Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Comprehensible Input with the MONO

Hay un mono. (from first episode)
So I have met various educators over the last year or two who have told me how much their classes have enjoyed a little story I made about a "mono" (monkey).

I thought it would be fun to make a super simple TPRS like story about a character that wanted something and didn't have it and so they went to the 3 locations. And as I drew one day on my iPad, suddenly I had a monkey, an island, and Antarctica. From there the first "mono" story was born!

Since then, I have had teachers who have met me at conferences (or have told me via email) how much their classes have enjoyed the story.

In fact one woman told me that she wasn't happy with teaching Spanish after having done it for years without seeing the students really speak the language and when she tried out "el mono" story on them, she couldn't believe how much they were speaking in Spanish and "buying in" despite the simplicity of it and that they were talking about a monkey and bananas of all things!
El mono va a las montañas donde hay una llama blanca.

Another woman came and observed my classes because of the monkey story and decided to try more TPRS in her classes. Her classes even continued creating their own new episodes of "el mono". So cool!

What makes "el mono" story so great?  Well, it's repetitive, simple, and each episode builds off of the previous episodes with language. So it actually is a very natural way to learn the language. While it's no substitute for interacting with a real person, it has been set up to ask questions and give corrective feedback. And for those who want to understand the inner workings of a language, there are pop-up versions of the episodes with quick explanations of grammar!

So if you haven't tried "el mono" yet, why not?!

Here's the story.

El mono, el elefante y el pollo
And if it works, why not consider trying out doing similar activities in your own classes where you ask you students questions about topics, report to the class the information and continue on or even use TPRS to ask stories to your class!?

And the very best part, it's absolutely FREE to use in your classes. I always try to offer my materials for free just because I want to help others learn Spanish. I'm really not making money off of these materials, but it enriches me to know that there are teachers out their finding their sanity again when they see even the lowest of the their class levels speaking Spanish and not even thinking about it!

If you haven't tried it yet,  what do you have to lose?


  1. Hello! I really like some of your videos and would like to link them on my classes' Blackboard pages for students to view. Our college is working on making all posted materials, including videos, accessible according to ADA standards, which means I would need to post your video both with closed captioning as well as a full transcript. Do you have any of your videos already captioned? If not, may I have permission to caption them? If you do give your permission, do you happen to have a transcript already written out of your videos that I could use as a basis for the captioning?

    1. Sarah,
      I am assuming you're talking about the grammar videos? If you tell me which videos, I can create closed captioning slowly but surely! Once I create the closed captioning, that could be used as a transcript I would guess.

      Could you email me at: jeremy(at) and let me know which videos you would need?