My love affair with stories continued this week. There were a few amazing things that happened. First, my German 2 students and I experimented with Martina Bex’s Running Dictation activity, which actually comes from Jason Fritze. I did not use a familiar story, just familiar words that we had practiced earlier. I had too many sentences, I would likely limit it to 10 (I used 14), and some of them could fit in more than one location, but I had students moving and speaking German in class that had checked out in favor of Snapchat and whatever other distraction their Smartphones provided. Everyone was working and it was awesome.
Yesterday I was able to attend a workshop on story listening led by Tina Hargaden (Check her lessons out on youtube, they are all there). She told us a Haitian story in French and I could understand it. She just drew and asked a few questions to check that we were getting basic plot lines. She wrote a few words on the board along with the images, which helped us understand pronunciation, and although I found myself thinking, I could never retell this story in this way, I still was able to retell it in English after hearing it only in French. She spoke to us about Beniko Mason and the power of input over output in language acquisition. It was totally up my Grimm Maerchen Strasse. So after 20 minutes of worktime, I tried it, in front of teachers, and it went well. My drawing were shit and the placement on the board was bad, but the feedback was good and now I can use the Story listening technique in my German 3 class, which I know will love it. The coolest part is that it eliminates the need for boring powerpoints – which I just thought I’d made more interesting by having them only half done and asking students to complete the work as we discussed the vocabulary in the target language in class.
After ten years of teaching, I finally feel like I’m able to focus on my craft. The first year I was just getting started, then there were kids and the pressure to start and finish a Master’s degree while working full time. New teachers should be allowed more time to get their heads straight about the classroom they are in for six hours a day before thrusting the requirement of additional study on them.
It’s funny, I spent the better part of the first five years trying to find the right school/subject, starting in elementary German to Honors English at the high school, and back to German, but at the high school, then the middle school. The next five years, I spent wondering if I was even doing the right thing and if my family and I might be happier if I did ANYTHING else. Just two days ago I saw a posting for a story writer on Duolingo and language acquisition app. I thought I should just apply, who knows, but after this week I think I’ll stick with where I’m at.