with Laurie on this. Reading is very good. However, when all of the other modalities are used in conjunction (visual, aural, acting/manipulating real objects/kinesthetic), language writing spills out on the paper from them in torrents.

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