As I mentioned previously, teachers really seem to dig the Novice Hebrew Corpus, as it affords manageability, making story-asking feel less…daunting and unwieldy. Combining question words with high frequency verbs and cognates or proper names/nouns feels do-able, and I demonstrated lots of engaging circling with these few key ingredients. With the corpus in hand, we can start to imagine storylines and lines of questioning to ask stories!
Before embarking on the Foundational Skills of T/CI, we explored existing Hebrew ‘legacy’ materials that I’d brought along – basal readers, texts and workbooks commonly found in Hebrew supplementary schools. Our teachers are now armed and able to recognize the shortcomings of these published textbooks: They are unappealing – the pictures don’t reflect our students lives or interests; they are boring – nothing really seems to happen in the brief scenes and scripted dialogues; the Hebrew itself seems randomly chosen or focuses on religious holiday vocabulary, not basic face-to-face communication, and is not controlled for frequency or massive repetition. It’s all over the place! Furthermore, the beginner level basal readers invite students to decode lists of nonsense words and isolated syllables (in order to practice the Alef-Bet)…an activity long since abandoned in Language Arts classrooms, and definitely not a respectful task!
Session 2 ended with teachers brainstorming an extended scene based on 2 onscreen target structures: ‘Sleeps’ and ‘hears.’ Imagine the possibilities! Someone (Who?) is sleeping and suddenly hears a noise. What is it? An ambulance? A dinosaur? His telephone? What happens next?
The collaborative story-spinning possibilities are limited only by our (students’) creativity!