jueves, 7 de mayo de 2015

Using "Alma" to introduce the past tenses

This post may seem somewhat obvious to many, but this is the first time I have taught (more introduced) the preterite and the imperfect this way. I am continuing to use resources and ideas from Elena López (she shares SO MANY amazing resources to use cortometrajes) and Martina Bex as I change what I do in Spanish 2 (see last post) and it has been going well, mainly because there is a lot more Spanish being spoken by me and the students as the focus has been more on communicating and less on conjugating.

I still do have to teach certain vocabulary that is tied to the textbook, but I am now putting that "on the side" and focusing on communication and lots of CI through reading and listening. My main resources for the past month have been cortometrajes. The current one that I am using to introduce is one that many Spanish teachers use (see Cynthia Hitz's blog with lots of links to other resources). So, although there are tons of fantastic resources out there to use with this, I am going to share some more :)

This is the Essential Question for the unit: How do I describe events in the past, including what happened in the cortometraje "Alma" and doing errands downtown (Realidades 3A vocab that I have to teach)? The slideshow below is the main resource for the first part of the unit. (Thanks to Elena López for the screenshots and the idea - my version is a simplified version of hers. Her version is in the present tense):

To start this unit, I emphasized that we will be learning the preterite tense and that the verbs will have different endings. But, instead of giving them the endings to start (and conjugating 20 verbs out of context), we started with the words on slide 2. Before students see the cortometraje, we go through the slideshow and I tell the story. The "Target Structures" are on the board and in their notebooks so that they can reference them. I ask a lot of questions and students answer. There are also questions throughout the slideshow that students will answer. After we have gone through part of the slideshow, we watched that part of the cortometraje. I love using the cortometrajes this way! The students are very engaged and they are getting tons of CI with lots of past tense verbs.

We have done many different activities, including:
  • Put the story in order (see this doc)
  • Read aloud with a partner and translate
  • Read, summarize and draw (see this doc)
  • A textivate activity with a simplified summary - click here
  • Another textivate activity with quesitons (the same ones on the assessment) - click here
  • Quizlet 

After the first day, I formally introduced the preterite with Martina Bex's -ar preterite packet and this catchy song from the Realidades text. We have also used her -er/-ir preterite note packet. And we will be using her irregular preterite packet. This has been the smoothest introduction of the preterite that I have ever done! It makes so much sense to just start using the preterite (along with some imperfect too!).

Here is the evaluación that students will do.

Students are engaged and they are communicating using the past tenses! I still have to teach the vocabulary from chapter 3A of Realidades - here is the Quizlet link.

I am hoping to use the cortometraje "Runaway" next week. My student aid made the slideshow below:

12 comentarios:

  1. First of all, thank you for sharing such an interesting and useful article on Spanish past tense conjugation! Thank you for sharing so many ideas on teaching the language in more engaging ways! I used to teach Spanish to third graders at a language school and I know conjugation was not easy to teach. At our school, we teach Spanish using math, science and social studies. When, I first started teaching, I immediately realized that my students needed to learn conjugation when I heard them speaking Spanish.
    I started teaching my third graders conjugation by looking at the patterns and only using regular verbs because those have the same patterns. Then, I realized that I needed to start with the verbs that end in “ar, “ then “er” and finally “ir.” By the time I was done with the present tense for all those verbs, my poor students were overwhelmed, but many of them memorized the patterns, and when I gave them a verb to conjugate, they did it with no problem. However, most of them did not transfer that knowledge to their stories and when they spoke the language. It was frustrating! I believed that students needed to know the grammatical rules for verb conjugation to speak the language properly. I soon realized that it was almost impossible to teach it. I was teaching conjugation isolated, and that was part of the reason my students were not transferring that knowledge onto their writing and their speaking.
    It is refreshing to see your ideas on how to teach it. I agree with your idea that the focus should be more on communicating and less on conjugating. It makes sense to start few verbs and teach them using a story. I can see how putting the story in order, reading it aloud with a partner and translating, summarizing, drawing, and using textivate activity with a simplified summary will not only engage them, but help them retain the information you want them to learn.
    In addition to your ideas, I think that after the students are done with all those activities, they should retell the story (using the tense being taught) orally to a classmate. It will also help the students practice their communication skills. Students can also record themselves retelling the stories using the past tense. Students can work with a partner to create their own dialogue using the conjugations and present it to the class.

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  3. Hola Kara!
    Sólo una nota para agradecerte estas actividades que has publicado. Yo enseño lecciones privadas de español a estudiantes que son homeschooled. Esta tarde usé esta actividad y fue fantástica. Mis estudiantes estaban atentos y activos. Mi única observación es que, para mis oídos ( español es mi lengua materna), algunos de los usos del pretérito y el imperfecto no están correctos. Pero eso es un detalle menor ya que a veces hay que tomar ciertas licencias para enseñar determinadas estructuras. Mil gracias por tu generosidad en compartir!

    1. Hola Natalia! Gracias por tus comentarios :) ¿Quizás me podrías ayudar un poco? ¿Con los errores que mencionaste? Mi email es kjacobs147 @ gmail. Es cierto con las "ciertas licencias para enseñar" pero me gustaría corregirlas también. Gracias.

    2. Is the version above in this article the one with the corrected grammar of imperfect/preterite that Natalia mentioned? Thanks!

    3. Rachel, I think I made the corrections, but I am not sure because it was four years ago.

  4. I love everything about this, and am incorporating it into my teaching of the preterite to my 2nd year students. Thank you for sharing the things you do. It is so helpful for me to see a step-by-step procedure.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this lesson. I have been trying more contextual ways to teach the past tense, and I am totally on board with this approach! Is it possible to get a file for the slideshow?

    1. Yup, here you go: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1FjQUPRN9g-wj---ry0pWxKBILN3VmMw6zpK4V8YZCJQ/edit

    2. If this goes well, let me know and I can share some others :)