Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TPRS Year 3 - Piratas - Chapter 2

For my Spanish 1 & 2 classes this year, we're easing into the novels.  I didn't even bother with novels last year as my second year after my paradigm shift from grammar to TPRS, but this year, I thought it would be worth a shot.

So we're in the second novel of the year for Spanish 1:  Piratas del Caribe y el mapa secreto by Mira Canion.  Next year, my Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 classes will read some other (increasingly difficult books).  It's definitely exciting.

my props for the acting today (woman's scarf, cashier apron,
two pistols, cardboard pirate hats, cell-phone, "silver" and fake map.)

I noticed that Chapter two of Piratas was incredibly long though.  It is around 900 words.  Granted, some of my embedded readings this year in Spanish have gotten up to around 700 words or so (which is a lot to read in a class period!), but 900 is even more so.  We read the chapter on Friday and went over what it was talking about.  I showed some pictures of the map and explained the separation plan.  But I didn't come away from the classes feeling like my students were able to digest the chapter very well.  So today, I wanted to revisit chapter two so that we could move onto chapter three.  I also wanted to try a different technique.  The worst that could happen is they still wouldn't understand every little part of the chapter.  The best is that they could understand the chapter better.

So here's what I did:
1. I prepared some backgrounds on a PowerPoint (pirate ship, captain's cabin, open sea, Cuban beach, countryside, market)

2.  Then I took the mp3 chapters from audio book and cut them up into more digestible chunks of text to work with.

3.  I got the actors up in the front and we acted out the chunks and they would move their mouth with the mp3 of the characters saying the lines.  Then we might have to do the scene over and I'd have someone jump in and say, "Toma #, ¡Acción!" ("Take __, Action!")

4. The props helped make it as well to add more to the illusion and the backgrounds

5.  My actors also were willing to do all that I asked, including pretending to be in a canoe all rowing together and then getting out of the canoe at the beach.

6. during the chapter I was able to ask some comprehension level questions because there was much higher energy with the actors than other reading days

7. Some students even told me we should do other chapters like that.  As long as they have action, I am ok with it.

Not too bad.  I think we will do it for the future chapters when necessary.  It saves me the time of making animations.  And this gets the kids into it more and is simply more fun.

I also think that so far for the book, this is a good start.  I'll keep beefing up the unit each year though (with more activities to choose from and props to get into the story with).


  1. why are we learning about pirates

  2. Hi Jeremy,

    I have found your reflections helpful as a first year teacher! Thank you!

    Is there somewhere I can find your powerpoints you referenced?
    We are in chapter 6 at this point, but I also found chapter 2 difficult for the students to understand, and I began to feel discouraged about continuing. I am glad we continued though! They are doing much better but any advice or resources you may have to share, I would greatly appreciate it!


    1. Shoot me an email when you get a chance: jeremy(at) Hope all is well!