So I had a former college classmate working on their internship this semester and they wanted to come in last week to observe TPRS and maybe try it out sometime. Last week they came in and I completely messed it up. I think he only commented that it was neat because he was trying to be nice. I didn't have the normal energy. My students didn't either. I couldn't even get some of the structures to be used in the stories because I allowed too much free reign on them and didn't target them as much as I should have.
It was a complete mess. The main problem was I hadn't been able to read my structures from Blaine's book ahead of time and look at his storyline for ideas. I often like to think about them at least the night before and more or less have a possible idea of where the story could go. The key word is could though because in TPRS you never quite know where a story could take you. As long as you're practicing the structures there is a lot of flexibility.
He came back this past Wednesday. I made sure to read the story beforehand and one of the main structures was "he/she looked for"... So I decided to do a little PQA to segway into the story.
Often times on my stories, I used to ask the students "¿Qué había?" (What was there?). But this time... I wrote the structure on the board with the translation underneath.... "buscaba" (he/she looked/was looking for). I then asked them who was looking for a duck in Spanish. If they forgot the word for duck, I wrote it in Spanish and English on the board again. Then they might have said "no one" to which I taught them the word "nadie" and wrote it on the board with translation underneath. If no one was looking for a duck, I started practicing "buscaba" with "Who looked for a duck?" "Did ___ look for a duck?" "Oh.. did you look for a duck?" "What did you look for?"
The idea was to get repetitions of the phrase in there while trying to start a story. In the first class, they rebelled against the duck but we established more personal things for them to look for. In the second class, they went with the duck storyline adding in their own details. In the third class, they looked for the duck and it was incredibly off of the wall and the duck was looking for the fox that had kidnapped his family. It was a tad more gruesome, but we were using 'buscaba'.
Sufficed to say, the class on Wednesday was a much better demonstration and it excited me that I discovered this new way of introducing a story of using a key structure and making my own sort of Personalized Questions with the students at the beginning to personalize it a little more. It might turn into a story or it might just be funny and in the target language. Either way, you're talking in the language. The fact that we were speaking in Spanish for almost the entire class is impressive and the student teacher was blown away and excited to try.