Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 5

TPR (Day 5)
 For my TPRS students today, I have been slowly adding to the lists of words and the craziness is certainly ensuing.

I did have some students today who asked if we could stop doing the standing up all of class.  Nevertheless, most of the students seem to really enjoy having to move instead of any other sort of production.  This also helps you determine which of the students in class are going to be your actors.  If they ham up when you tell them to do something, chances are they will ham up when you give them acting parts.

Unfortunately, two of my students really want to lean against things or sit down during class.  No one else in the class appears to want to do this.  But these two students, who happen to be more athletic do not want to remain standing or are having a harder time doing this.  I hope to be more encouraging to them in the future to let them know how important they are in the class and their standing is only for a little while longer before we start storytelling.

But seriously.  I have to stand almost all day and I am not complaining!  It makes class go by much faster for me and for most of the students.

One of the most important factors so far in class has been the Novel Commands.  Blaine Ray does mention Novel Commands in his book Fluency Through TPR Storytelling.  I did not realize
 before doing the TPR how vital these are in the classroom.  It's fun enough the first day or two for students to touch a part of their body.  Later having a part of the body dance is fun.  But then when you get to more abstract ideas like 'dance the paper on the wall', they have to visualize the words and make some sort of sense out of the message in order to act it out.  These novel commands can get much more complicated.  I love how the students are able to get a majority of the commands the more we baby step with them.

So in my 7th grade class yesterday, we had a wonderful time with TPRS.  I continued the activity I mentioned yesterday from Ben Slavic's book that involved having each student draw something about him or herself.  Then I would slowly talk about each student in Spanish and learn with the rest of the class about the students.  For me it is interesting because I learn personalized information about my students lives.  For the students it is interesting because the class is almost entirely in Spanish.

I have been so incredibly nervous about TPRS since the workshop I took with Donna Tatum-Johns this June.  It just seemed like so much to be cognizant of when teaching.  But once you start doing it, it works so easily.

For example, yesterday I continued reviewing information with the class.  We went over how many students hunt deer.  Another student hunts the professor (AY AY AY!).  Two students play drums.  One student plays "Mushroom Head" on the drums while another plays "We Will Rock You."  One student plays electric guitar.  Another student hunts giant orange elephants.  Finally another students likes to ride four wheelers.

The most entertaining moments in class were when a student joked about hunting 'el profesor' instead of 'los venados' (deer).  I played along with the student and this could actually be an interesting storyline later.  Granted that might be something teachers could avoid depending on the student but the class was playful.  I asked a student before class if he could hunt elephants.  He told me he would like to.  So we said instead of 'deer' like everyone else, that he hunted elephants.  I decided to milk this one for all it was worth and I started probing for details.  I found out that the elephants that he hunted were very big and they were orange.

Somehow when I asked a student if he rode elephants or fourwheelers, the students realized that the 'profesor' actually rides giant orange elephants in [local town].  They loved it.

This just helped me realize how easy TPRS can be.  If we start off learning about our students through PQA, we could have ideas for material to last us the rest of the year personalized to the class!

I'm incredibly excited to see what we come up with this afternoon.

One negative thing is that it is hard to plan for class right now since I am relying on the students and I tend to do better in the moment.  As a result, I find myself (just as when I used to perform) incredibly nervous before my last class.  I hope this wears off.

On the plus side, I don't have to do hours upon hours of prep like I used to.

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