Posted by: Michel Baker | March 14, 2014

Writing OOB/Structures on the Board?

Before, I thought that it can be a challenge to keep some of my wiggliest students “with me” when I stop to write out new words. But what I needed was to get stronger at “meaning business” while carefully and mindfully making the story be “all about them.” This week, I have worked on both of these skills and also cleared my board of old Out of Bounds words that keep coming up in class after class. Instead of leaving them up, in my lesson plans, I am writing the most key Out of Bounds words in a special place so that I can glance at it for guidance during PQA/Storyasking, or not, and just allow them to come up in class conversation, as needed. Meaning business (springtime individual behavior plans for anyone who starts distracting), making the story be all about them and clearing the board of key OOB words that come up over and over class after class, I am now seeing results that sound more like what Susan Gross assured me were possible with elementary. When I had to figure it out, it finally emerged through the struggle.

I will now keep that board as free from OOB words when they walk in that room as possible so that words that they see on the board are going up “in the moment” and out of pure need. Seems like I remember Ben Slavic referring to them as Manna, and I definitely see it that way…they have to be as fresh as the day “we are on” because only then are unknown words “alive.”

And instead of writing the targeted structure(s) on the chart paper ahead of time and revealing them letter by letter, I will do it this way: I’ll still go ahead and write the words on the chart paper for myself but double it over with a magnet so the students can’t see it. Then, I will establish the meaning and introduce it from off of the dry erase board. Later when they return, it will all be erased and, after they have had enough reps, I can reveal the structure on the chart paper during the next lesson, as it will have, of course, been erased from the board. By that time, I will no longer need to reveal it letter by letter (which doesn’t work!), just open the flap to show the whole thing at once.

When establishing the meaning of targeted structures, I will not tell them what it means when we use it out of need the first time. I will just say it once in TL whenever it arises within the context of our PQA, write it on the board in TL, change colors and write it underneath in L1 and THEN read the meaning to them. I had them hanging on every utterance until they saw me finish writing the meaning and it was confirmed aloud by me when I did it this way, even with my first graders. There is something special about physically writing it and saying it for them…it captures their attention…the silence in the room as I spell aloud and write softly seems to soothe them…even if temptation to wiggle arises, it is quelled with my frequent stops in the middle of writing the word to turn to the class, look at them and say the word gently and firmly.

It did not work revealing pre-written, chart paper words one letter at a time. Please do not try doing it that way. It is like performing an autopsy instead of hand writing up the language as it becomes a living necessity.

Thank you for your patience as I learn! So thankful for the opportunity to see why things in CI Based Methods work as they do!

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