[TFLA-list] Textbooks / curriculum...

Michael Wagner mwagner at mcgregor-isd.org
Fri Mar 31 11:58:38 EDT 2017


​In my response I should have mentioned that CI is ​a theory based upon
Stephen Krashen's research on language learning. As soon as I saw Susan
Sisler's reply, I realized I had failed to mention his name in conjunction
with CI. When you think CI, Stephen Krashen should always come to mind.

Also, I should have mentioned other names in conjunction with the
strategies I listed.

TPRS - Blaine Ray (very much worth the time if you can attend one of his
workshops - this is what led me towards CI)

TRP - James Asher

PQA - When I think of PQA, I think first of  Ben Slavic. I know he has
written a lot on it and every time I am at a CI conference, he is there and
gives session on PQA. Also, most attendees go to him for help and advice.

Movie Talk - Dr. Ashley Hastings

Embedded Readings - Laurie Clarcq and Michele Whaley (if you ever get a
chance to see them present, you will not be sorry - one of the best
workshops/sessions I have been to as it relates to reading)

Many also have asked other questions and I will respond to those over the
weekend.


Michael E. Wagner
McGregor High School
903 Bluebonnet Parkway
PO Box 356
McGregor, TX 76657

Tele. (254) 840-2853
Fax: (254) 840-2489
Email: mwagner at mcgregor-isd.org

On Fri, Mar 31, 2017 at 9:09 AM, Sisler, Susan <
Susan.Sisler at springbranchisd.com> wrote:

> This is nothing new. This is how I have taught German for decades. It's
> based on Stephen Krashen's research and work with constructivism. I also
> happen to have materials - books! - that I use as resources, but I'm not
> bound by a book. Students appreciate an orderly approach, predictability.
> Students also need to hear other voices, which is where well-designed
> listening comprehension materials play an important role. Most teachers
> have neither the time, nor the technical resources, nor the skill set to
> create such materials. That's where publishers can support our instruction.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: TFLAlist [mailto:tflalist-bounces at list.tfla.info] On Behalf Of
> Michael Wagner
> Sent: Friday, March 31, 2017 8:23 AM
> To: tflalist at list.tfla.info
> Subject: Re: [TFLA-list] Textbooks / curriculum...
>
> Many who responded to my email want to know what is Comprehensible Input
> (or CI). Over the the last few days I have pondered how best to answer this
> question since discussing teaching using CI strategies in an email may not
> convey all that one could get out of actually being able to see and
> experience it in action.
>
> But this is good for me because it causes me to look at and analyze my own
> practices in the classroom. So, here we go...
>
> In a nutshell: "Comprehensible Input is language that we receive (read or
> hear) that is comprehensible to us (we understand it)." [Quote from
> Martina Bex's website: The comprehensible classroom, May 8, 2015 <
> https://martinabex.com/2015/05/08/tprs-101-teaching-
> proficiency-is-really-simple/>
> ].
>
> Instead of me having to reinvent the wheel, I think that reading this
> particular page (be sure to scroll down past the picture of the girls
> learning to ride a bicycle) from Bex's website will give you a better
> understanding what CI is and a few of the instructional strategies that
> provide comprehensible input. Once you have scrolled down past the bicycles
> and have read what she has there, then you can scroll back up to the other
> steps she has listed and explore what else she has to say about CI.
>
> Here at McGregor we are a small department of three Spanish teachers and
> we all use CI as our guide for how we approach and teach our classes.
> Starting on the first day of class (yes, even with Spanish I) we start our
> classes using Spanish. We have found several different activities that are
> CI worthy and allow us to use the target language with total understanding
> on the part of our students starting with day 1 (if you had told me this
> about
> 6 or so years ago, I would have probably rolled my eyes and would have
> said "not possible").
>
> One of our goals is to be able to use the target language 90% of the class
> time as established by ACTFL. Are we there? No. But as we learn more about
> CI and strategies that provide comprehensible input, we are finding that it
> is becoming easier to maintain class in the target language and that the
> students are much more receptive.
>
> What are some strategies that we use? Here is a list of some the more
> frequently used one:
>
> TPRS (*T*otal *P*roficiency through *R*eading and *S*torytelling)
>
> Please, please, please, do not confuse *TPRS* with *TPR* (Total Physical
> Response). TPRS and TPR are extremely different from each other. The only
> thing they have in common are the first three letters.
>
>
> *TPRS* involves lots and lots of story telling (which the students love)
> in the target language followed by tons of reading that recycles and
> supports the target structures and vocabulary being learned.
>
> I love TPRS, especially if the story turns out better than expected. TPRS
> provides the students with a lot comprehensible input and it is all done in
> the target language.
>
> As a follow-up to storytelling, we usually have the students write the
> story (each student retells in his/her owns words). By the end of the
> school year, Spanish 1 students are writing stories that are roughly 150
> words or more in length, Spanish 2 roughly 200-300 words, and Spanish 3 and
> 4 stories that are 300+ words in length.
>
>> PQA (Personal Questions and Answers)
>
> ​PQA is pretty flexible and something I am still learning how to do. It
> basically involves asking question and getting answers from the students,
> all done in the target language. It can be done anytime during class.
>>
> Movie Talk
>
> ​I love Movie Talk. It is so easy to do and can provide a lot
> comprehensible input​. You basically take a commercial or a short movie
> (3-6 minutes in length - YouTube is a good source) that fits with the
> vocabulary and structures you are teaching. You start and stop the
> movie/commercial and ask tons of questions and discuss what i s going on.
> All done in the target language.
>
>
> ​Embedded Reading
>
> This is another favorite of mine. It is basically taking a story and
> reading three versions of it (1st reading of the story is brief and
> provides the bare bones of the story, 2nd reading is slightly longer and
> has a few new details added, and the 3rd and final reading is the full
> version).
>
>
> Again, as you work through the readings with the students, you ask
> questions and discuss.
>
>
> And the wonderful thing is that after students get a lot of input, you
> begin to see voluntary output on the students part.
>
> I know this has been a long email in response to the question of what is
> CI and now you probably have more questions. Trying to explain what CI is
> and how we go about teaching with comprehensible input in a single email is
> not possible. When you can see it in action and then can discuss with that
> teacher what was going on, it makes so much sense. I only wish I had
> started teaching using comprehensible input earlier on in my career.
>
> I am now in my 30th year of teaching, the other two Spanish teachers here
> at McGregor have just started their careers - one now has been here three
> years and the other two. The one teacher who has three years experience got
> to witness the difference between a CI classroom and a traditional textbook
> driven classroom when doing her student teaching. When she was interviewing
> with us and I asked her if she knew what CI and TPRS and a host of other CI
> strategies were, she became so excited and animated. She related how she
> was able to see the difference in ability to use the language between the
> students who learned under a CI approach versus the textbook.
>
> Anyway, I could go on, but I do need to bring this email to a close.
>
> I will do my best to answer any and all questions you send my way.
>
> Y que todos tengan un buen fin de semana (And may everyone have a good
> weekend).
>
> Michael E. Wagner
> McGregor High School
> 903 Bluebonnet Parkway
> PO Box 356
> McGregor, TX 76657
>
> Tele. (254) 840-2853
> Fax: (254) 840-2489
> Email: mwagner at mcgregor-isd.org
>
> On Wed, Mar 29, 2017 at 7:25 AM, Sisler, Susan <
> Susan.Sisler at springbranchisd.com> wrote:
>
> > I haven't used a "traditional textbook" for many years. But can you
> > explain how you determine and agree what "comprehensible input" is to
> > be used and what the source of this input is? Depending on the
> > textbook, that can be a good source. I don't know any good teacher who
> > slavishly follows a textbook, page by page.
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: TFLAlist [mailto:tflalist-bounces at list.tfla.info] On Behalf Of
> > Michael Wagner
> > Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:54 PM
> > To: tflalist at list.tfla.info
> > Subject: [TFLA-list] Textbooks / curriculum...
> >
> > Dear Colleagues:
> >
> > A few months back several in LOTE community were wanting feedback on
> > textbooks. My question is not about which textbooks you are thinking
> > of adopting. My question is who approaches the teaching of his/her
> > classes with comprehensible input (CI) as the main deciding and driving
> factor?
> >
> > Here at McGregor High School we have stopped using the "traditional"
> > textbook. Instead we have gone towards letting CI dictate how we
> > approach our classes and how we design our curriculum and lesson
> > plans. We have been using CI now for the last five (5) years and we
> absolutely love it!!!
> >
> > It would be great to be able to share ideas and strategies with others
> > who also are using CI in their classrooms.
> >
> > So, who out there is using CI in their language classrooms?
> >
> > Michael E. Wagner
> > McGregor High School
> > 903 Bluebonnet Parkway
> > PO Box 356
> > McGregor, TX 76657
> >
> > Tele. (254) 840-2853
> > Fax: (254) 840-2489
> > Email: mwagner at mcgregor-isd.org
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