Tuesday, August 9, 2016

NTPRS - day 2 - Breakfast, reading Russian, & Mafia

*this is my attempt to keep track of what happened while I was at my very first NTPRS in Reno, Nevada 

So I get up Tuesday morning and Mike had told me the night before that we were going to eat breakfast with Blaine Ray and Von Ray! I was really excited. Unfortunately I woke up incredibly late and probably made a terrible first impression on Blaine because I was still groggy from the lack of sleep and wasn’t very good about making much conversation.

Regardless I think I held my own ok. We talked about TPRS, my new school and I thanked him for helping bring the method to the light so so many of us could use it and find such amazing results in our classrooms too.  He is an incredibly nice guy. I am surprised just how fun he is and how he is not afraid to be goofy.

We also talked about some ways for me to get more involved in the TPRS community (and more specifically NTPRS) in the future, which is exciting. I haven’t seen much value in what I do over the past few years. I know there is still so much I can learn. But I am glad that they see potential in me and we might be able to work together in the future!

After breakfast, I went back to the beginner’s TPRS class and learned more Russian! I also brought attention to myself and ended up having to act as Lady Gaga.  There are probably pictures and videos out there somewhere.  Again, I was amazed at Katya’s seemingly effortless way to tell a story to us and review prior information as well as introduce new information.

I also thought it was cool that she had used the first person form a few times of the verb with the actor and I already felt more confident to use it by the time I was going to act. Nevertheless, she didn’t make me take that risk. She instead talked behind both of us and had us move our mouths.

I used to do this more, but it definitely is still a good thing to force the actors to say something and get the right intonation. I have had 
actors in the past not want to say what I told them. This added to the mystery.

Something else Katya did that I really enjoyed was she would just suddenly announce that a character had a secret and it might change the direction of the story a little bit.

She also taught description words about the characters off the bat, which I am terrible at.
I rarely describe my main characters. But that would be a great way to establish the identity of my kids especially with cognates:
nice/kind, romantic, intelligent, comical, athletic, famous, etc.

That is just another minor detail but adds more to the story.

It seems like we did a reading as well. We volleyball translated with a partner and it wasn’t that bad. I sometimes wondered if it was silly for my kids, but since it has the extra element of the other person speaking in the target language (albeit poorly), it can help you have more time to process. I will keep doing this.

I was also one of the only people to ask any questions about the grammar as I didn’t understand it and Katya thanked me for it and even said, “You are helping me be a better teacher”, which is a great response!

For lunch, Bryce Hedstrom invited me to eat with him, which was really exciting! I met some other teachers at the table and it was a fun lunch conversation. I think that Bryce and I are probably quite similar in how we want our classes to run. He just happens to be more successful at it! 

At 6:30pm, Señor Wooly gave a presentation/workshop on how to make a short film and tell a story. The premise was how to create your own movietalk-like video that could even be used in your own classes the coming school year. I’ll be honest, I was tired and was getting to my limit on social interaction, but my colleague Bess Hayles wanted me to be in her group to make a video. And I also wanted to go to learn some of his suggestions since I realize my videos could be more dynamic with other camera angles.

He did a great job and I was reminded to use a variety of camera angles and cut between takes in the action. So if a hand grabs a doorknob, do a  far away shot of the person walking to the door and as they grab the knob, do a quick closeup on the doorknob and turn it. It accentuates the action and is more interesting to watch than a non-changing shot (i.e. all of my educational vids).

The following evening (Wednesday), we were going to actually create a short film! We had some ideas involving the elevator.

After Señor Wooly’s class, we had the War and Peace room again and people were super excited to play Mafia. So we tried to play Mafia in French, led by Bess Hayles. She made the French really fun, but unfortunately it was a little harder for some to understand what was going on since they didn’t know how to play Mafia in the first place.

I liked how she added intrigue and suspense and even got people to add motives for why someone might be killed. Oh, by the way, I was killed the second night, but the doctor saved me. That’s the problem with being a Youtube celebrity I guess. I did use mafia in my classes near the end of the year as a reward. Bess might actually use it on a normal day just to teach/review different structures, which is a great idea!

Afterwards, there were a few other lessons taught in different languages and Mira Canion taught a Spanish class with only three words. It is fascinating how her mind works to stay in bounds with three words and repeat them so much, and make us laugh hysterically. She is a very talented woman.

And I recall going to bed exhausted again! There might have been a lost cellphone of someone in the casino that we were trying to find till the wee hours of the morning to no avail, but I won’t mention that so as not to embarrass anyone! 

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