I fell in love with the TESOL 6 Principles for Exemplary Teaching because they perfectly summarize the values I have uncovered while playing and applying CBC Codebreaker in the classroom over the last ten years or so! We first started playing with laminated pieces of paper then as a full blown developed game with a look and feel as professional as if you were playing Uno.
The principles ask us (in my opinion) as Teachers to CREATE CONDITIONS for Language Learning, speaking for myself as a teacher who is constantly experimenting and bringing new ideas to the table CBC Codebreaker was born to spark new conversations about grammar and ignite critical thinking and analysis when speaking about diverse topics.
In my explorations online I recently ran across a blogger, Rebecca Serle, who referenced the works of Arlene C. Schultze, author of Helping Children Become Readers Through Writing on her blogpost dated December 3, 2009, in admiration of Schultze´s treatment of how to Create Conditons of Learning. Rebecca Serle, summarizes Schultze´s work by presenting a brief description of the 7 Conditons of Learning a Languge: Immersion, Demonstration, Approximation, Employment or Use, Responsibility, Feedback or Response & Expectation.
I quote Rebecca´s blog here as I highlight how CBC Codebreaker can facilitate the 7 Conditions of Learning Language by Arlene C. http://nurturingnarratives.blogspot.com/2009/12/7-conditions-of-learning-language.html
According to Schultze when teaching literacy children should be saturated with language. This includes meaningful reading and writing and lots of talk time. When it is Codebreaker game time- students are broken up into small groups or paired up to teamwork and meaningfully dialogue about what move to make. They truly discuss among themselves and are committeded to making a decision to determine which card to play. Students waste no words and are fully engrossed by the task at hand.
According to Arlene C. Schultze, when a child is learning language they receive thousands of demonstrations of speech all the time, every day. Demonstration in this sense refers to demonstrating to a child not just how you read and write but how you LEARN to read and write. This involves pointing at words as you say them, doing shared writing exercises, and, at home, demonstrating your own desire to read.
This is where CBC Codebreaker comes in it is highly demonstrative as it presents the linguistic code like a lego puzzle and students get to explore it one piece at a time or all together. Learners can build up or break down sentences as experienced in my classes over the years. The holding up of the cards, the selecting and exchanging ideas makes the Demonstration even more meaningful. (see previous image)
CBC Codebreaker facilitates Approximation in the classroom.
Young children use approximation in speech as they are learning to talk. They often do the same as they are learning to write… children should be encouraged to use approximations both in oral and written language. They are testing out the literary waters and beginning to store information that they will refine as time goes on.
The Codebreaker game brings them lots of reading and writing approximation opportunities as they explore the linguistic code on the table. Once ideas are organized physically on the table learners are then asked transfer to paper, booklets, posters, etc where they further explore the connotation of words and sentences in a very meaningful way.
CBC Codebreaker definitely facilitates Employment or Use.
Shcultze states in her book that there should be plenty of opportunities to engage in reading and writing. There should be independent reading and writing time as well as shared reading and writing time. Remember our key word: abundance.
Everytime a student plays a turn with the CBC Codebreaker a reading or writing opportunity is created. Whether everyone pauses to examine the same or they are invited to create more ideas in a similar fashion is at the discretion of the teacher/mentor in the classroom.
A more more efficient Use of the language is a natural by-product of playing CBC Codebreaker in the classroom.
CBC Codebreaker facilitates conditions of Responsibility in the classroom.
The author says, this is a condition I really believe in and love. It refers to the idea that children should be able to decide what topic and what conventions of language they want to master based on their individual needs. They should be responsible for the direction of their own language learning. If a child lives in Southern California, he or she might want to read and write about the ocean. If a child loves art, he or she might want to learn how to write the colors. When children are engaged in what they are learning they retain information much better and often at a much faster rate. Not to mention that then they begin to develop not just a need for but a love of reading and writing.
I could not have put it better if I tried. CBC Codebreaker was designed to give FREEDOM to the learner to engage in whatever topic he or she wanted to discuss. Once the structure was clear then the student would only need to collect the words necessary to express his or her concept.
With my game students are keenly aware of their responsibility to think and acquire the content necessary to express themselves clearly, as demonstrated in our classroom trials over the years of playing.
CBC Codebreaker always facilitates Feedback or Response in an encouraging and positive manner from my experience in the classroom.
The example Cambourne uses is this one: “How do we get a child to progress from saying ‘I goed downtown’ to ‘I went downtown?'” Correcting a child, no matter how tempting, is not the answer. Instead we should use what is called “feedback and response.” When a child says to you “I goed downtown” instead of saying “it’s went downtown,” we repeat their statement using the correct form of speech and then expand on it.
Example: “You went downtown? How exciting! What did you do when you went downtown?”
When a child hears the correct form in a non-corrective way it registers in their memory. By expanding the statement we also get the child to continue actively constructing language. The same method should be employed in a reading a writing workshop. Approximations should be encouraged and congratulated and then built on verbally. If a child has written “I goed downtown” on the page we can say the same thing in response that we would to a verbal comment and then encourage the child to keep writing from there.
CBC Codebreaker allows the learner to see the error in the moment, explore and analyze how the error was made, then guided by the teacher/mentor it fosters the opportunity to make a change in thinking thereby creating a platform for autocorrection.
We have experienced in CBC that our students become metalinguistically aware while playing CBC Codebreaker!
CBC Codebreaker creates Expectation as it dispels the clouds of confusion regarding verb conjugations creating a sense of wonder and anticipation for the next sentence formation. We have experienced this over and over everytime we play and teach using the CBC Codebreaker learning cycle. The dazed look disappears and their pupils dilate as the clarity of what they just realized set in!