Friday, May 4, 2018

Teaching interrogatives with TPRS


(someone asked on the Spanish for Teachers in the U.S. group on Facebook about how one might go about doing a model lesson with interrogatives and I replied with, “Any TPRS story EVER”. Here is my explanation on how one might set that up)

Setup the question words displayed somewhere in class like so. Notice the translations are there.

Have a prop like a stuffed animal or maybe something from target country like a Carlos Quinto chocolate bar.

(You might consider downloading the FREE interrogative posters I recently designed for TPRS books here.)

In all honesty, I never was incredibly good at using language with my students before TPRS (relating to students in the target language). So beforehand I might do a lesson on all of the question words, give some ways to remember them and examples and then give a quick quiz or test and assume they would remember them. But I didn’t manipulate the language to help them acquire them. 

Now that I use TPRS, the students not only learn the interrogatives, but learn to use them in context and to make novel questions. So let’s move on to TPRS. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

How I assess with exit quizzes


This blog post will be broken up into the following sections for quick reference:
  1. My go-to classroom jobs
  2. How I might set up a story
  3. How I assess with the exit slips

Part 1: My go-to classroom jobs

I’ve learned to use classroom jobs over the years to enhance engagement from students, add a bit of buy-in for others and help class run more smoothly so I can… well… teach more effectively. I longer listes of things poorly and shorter lists of things well. I haven’t invented the idea of classroom jobs. They’ve been around for quite some time, and here are some of my essential ones each day:

Scribe: I generally have a classroom notebook for each class where a scribe will write down in Spanish what we have discussed.

Quiz writer: Depending on the class, there might be one student who is a faster processor who enjoys having control over the questions for the quiz. They will write them based on constraints outlined below for me so when I get to the end of class, I don’t have to think as hard.

Some ways to tweak this job are: 
  1. to draw straws or have random picker pick a student.
  2. Have them write on little slips of paper that you can scramble
  3. Have them write 10 and you choose the best 8
  4. Obviously there would be times I would have to change their questions if they weren’t well worded or if they weren’t good questions
  5. I would normally tell them to write most of the questions about the words on the board that we were practicing (if we were telling a story) 
  6. Some might do comprehension quizzes in English. I’d rather do it in Spanish since it’s not really a “gotcha” type of thing. I have translations in English on the board. And if I have been going slow enough and repetitive enough, they’ll be fine and many won’t even look at that point.  
  7. You could have a few kids each write a question to spread out the participation
  8. If I don’t get to the quiz at the end of class I might start with it as the warm up (but now multiple choice) and with the structures still up on the board. 

Quiz alphabetizer: I also would have in some classes a student whose job would be to alphabetize the quizzes. This was great. Especially for grading and entering in grade book. Saved me so much time! And extra bonus if I had students check their own quizzes with a collection of colored pens I had before turning them in.


Quiz passer: Other job if the class was ok with it, was for a student to pass them back out once they were graded. It’s all about saving me time and getting them involved!

If you’re interested in using classroom jobs, I recently helped TPRS Books design some new handouts. Here is one on classroom jobs for FREE. Also be thinking about what are things that would make class run more smoothly if you didn’t have to deal with it and a student could handle it for you.

Story script - wants to impress

This sort of reminds me from an old LICT script I used. Add any additional language you would like. Perhaps, throw in some transition words, or embellish the details to give more language in other ways.
  • Wants to impress
  • Buys a — for him/her
  • Gives it to him/her
My general idea for the story might be:


  • Part 1:
    • [Character] wants to impress ___. 
    • [During time 1], S/he buys a __ for __. 
    • S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?”
    •  __ is not impressed.
  • Part 2:
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 2], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is not impressed.
  • Part 3:
    • [Character] is sad because __ is not impressed with __. 
    • So, [character] goes and buys a __ for __. 
    • [During time 3], S/he buys a __ for __ to impress __. 
    • S/he goes to visit __ again. 
    • S/he tells __, “Hello. First, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. Second, I bought a __ for you but you weren’t impressed. This time, I bought a __ for you. Are you impressed?” 
    • __ is impressed.
    • (and character’s reaction to the gift. Class can decide if s/he gives a hug or a kiss or destroys it or throws it in the pool, etc.)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Central States Presentation - Best of MO - Stay on Target

Hey everyone. Thanks to all who came out to my presentation at Central States in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

As promised, here is the PDF of my presentation. Please let me know if I can further clarify anything.

Click here for PDF (52 mb)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

FLAM presentation - Mythbusters: TPRS Edition

Here is the basic presentation outline that Bess Hayles and I presented on.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_jfUujjoeDHR2JpRW1vWi0zejQ

I also included notes of things that we talked about in our defense of some of the claims. I hope it's helpful. In general it was pretty crowded and well received.

Nevertheless I can't help but think that maybe people wanted to see more about HOW to teach with TPRS and not just listen to us defining it for people about what it is and isn't.

So next year, my wheels are already spinning about maybe trying to give more workshop-type sessions on building skills like circling/PQA or TPR, etc. I think that would be invaluable for teachers! So fingers crossed.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Easy Spanish Readers for SSR/ FVR

In my little classroom "library" I have:

TPRS readers (Agentes Secretos y el mural de Picasso, Piratas del Caribe y el mapa secreto, etc)
(chapter books; which automatically discourage lower leveled readers)

and children's books
(ummm these have words I haven't even learned in Spanish and the grammar is all over the place)

Cover of book
But what gets my students ready to have the confidence to read those books or what else can I offer to them during SSR and FVR that isn't just  a TPRS reader and has more pictures and might even have structures from those TPRS readers broken down but aren't just "there's a boy. He goes to....".  I want to play around with genre.

So I ordered some leveled readers from http://www.willbooks.com. These were actually like the idea that I had and as I read them with my daughter, I realized that more of this type of book was what I was missing in my class!

And I wrote a book. The sample was well received by teachers.
And two particular teachers told me to sell it for other teachers to print.

The book focuses on "no hay"; "hay", and "al mono le gustan los plátanos" and numerous places.

While it is more simple than many Spanish teachers would ever think to give to a student, I want to make reading so easy that it can be enjoyable and relaxing. When a student finds success, they are more likely to read! And I think this can even be used in high school if students are given the choice to read it. Because many of my high school students are nostalgic for being young again and simpler times. I want my class to be as stress free as possible. So that means I should make sure I have book options that can be stress free for even the lowest reader.

Without further adieu, my first Easy Spanish Reader: Al mono le gustan los plátanos. I am finally selling something on Teachers Pay Teachers (don't judge me too hard!).

I hope you can find a use for it in your classes and I plan to write more as well.

Al mono le gustan los plátanos:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Easy-Spanish-Reader-Al-mono-le-gustan-los-platanos-3358958


*Edit*  Here's my second super simple reader!

¿De qué color es el cerdo?
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Easy-Spanish-Reader-De-que-color-es-el-cerdo-3367401