Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Día 14 - Writing

TPRS is all about learning through telling stories.  This can be orally or in written format.

Hopefully, the students get better and better at telling stories.  I have been focusing on telling the stories orally.  In the Look I can Talk book by Blaine Ray, he gives you a reading as well as an extended reading.  In the teacher's guide, he gives discussion questions for the class as they read the story.

I understand that the purpose is to get the students to read as well as learn to talk simultaneously.  We also teach the past in class speaking while the stories are in the present tense.  In essence, this helps the students learn to the tenses at the same time.  It makes sense.  In my experience, the students who are taught only the present tense in the first year always use it as a security blanket.  Why should that be if everyday language incorporates more than one tense?

One of the things that you can do to assess your students after a story is to have them write a summary of what you talked about in class.  Depending on how much time is left in class might affect your expectations for how much they write.  I have been finding myself getting through the story and forgetting about that part of the class.  I do need to encourage my students to write as early as possible because we tell the stories so much in class orally, it should be an easy enough transition for them to write the stories in Spanish.

I have done it with a few classes once so far and I was surprised by the results.  They do a great job overall.  I tried to give them an easy goal to accomplish in 5 minutes like 30 words or something.  In one class I had a student write almost 100 words in the 5 minutes left.  He was obviously more advanced in his ability to communicate.  But his enthusiasm is what I hope all of the students can come to have in class.

So I challenge myself to have my students write more about their stories instead of forgetting about that part of the storytelling process.  We need to review the information in various ways instead of just moving on to new stories.  We can easily play with the old stories to make sure to continue to practice the structures.

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