Saturday, August 27, 2016

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

Ok, so as I mentioned in this previous post, for the last 5 years, I have started with PQA on the first day. Naturally, in my 3rd school, with block scheduling I experimented with:
  •  PQA / TPR / PQA again
  •  PQA / TPR / Story
But I found that Ben Slavic's Circling with Balls activity that I touched on in the previous entry was essential in establishing:
  • classroom routines
  • the importance of the class
  • interest in class
  • excitement for the class
  • basic understanding of sentence structure, question words, prepositions, 3rd person forms of verbs interesting to kids, etc
  • and much more
As I talked about the first day, I would establish what I do (very slowly) and then maybe move onto another student. I would circle around the information about myself.

Here's an example:

Me: El profesor toca la guitarra.
Class: Sí.
Me: ¿El profesor toca el piano? (gesturing piano)
Class: No.
Me: Bien. El profesor no toca el piano. El profesor toca la guitarra.
Me: ¿Qué toca el profesor?
Depending on if the students got it, I might have to repeat/go slow/have them tell a partner what they think it could be/remind them that Spanish can seem backwards, etc
If they don't answer, I might re-ask and give two options:

Me: ¿Qué toca el profesor: el piano o la guitarra?
Class: La guitarra.
Me: Correcto. El profesor toca la guitarra. El profesor no toca el piano. Toca la guitarra.
Me: ¿La guitarra toca al profesor?
For fun, I might signal my "I don't get it" signal I have trained them for and ask, "What did I just say?"
Class: "Does the guitar play the teacher?" (smirking)
Me: Great job. ¿La guitarra toca al profesor? Sí o no.
Class: No.
Me: Great job. ¿El profesor toca o la guitarra toca?
Class: El profesor...
Me: Excelente. El profesor toca.
¿Qué toca el profesor?
Class: La guitarra.
Me: Sí, el profesor toca la guitarra.
¿El profesor toca una guitarra o dos guitarras? (pantomime playing 1 guitar or two guitars)
Class: El profesor toca una guitarra.
Me: ¿El profesor toca tres guitarras? (pantomiming)
Class: No.
Me: ¿El profesor toca cuatro guitarras? (pantomiming)
Class: No.
Me: Excelente. El profesor toca una guitarra.
¿Barak Obama toca la guitarra?
Class: [unsure]
Me: No... Barak Obama no toca la guitarra. El profesor toca la guitarra.
Class: [slowly getting this weird activity]
Me: [continue circling... as needed,.... add in another person to compare/contrast]

Then I might move onto another student.  I look at their nametags with pictures they have drawn on them of something they like to do (school appropriate) and I find one I can talk about. It might be a student who I know probably needs/wants to be talked about to help them buy-in more. And I want them to be a huge part of class!

Me: Clase, ¿Jon toca la guitarra?
Clase: [unsure]
Me: Jon, ¿Tocas la guitarra?
[explain to Jon really quick that the s on the end means "you"]
Jon: No.
Me: Clase, Jon no toca la guitarra. Jon juega al béisbol.
Class: ooooooooooh
Now I start comparing/contrasting him to me and Barak Obama, or the piano, etc.

And that continues. As I go, I might eventually add on who he plays with...

Me: Clase, ¿Jon juega al béisbol con [go point to poster and show gesture] Barak Obama?
Class: Sí / No / Es posible.
Me: Es posible.
[facing Jon] "Ok Jon, remember the 's' on the end just means "you" so juegas means "you play".  ¿Juegas...? Did you hear the s?... Ok. ¿Juegas al béisbol con Barak Obama? Sí o no.
Jon: No.
Me: Clase, Jon no juega al béisbol con Barak Obama.
¿Jon juega al béisbol con el profesor?
Class: Sí / No / Es posible.
Me: Jon, ¿juegas al béisbol con el profesor?
Jon: [regardless of what he says, I subtly shake my head]
Me: No, clase. Jon no juega al béisbol con el profesor.
Ok, turn to the person next to you and tell them what this question means in English. It's a little backwards:
¿Con quién juega al béisbol Jon?... again, ¿Con quién juega al béisbol Jon? Ok tell a partner...
Then I ask for someone to tell us and we applaud them if they get it right.
I quickly say, "sometimes things are in a different order in Spanish. It's not wrong, it's just a different language.
Me: Clase, ¿con quién juega al béisbol Jon?
Class: [guesses]
I continue now conferring with Jon until we figure out. Maybe the class suggests 3-4 people and we ask him. He might have someone specific in mind. If he doesn't choose 2-3 of the people mentioned, I finally ask him: ¿Con quién juegas al béisbol? while slowly pointing, even asking the class, 'what did I ask him?"

And that's basically what I do each day so we can learn about different people. If multiple people play a sport or do an activity, I might prep them later before class and ask them if they do something else we could talk about.

But we learn things like, "better than", "behind", "in front of", "for", "on top of", "in", "under", with" and those are great because we can teach our kids to do a slightly complex sentence in context that will later help. And I am always playing around with that information and manipulating it. So we might even use animals and colors. And it's just a very lighthearted activity.

My favorite is to hold the cheerleaders off until later. Then I can review what different people do and make up a little cheer like, "Jon,  ¡vamos! ¡Jon juega al béisbol con Matthew en el campo de béisbol!" And cheer it and end on a terrible facsimile of a toe-touch.

And every 5 or so people I like to have them write about their classmates. We have daily yes/no quizzes about the new information but it's good to review with them constantly and add to people and this activity can take me weeks to finish, depending on the class interest and the little images we create with each student. Some are home runs. I like having them run FROM things instead of just running. Or running TOWARD things. Or playing better than famous people. Or having people who are jealous of my students. Etc.

I also slowly phase in if they want to say "I [do something]". I don't force it on the first few days. But later on I might ask questions like, "Do you play soccer or do cheerleading". If they don't know how to say "I [do .....]" then I ask the class what they think or just tell them.

And that's how we can easily cover 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person singular in the first few weeks in context. It's harder to include "we", but you could ask if a student AND the teacher does it and point out that "mos" at the end means "we".  I would do that sparingly.  I want them to be super confident on the I, you and he/she forms and they can relatively easily pick up the they form as well.

It's a fun activity. And it really makes class more fun, plus we get to know each other.

Yet this year I am going to try something different... and I am terrified that I will mess it up!

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