This post is long overdue! I mean this workshop was in...November of 2017!
Last July, I had the awesome opportunity to meet Martina Bex, and for one day this past November, I trekked out to North Carolina from my home in Welcome, MD to hang out with a person whose blog I would scour for hours and hours on the daily (and still do)...the remarkable and influential Mike Peto—with the added bonus of meeting Brett Chonko.
The workshop was called, My Perfect Year Live Demo. It was full of tons of informative insights, two of which I will share with you (at least to the best of my understanding): OWIs and how "weighing the pig does not mean the pig weighs less."
Disclaimer: To reiterate, these are my “notes” from the information provided as I understood them.
there's a new kid in town
The new "kids" in town are OWIs, also know as one word images. Developed by Ben Slavic, the use of OWIs are a great personalized comprehensible input activity that can lead into building concentrated characters, mini-situations, and possibly full-fledged stories. In his book, A Natural Approach to Stories, co-authored with Tina Hargaden, Ben offers an in-depth approach to his method of creating OWIs or invisibles. In the workshop, Mike demonstrated his way of tackling this fun and versatile activity.
First, it was timed. The creation of the character and the story were to take only 20 minutes—5 minutes on each section. The sections were:
There was an artist who drew up our character, which happened to be a sad sushi roll. Then, after the creation of the character and story, we ended the activity with a write and discuss. During the creation of the story, and definitely during the write and discuss, Mike discussed the importance of using the sweet 16 verbs (which should be posted on your classroom walls) in the write and discuss.
By having the story written down, a lot of other activities are then possible to carry out, such as an oral translation, formative or possible summative assessment, copying the story from the board and then translating (if you're tired), and writing the story from different perspectives (great for verb tense changes) just to name a few.
Brett demonstrated an awesome OWI named Teddy the TP. It was hilarious. Read all about it by visiting the link to Teddy. Brett's archive of invisibles is definitely worth checking out!
the weighing of the pig
Coming from a TPRS background, it is said that one should shelter vocabulary but not grammar. Now, due to Dr. Beniko Mason's story listening technique, sheltering vocabulary may not be that necessary as long as what the teacher is teaching is staying comprehensible to her students. As linked, Judith Dubois (the TPRS Witch) goes into great detail on the criticism of Story Listening with its lack of targeting. I will not reiterate her points here (please read those for yourself), but I will add that I personally have felt more comfortable going the "non-targeted" route in the sense of not holding back vocabulary if I know I can make it comprehensible to my students and that it adds a layer of detail that is compelling. I have to say my interest is peaked with the Story Listening technique, and after watching Dr. Beniko Mason and Tina Hargaden videos, I am gravitating more towards utilizing this style of CI delivery along with my own methods (influenced by Mike Peto) of working with telenovelas.
Overall, it was a great day. Another workshop that delivered new insights and required much processing. Thank you, Mike Peto, for enriching my CI journey. I'm truly grateful.