Yesterday I was teaching my 8th grade Spanish class. The kids just started during this semester. They're kind of my experimental group where I try out things because in the long run, all I do for them is only going to further establish a base for next year when they enter Spanish 1.
So the first two weeks or so, we talked about them and learned some different verbs and I practiced some of the interrogative words in Spanish with them (who, what, where, why) as well as important prepositions (with, of, from, in, on) that will be useful for telling stories.
Then for a few weeks I thought it would be fun to try a little TPR with them to work with classroom objects, review some of the verbs we learned in command form and also add some body parts. The whole point is to build them up a little with some different activities before storytelling.
I'm not opposed to starting storytelling from the very beginning, but I just thought they might like something a little different after I go to know them. I know the 7th graders that I had before Christmas loved TPR.
So we started storytelling from Ana Bachman Catania's Cuentitos Fantásticos. The first day, the structures to practice were:
hay - there is, there are
brinca - he/she jumps
entra a - he/she enters
corre - he/she runs
The basic script was that a student runs and jumps on the bus. He runs and jumps in the class. Finally the principal enters the class and takes the student to the office where the principal jumps on the student. Then the principal is happy. I stayed pretty close to it because I was modeling the storytelling to them and they were hanging on. There was a moment of confusion or two, but I went back and we got through it. I did change the verbs to the past tense though while telling it out loud
The second day, I decided to do another verbal story. I added 'levanta' as a target structure (he/she lifts). and just and instead of following the script about a bad student, we could have a little more fun. So I asked at the beginning if there was a student. One of the students remembered how to say "deer" in Spanish. The class went with it. So we ended up with a deer in Cabela's. He ran and jumped in Cabela's. Then it turned out he lifted the teacher. Taylor Lautner walked in and the deer lifted him too! Taylor Lautner wasn't happy so he lifted the deer and went home with the deer. At home they watched tv.
It was silly, but I made sure to go slow and circle as much as possible while going slowly and pointing. The students did a wonderful job. They all did well on the quiz at the end.
But I realized that it was because I had to go slowly and point. Sure some girls got a little chatty during class and I had to give them a patient but stern look. They stopped and we continued. The class did a wonderful job and it was their story.
So today we'll do a reading in the present tense and we'll see how they do with the same structures but now in the present.