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Comprehensible Coaching

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If you have been trying various Comprehensible Input strategies for a while and like the results you are getting, if you feel ready to deepen your knowledge and want to be able to help your colleagues, consider coming to the Agen Workshop a day early. A great team of coaches, Scott Benedict, Laurie Clarcq, Kelly Ferguson, Tamara Galvan, Patricia Moller and Marc Oleynick will be there to help you develop your coaching skills. You will learn how to give positive feedback to your colleagues and how to help them to reflect on their practice.

Lunch is included in the price of 110 euros. All you have to bring is your good humor, an open heart and a willing mind.

Register below:

Comprehensible Coaching Agen 2018
110 euros
July 22nd 9am – 4 pm
Stim’otel





Where to Register for the Agen Workshop? Here!!!!

Register here for the Agen Workshop 2018. It will be held in the Lycée Saint Caprais, Agen, France. The dates are July 23rd to July 28th. The price is 475 euros.

In order to register, answer the questions on the form below. If you wish to benefit from the special offer to those living outside the eurozone of Two for One, mention your friend’s name in the last line. Then when they register, they should put your name in response to the question about payment.

You may pay through Paypal by clicking on the button. If you do not use Paypal you may contact Judy Dubois (judyldubois@aol.com) for information about a bank transfer. Those who live in France may pay by check. We are looking forward to seeing you in July.





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The Mighty – 4th episode – Their first quest

After the exciting fireworks scene in which Max and Kevin first begin to function as a team, the students are looking forward to seeing what will happen next. The next scene in the film shows Kevin going to wake Max up early in the morning, eager to continue their adventures. Max is not at all interested. Basically I do this scene as a Movie Talk, first without sound or subtitles. At the end of the scene, we cannot know what Max will decide, so I ask the students whether they think he will go with Kevin or stay at home.

Then I put on the sound and the subtitles and we watch the scene again. I usually have to explain the Wizard of Oz reference. Again, I ask the students what Max will decide.

The question is answered when we see the two boys crossing the bridge to Cincinnatti. I don’t exploit the song unless the students are interested. I do point out that we see Max smiling for the first time.

They go into a diner and the boys rescue a girl who is being harassed by a man. We read the subtitles, discuss what is happening, make suppositions. I point out that when Kevin says, “Unhand her, knave,” the man does not understand and Max has to translate: “Take your filthy hands off her!” It is interesting to point out the difference in the language the two boys use.

We see the boys crossing the bridge again on their way home, this time accompanied by a group of knights on horseback. At home there is a scene of the boys eating in Kevin’s home. It reveals Gwen’s concern about Kevin eating too fast. I also like to point out that the food that Max finds so delicious is something a mother would toss together in a hurry, wieners with ordinary bread, which is why she laughs when he says, “Gram never cooks like this.”

Then I give my students the Embedded Reading that summarizes the scenes we have seen. Again I have given them a task with the first reading: choose the right word.

Reading I
Freak went to Max’s door/house/school and woke him up. Max told him to take back his five/seven/ten dollars. He said he didn’t have any money/time/friends and he didn’t need any. Freak said not to talk/think /write of it as a friendship, but as a partnership. So, they went into the city/house/barn and rescued a girl who was being harassed by a dragon/man/knight. It was their first mistake/fireworks/quest.

II
Freak went on crutches to Max’s house. He knocked on the bedroom window with his crutch to wake Max up. Max was angry. He said, “You almost got me killed last night.” He told Freak to take back his five bucks. He said he didn’t have any friends and he didn’t need any friends. Freak told him not to think of it as a friendship, but as a partnership. Max needed a brain and Freak needed legs. So the two boys went across the bridge to Cincinnatti. When they were hungry they went into a diner to buy candy bars. A man was harassing a girl, so Freak said, “Unhand her, knave.” The man didn’t understand, so Max told him to take his filthy hands off the girl. The man was frightened and confused. He left the diner and the girl said thank you. Max and Freak had rescued a maiden. It was their first quest.

III
The morning after the fireworks, Freak went on crutches to Max’s house. He knocked on the bedroom window with his crutch to wake Max up. Max opened the window, but he was angry. He said, “You almost got me killed last night.” He told Freak to take back his five bucks. He said he didn’t have any friends and he didn’t need any friends. Freak didn’t take the money. He told Max not to think of it as a friendship, but as a partnership. Max needed a brain and Freak needed legs. So the two boys went across the bridge to Cincinnatti. Freak rode on Max’s shoulders. Freak was happy and he talked to friendly people. Everyone thought Max was kind to carry his friend and no one looked at him like they had just seen his picture on America’s Most Wanted. When the boys were hungry they went into a little diner to buy Babe Ruth candy bars. A man was harassing a girl. He wanted her to give him something and he was hurting her. Freak told Max that a knight proves his worthiness by his deeds. So Max walked over to the man and Freak said, “Unhand her, knave.” The man didn’t understand, so Max told him to take his filthy hands off the girl. The man looked up and he thought he saw a tall knight on a horse. He was frightened and confused. He left the diner and then the girl said thank you. Max and Freak had rescued a maiden. It was their first quest.

The Mighty – Session 3

By the third session with the film the students will have some empathy with the two characters, Max and Kevin. I should explain that from the beginning of the film Max talks about “Freak”, but I always refer to Kevin as his mother would, with his real name. It’s only later that we come to understand why Max calls him Freak.

I begin the third session with the scene in which Kevin offers Max five dollars to take him to see the fireworks. We read the subtitles and briefly discuss the fact that Kevin knows no one else to ask. I point out that the boys are not friends. You don’t pay a friend to go somewhere with you. Max has no friends and Kevin has no friends.

Then we are at the fairgrounds and we continue reading the subtitles and discussing what we learn about Max and Kevin. Kevin’s mother is always worrying about him. Max’s mother is “in heaven”, so it becomes clear that she has died.

Then the boys run into Blade and his gang, and Blade calls them freaks. I explain to my French speaking students that “freak show” is “la foire aux monstres” in French, that it used to be a common circus attraction. I pause so that they can see how Max tries to ignore the gang, showing that he doesn’t want any problems. Then Kevin calls the gang “cretins”. I pause so that they can see how Max, who is supposedly not very bright, quickly manages to get Kevin to safety and why the gang cannot follow. This is a form of Movie Talk. We’re translating the subtitles, but we are also discussing the actions of the characters.

The fireworks scene is a high point of the film. I ask the students why Kevin is frustrated, why he can’t see. And then Max puts him on his shoulders, and the real story starts. Usually the students catch on to Kevin’s calling out the different names of the chemicals that produce the colors of the fireworks, but if they don’t I explain.

Then the boys meet the gang again and there’s an exciting chase scene during which Kevin becomes Max’s brain and Max becomes Kevin’s legs. It’s one of the best scenes in the film. If I’ve taken too much time before the chase begins, I stop when they see the gang and wait for the next class to continue. I want to be able to include the following scene when the police take the boys home and Grim tells Max, “I’m proud of you.” It’s an important scene and I’ve noticed that the word “proud” is often definitely, permanently acquired after viewing it.

When we have finished watching it and discussing it, I give them this Embedded Reading. You will see that the first reading has words in italics and the students are to choose which word fits the scene they saw in the film. (Now I borrowed this idea from someone who posted about it recently, but when I went back I couldn’t find where it came from. If you are the author, please contact me so I can credit you.) This simple exercise of having to choose one of three words gives some variety to the Embedded Reading, and also, I find, takes some of the focus off of the new words in the text. When students are thinking about something else, new vocabulary seems to glide painlessly into their minds. Since the new words are going to come up again in Reading II and III, they will seem familiar when we’ve finished. The third version is written in the first person. If your students are up to it, you could use the original chapter from the book, Freak the Mighty, as a fourth Embedded Reading. The readings I have used are derived from it.

Reading I

After the fireworks, Max carried Kevin on his back/shoulders/head. Kevin was happy. He could see nothing/everything.

Then Kevin saw Blade/his mother/the police. He told Max to go left. There were more Doghouse Boys.

Then something funny happened. Kevin became Max’s stomach/heart/brain and Max became Kevin’s legs/mouth/arms. They ran away.

There was a train. Max ran/walked/jumped across the tracks. The train stopped Blade and his gang.

The fire/police/water stopped Max and Kevin. Blade and his gang were in front of/behind/next to them. Blade had a gun/knife/hamburger. Kevin said, “Go straight. Trust me.”

Max walked into the mud/street/snow. Blade was behind them with his knife. Max had mud up to his stomach/knees/mouth. He was stuck. But Blade could not walk in the mud. He went back.

The police/teacher/dancers came. The Doghouse Boys ran away.

Kevin and Max became like a knight of King Arthur.

Reading II

After the fireworks, Max carried Kevin on his shoulders. They walked through the crowd. Kevin was happy. He was high and he could see everything. “This is better,” he said.

Suddenly Kevin saw Blade and some of the Doghouse Boys. He told Max to go the other way. There were more Doghouse Boys. Kevin told Max to go left, but there were other Doghouse boys on that side.

Then something funny happened. Kevin kicked Max and he went right. Kevin became Max’s brain and Max became Kevin’s legs. They ran away and the Doghouse Boys ran after them.

There was a train coming. Freak said, “Don’t worry.” Max ran across the tracks and the train stopped Blade and his gang.

But the pond stopped Max and Kevin. Blade and his gang were behind them. Blade had a knife. They could hear Blade laugh. Kevin said, “Go straight. Go straight ahead. Trust me.”

Max walked into the mud. There was mud up to his knees. He couldn’t move. Blade was behind them with his knife. Max was stuck. But Blade could not walk in the mud. It was too deep. He went back to the shore.

A police car came. The policemen arrested Blade and his gang. They took Kevin and Max home. Gwen told Gram and Grim that Max had saved Kevin’s life. Grim told Max that he was proud of him.

Kevin and Max became like a knight of King Arthur, walking high, killing dragons and saving maidens.

III

After the fireworks, I carried Freak on my shoulders. We were walking through the crowd. Freak was happy because he was high and he could see everything. “This is better,” he said. “I’m taller than everyone.”

Suddenly he saw Blade and some of the Doghouse Boys. Freak told me to go the other way. But there were other Doghouse Boys on that side. He told me to go left. Then I saw another Doghouse Boy. I didn’t like his grin.

Then something funny happened. Freak’s foot hit my side and I went right. He became my brain and I became his legs. I ran away and the Doghouse Boys ran after us.

There was a train coming, but Freak said, “Don’t worry. We can beat it.” I ran across the tracks and the train stopped Blade and his gang.

But then we were on the edge of the pond. Blade and his gang were behind us. Blade had a knife. I could hear Blade laugh. Freak said, “Go straight. Go straight ahead. Trust me.”

I walked into the mud. There was mud up to my knees. I couldn’t move. I was stuck in the mud. Blade was behind us with his knife. I took another step. Then I took another one. But the mud was too deep for Blade. He went back to the shore.

A police patrol car came along. The policemen arrested Blade and his gang. They took Freak and me home. Gwen told my grandparents that I had saved her boy’s life. My grandfather gave me a cup of coffee and he told me that he was proud of me.

That is how Freak and I became like one of King Arthur’s knights, walking high above the world, slaying dragons and rescuing fair maidens.

Kelly Ferguson

Kelly doesn’t look old enough to have been doing TPRS for twenty years, but she was one of the early enthusiasts and had the wonderful opportunity of being trained by Blaine Ray, Susan Gross and Joe Nielson. She has been to NTPRS fourteen times and has been a coach there almost as long. I remember meeting her in 2009 in Minneapolis. She will be coaching at iFLT for the fourth time this year. She is a National Board Certified teacher and mentors candidates going through certification. She is the author of the embedded readings on the popular Senor Wooly website for Spanish teachers and she has a blog at www.compellinginstruction.com.

Kelly has presented at state, regional and national conferences. In Agen she will be giving two presentations as well as helping with the coaching. She wishes to help teachers give their students Comprehensible Cultural Input in order to develop a better understanding of the culture of native speakers, even at the beginner levels. She will also present on a battery of reading activities at all levels to help students understand and respond to texts. Her sessions are fun and engaging and we are proud to have her with us.

We sincerely hope this will be the first of many visits to Agen.

Pre-conference Training about Comprehensible Input methods for New Comers

Kirstin Plante has run teacher training programs in the States and in the Netherlands for many years. We all realize that New Comers who are just discovering TPRS and Comprehensible Input methods can be a bit overwhelmed at the beginning. Eventually it all fits together, but it can take a while to figure things out. Kirstin wanted to offer a program that would let New Comers get the most out of the Agen Workshop, that would let them hit the ground running, so to speak.

She has planned two and a half days, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning, July 21st to July 23rd, just before the conference. The training will take place in Agen, right in the Lycée Saint Caprais. Trainees will receive documentation to read before the training and have all their questions answered, as well as practical, hands on training. In this way we hope that they will get full benefit from the conference and have a wonderful time.

For information about Kirstin’s offer go to :http://tprsacademy.com/tprs-crash-course/

Adriana Ramirez

Adriana Ramirez works in Canada, in the province of British Columbia as a Spanish teacher. She has been a language teacher for more than 12 years. She is a well-known CI author and presenter. She has published several books with stories (in Spanish and French), to teach through storytelling and comprehensible input. She constantly presents at workshops in both Canada and the US. She trains and coaches teachers on applying CI techniques in the classroom, and welcomes guests to her classroom so they can see the power of TPRS first hand. You can watch a video of Adriana in her classroom on her youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsnrjR8QVCUD56gLPmycrug

Liam Printer

Liam Printer is Irish and possesses 11 years experience teaching Spanish, French and English to both secondary students and adults. He currently teaches Spanish to students aged 11-18 in the International School of Lausanne in in Switzerland. Previously he worked as a consultant for a group of secondary schools in Finland. He has embraced Comprehensible Input methods and has presented at teachers’ conferences in the Netherlands and in Ireland. Currently he is completing work on a doctorate in Education at the University of Bath. His research is focused on the motivational pull of teaching languages through storytelling. He has an interesting blog at https://www.liamprinter.com/blog.

This summer in Agen he will give a presentation on using storytelling to increase student buy in and participation. His goal is to give teachers tools that “they can take away and immediately try in their classes with little or no preparation.”