Tips, Trips and how to Fix: Part 2

I have some more layers to share. This time we are like cake. 


TIP: Practice numbers when you go over the date, throw random numbers into your stories, or let students number off as a Brain Break if you’ve already assigned them their class numbers. 

TRIP: Your roll changes.

FIX: Don’t assign class numbers the few weeks of school. Wait a few weeks for your rolls to stop changing and have your student record their class number in a notebook or planner. If a new student does add to your class you can modify his/her number with a letter or decimal point (502.1 or 502A). 

TIP:  When you give a test remember that your students need to reset their minds and take a break from all the strenuous language application. This can be a super subtle Brain Break such as stretching, deep breathing or purposeful movement. For example, split the assessment task and have students turn in part 1 of their test by walking it to a designated spot and retrieve part 2 of their test. This gets them up and moving with the same results of a fun Brain Break.

TRIP: Now you have a bunch of papers to sort and staple together PLUS grade. Yuck!

FIX: Don’t spend precious time matching the pages and stapling them together. Instead use a number and filing system. Assign students a number that corresponds to their number on your roll. Then set up a crate with numbered hanging files.  Have students file part one of their test into a hanging file when they get up to retrieve part 2. When they finish part 2 they can staple the two pages together OR a student helper can staple and stack them into a neat and alphabetized pile for you.

TIP: Incorporate purposeful movement to keep your students focused and energized. Students need frequent breaks and opportunities to move. This can be a quick Brain Break or an activity that involves movement such as standing and finding a partner, doing a gallery walk or working in stations.

TRIP: Literally. You get your kids up and moving and someone goes down.

FIX: Clear the floor! Movement is super important BUT safe movement is best. One of the first procedures I establish in my deskless classroom is to store unused items directly under the chairs. I tell my students in the TL while motioning “Todo abajo (everything underneath).” Then in L1 “We want to avoid all slips, trips, splits, and falls.”

TIP: Use gestures to establish meaning, especially during the beginning of a unit. You don’t have to rack your brain and be super original here. If you can’t think of a gesture consult an online ASL dictionary or let your kids come up with the gesture.

TRIP: The kids become dependent on the gestures.

FIX: Eventually you need to wean your kiddos off of their gesture dependency. You’ll also need to ween yourself! Just try talking to an adult in the TL without wanting to gesture. You know what I’m talking about.

TIP: Use sentence stems/starters to scaffold your students to speaking the TL. Don’t just throw your babies into the water without a flotation device. 

TRIP: Your kiddos are speaking in L1 even though you specifically stated to use L2. Some have even made their way over to their friends instead of working with their partners.

FIX: Don’t give students too much speaking time during interpersonal communication activities because they’ll revert to English.

One of my takeaways from LFLTA2017: 

Laura Terrill shared a number of tips but the one that resonated with me was using 30-second bursts for Interpersonal Communication. When students pair up the teacher assigns each student a role. Students then speak for 30 seconds on the given topic in the target language. When the student runs out of stuff to say s/he starts over. NO L1!  This made me realize A) My directions have not been clear enough and B) I’ve been giving them too much time during these kinds of activities.

FIX part 2: Keep the task level appropriate. “Teachers constantly put their students in the position of saying things that are beyond their competence.” – VanPatten 

TIP: Less really is more. When you teach with Comprehensible Input you really are going an “inch wide and a mile deep.”

TRIP: Don’t approach language as subject matter. “Covering” a set of words or phrases doesn’t guarantee acquisition. Actually according to BVP “…nothing guarantees acquisition. But acquisition cannot happen in the absence of CI.” He also says, “Language learning is piecemeal. The order of acquisition cannot be changed.”

FIX: Spiral your content by constantly recycling structures you’ve already introduced. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t see your students making the gains you want them to make. It’s not about you 😉

TIP: Include relevant and current topics in your instruction. Kids like to talk about themselves-what they like, what they don’t like, what’s trending.

TRIP: Making assumptions. Don’t do it.

FIX: Ask your kids what they like. Use activities such as personal interviews, circling with balls, play doh, or card talk to connect with your students. Take a genuine interest in your students. They can smell a phony-bologna a mile away.

TIP: Schoology and Google Classrooms are great for doing electronic anything: Bell Ringers, Exit Slips; Quizzes, Assessments. You can save time and paper by making your handouts available to your students through these platforms. No more lost papers!

TRIP: The websites very helpfully offer to translate the text into English. Ugh.

FIX: You can upload a PDF of any document (as far as I know the web browser doesn’t offer to translate those). You can also take screenshots to upload. A super awesome fix I just learned from a friend:  Use the Kami extension to let your students interact with PDFs. They can highlight, make text boxes to answer questions, draw, and insert pictures with the free version.


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