Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to start the year with TPRS (part 2) - PQA - day 1

*I meant to post this a long time ago. It is part two of this post*

So if you saw my part one post with TPR, then you should have an idea of what TPRS originally suggested teachers do to get the students familiar with action verbs and commands that could later be worked seamlessly into stories and help students to express themselves a little bit more in the storytelling phase.

Something I had the opportunity to play around with in my 8th grade exploratory classes the past two years was the idea of PQA.

PQA stands for Personalized Questions and Answers.  If you get a chance, I think Ben Slavic explains this the best in his blog or in any of his books!

This is how I do it:

The first day of class, I have my students draw a picture of what they like to do and then write their name in the top corner. They can write what it is in English underneath if they think I won't know what it is.

After I get attendance figured out, I start walking around and looking around.  I am developing ideas of where I can go that day in Spanish.  If I have two basketball players, I could talk about them on the same day and compare and contrast them.  Or I could talk about one on one day and the other on a different day to review the structures: "s/he plays" and "basketball".

Once I'm ready to start, I go over to the board and I write (Spanish in black and English in blue):
    el profesor toca la guitarra.
      the teacher plays the guitar.

Then I say this slowly while pointing to each word.  I move my arms down from above my head to down to my sides (this is my signal for new information).

Once my students look at me like I am crazy I tell them in English:
Me: Oh, right.  This is your first day.  Whenever I say something like this new in Spanish, you are going to pretend like it's the most interesting thing in your whole life.  To do that you'll say, "Ooooooh."
Let's try that again.  El profesor toca la guitarra.  

Then I keep talking about myself by circling the information until students get it easily and we can add more information.  Usually at that point I start talking about another student.  Maybe another student plays an instrument.  Maybe they play a sport.  I will write on the board what they do in black and the English translation underneath in blue/green.

Then I compare/contrast myself with someone else. The first day I stick to a lot of yes/no questions and occasionally a who/what question.

The first day or two I don't do a whole lot with multiple verb forms. As I go with the PQA, I might slowly let it trickle in that if a person wants to say "I [..]", that the action will end in an "o" instead.

It has only gotten better and sweeter each year. I have found more ways to get the kids exposed to the "you" and "i" forms. I should still try to add in the "they" forms a little when more than one does something. But it's really about the kids and not about the grammar, or else it wouldn't be successful.  Sometimes though, it can be hard when the kids almost have to be trained to be interested in each other's lives.

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