Grant was fantastic and I learned a great deal from him in just two days. Here are some of his strategies that I implemented and will definitely keep as they worked so well:
- Student Jobs: I have my ‘ambassador’ who helps me get class set up and ensures I have 4 different coloured markers at the board, my ‘luces-puerta-ventana’ person who turns on and off the lights and closes or opens the door and windows and my ‘pizarra-papel’ person who distributes mini whiteboards and paper.
- Story Booklet: Grant has a student write the story in full in a notebook as it is unfolding in either English or Spanish depending on the level. Genius! It meant I had an immediate record of exactly what happened with each class.
- Take the answer with the most energy: I’ve often made the mistake of taking the response that ‘suited my vocabulary goal’ or my story but since the workshop I always go with whichever one gets the most energy from the class. This really helps them remember and it validates that students intervention.
- Homework reading to parents: I love this idea of having the student read and translate a story to their parents. So much learning going on and the parents get to see their child’s quick progress too.
- Gestures: I never used to work the structures in gesture format before the story began but I think this helped a lot of learners visualize what the structure meant. It’s staying!
- TPRS works for all levels: I spent a week in TPRS mode with my very advanced IB Diploma students circling difficult and complex grammatical structures and not only did they love it but the timed writing they did at the end of the week was some of the best stuff they have ever written.
One thing I wholeheartedly and 100% concur with Grant on is… TPRS is really REALLY fun for both the students and the teacher! You have the most amazing hysterical moments and personal connections with your students that quite simply make teaching a pure joy. Kids are great. They make us laugh all the time and when you give them creative license to invent parts of stories they will make your sides split. On numerous occasions this week I had tears rolling down my face from laughter and they were all in hysterics at me not being to speak because I was laughing so hard… tell me that is not a class you would want to come back to!