Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pushing the Pop-Up grammar explanations

Something I have been experimenting with a lot this year is Pop-up grammar.

I first heard about Pop-up grammar via a Blaine Ray workshop and read about it (if I am not mistaken) in the Blaine Ray book, "Fluency Through TPR Storytelling".

The basic idea is that instead of giving a long grammar lecture and then practice the skill, you point out grammatical features as necessary to the students.  I think of it as calling attention to something so that they can better monitor that feature of the language. A pop-up should not last longer than 5 seconds or so. Some people might go longer. I find the longer I go, the quicker I lose the students.

But something I have been experimenting with this year (since I have 90 minute classes) is the way to do a Pop-up. And maybe some of these aren't grammar pop-ups, but since I am focusing on the grammar a little bit to prepare them for other teachers, it's important for them to have a little bit of explicit knowledge if anything to be more successful in a less-input-driven classroom.

1. Tell something in a simple way in 5 seconds or less.

      "Oh the "n" at the end of that word means "they" because more than one person is doing it"
      "The "o" at the end means "I" do it
      "Notice how the description goes after what it describes. That's different".
      "Notice that we say "guapa" to talk about a girl and "guapo" to talk about a guy"
      "Interesting. Estoy and Soy both mean I am. Estoy is like "I am feeling" and Soy is talking about who I am"
      "Le means to him or to her"

2. Ask really quick what they think it is (often times to review something I already have told them 100+ times):

     "Wait. why does that say "quieren". I thought "quiere was wants?" (class: the n means "they")
     "Why do you think that word ends in an -r?" (class: the r at the end means "to" so it's "to navigate")
      "Why is the description right there?" (class: the descriptions usually go after in Spanish)
      "Why is she guapa but he is guapo?" (class: guapa means pretty and guapo means handsome)

3. Have them tell a partner what something might be doing (pattern):

     "Tell someone next to you why that has an n on the end"
     "Tell someone next to you what le means in a southern accent"
     "Tell someone next to you what the difference is between está (present) and estaba (past) like a robot"

4. Give them a rule real quick (ending) and examples and have them try a few (for less than a minute) out loud:

     "Wait. Comes is you eat. But I want to ask them did you eat. So I would need something else. How would we say that? Comiste. Ok... so that 'ste' on the end means you in the past. If the 'ste' on the end means that, how could i ask someone, "did you run"? Corriste. Right. How about you went? Fuiste... yeah that one is weird. Ok how about you drank?  Bebiste. You guys are doing great. Ok one more. Give me a one of your favorite actions to try... Ok.  Kill. What do you think? Matiste. Close. Mataste. Man you guys are awesome. Ok... so that ste on the end means "you" did something in the past".

    "Hold on. Necesita is s/he needs. What do we add on the end for "we"? -Mos.  Ok... so would necesitamos mean we need? Yes? Ok. How would I say "we dance" if mos on the end means "we"? Bailamos? Nailed it. How about we hit? Pegamos. Great. How about we kiss? Besamos. Wonderful. Ok one more... how about we look at or creep on? Miramos. You guys are so good at this!"

5. Ask them to try to answer a question to a partner as best they can:

    "Tell you partner a possible answer to this question: ¿Cómo está Juan?"
    Ask for answer and then if it doesn't sound right ask who else has an answer and compare/contrast the answer based on which one sounds better.

6. Ask them to try to answer question that I asked the character in acting:

   Ok tell a person near you how the grandmother might answer this question, "¿te gustan las papas con cuchillos?"
   Then ask for answer. Applaud students for giving answer. Compare / contrast an answer or two and determine which one sounds best and why as needed.

I see that my students are doing way better this year with reconciling different forms better and interpreting the language better due to my doing lots of pop ups in different ways.

What do you think of my list?  Do you have any others I could try?

*Disclaimer* Something you might notice is that these are in English. The goal is never to speak a majority of class in English but these are quick and help the brain take a quick break from so much listening in Spanish. So I like the partner ones especially because they can almost be a little brain break for some kids.

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