Tuesday, April 2, 2019

One Word Images in the World Language Classroom

PD in Philadelphia w/ Krista
In early March, the other 3 members of my World Language department and I traveled to Philadelphia for a 2-day workshop by Mike Peto. 

Krista and I have attended countless workshops, conferences, and TCI group meetings for years, but I was particularly looking forward to attending Peto's workshop since the two newest members of our department, ("new" as in they've been teaching at our school for 5 or 6 years), were also going to the workshop. Whenever Krista and/or I go to a conference, we share that information with our department when we return, but how fun and beneficial to grow professionally together as a department

PHS WL Dept driving to PD in Philly
I've been teaching with a focus on providing comprehensible input for years and I've read Mike's books, "My Perfect Year" and "Pleasure Reading", so much of what Mike talked about I had already implemented in my teaching, ie. SSR/FVR, interviewing students, writing, etc, but for me, the draw for the workshop was to see Mike demonstrate and talk about One Word Images (OWI), the Write and Discuss (W&D) aspect that follows it, and his Maravillas collection of videos and stories. I had created some OWIs in my classes this school year and last school year, but I was ready to improve my skills in that area and for my department to do the same (although I completely think Krista already has the OWI skill down to a science!). 

I chatted w Arianne Dowd!
Did you notice Mike
Peto in background?
Mike demonstrated how to create OWIs by creating one with the attendees as if we were students in his Portuguese class. Immediately after walking us through the steps for the OWI, he wrote about what we had just discussed, asking for answers from the class at our level. He "revealed" the sketch that two members had drawn while we were creating the image and reviewed the information using the sketch to point out different aspects of the story. More input, more repetitions of high frequency words, and more opportunities to process the input our brains had received.

Some of my take-aways from the workshop were:

1. Encourage students to "free their minds to imagine" before creating a OWI. Have students imagine with you as you move the image from the board to a stool or table in front of the room where all students can "see" the object. Set the students up for success by preparing them to be creative. Unfortunately, by the time our students are in high school, many of their required work and assignments for school do not allow them to utilize their imagination so we need to reawaken their minds to let the creativity flow.

Discussing info from the OWI extension story.
2. Do a Write and Discuss about the OWI immediately after the students have helped you create an interesting object. The information that needs to be decided about the object are listed HERE. Limit the time spent on this stage and enlist the help of a student to keep track of the time for you. While you are creating the object, assign two artists (one student artist and one student to color the artwork). Have them draw in an area of the classroom that the other students do not see what they are drawing and are not distracted by the two artists.

Do the W&D before you share the artwork with the class. Writing about the object, before the class sees it, gives the student artists time to complete their sketch.

3.Students should NOT write during Write and Discuss. Ask students questions that will help guide them to retell the information. Write (not type) the information on a large sheet of paper or on the board. After the information is written, may instruction students to copy the W&D, but it is not necessary. The power of W&D for students is hearing the words as they are written and seeing the syntax of the language in a written story that they already know.

The W&D also gives the student artists time to complete their sketch.

4. After Write & Discuss, students should read what you have written with the class. Mike suggested several options on how to read, but most important is to READ it!

OWI created w/ class on 4/1/19
5. Create a OWI one day, write about it, read it and the following day create, with your students, a story about the OWI. (Ask the following questions to draw out more information: Who? Where? With whom?, What is problem? How does character fail to solve the problem? What is the solution?) As a ticket out the door, tell students to write a problem that the character has, or if you have already determined the problem, you can have students write or discuss in small groups HOW the character solved/tries to solve his problem. If students write an idea on a paper as a ticket out the door, look at the suggestions and choose the best one to use in class the following day.

Write the story that you created and READ again!

6. Give students a short quiz on the OWI and story they created. All students that were actively engaged in the creation of the story, the W&D, and the reading should be successful on the quiz. Students that do not do well is a result of them not tracking in class, which has nothing to do with their language ability.

7. After the story, highlight the good in the story and the positive actions of a character. Mikes says "I like my class to be a positive force for change."

OWI - 4/1/19
8. Post/project the AP themes and use them to inspire students when they think about how to create extension stories from the OWI. How cool of an idea is this?! AP themes should be part of your class from level 1.

9. Implement OWI into ALL levels. OWIs provide a perfect and natural way to provide rich language for your students in all levels.

The summary above only scratches the surface of the OWI and W&D portion of Mike's workshop, and there were many other aspects of the workshop, not just OWIs. The best way to get all the information is to attend one of his workshops first-hand!

A few other take-aways not directly related to OWIs.

Absent students represent students that have had less verbal input. Mike said, "It's hard to keep kids in my class" because the students are absent from school or pulled out to do work for other classes. It is better for us, as teachers, to require students to make up the missed input time and hours rather than excuse them from class with no expectations.

This was a complete shift in thinking for me. For several years I have been in the camp of thinking that if an A student misses class and there was a graded activity in class, I could excuse the student from the activity because if I required her to make it up, she would end up with a grade consistent to her previous work. More work for the student and for me to show that her grade will stay the same.

However, now I view it as Mike said, the student missed valuable input in the target language, something that is extremely difficult to find at the student's specific level outside of the classroom. Students will grow in their language abilities with additional input, not by excusing them from work they missed when absent. If I truly want my students to improve, I need to hold ALL my students accountable for material they missed when absent and be willing to possibly give up a lunch from time to time to retell a class story or create a new story with students that had been absent from class.

After a student interview, do a survey for the class about what was discussed. Limit it to 5 minutes max and then do a write-up about it, followed by reading what was written.

Calendar talk is NOT about the calendar; it's about the students' lives. I knew this but it seemed to sink in deeper hearing it again!
Also, Calendar talk becomes more impactful with each day new information is discussed/learned because you can refer back to the previous day(s)' information.

Changes made upon returning to PHS
Related OWIs created in separate
classes on the same day.
Both Krista and I were in our classrooms on the Sunday following the workshop. I moved my high-frequency verb posters to the front of the room, and moved some of the SSR books/bookshelves to the front and sides of the room. 

Our department is enjoying creating OWIs with our students and watching the students' vocabulary and understanding of the language develop naturally from the rich input provided by the OWIs. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my Spanish 4 class and another teacher's Spanish 1 class had both created a wealthy, red avocado on the same day!

Krista and I bought jumbo crayons and other crayons to add to our student artists supplies. 

I am teaching levels 4 and 4+ this semester so my goal, for the remainder of this school year, is to create a OWI every other week with my students. Next year, I have asked to teach some Spanish 1 classes to be able to review the current curriculum by actually teaching it again (it's been y-e-a-r-s since I taught level 1), I know I will be implementing OWIs into my lessons from the very beginning of the semester!

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