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.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Response to Chris Cashman - part 1 - Why the grammar videos?

Background info: Chris asked me a question and I responded here. He then asked me a question about how I assess on this post. Here is my response broken up into more manageable chunks. Chris' portion is in blue.

Thank you for your kind words both about my blog entry and my videos. It means a lot that we are still able to dialogue about this considering that for some, a wall is quickly built that can never be crossed by either side when someone teaches differently.
I appreciate your taking the time to write such a well thought out response. It shows me how much you really care about what you are doing and I bet your students are incredibly thankful for you!
I’m going to be very honest from the get-go in this response that I don’t have many of the answers that you might seek. I appreciate your challenging me in those so that I might be able to further grow in those areas.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chris Cashman's response #2 (posted with permission)

The other day, I responded to Chris Cashman's question posited to me on the Spanish Teachers in the U.S Facebook Group.  

A little bit of background, Chris and I have communicated over the years through Youtube about my video lessons, which are relatively grammar heavy.

After some reflection, Chris graciously responded but said it wouldn't fit in a comment on my blog due to length constraints. 

So with his permission I have posted it here for you to see. I will respond once I have organized my thoughts.
Señor Jordan – Amazing blog entry that you posted the other day. I really appreciate the time you took to flesh out what you do. I specifically appreciated how you respond to the criticisms of TPRS head-on.