Sunday, August 16, 2009

It's all in the Story

My now-a-college-sophomore daughter and I both took community college summer school. I think I enjoyed it more because I didn't have to take it. I took 3 classes and, as much as I liked it, it is nice to be able to take some time out to hang out in the patio now as my daughter and her little bug-eyed dog are doing here!

I took six week of Italian, 2 hours a day four days a week from the best language teacher I’ve ever had, and maybe the best teacher I’ve ever had. Apparently he’s not going to teach there anymore, but I’m glad I got to have him while I did. His approach was to base everything around the story. So we worked and re-worked the dialogs in the book, and also ones he had written, in all kinds of ways. You told and retold the story orally and in writing. You answered his questions, your own questions and your neighbors questions. I really focused on telling the stories in my own voice, using the words I would try to use if I were in Italy telling somebody about something. I really enjoyed sitting down and working on my homework! It was a very exciting approach and I’m working on incorporating it into my writing and other things I do. I’m interested in seeing what came out of it for me the next time I’m teaching math or language arts or whatever comes up. So often I get a chance to think on my feet when I’m subbing. Even the best-laid sub plans don’t always pan out or else there are kids who run out of things to do, or else just in explaining the idea or directing the kids you need different approaches. Often in math classes kids will finish early and I say “Ok write and illustrate a word problem that is just a little bit challenging.” And then I edit it. I find that kind of editing a lot more straightforward and immediate, than the kind for essays and social studies reports.