Sunday, April 9, 2017

Original Story Script - keeps eating

Background info:
So in my Spanish 2 class for their food unit, I need to talk about food but also hit some verbs and whatnot.

I need to go over trae (s/he brings).  But there is also a song that I want to use as a warm up soon that has the words: sigo (I continue/keep __) and aprendí - I learned.

And of course a lot of food words for the unit.

I would also like to review:
pide (s/he asks for/orders)
tiene ganas de (s/he feels like)

Last week we used the Jim Tripp script: "the soup nazi."  Thanks for the solid script and bit of nostalgia, Jim!

Story skeleton:

So the basic structures are:

  • s/he brings to him/her
  • while John is eating, s/he learns that there is something in his/her food
  • s/he keeps eating

So the basic story skeleton as you can probably see:

John goes to a fancy restaurant. The waiter takes him to a table and John sits down. The waiter brings John a menu. John looks at the menu and feels like ordering [food].  John orders the food and says, "I feel like [food]." The waiter tells him, "Of course.  I'll be back soon." He brings John the [food]. 

John starts to eat the [food].  While John is eating, he learns that there is a [another food/animal/classroom item/anything]".  He tells the waiter, "Excuse me. There is a [noun] in my [food]."  The waiter tells him, "That's normal. [Food] always has [noun]."

John keeps eating the [food].
Then wash, rinse repeat with two more foods, or two more characters, or two more days of the week, with different foods and things.

It might help to have food props. I bought some kids sets at a local store for pretty cheap. So maybe there is some chicken in his cake. And have a rubber chicken on his cake prop. Etc.

Another option would be to throw in some cultural foods from your target culture and have "s/he learns that [target culture food] is [ingredients]."  I was thinking of like haggis and how I would guess each country around the world might have different dishes that would be taboo to a foreigner.  Maybe this will be my embedded reading!

Anyways, feel free to use the story. Tweak it, enjoy!  And let me know how it goes!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TPRS Presentation in nearby District

So my francophone* colleague Bess Hayles and I were invited to give demo TPRS lessons in a nearby school district.

After that we gave a talk about Comprehensible Input to those interested. There were about 24 teachers that attended and they were a very fun and kind group of teachers.

We taught 90 minute blocks and my Spanish 1 students were great kids. They were very respectful but quite unsure of me since I am so weird.  By the end of the class though, I was able to win quite a few of them over.

While I was incredibly nervous, the teachers and students were gracious to us and I couldn't have asked for a nicer group to do my first TPRS model lesson and co-lead a professional development session.

Here's what I did in my lesson plan, not knowing what to do for a Spanish 1 class, and I didn't get through it all.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My brief NTPRS story + a commercial!

So I went to a few different TPRS training workshops and was hooked. Then I found out there was this national week-long TPRS extravaganza for teachers called NTPRS.

Ever since I had wanted to go. One year it was in Kansas City, MO. This was before I decided to try TPRS.

Later it was in Chicago (8 hour drive but do-able). I had to go to my brother's wedding and wouldn't make it back in time.

Since then it wasn't a priority. Not going was easier than trying to go. Especially because it can be expensive after hotel rooms, food, and the registration (not to mention travel costs).

But I was heavily encouraged to go last summer and various kind souls helped make that happen and I was glad to go!  I got to meet so many teachers I have looked up to over the years and pick their brains about activities. I got to finally be in an environment that was friendly towards my teaching style. I have been in situations where it has gotten hostile due to closely held beliefs one what is "best" for students in the classrooms. At NTPRS, I didn't feel like I was crazy anymore.  There were others out there who were passionate about using any method possible other than the textbook who also found results.

And so when the guys at TPRS Books asked me to help them do a commercial a few weeks ago to help get people to go, I jumped at the opportunity.

I wanted others to be able to experience it as well and maybe to be prodded in that direction. I mean, if you share a hotel room with someone, carpool and are frugal with meals, it's completely do-able!

So here's what I made for them.

I hope you enjoy it and consider coming to NTPRS. Even if you aren't sure about TPRS, come!

It's a great way to get a week's worth of "input" about the method and to figure out how you could experiment with it in your classes. It's better than any video, blog post or book about the topic.

Read about my experiences at NTPRS last summer:

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!