I change schools this year thinking that at a bigger school I might be able to avoid junior high Spanish. Yet this year I still have one class of eighth graders that changes once a quarter. It's my first hour in the day so I feel like I have to start my day with much more discipline and structure because junior high kids need it more than the high schoolers.
Nevertheless, I've probably already mentioned before about junior high students. I would say that it takes a special personality to teach seventh and eighth graders. I think you need a lot more patience and sometimes an ability to be goofy with them. But they definitely have their own sense of humor.
So I've been watching some DVDs made by Ben Slavic where he shows himself teaching French through TPRS to middle school students.
Something he talks about with middle school students to build up their understanding with the language is an idea called one word images. This idea has helped me figure out how simple a TPRS lesson plan can really be. Maybe in your district you have all sorts of random vocabulary words that you have to teach. I think one word images are a great way to accomplish this.
So you pick out a word from a list of high frequency words or perhaps from the required vocabulary you have to teach. Then you write that word on the board. I think nouns are best because verbs flow pretty naturally as well as high frequency structures like: has, is, smiles, happy, sad, etc
Today for example, we started off after our warm up with the word: airplane. Now I said it a few times and then asked for a volunteer. A girl volunteered and she became the airplane. She is a big purple airplane with blue dots. She smiles big and she is happy. She says, "I'm happy." She's in space and she swims in space. She swims like Nemo from Finding Nemo. (the students were loving this because a lot of these were their ideas)
Then a student watches the big plane from the window. He is happy because the plane is happy. He says, "woah! The plane is big. The plane is purple with blue dots. The plane swims like Nemo. I'm happy."
There was nothing exceptionally funny about this story. But the students in junior high loved it. And in turn, I loved it and thanked them for making class so interesting.
Now to figure out the word for tomorrow. :)