Big Takeaways from NTPRS

Well, the events of “Summer Camp”, sing-a-longs, TPRXXX, Immersion Dinners, open mic night, made me way too busy to do a daily reflection blog. So here are some of my big takeaways!

  1. Triangling
    This was the newest thing for me. We’ve all heard of circling (make a statement and ask questions that are answered by the statement). Triangling is another questioning technique that gets students to hear different forms of the verb that is in the original sentence. So the teacher makes a statement (3rd person), asks the actor a question (2nd person), and coaches the actor to answer the question (1st person), verifies the statement with the actor (2nd person again) and restates to the class (3rd person, again). I think this was pretty much putting a name to something I was already doing, but it was nice to think about it in depth with others.
  2. Visual representation of the main tenses.
    Adriana Ramirez lays down tape on the floor to give  a visual representation of when she is speaking in the present or past tense. I think this could be super helpful to start mixing tenses from level 1. For my particular classroom, I’m thinking of maybe having a floor mat to signal that I’m switching tenses.
  3. Grafted Writing
    Eric Richards talked about using ‘grafted writing’ to get students to re-read for the purpose of writing. My favorite activity that he shared was “Rotating desks”. The teacher prepares a mini story on slides, one sentence per slide, each slide has a blank for a detail. Students copy sentence 1 and add their detail. Then students stand up, leave their paper at their desk and go to a new desk. The teacher reveals the new sentence with the new blank, and repeat. By the end of the activity you will have 25 or so(however many students you have) parallel texts! You can then have students read and vote on the best version, OR you could collect them all for FVR!
  4. Vocabulary Graveyard
    Vocabulary graveyard is a space on your wall where we display words students are no longer allowed to use. If your students have learned ‘bonita’ and keep using it to describe things, kill it off and put it in the graveyard. Now that doesn’t mean students can’t call things beautiful, it means they now have to start using synonyms. When a word is in the graveyard, we put words that students ARE allowed to use around the ‘dead’ word. So if ‘bonita’ is dead, we can give students the words ‘hermosa’ or ‘linda’.
  5. Literature Circles
    This is nothing new, but I have never really thought about it. Michelle Kindt does Lit circles with her level 3s as an entire unit, but I think I’m going to try to do it as an alternative to FVR. In Michelle’s example, students are in groups of four and they read for about 20 minutes of class time. They read and translate. Each day students have a job, Vocabulary writer (they write down words that can be used in different contexts, or words that are important to the story), a Summary writer (writes a summary of what they read IN the TL), A question writer (Writes 2-3 discussion questions, cannot be yes/no or either/or questions. Every day, Michelle chooses a group and discusses their discussion questions with them), and a Culture comparison writer(Student writes in L1 OR L2 to make connections from the content of the book to their own life). Students switch jobs daily, and Michelle has a google doc where students spend the last 7-10 minutes of class filling out the doc for the job they had that day.
  6. Classroom research favors TPRS over traditional methods
    Dr. Karen Lichtman was at the conference and she did a couple sessions on research regarding TPRS. Big take away from her presentation was that when compared to traditional classrooms TPRS has NEVER underperformed. This comes from a corpus of 74 classroom studies. Yes, there are times where TPRS and traditional methods are equal, and there were for sure studies where TPRS came out on top, but NEVER underperformed. Of course as the body of research grows there will be research that states otherwise, and I’ll be happy to read it when it does.

NTPRS was such a great time and I can’t wait to go back when I get the chance!

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