Update

Recent posts here have been about:
1. the use of L1 in our classrooms (Blurting)
2. the S/S discussion in Utah that Paul Seevinck is involved in (Quick Response Needed)
3. brain breaks
4. the college and career readiness standards discussion that Michael Coxon is involved in (Arizona)
5. the grinding drama of that Latin teacher we have been talking about (A Latin Story).
I have tried to feature those posts at the expense of others waiting in the queue, simply because each one is so compelling. So this is just an update to say that if you have sent me an article lately, rest assured that it is in the queue, but that the queue is again really jammed and that these five articles still currently have priority over everything else. I am simply unwilling to let them scroll out just yet. They need further discussion:
1. The discussion on blurting/L1/L2 use is too important. Yes, we used to have a very stable position on the use of L1 in the classroom, but I think it was a lie. I know it was for me as I used far more English than I should have in my classroom over recent years. When Catharina kept reporting in almost on a daily basis over the past week that exclusive L2 use has been working for her, my ears perked up. I think we should be looking at this thread at a very deep level for a few weeks more, testing things in our classrooms, deciding on things re: L1/L2 use in our classrooms and then reporting back here. Yes, I’m pushing hard for more and more L2 use. To me it’s a huge deal and I won’t go into all the reasons for that right now but trust me I need to figure this out.
2. Paul in Utah has a response to his situation, a very positive response to his situation in Utah, but it got ignored. It shouldn’t have been because it was a big victory for him and whenever someone single handedly has a big victory over the powers that be in this work, we need to celebrate that.
3. I think we are carving out new ground on brain breaks and their importance in terms of frequency (every five to ten minutes even!) and in terms of what they should look like (physical w/ no English) and their duration (less than a minute) and would like to keep that idea floating here for a little while longer because honestly we say we use brain breaks but the way we use them has not been defined and has been for years bordering on being an irresponsible use of time. These comments from Nathaniel and Alisa about research on the deleterious effects of sitting down all the time need to be looked at more by us. Nathaniel said:
I wonder how much of the brain break is a need for movement.
It is recommended that every ten minutes we stand up. Sitting is unhealthy and regular workouts do not offset the negative consequences of extended sitting. But frequent movement does.

http://search.mercola.com/results.aspx?q=sitting
and Alisa said:
…love this quote: “Sitting is the new smoking.”….
Those things need our immediate attention. We have to figure out what we mean by brain breaks. It’s big time and new and we can’t ignore the research here – it could infuse our teaching with all sorts of wonderful new things if we can just figure out what it means. So let’s keep the brain breaks thread going on a bit longer until we can agree on what the mercola.com research means to our CI teaching. Obviously kids taught in the sit-on-your-ass-until-you-fall-asleep-at-your-desks style of traditional teachers won’t benefit from this new research on sitting, but our students can, because what we do in our CI classes involves life and movement and language is physical anyway. Traditional teachers don’t get that. It’s like music teachers teaching young violinists to play the violin using their minds only.
4. the “Arizona” discussion presented by Michael Coxon needs our immediate attention. What they are doing in Arizona sucks. It is just a joke and it seems as if no one is talking about it and Michael cannot fight that fight alone. So we need to talk about it some more here. Give him your best support. Please pay attention to that.
5. Perhaps we can let the Latin Story go a bit. I don’t want to, because the teacher involved (I protected her identity just because the discussion is so raw) has only had 100 hugs and needs 2,000 more.
So occasionally we will get to where we have too many compelling things going on here all at the same time and this jamming thing has happened here in the past, but it is my job as moderator to make sure that the most important stuff gets and keeps front and center attention until we can say that each of us has had time to make meaningful decisions about what those threads mean for us in our classrooms. The discussion on brain breaks and L1/L2 use alone threatens to topple a big chunk of what I used to think about how I personally do CI teaching.
The next two articles today will be on the Arizona situation. Again, please give Michael feedback. The Latin Story will have to be let go I guess. The Blurting/Use of L1 discussion CANNOT be dropped right now. Catharina is making exclusive L2 use work in her classroom and that is BIG. James apparently has not come to resolution on it for himself in his classroom. So that topic is just too important. Much of this discussion needs to be appear in some kind resolved form in the new version of Stepping Stones, which is jam packed with new ideas from the past six months of discussion here already and is quite frankly driving me nuts. And finally, read Paul’s update on the situation in Utah. It will make you realize that good things can happen with hard work and clear thinking and courage against people who just don’t know enough and, like children, need to be told.
OK that is the complicated update and I will release the jammed articles in the queue when it is time, with apologies to those who sent them in but the above five topics are just too compelling and important to be dropped right now.

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6 thoughts on “Update”

  1. Well Ben… when you put it like that….dang these are some amazing conversations!
    I would not have thought that people had so much to share on these topics. It really is an amazing PLC when so many have so much to offer to each other. Whether we agree…disagree…or are unsure about these topics, we all are in constant evolution of what we are passionate about. I love it!
    Merci beaucoup for articulating the several topics we have been discussing. You have helped my brain frame and categorize ideas as it has been rambling on lately.

  2. Nice, Ben. We need to be clear what we are talking about. I am most interested in this proportion of L1/L2 time and brain breaks. You hit the nail on the head when you said an “irresponsible use of time.” That’s the way to move forward, with frank observations like that. The answer may not be that simple, I don’t know. I am going through something of a spiritual crisis right now and the topics here are involved in a big way. Let’s keep it going.

  3. Here’s a thought: For me, maybe I need to get rid of the timer job. Maybe for me it has started to feel like “the time I have to get through.” I don’t know. I am really dazed here.

    1. Ben, this is the best one IMO, and if one follows the link you added then I’d recommend using the adaption that comes in a comment from James about half way down (removing “stuck to” as a target structure and adding “receives” since this is probably an unknown for students).
      There is also My Valentine as you said Ben. Here it is (my underlines never transfer in these comments though):

      My Valentine
      across the room
      Will you be my Valentine?
      next year
      Jake has a Valentine’s Day card for Heidi. He passes it across the room to her. She opens the card and reads it. It says, “Will you be my Valentine?” Heidi looks across the room at Jake and yells, “No. But maybe next year.”
      Heidi has a Valentine’s Day card for Katie. She throws it across the room to her. Katie opens the card with her mouth and reads it. It says, “Will you be my Valentine?” Katie looks across the room at Heidi and whispers, “Not this year, but maybe next year.”
      Katie has a Valentine’s Day card for Luke Skywalker. She beams it across the galaxy to him. He doesn’t open the card because he reads it with his mind. It says, “Will you be my Valentine?” Luke rides his ______across the galaxy and tells her, “Yes, I’ll be your Valentine this year, if you will be my Valentine next year.”

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