Hey everyone! Sorry to be absent from the blogosphere (do people still say that?) lately … this spring seems to have been a non-stop slew of crazy things.
I used to publish a “joli jeudi” post where I’d share happy moment from each week, and I’ve got a lot to share this week that won’t fit in my precious 140 characters on twitter.
Here are some things my students have been amazing me with lately:
One girl blew me AWAY during a speaking assessment this week! She’s one of those textbook cases of someone who’s motivated to learn a language! During her speaking assessment (about homes), she told me, completely in the TL: “Dans mon jardin, il y a beaucoup des plantes et fleurs avec beaucoup de couleurs … et des grandes …*girl makes a gesture*”
Me: “je ne comprends pas … les grandes plantes?”
Her: “Oui, les grandes *makes gesture again* … OH! C’est aussi un pose de yoga”
I was able to discover that she meant “trees” and I was blown away by her ability to circumlocute!
My kids are getting so comfortable sharing when they don’t understand a word! The number of “Je ne comprends pas” that I’ve heard lately are through the roof! Today, a girl said, “je ne comprends pas arbre!” and I got to model circumlocution by telling her and the class that “arbres” are “big plants with brown and little green parts.” Noticing her continued confusion, I added, “some trees have oranges and some trees have apples, but some trees have flowers.” “It’s also a yoga pose,” I added, stealing the trick from the girl from the previous day!
This week I did my first real “grammar-y” lesson that was completely in the TL. As WL teachers, we know this as the point in the year where you try to transfer kids from saying “I like, I like, I like,” to “I _____.” Instead of reverting to English to explain, I just told kids that there’s a difference between your preferences and reality. We talked about the activities that we liked to do, and then I asked them if they do that a lot “in reality.”
I figured this would work because generally, each Monday, I ask my students if they ate, watched Netflix, played sports, etc. over the weekend. I noticed that the majority of my students tell me that they don’t sleep over the weekend, so I used sleep as my first example. “Who likes to sleep?” I asked (in the TL), and almost every student raised their hand. “Okay,” I continued, “and in reality, who sleeps a lot on the weekend?” most of the hands went down. “So your reality is different than your preference?” The same thing usually happens when you ask about reading. The kids seem to get the difference, but I think I’m going to reinforce next week with more reading, and a little formative assessment about “preferences” vs. “reality.”
I’ve also been impressed with how my my students can actually understand in the TL, even if they only give me a novice level response! I’ve gotten so into PQA lately, where questions arise on the spot for different students in different classes, and everyone seems to be engaged, enjoying themselves, and most importantly, comprehending!
The moral of this post is that I love giving my students the opportunity to show me what they can do, and I’ll never be surprised that they can blow me away with their abilities.
Have a great weekend, and be sure to get your fill of PD with #langchat’s Saturday sequel, #OFLA17 posts, or #FLENJ17 awesomeness!