CANE 2017 – Ted Zarrow – Strategies for Successful Storytelling

Ted’s full presentation is here (that he shared freely and openly with us) but I will highlight some of the, well, highlights below.

  • The idea of ‘sheltered’ vocabulary and grammar was reinforced. It was a term I had heard but wasn’t quite comfortable with.
  • Ted tends to focus on sheltered vocabulary but not necessarily sheltered grammar (or at least sheltered grammar with exceptions).
  • He focused on the importance of reducing the number of unfamiliar words in a text, that not uncommonly students see texts with upwards of 75% unfamiliar words (I would say that’s the case in my classroom).
  • This focus reminded me of Kitchell’s cricket experiment way back when (I believe in 2001), when he gave us an article about a cricket match that none of us could understand (because of the unfamiliar vocabulary) even though it was in English.
  • It was somewhat heartening to recognize things that I already do, albeit mostly in isolation, in addition to all of the things that I don’t do.
  • Much of the presentation and slide show consisted of the stories themselves, composed in simple Latin, with sheltered vocabulary, often incorporating his students themselves or his students’ ideas.

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