Monday, April 22, 2019

TPRS / CI and Block Scheduling

*Note: Someone recently emailed me a question about using Block Scheduling. I am no expert, but I found out how to make it work for me during the 3 years that I taught on the block. Here are some ideas that hopefully are helpful below.*

A few years ago I was forced (against my will) to teach on A/B block scheduling when I was hired at a new school. I was forced because it was a bomb dropped on me after I accepted the job (if I remember things correctly). I didn't even know to ask that question in the interview! Oops!

The way that block scheduling worked at that school was 90 minute periods, 4 a day. One day was A, then next day B. Early dismissal Wednesdays A or B alternated each week. So if there were no interruptions whatsoever, then in a two week cycle, I would see each class 5 times total. (One week Monday, Wednesday, Friday and then the next week Tuesday and Thursday).

When I first started it, I hated it. Then after I left it, I sort of missed it because I could more easily see the benefits (that I was able to get out of it). Although I still believe that every day instruction is better for acquiring language (shorter more often) than a big chunk every two days.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Weekend Chat idea

I was talking to THE Bill VanPatten a lot this week about Second Language Acquisition and the possibility of working on some projects together soon.

In one of our convos, he brought up a way he had done Weekend Chat in the past. Now, the way I typically do weekend chat in levels 1 and 2 (where I normally end up teaching for whatever reason), has varied a little bit and evolved since I was doing more textbook teaching.

In level 2, I would use it to practice the preterit and have each student look through the textbook and write 3 things that they did over the weekend. I would check their conjugations and would ask them to share them with the class in Spanish. Then we would move on to something else after we finished.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Simple story - Plays

Someone asked on the facebook group recently about a story involving plays and sports or activities due to constraints they are in. Here were some ideas I gave:

Idea 1: (3 problems model)

Guide words:

  1. wants to play (with)
  2. goes to talk to
  3. says, "I don't want to play that."

modify guide words as needed

[Student] wants to play something. They play it really well. They play it [embellish]. There is a problem. They don't want to play alone. They go to talk to [character]. The character isn't playing [sport]. They character is playing [sport 2].

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Cuentas Conmigo (Story 5) - Carlos Prickly

Hey everyone.

I had a yearning to do something fun that can be released to the masses since my other creative project (Súper Lápiz) is only for Voces Digital consumers..., and was inspired to do another Cuentas Conmigo story on Youtube on my storytelling channel.

The idea of Cuentas Conmigo (if you're new around here), is that it's basically a TPRS® story that is done completely through feedback via the comments section on Youtube.

There is a new episode each Monday and this requires voting on the question at the end to be done by Wednesday. I foresee this being used by classes, or learners of any kind who want to practice Spanish in context.

This is the 5th story like it so far. The most popular was probably with Juan Cena. Nevertheless, I have been proud of each and every one of them.

Here are some ways this one is new though!
  • Narrator is voiced by a Native Speaker
  • I wrote a theme-song
  • I think my style is getting more established as I do these

Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store for free Teacher notes on the first episode which includes some ideas on how to use the series, episode and even has a short quiz or guided notes page for students.*

And I hope you and your classes will tell the story along with me!

Check out episode 1 in the present or past tenses!

*I'm selling the other ones to hopefully eventually offset the cost of paying a native speaker narrator for each episode.

See previous Cuentas Conmigo stories on these playlists.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Teaching interrogatives with TPRS

(someone asked on the Spanish for Teachers in the U.S. group on Facebook about how one might go about doing a model lesson with interrogatives and I replied with, “Any TPRS story EVER”. Here is my explanation on how one might set that up)

Setup the question words displayed somewhere in class like so. Notice the translations are there.

Have a prop like a stuffed animal or maybe something from target country like a Carlos Quinto chocolate bar.

(You might consider downloading the FREE interrogative posters I recently designed for TPRS books here.)

In all honesty, I never was incredibly good at using language with my students before TPRS (relating to students in the target language). So beforehand I might do a lesson on all of the question words, give some ways to remember them and examples and then give a quick quiz or test and assume they would remember them. But I didn’t manipulate the language to help them acquire them. 

Now that I use TPRS, the students not only learn the interrogatives, but learn to use them in context and to make novel questions. So let’s move on to TPRS. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

How I assess with exit quizzes

This blog post will be broken up into the following sections for quick reference:
  1. My go-to classroom jobs 
  2. How I might set up a story 
  3. How I assess with the exit slips

Part 1: My go-to classroom jobs

I’ve learned to use classroom jobs over the years to enhance engagement from students, add a bit of buy-in for others and help class run more smoothly so I can… well… teach more effectively. I longer listes of things poorly and shorter lists of things well. I haven’t invented the idea of classroom jobs. They’ve been around for quite some time, and here are some of my essential ones each day:

Scribe: I generally have a classroom notebook for each class where a scribe will write down in Spanish what we have discussed.

Quiz writer: Depending on the class, there might be one student who is a faster processor who enjoys having control over the questions for the quiz. They will write them based on constraints outlined below for me so when I get to the end of class, I don’t have to think as hard.

Some ways to tweak this job are:
  1. to draw straws or have random picker pick a student. 
  2. Have them write on little slips of paper that you can scramble 
  3. Have them write 10 and you choose the best 8 
  4. Obviously there would be times I would have to change their questions if they weren’t well worded or if they weren’t good questions 
  5. I would normally tell them to write most of the questions about the words on the board that we were practicing (if we were telling a story) 
  6. Some might do comprehension quizzes in English. I’d rather do it in Spanish since it’s not really a “gotcha” type of thing. I have translations in English on the board. And if I have been going slow enough and repetitive enough, they’ll be fine and many won’t even look at that point. 
  7. You could have a few kids each write a question to spread out the participation 
  8. If I don’t get to the quiz at the end of class I might start with it as the warm up (but now multiple choice) and with the structures still up on the board.
Quiz alphabetizer: I also would have in some classes a student whose job would be to alphabetize the quizzes. This was great. Especially for grading and entering in grade book. Saved me so much time! And extra bonus if I had students check their own quizzes with a collection of colored pens I had before turning them in.

Quiz passer: Other job if the class was ok with it, was for a student to pass them back out once they were graded. It’s all about saving me time and getting them involved!

If you’re interested in using classroom jobs, I recently helped TPRS Books design some new handouts. Here is one on classroom jobs for FREE. Also be thinking about what are things that would make class run more smoothly if you didn’t have to deal with it and a student could handle it for you.

Story script - wants to impress

This sort of reminds me from an old LICT script I used. Add any additional language you would like. Perhaps, throw in some transition words, or embellish the details to give more language in other ways.
  • Wants to impress
  • Buys a — for him/her
  • Gives it to him/her
My general idea for the story might be:

  • Part 1:
    • [Character] wants to impress ___. 
    • [During time 1], S/he buys a __ for __. 
    • S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?”
    •  __ is not impressed.
  • Part 2:
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 2], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is not impressed.
  • Part 3:
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 3], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. First, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. Second, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is impressed.
    • (and character’s reaction to the gift. Class can decide if s/he gives a hug or a kiss or destroys it or throws it in the pool, etc.)