Where Do We Go From Here?

Long time PLC members know that over the ten years many of us have been together here, the gradual shift to non-targeted CI and its spiking since 2016 – and its manifestation in terms of the three books now published as featured items by Teacher’s Discovery (Natural Approach to Stories, Natural Approach to the Year/Year One, and the Square Peg, Round Hole Book) – has been liberating. What does this mean?
It means simply that we no longer have to deal with the limiting thinking/rules that shackled a lot of our creativity from about 1998 to 2015. This comment is not at all meant in a disparaging way, but rather simply to state that many of us no longer subscribe to targets, circling, the reading of class novels, and the many other shackles that are described in a post from 2016 here:
*https://benslavic.com/blog/hit-list-of-8/er
Our Greg Schwab recently put it this way in a Twitter conversation:
“To me the biggest development in CI lately has been Ben Slavic’s Invisibles system. This system is the Net Hypothesis applied. It also only takes the cost of a box of markers and crayons to implement and the students love it!”
I agree with Greg. The Natural Approach books are in my mind and in the minds of many the best direction for CI to be going in these days and so that is where we will be going from here on this PLC as the new academic year gets ready to wind up. Many PLC members are already on board as members also of the CI Liftoff FB site, others are studying non-targeted CI with great interest right now, getting ready to implement it in their classrooms to some degree this coming year.
We’ve had a more restful summer than usual here, but group members can now expect more posts on the Natural Approach here as the new year cranks up.
I always knew that this work could be easy. When a person can say that after 41 years in the profession, something must be unfolding in a good way! It just took a really long time to figure it out. A REALLY long time.

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5 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here?”

  1. Hello Amigos! This is my first post and it is a cry for help. I have been a teacher for 12 years and a CI teacher for 9 of those. I would not be teaching if it were not for the CI approach. I live it and believe it religiously. Here is the CRUX: My admin is unwavering on that all teachers will put their entire curriculum on an online platform called Canvas by the end of next school year. He is determined to make our school a “blended learning” school by the 2019/20 school year. He has heard me out and respects that students learn language best through being in an CI classroom. He is willing to let me have class “More than other teachers”. I tried to get another job teaching Spanish, but nothing panned out. I am trying to look at it positively, as an opportunity to develop my teaching in the digital age. However I am procrastinating as I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS! I have no idea how to translate the CI techniques that I have curated into classroom culture and routine into files on a Canvas platform. I have looked around a bit to see if anything already exists and have come up empty handed. I have just sold my house and I have some money to invest in a curriculum that I could use over and over, but I nor my district have the money to pay per student per course. Honestly our alternative students wouldn’t thrive in that scenario anyway. I am already using Sr. Wooly and am going to use his resources even more now, however that doesn’t replace the classroom interaction. I know the universe has kept me here to make sure these kids still get the love and joy that a CI class offers, but I am just at my wits end as to what to do. Any helpful links or names would be so appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Dont worry. Breathe. Alright, Hi Danielle. In order to problem solve we need to know approximately how much time you will have with your students. How many students will you have? What are your restrictions with this blended learning?
      From what I know about blended learning, is that you can make it all comprehensible input. I would look at story listening but I wouldn’t reduce it to fairy tales. Tell a story and pause every time you ask a question. Student’s will write their response in L1/English. When you have class, you can then talk about how they relate to the story, whether they liked it etc… then read the story to them using the Reading Options here (use the search bar). Another homework assignment can be you creating a one word image with an imaginary student or stuffed animal. Of course it will be you deciding… rinse repeat and also have student’s draw their own by hand or other online platform. Then you can project it talk about it with them. Then while in class, use them to launch into a mini story. Think as creatively to include input. Interaction is what makes Ben’s system work really well but I think that you can still teach with CI. I hope this helps.

  2. Danielle, my school system uses Schoology. I would assume that CANVAS is another LMS. I am not familiar with their platform. My school system wants us to utilize Schoology as much as possible. This year I am thinking about how I will use it.
    I am thinking about using the Star sequence that Ben and Tina have created as a way of letting students know what is coming up in class. It is also a great place to put learning objectives and such.
    I have thought of putting our “Write and Discuss” there for students who miss class. I am also thinking of how I will put the class stories on Schoology and if I will have audio recordings available for students.
    Right now I just have a lot of ideas in my head. I am currently working on another project but as soon as I am done I will be focussing my attention on better utilizing my school system’s LMS. Once I get it set up I’ll take some screenshots and share them with the PLC.
    Maybe you would like to focus on just one aspect such as reading. It would be fairly easy to upload the class created reading materials that you make such as the OWIs and Invisibles. Students would then have access to the readings online. That would be a big help to students who miss class and need to catch up.

    1. I have Google Docs of our texts – any write & discuss texts, vocab and stories – and at least one of them is added to every class. They’re up in my Google Classroom so kids who miss can easily access what we did. I also did record myself reading the stories and uploaded them – easy to have the kids do a reading activity or when a sub was in.

  3. I will probably be developing a habit of reading A Natural Approach to the Year little by little. I’ve been away for away from the blog and Facebook but as the year begins, I gotta put the kids’ interests first which means to be a guide for my dept to include more CI. Thanks Ben for modeling that we can all do it.

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