Wednesday, July 11, 2012

TPRS year 2 - Online storytelling

So around March sometime I had an epiphany.  Some of you who have stumbled upon this blog did so because you had seen my Spanish videos on youtube where I teach through explicit grammar instruction. 

In my journey of being a teacher, I have since learned that grammar teaching might help some people, but most people don't really respond that well to it.  Sure it might be logical to learn rules that explain how a language more or less works.  In fact, I always enjoyed Spanish class and found it easy because the grammar made sense.  I can't explain why exactly.  It's funny that of all the things I enjoyed in high school, Spanish was the one I enjoyed most.  It was always fun to play around in another language.

But most of my students didn't really like learning like that.  They might have had a moderate amount of "fun" in my class with different activities.  I tried to do a vast array of things in class so they wouldn't ever quite know what to expect.  But the same things would happen each year, they simply forgot things we had gone over by the end of the year.  For some reason in Spanish 1 the greetings that I taught were what kids remembered even past year one with all the repetitions I did.  But I didn't repeat as much the rest of the material in class.  I just assumed it would be as easy for them as it was for me.

That's where TPRS comes in.  I can go slow enough, delivering chunks of high frequency words while showing my students how to manipulate the language.

But I digress.  So I had this epiphany in March that I should try the Storytelling thing on Youtube since I had a few thousand or so subscribers.  And within a 24 hour period after uploading, around 200 or so people (maybe) would watch my video. I mean, that's way bigger than my classes.  So I could teach part of a story and then ask a question.  The viewers could answer the question in the comments section and I would decide for later which to use!

I thought it would be great fun.  In fact, I really enjoyed it and thought about even doing it next year.

This is something that is now up there for other teachers to be able to use.  It could be used as a warm-up or a sub activity or something just different from class.  You could have kids make guesses about what would happen or have them try out their own suggestions in class or vote as a class what they think.  Then you could watch the next video to see how they did.  

Here's the first video of the 20 episodes:

and here's the playlist if you want to see the rest. :-)

Lessons learned:
  1. Don't use "microsoft images" because now I can't really do anything with this amazing story except leave it on Youtube (nothing commercial can be done)
  2. draw my own images and/or use flickr commercial free images (with attribution) in future
  3. maybe don't do it 3 times a week since that became very tiresome.  Instead, once to twice a week.  Maybe Mondays and (possibly) Fridays.  This would give me more time to prepare especially if I would need to do animations of any sort.
  4. I wasn't sure how to include pop-up grammar... that's something I should improve on in the next series.
  5. try to incorporate more tú and yo forms of verbs...


  1. I love thIs video and can't wait to use it/ model after it- gracias!

  2. Great videos! I can't wait to watch all of them! Thanks, Sr. Jordan.