Q & A from Julie in Ontario

Here are some questions from Julie Quenneville in Ontario, Canada, and my thoughts.
1.  I teach grades 1-3 FSL as well as 4-8.  In Ontario, reading and writing isn’t reported on formally for grades 1-3.  How would the story reading/writing work in this case?  I realize that I could just go as far as making a class big book together with a couple of stories..and students could create their own story orally rather than in writing?
I think it will work better than ever if you don’t have to assign numbers.  What freedom!  I would get the kids to re-write class stories (but get them to change names and so on).  I would read them aloud (share with class while reading as if there were no errors).  For these kids, writing will really be a confidence booster.
2.  I haven’t been able to see that much about the reading/writing aspects of TPRS.  How does it work…do you simply “save” ideas from yesterday’s class, type it out, and then use it as a class reading?  Do the students then do writing activities that contain the new vocab but they add in original (in-bounds) words?
This is what I do.  I write the most important sentences on the board, then write it into a doc and print for the class (I also use novels).  We don’t do “writing activities”– because writing doesn’t teach people to write; reading does– but rather reading in lots of ways.
We create a story together.  I type it up.  When it is handed out, we will do the following:
1. I read aloud and ask some questions (focus on slower processors).
2. The kids do volleyball translation.
3. The kids do a comic of our story.
4. If I am organised, I’ll write up some questions and the kids answer (find answer, copy, translate).
5.  We also do running dictation sometimes– loads of fun.
3.  Wondering how students show engagement during a 40-min class when the majority of time is spent on input.  Would this be maybe once every 3rd class?  Or am I missing something?  With elementary and primary students you do have to mix things up every 10 minutes or you lose them…if you could give me a sketch of how a few classes in a row would look I would greatly appreciate it!!
If you have a 40 min. class, I would do
1. a brief 5 min intro (date, time and weather).
2. ask a story but not for more than 10 min.  If they get fidgety change activity.
3. TPR for a brain break
4. Picturetalk or Movietalk (or you can do show-and-tell with stuff the kids bring in)
5. Modified persona especial is good (keep it short).
I look forward to your reply Chris!  I find this so intriguing based on how I felt at the end of each unit last year — we spent so much time on a unit but in the end, students really didn’t produce much!!  I felt something was missing.
Production is  not important.  Understanding is.  The more they hear and read, the more– eventually– they will be able to produce.
Anyway, I’m not an expert, so please don’t take me too seriously.  There are really good Facebook groups for TPRS and elementary TPRS specifically…go forth!

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