Monday, December 5, 2016

Spanish 2 story idea in the store - Shopping infidelity

So this is based around a gag video you could Movietalk (see below for video).

Because there is so much new vocabulary, I almost want to tell a similar story beforehand.

So here are the structures I am thinking of for class story (in my Spanish 2 vocab unit on every clothing word KNOWN to man).  This one might be a little more structured than others and fewer details added.

  • se prueba
    s/he tries on [clothes]
  • a su novia le parece que
    it seems to his girlfriend that 
  • "no lo/la conozco"
    "I don't know him/her"
extras (if you need them):
  • sale del probador after ____
    s/he comes out of the dressing room and says to him/her
  • escoge
    s/he chooses
  • tiene vergüenza
    s/he is ashamed/embarrassed
*Just make sure that you don't have anymore than 3 new structures per story to keep it focused and repetitive for your classes*

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Black Friday story (reflection)

In a previous post, I talked about a story idea for Black Friday.  It really could be for any time of the year, but lends itself to Black Friday because of the craziness that can ensue.

The structures were:
  • arrived / got there
  • saw the perfect __.*
  • bought it for only __.
  • it was a bargain!

Here's what I tried out with the story.

It turned out not to be anything earth shattering or groundbreaking. I would chalk that up to my making up the story but not scripting it out well enough.  And my Spanish 2 students aren't always very good yet at playing around in the realm of silliness.

So I had three different people in each class and we narrated when they arrived, what they wanted to buy, and how much they payed. Then we decided if it was a deal. No one wanted to pay with anything other than dollars unfortunately. But that's ok. I'll know better for next year!

Here's what we came up with for our class story and my present tense story.  I decided it might be humorous to have the Incredible Hulk wanting to buy SpongeBob underwear.

viernes negro - Embedded readings

In the subsequent versions I added more vocabulary that we had previously gone over to review in a new context.

Friday, December 2, 2016

How do I teach my classes these days?

If you're in the Spanish Teachers in the U.S. Facebook group, you might have seen this question to me by a talented teacher: Chris Cashman:

Señor Jeremy Jordan​​, el grande, el honorable y majestuoso:
I read the great article about your recognition posted by an admin. I noticed that the day the reporter was present, you were doing a TPRS style lesson. However, you are well-known for your videos of verb conjugations and explicit grammar (albeit presented in a super fun and attention grabbing way).
These two camps of people -- TPRS folks and learn-the-verb-chart folks -- tend to belong in different camps. One group believes that students will learn things gradually over time with repeated exposure, so don't worry about the verb charts and certainly don't assess knowledge of them. The other believes that language learning can indeed be aided by explicit grammar teaching.
I know I'm hugely overgeneralizing an issue here, but you're showing some evidence of perhaps having found a middle ground, or a way to merge the two worlds. Would you mind sharing either in a blog entry, or a response here in this group, of the method to your madness, the thinking/theory behind it? I have my own answer, but I'm *mega*interested in seeing/hearing yours!
Don't mean to put you on the spot, but this really caught my attention.

Of course the article he is referring to is this one where I was interviewed at my school after winning Missouri Foreign Language Teacher of the year.

Here is my lengthy response to Chris. I appreciate his question. I hope that it is understood that I am not telling anyone how they should teach. I am only expressing what informs instruction in MY classroom.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Simple story - Black Friday

I was thinking a lot of a Tripp Script that I saw recently on his blog. It is basically for telling after Thanksgiving.

Here are the structures:
  • pounds (lbs)
  • after eating
  • takes a nap
And it lends itself to talking about overeating.  I thought it was nice and clever.  And it lends itself to Spanish 1 and also just a rainy day story to talk about things on these sometimes monotonous days.

But then I had an epiphany for my own storyline.

I thought about Black Friday and how much people tend to spend on that day. Since we're working on compra and some different clothing items (in stores) for vocab, this lends itself to that very easily.
  • arrived / got there
  • saw the perfect __.*
  • bought it for only __.
  • it was a bargain!
*this wouldn't be a goal for me, but might work better in your story or replace "found" for "saw"

Super simple version:
John arrived at Target Friday morning. He saw the perfect shirt. He bought it for only two pennies.
It was a bargain!

Simple version:
John went to Target for Black Friday.  John arrived at Target Friday morning at three in the morning. He saw the perfect brown shirtHe bought it for only two pennies.
It was a bargain!

Somewhat simple version:
John went to Target for Black Friday. John was at Target Friday morning at . He saw the perfect brown shirt for his little dog named FluffinatorHe bought it for only two pennies and a kiss.
It was a bargain!

Etc, etc, etc.

*Then you could do a similar reading (but with culture) involving el regateo (bargaining).  And throw that into the mix. Since it's a vocab/cultural idea I am supposed to hit this "unit".

  • arrived / got there
  • saw the perfect __.*
  • bought it for only __.
  • it was a bargain!
  • it normally costs
  • he haggled with the store clerk

Slightly simple version:
John went to Target for Black Friday. John was at Target Friday morning at . He saw the perfect brown shirt for his little dog named Fluffinator. It normally costs 100 dollars.  He haggled with the store clerk for one hourHe bought it for only two pennies, a kiss and his jeep.
It was a bargain!

And of course, if you're a Spanish teacher and have a Señor Wooly account, you could do a Movietalk and show the "es una ganga" music video as an extension activity in the week!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Teachable Moment - don't be a jerk

So if you follow me on Twitter you probably came across this tweet yesterday:

If you can't read the message someone wrote on my Youtube account:
F__king Kill urself no one likes you ur immigrant trump won and your getting deported taco n_____r

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fashion report - vocabulary filler

So I mentioned in a previous post that I am trying to do my best to teach lots of clothing words in a way that (while contrived) is a compromise for me without having to do a LONG vocabulary list.

Each day I do the following:
  1. my stick-drawer (job) draws a stick with a name at random and I describe what the person is wearing to the class (including colors afterwards to describe)
  2. I recently started asking that person to stand up; not sure I would feel comfortable doing this depending on the class, but my students this year know I am not there to make fun of them and so far have been great sports. I don't talk about them for more than 30 seconds to a minute anyways.
  3. Then ask about the words up there that I have pre-determined and ask if anyone is wearing a certain thing.
  4. Could ask a follow up question, what store did you buy that in ? (need to "cover" preterite this year... but that's actually an interesting question if you want to know!)

I know it's nothing earth-shattering. But I feel like it is going about as well as I expected.

Today I gave them a warm up where they were supposed to match the clothing words to the English counterpart and they did just fine.

So I am glad that this frees me up for teaching with stories and other things I enjoy in the rest of class and I can incorporate the clothing as needed.

Here's the template if you wanted to use something similar.

I don't change it every day, but might change the color of the socks, shoes, shirts, etc.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Spanish 1 or 2 - story idea - didn't know how to dance!

*Disclaimer* The beauty of storytelling is that you really could use a story in any level. The complexity of your backstory or how you go about solving the problem is really defined by each level.  For example, you might be able to have way more complex dialogue in upper levels and ask the class things like, "what would you do if he/she said that to you!?"

Here's a story idea that I used in Spanish 2 a week or two ago:


  • No sabía bailar (S/he didn't know how to dance)
  • Le dijo, “Voy a regresar pronto” (S/he said to him/her, "I am going to return soon")
  • Le dio lecciones (s/he gave him/her lessons)

Some previous words I wanted to review:

  • s/he saw
  • s/he went towards
  • s/he wanted to dance
  • s/he was
  • s/he left (came out of)
  • s/he said to him/her

It's a pretty simple one.  Someone was at a party or in a club. They wanted to dance. They saw someone, went towards them, they told them, "I want to dance with you." Or asked, "Do you want to dance with me?"