domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2015

Shifting in Spanish 1

I am teaching two classes of Spanish 1 this semester. I don't usually teach Spanish 1, but I decided to teach it because I wanted to start from the beginning with a TCI/TPRS approach (read: not following the textbook order) and try to teach 90% in the TL. We are about a month in and my students are doing fantastically! I am speaking probably 75-90% Spanish during the 82 minute periods and students are engaged and learning.

What I am doing is nothing new and most of the ideas I have taken from other #langchat people (especially Elena López and Amy Zimmer)but I thought I would share in case anyone can use any of these free ideas and/or resources!

Here are some of the things that I am doing during this first month of school:
  • Preguntas diarias - Everyday, we start with these questions. These are basic questions that would be taught over a few weeks, but we have been trickling them in along the way. We are four weeks in and now I am having a student be the líder and he/she asks the questions. The slideshow and images help.
  • Canción y artista de la semana - Each week on Monday, I introduce a new song and the artist. Everyday we start class by singing (or trying to sing or just following along and reading the lyrics as the song plays). I am creating slideshows for each song (find them here). The slideshows include basic information about the band/singer. This is a great way to trickle in some basic questions and answers. Here is an example for the song "Azul" and the singer Natalia Lafourcade:
  • Cuentos - I am basically using Elena López and Amy Zimmer resources. They have shared sooo many things with me. They are very generous and so willing to share! If you are interested in teaching with a TCI/TPRS approach, I recommend taking some time to explore their resources! So far, we have done three stories, so far: "El pez dorado y el gato gris," "Buenas noches gorila,"and "Oso pardo" (see below). We are starting the fourth story, "El gato bilingue" on Monday. The goals for the first unit are: 
    • I can comprehend a story in Spanish.
    • I can retell a story in Spanish with visual prompts.
    • I can create my own story using high frequency vocabulary that I have learned.
    • I can function in a "solo español" classroom.
  • Below are the four stories for the first month of school. I decided to use "El pez dorado y el gato gris" as the first unit and "Buenas noches gorila," "Oso pardo," and "El gato bilingüe"as the second unit. Again this is all the hard work and generosity of Elena López and Amy Zimmer:



  • A few observations:
    • We do a lot of repeating, acting words out, listening, responding chorally, and drawing. (Nothing new, I know.) The culture of the class is that everyone does it. This is my participation rubric.
    • Two of the stories we have done so far are children's books. I wasn't sure how students would respond and I wondered if they would think it too childish, but they have really enjoyed them, maybe because they are familiar and a bit comforting. 
    • I am going slow, but all students are acquiring the language. It makes me think of Skip Crosby's FLAME TOY acceptance speech and how we need to teach to all students. My Spanish 1 students had some Spanish in middle school, but were not successful enough to take Spanish 1 in the 8th grade, so these would be some of the students that Skip refers to.
    • I am teaching "structures" instead of teaching grammar and isolated words. Students are learning definite articles and indefinite articles without me even mentioning those grammatical terms (and seeing students' eyes glaze over as they mentally fade away).
    • Students have learned adjective agreement and placement without giving them notes on it.
    • Student are acquiring high frequency vocabulary. They know hay, tiene, dice, es, está. In the past, for some reason, students in Spanish 2 never knew the verb decir!
    • Eventually I will have to explain them difference between ser and estar, but it will be easier because we are using es and está frequently, so students will have a base to understand it.
    • Assessments - they are basic and will probably evolve a lot, but here are some examples:
    • Memrise (another Amy Zimmer suggestion) has been great to learn words before we get in to the stories. See example here.
    • Textivate is a wonderful resource! Here are some of Elena's creations for El gato bilingüe here and here
    • Another resource that we will be using is Sr. Wooly's NEW site. We are beta testing it and it will be interesting to see how students acquire the language using that! One function that I really like is the listening activities that students have to do for some of the "nuggets".
My plan is to continue with the stories and incorporate some of the typical Spanish 1 topics (house, family, food).  I am also sure that with Elena and Amy's resources, I will teach plenty of "grammar," but in the context of high frequency vocabulary. I hope to share student examples of work here as well!

7 comentarios:

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey! I am trying desperately to blend my school's traditional curriculum with a more CI/TPRS approach, but it has been a very slow shift and one I have to orchestrate alone. Reading through your steps is so much help!

  2. I am so very thankful for things like this. It helps me so very much. It is teachers like you that give teachers like me courage to make all these huge changes. Thank you! ~Kathy Griffith (for some reason, the only way I'm able to comment is anonymously)

  3. Hola Kara,
    Muchísimas gracias for compartir con nosotros tu experiencia y tus recursos.

  4. Words cannot explain how much I appreciate all of your hard work, help, and support! Thank you so much! I'm the only language teacher in my entire building, so face-to-face collaboration is non-existent in my world. Being able to see what others do in the classroom is so incredibly helpful. I've been teaching for 19 years, and I have learned more from you these past 6 months (since I found you on Twitter) than my entire career of teaching, put joke. I cannot thank you enough! :-)

    1. Hi Tara!

      Thanks for your kind words! I am glad to "pay it forward," as I have learned (and still am learning) from so many others who have shared freely!

      :) Kara