Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TPRS Presentation in nearby District

So my francophone* colleague Bess Hayles and I were invited to give demo TPRS lessons in a nearby school district.

After that we gave a talk about Comprehensible Input to those interested. There were about 24 teachers that attended and they were a very fun and kind group of teachers.

We taught 90 minute blocks and my Spanish 1 students were great kids. They were very respectful but quite unsure of me since I am so weird.  By the end of the class though, I was able to win quite a few of them over.

While I was incredibly nervous, the teachers and students were gracious to us and I couldn't have asked for a nicer group to do my first TPRS model lesson and co-lead a professional development session.

Here's what I did in my lesson plan, not knowing what to do for a Spanish 1 class, and I didn't get through it all.


  1. Warm up: Have students draw something they want on a paper and write their name at the top
    1. This is an adaptation of an activity used by Ben Slavic that I used at the beginning of the year called, “Circling with Balls”
    2. If I am not mistaken, it can be found in either his book TPRS in a Year or PQA in a Wink. I can’t remember. He does have more recent books thought where it might be covered. I believe Teacher’s Discovery even carries his “Big Book of CI” if anyone is interested.

  1. PQA (Personalized Questions and Answers) - Talk to class in Spanish
    1. Start talking about student in TL with what they want to do
    2. Compare and contrast a few different students to establish some students that want to do various things that we could later use in our story or if anything to:
      1. Build confidence in the language/structures
      2. Learn about classmates to help them form identity in class
    3. Circle information and go slow
    4. Add details as needed / time permitted

  1. Establish meaning for our story structures with TPR
    1. Go over words/phrases
      1. Teach or ask for gesture
      2. Ask for association (what does it look like or sound like that helps us remember) --- for some kids this can be helpful, for others it’s not. So don’t dedicate too much time on it. But if we can help a few kids with it, time isn’t wasted
    2. Model gestures; go slower; go incorrectly
      1. If students won’t gesture, remind class, “Not everyone must understand. I guess I can’t move on because I need everyone to understand” (or something similar).
      2. Never confrontational; always in the idea of they must show comprehension (interaction with input that is visible to me); it’s a class norm from day 1
  2. Tell a story - TPRS
    1. Ideally someone will want to dance and just go right into that
    2. Interview actor and establish details; help them model I forms in present
    3. Story in past; dialogue in present; expose kids sooner to more grammar but in more narrow way (not 150 -ar verbs… maybe fewer verbs that we can do more with in the lower levels)
    4. Have character have problem (wants to dance with someone; no one where they are)
      1. Go to place; tell someone, “I want to dance” or “Do you want to dance?”
      2. Have characters want something else or want to dance
      3. Have happy ending or sad ending; at least 2-3 locations if time

  1. Brain Break - this is a lot of language and I need to break up all that if the kids aren’t used to it. I like to bring in movement or music during blocks to help break it up.
    1. Play song: Baila sin César from 31 minutos.
    2. Go over what it means
    3. If time; try to play around with it and maybe use story structures to talk about video in Spanish
  2. Do reading of César wanting to dance with different characters
    1. Read sentence/paragraph and ask for kids to help translate it together as we go through it
    2. Ask questions in Spanish about different parts of the story
      1. Yes/ no (that we know)
      2. either/or (that we know)
      3. Open-ended (that we know)
      4. open-ended (that they can guess answer to and add to story with words they know)
        1. Ex: Why does he like to dance?- Both of his parents dance. In his opinion, it’s his destiny. His hero is [famous dancer].

  1. Exit ticket: Quiz over written story in Spanish
    1. Mostly yes or no questions 5-6
    2. 2 one word answer: who; what; where; how questions
  1. César quiere bailar solo. (Yes/no)
  2. César quiere bailar con otra persona. (Yes/no)
  3. Las otras personas quieren bailar con César. (Yes/no)
  4. Lady Gaga quiere cantar. (Yes/no)
  5. Twitter quiere escribir en Donald Trump. (Yes/no)
  6. ¿Quién quiere bailar con César? - Una vaca
  7. ¿Qué quiere hacer César? - Bailar.
If we could do a Por qué because comprehension is really good:
8. ¿Por qué no está alegre César?

Las personas no quieren bailar con él.


And here are my presentation notes.

It's similar to my FLAM presentation but I tweaked it to suit their needs more. Bess and I decided to really focus more on TPRS and the skills therein since if you can get those down, you can do other things with those skills with success: MovieTalk, PictureTalk, etc.  Because TPRS is what has helped us to maintain comprehensibility in our classes.

Hopefully it was helpful to some in their paradigm shift.

*I think 'francophone' can be used this way even if she's not a Native speaker.

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