Wednesday, August 17, 2016

NTPRS - Day 4 - Movietalk in Russian, culture in reading, Open mic

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

I think I woke up kind of late. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was starting to drag as my lack of sleep caught up to me!

Movietalk in Russian:
I missed the first part of the Russian class and either we did the embedded reading during this day or we did it the previous day as mentioned.  I went to the part where Katya did a Movietalk in Russian and I think the best part about Katya, that I want to start paying attention to, is her intentional inflection to sound really interested in what she is saying.

That is something that so many of us, as we start out in TPRS (or get bogged down in what we have to accomplish in class), forget to be intentional with.  But when she would sound really interested in what she was saying, it just drew us more into the fantasy of the class.  She just described a video about a little puppy that got lost from his owner and eventually found him.

Something that I forgot to blog about that I really enjoyed seeing was how quickly she introduced the phrase "s/he thinks" into the class so that she could ask higher level thinking questions while we read in Russian such as "what is the character thinking here?"

This also could have worked well in the Movietalk. Even though it's basic the character could think, "I'm sad" or "I miss my owner" or whatever target you might need to hit. It also enriches the story to discuss, conjecture, etc the thoughts of the characters even early on. I've always introduced "thinks" later on in the year but it's so versatile that I might introduce it earlier this year along with some other phrases to express opinions like:1. in my opinion...2. it seems to me that3. I believe that...4. I think that...

After lunch, we finally were able to go to other sessions now that we felt more confident with TPRS having completed the beginner's course. I would definitely recommend the course to anyone who has even done TPRS for awhile but maybe doesn't feel confident on the skills, or the theory behind it. Both Donna and Katya did a phenomenal job (as I expected they would)!

In the afternoon, I wasn't able to make it to too many sessions because I ended up talking to a teacher from the beginner's class about his coming year and how he saw TPRS fitting into it. That's one of the reasons I like to go: see what others think and help them think about how they could incorporate TPRS into their classes.

Culture in Readings:
I went to a presentation on embedding cultural topics into the story. Pu-mei Leng was the presenter.  I was running a little late and missed the first part. It was interesting to hear how she incorporated the different ideas from Chinese culture into her stories to present ideas to kids that would seem so foreign but then could do a pop-up culture lesson.

That's what I gleaned from the presentation at least.

I recognize that this is a weak point in my instruction.  Something I am lacking in my classes is adding more culture into the readings. I just can't seem to figure out how to do it. I guess maybe having a story where a character shows up to a party in Mexico and no one has showed up yet could be an interesting premise and cultural understanding of time.

So I need to work on it! Are you able to embed the target culture in your stories? How so?

Open Mic Night:
So you might be getting the impression that from this blog as I have been blogging about my experiences at NTPRS that I can get really uncomfortable around people. I think the main idea is that I feel that if I am not in control of a social situation it is very unnerving. When in small groups, there are fewer variables, so I can have an enjoyable conversation with people. The more people that are added, the more uncomfortable I can get and feel the need to excuse myself or escape.

So sufficed to say I went to the Open Mic night and just wanted to watch from the sidelines.  Nevertheless, Mike Coxon had been encouraging me all week to play something on the ukulele.  So before he made me go (off my terms), I quickly went up to practice a few songs and came back down to try them out.

I really wasn't intending on going up, but Mike was very persuasive and the audience was so incredibly gracious.

It went really well. I sang a rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow / What a wonderful world. For my second song, I changed the lyrics to This Little Light of Mine to This Teaching Style of Mine with verses about ditching the textbook, stories, pop ups & PQA, etc.  It was actually really fun.

Here are some snippets:

Afterwards though, I had to excuse myself because I think the nerves got to me and I didn't feel so good. Thankfully I felt mostly better by the next morning for the last morning of presentations!

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