Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rhyme and Rhythm and Weather

Haven't had a chance to write a thoughtful blog post lately, sorry!

My part of the US has been pummeled with bad weather over the last couple of weeks, and we even lived without power for 3 days!   (Millions of others did too, and many had it far worse than we did.)  The forecast for the coming week is for temperatures above freezing, so maybe the weather pattern has moved on.

Road closed due to downed tree and wires!
At the same time, I signed up for the Rhyme and Rhythm course at the International Teacher Development Institute and so any bandwidth I've had for thoughtfulness has been devoted to that! (Check the link to see iTDi's other offerings in their Advanced Courses series.) I just finished session 3 of 4, and am so inspired!  The course is being taught by Jason Levine, aka Fluency MC.  I am very interested in helping  learners with speaking and listening because I think they're neglected in typical EL-Civics lesson plans.

I hesitated to sign on to the course because, in terms of personal professional development, I've been focusing on "grammaring", the view of grammar as something that emerges as language is used rather than as a set of fixed rules that need to be learned before language can be used.  But, it turns out that the way Jason approaches these lessons is quite in alignment with my understanding of grammaring so far.  Infectious songs invite learners to want to hear them again and again.  The songs are at speed ("fast", as far as learners are concerned), so it's a challenge to sing, rap or chant with them at first.  After trying again and again, learners will eventually find that they can keep up, and at that point collocations are theirs to use in regular speech!  Grammar patterns are revealed at the same time, and there can be activities to discover and reinforce those as well.

I would like to take more time to tie this in to grammaring, referring to the texts I've finished, etc.  But first, let's finish the course ...

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