What Tense for Readings?

On the important topic of which tense to use when asking a story, which has been muddled for a long time now, I have thought of another reason – a really good one – to ask the story in the past and do the reading in the present, and this may only apply to French teachers:

We have to write out the stories after we get them from the story writer, and sometimes we don’t have a lot of time. I find myself taking the time to write out separate readings: the generic stories for all five classes is for many of us a requirement because of time but not for me this year so I am fortunate.

Anyway, the additional reason to support using the past tense during the creation of the story and writing the story out in the present tense, I am able to to insert a lot less accent marks, since the present tense verb forms don’t have many accents but the past tense verb forms are loaded with them. That is a dang good reason to write the stories out in the present, for French teachers anyway.






4 thoughts on “What Tense for Readings?”

  1. “I find it imperative to write each class story out; the generic stories for all five classes is a proven fail.”

    I disagree. Also, this statement will discourage newbies from going the safe route, which is still a big step in the right direction compared to the status quo. See Keith Toda’s blog post (and comments) for examples of how you can still personalize a class discussion and have a generic story. The discussion gives you the student buy-in, not busting your ass for a bunch of lo-freq details which you can’t necessarily use again.

    If you include details from each class, then each class searches for its own contributions. When you go too specific you get something that you are less likely to be able to use in the future, e.g. for SSR. Inside jokes will pop up during discussion, and don’t necessarily have to make their way into every story.

    Sorry if I am being bold, but I’m talking about/for the teachers on this PLC who see 150+ students per day in 5-6 sections and have 3-5 preps, of which I only recently became a member. Keith also sees 5 sections of 30+ student classes per day, and he has found a strategy that works for him and doesn’t create more work.

    Now IF (and that’s a great big if) you can get a really competent student to be a scribe and type (not write) the story on a device (your computer/laptop, tablet, their phone, etc), then I’m all for it, but I don’t think it will make or break a class–or most classes at least.

    1. John. Thank you for being REAL. I will soon be a member of 30+ kids (more like 35+) as I am going to be full time 6 classes at the same school next year. I may even have to teach Spanish and French 1 and 2. So 3 preps.

      Being efficient is good. Today I was inputting grades as students were free-writing. I have good kids. 🙂

    2. Thanks for the reality check, John. I have had my years of 150+ students in the past, but this year I have 60 well behaved middle school kids and lots of time to plan (and read the blog). It’s like heaven. So you are right. I just forgot. But it is really nice to be able to write stories for each class. It’s just Providence.

  2. I am really grateful for John’s explanation, too. I have 5 preps this year and I can barely keep my head above water (hence my lack of commentary, although daily reading is what keeps me sane!).

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