Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Story Script - the fake id (Spanish 2)

So as you might know if you've been doing storytelling for any length of time, ANYthing can be fodder for a story provided you can find ways to get reps in there and have your class help make it compelling.

When I was in high school, I remember making a movie for Spanish 3 in a group project where a guy (me) tried to get into a club/rave and had to eventually buy a fake id. If I remember, it was a commercial for fake ids.

With the Broccoli story I had made for reflexive verb practice, I thought it would be fun to have a story script beforehand to preteach some other words that might come up in a unit on Food or just have fun with.

I needed to introduce: "le pide" (s/he asks for / s/he orders). This works in Spanish for ordering food as well as asking for something. So I had my main structure for the storyline. Now all I needed was a few other structures.

What I came up with was:


  • era más bonita que (she was prettier than)
  • le pide su identificación (s/he asks him/her for his/her identification)
  • odiaba (s/he hated)
*Could have used "se enamoró de ella inmediatamente" (s/he fell in love immediately)

General story skeleton:

There was a [girl] who was prettier than [someone].  She wanted to dance in [name], a club in/on [place].  There was a [person/animal] that was working in front of the door of the club.  His/her name was [name].   The girl went towards [bouncer] and he asked her for her ID. She showed/gave him her id and he didn't hate pretty girls. He loved them. He told her, "You are prettier than ___.  I love pretty girls. You can go on in." He returned/gave her her id.  And she went in. 
Someone saw her enter. It was a wet waffle. He thought she was prettier than [same person or different person/thing from earlier]. He was in love.  He immediately fell in love with her.  He wanted to dance with her. He went towards the bouncer. The bouncer asked him for his id. He gave him his id. The bouncer looked at the id but there was a problem. The bouncer hated wet waffles. He told the wet waffle, "Sorry, you can't go in. You are a wet waffle and I HATE wet waffles." (Optional: Maybe add backstory as to why he hated wet waffles). He gave the wet waffle back his id and the wet waffle needed a fake id.  
He left [place[ and went to [store]. In the store, he looked for a fake id and found one. The fake id cost [quantity] and it was for a Fat Pancake. The wet waffle hated fat pancakes so he went to another store. 
In another store, he looked for a fake id and found one. It cost [quantity] and it was for a strong chicken named Bruce.  The wet waffle thought it was a deal and bought it. He went back to the club and walked towards the bouncer. The bouncer asked him for his id.  But he didn't give him his id. He gave him his fake id.  The bouncer looked at the id and told him, "You look like a wet waffle but it says here you are a strong chicken. I don't hate strong chickens. I LOVE strong chickens. You can go in." He didn't hate strong chickens and the wet waffle could enter the club! 
The wet waffle went in and looked for the girl who was prettier than [person].  He found her and walked towards her. He asked her, "Want to dance?" She asked for his identification.  He gave her his id. She looked at it and said, "Sorry, I hate strong chickens. I prefer wet waffles. I wish you were a wet waffle.
That's terrible!  She thought he was a strong chicken and she hated strong chickens!

*In one class, the bouncer liked what the id was of (pancake or something) and ate the character instead of letting him in. The ending doesn't matter if you have delivered enough repetitive, compelling, comprehensible input.

**Some structures used in the story were from previous stories in our class stories. I always try to recycle things from previous stories.

And here's a worksheet with the present tense reading that I was quite proud of with some routine reflexives and additional activities if you need them!

Let me know if you end up using it or tweaking it!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Word Chunk - A fun, minimal prep game/activity

I first heard about this from one of Ben Slavic's dvds that I purchased ages ago.  I have since experimented with it in my classes.

While you could simply do it as a quiz or silly assessment with your students, I prefer the group activity.

My students on Fridays have PAT. So they already have groups. You could easily have them form the groups that day for the activity. Mine have to say a group chant and have a group name already established so that we can simply play this game.

So while I could have a list of every single word we have gone over for the year (or for years if they are in Spanish 2 or another level), I prefer this on the spot activity.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comprehensible Input with the MONO

Hay un mono. (from first episode)
So I have met various educators over the last year or two who have told me how much their classes have enjoyed a little story I made about a "mono" (monkey).

I thought it would be fun to make a super simple TPRS like story about a character that wanted something and didn't have it and so they went to the 3 locations. And as I drew one day on my iPad, suddenly I had a monkey, an island, and Antarctica. From there the first "mono" story was born!

Since then, I have had teachers who have met me at conferences (or have told me via email) how much their classes have enjoyed the story.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Spanish 2 - daily routines / reflexives

Ever get locked into silly curriculum (or what others call curriculum which is really just a textbook)?

Well if you find yourself having to teach those pesky "daily routines", how about doing it in a new and sillier way?

In my Spanish 2 classes this semester, I am supposed to cover reflexives as well as foods. So I thought, why not combine them!?

So here is what I came up with.

It's about a piece of broccoli that aspired to something more.

I want you to be able to use it in your classes ABSOLUTELY free.  But I do ask that you don't delete the slides that tell that I am the author of the story because it did take me a LONG time and it would make me very sad if someone else took the credit for all of my work.

Click here for a version for Spanish teachers:

If you teach another language or if you'd rather a wordless version to do a picture-talk of sorts with your kids (describing each slide with your own target vocab) click here.

I'd love to hear if you end up using it in a class and how it is received!

If you'd like to use it in your classes but have no idea where to even start consider the following steps:
How to do a Picture Talk:

1. Look at the pictures and look for any underlying themes or words that could be repeated.
(needs, thinks, should, wants, goes, decides, is, etc)

2. Come up with a simple written version of the story that you can tell your students while you go through the pictures.

3. Tell the story to students.

4. While telling the story, to build interest, add dialogue, add voice inflection, ask the students questions about how the character feels, what happens, something parallel in their lives (who would put on a meat dress), etc. While staying in the language in a comprehensible way.

5. Perhaps tell the story again on a different day.

Other Options:
1. tell a super simple version of the story on day 1; a slightly more difficult version day 2; etc

2. tell the story in chunks depending on the length of your classes

3. have a student act out the story

4. come up with your own similar (but different) story about a character wanting to get into a club but maybe they don't have an id or they don't look old enough. So by the time you read this story, it is similar to them and you can compare and contrast the information in this story to their story.

5. have a reading version of the story on another day with fleshed out details; backstories; anything else that will make the story more compelling. I might for my classes add that the broccoli goes to different stores to buy the parts of his wardrobe.

Hope that helps and you're able to have great success in your classes with this story!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Response to Chris Cashman - part 3 - Assessment

Quick history lesson:
Chris Cashman asked me about TPRS and why I use it. I responded here.
Chris proposed a response asking about assessment here.
I responded in part 1 about why the grammar vids here.
Part 2 of my response dealt with learning vs acquisition as I understand it here.
I have put Chris' text in blue so you know whose words belong to whom.
And here is part three on: Assessment
You’ll notice that I have taken a LONG time to write this response. I have tried so many times in my head to respond and also tried so many times to write a coherent response. And I keep coming up dry. But I know that you’re patiently waiting to have a dialogue about this. So here is my best effort. I admit you’ll probably see facets that you don’t agree with me and that is completely fine. You’re the master of your own classroom and I wouldn’t want to tell you what you HAVE to do. You have to come to that on your own.
I thought it was so important to address my issues with teaching before coming to TPRS and after implementing TPRS in this first post because until you understand my journey, you’ll have a hard time seeing how I have such a hard time with assessment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"Secret Password" happenings

Last school year, I started out incorporating a secret password to get into class.  This year, I no longer teach on the block, so I am doing new passwords that I never had the time to get to last year!

So it's been neat. In conjunction, I have really been having fun to break away from the monotony.  While sometimes, I just wait for the password, I played around with these two recently.

Last week's was:

Ojalá = I wish (let's hope)

Each day I would ask students different questions in TL that were accesible to their level(s):
   Do you want a million dollars?!
   Do you have 5 bellybuttons?
   Is it Friday yet?!
   Is it June yet?
   Is it hot outside?
   Is it July?

And they would respond with: "Ojalá" (I wish).

It was a lot of fun and later gave me the opportunity to throw Ojalá + past subjunctive in a reading for Spanish 1 that some kids were able to figure out (once they knew "ojalá" was like "I wish"). Cool!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Response to Chris Cashman - part 2 - Learning vs Acquisition

This is part two of my response to Chris Cashman's questions, which can be seen here. Part one of my response can be seen here. I have put Chris' text in blue so you know whose words belong to whom.
First of all, I’ll share some common points between how I teach and some of the methodology you brought up. But then, I’ll launch into a big gap that remains for me – a gap from what you shared, and the lack of response about it when I post about these things on other blogs, discussions with colleagues, and ACTFL Discussion Boards. Still coming up dry.
The thinking behind your grammar videos actually overlaps a bit with the pattern that I myself use to present grammatical structures – and vocab too, actually (I give vocabulary lists for four out of eight units in Spanish 3).  
Keep in mind that the grammar videos are there to help others learn Spanish. They are not necessarily made for my students. While some of my students use them, I would say that the majority does not. And considering the medium (online), it is very hard to replicate what goes on in my class with the internet since what I do is not lecture at all, but instead incredibly interactive and contingent upon my students to provide feedback, ideas, reactions, input, etc.  Meaning: we have conversations in the TL on a variety of topics.