Friday, September 3, 2010

Día 12 - circling

Something I need to work on in my storytelling is circling.  Circling is the idea that you return to the other parts of a story to review information and practice the structures.

A basic part to good TPRS is repetition.  Students (and anyone) remember something the more that it is repeated.  If we just tell the story once from start to finish, many of the students might miss out on the information because of new structures or just focusing on something in the language and missing the rest of the the sentence.  Or... just being in the clouds for a moment.  Hey, they're human.

So through circling, we return to previous information and introduce it in new ways to make sure students are paying attention still.  But if they are paying attention, it is not too hard for them if we do it correctly.

There are some different ways to circle.  Imagine our statement is:
John juggles pineapples.
1. You can circle the subject. (John)
  • Does John juggle pineapples?
  • Class, does John or does Rick juggle pineapples?
  • Rick juggles pineapples?
  • Who juggles pineapples?

2.  You can circle the verb.
  • Does John juggle pineapples?
  • Does John juggle pineapples or John eat pineapples?
  • John eats pineapples?
  • What does John do?

3. You can circle the complement.
  • Does John juggle pineapples?
  • Does John juggle pineapples or oranges?
  • Does John juggle oranges?
  • What does John juggle?
Circling is useful because we can return to previous information to review it for the students to remember the important facts of our story.

I've noticed that it is really good for the students to think of things in different ways too.  So since you're asking about the same sentence in different ways, you're helping them to exercise their mind a little more and in addition figure out how to respond.

This circling often is asking for one-word answers.  It's easy and to the point.  Once you've established more details, your star students will want to show that they know more than just one word by reminding you of all the details with the one word answer.

In the workshop this summer, we were told to make a statement, ask a question, ask a question.  In this way, you do advance in the story, but you also are making sure to review the information.

Here's a possible example of circling in a class after I have gone through the three statements:
  1. There was a boy.
  2. The boy's name was John.
  3. John juggled pineapples.
  1. Class.  Was there a boy or was there a penguin?  (Boy)
    Oh right.  There was not a penguin.  That's crazy.  There was a boy.
  2. Was the boy named Alfredo or John? (John)
  3. Right class.  The boy was named John.
  4. Class, was the penguin or the boy named John? (the boy)
  5. Right class.  The boy was named John.
  6. Class, was there a girl or a boy named John? (boy)
  7. Did the boy juggle apricots? (No)
  8. No class.  That's absurd.  The boy didn't juggle apricots.  The boy juggled pineapples.
  9. Did the boy juggle apricots or pineapples? (pineapples)
  10. Yes class.  The boy juggled pineapples.
  11. Was there a boy or was there a pineapple? (Boy)
  12. Was the boy named pineapple?  (No)
  13. No class.  The boy wasn't named pineapple.  The boy was named John.
  14. Did the penguin juggle pineapples?  (No)
  15. No class.  The boy juggled pineapples.
After a little bit of circling, you might notice some of the kids are still not getting it.  If they are not getting it, try and speak more slowly.  Also, don't forget to ask them what you said in the spoken language.  So for my Spanish class, there are times when I want to make sure that they understand a question and I'll ask them: "What did I say?"   They can answer it in English and we can move on.  If you notice the kids are getting bored with the circling, make sure to add more details to the story while circling.

I have noticed that because of circling, my students remember details that even I have forgotten.  To be fair though, I am doing storytelling in all of my classes (6 periods a day) and the stories all have fantastical details that I can't always remember.  But they help me immensely.  And this builds their confidence in the language because they understand!

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