Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Going from PQA to oral story to written story (when you're not using actors)

I thought I'd just post what I did yesterday and today in my class. Actually, it started day before yesterday.  I attended a funeral on Monday, and so I knew that I was going to be gone 5th and 7th.  I used one of Deb Read's wonderful DVDs (I don't remember exactly what you call them, Deb, but they're great).  This was one of three about her dog, Renny.  Because I'm too lazy to change lesson plans (and really because it's good for a change of pace and is packed with lots of good vocab), I played the DVD in all my periods.  For those of you that have never heard of Deb--AKA Chalkbrd--she is a great resource to have.  Deb lives in Indiana, and she writes Sub Aid videos and other videos.  My school recently purchased her entire collection. It was very reasonable and can be used throughout the levels.  I have used Hermie the skeleton, Invierno en Indiana, and Soy yo, Renny with my Spanish 2s.  She also writes materials for French and English classes.

Anyway, back to Monday.  All classes saw the video, so all classes learned that Renny's owner was named Deb.  They also learned a lot of other stuff.  The next day, I introduced the following vocab:  she knows how to, she is successful, and she fights.  I thought that this might be a good time to give the students some background info about Deb.

First, I introduced the students to the vocab using gestures and PQA.  Before I came to my current school, I never used gestures, but it's done here, so I do it, too.  After the gestures, I asked the students what they knew how to play.  One boy said that he knew how to play football.  I said, "Oh, do you know how to speak football?"  He looked at me like I was crazy, but I just waited, and then he got it.  He said, "Yes, I can speak football."  I then asked another student, "Do you know how to speak football?"  He said yes, a little.  I then asked the first one to say something to the other one in football.  I thought he was going to say "throw me a pass (in English)" or something like that.  Instead, he gestured the way that he would have on the field!  I had no clue!  I asked, "Do you know how to say that?" And the other student did!  I think it's always a plus when the student knows more than the teacher.  I show them how little I know about sports on a regular basis.  They think it's quite funny.  :)  We continued to PQA using the vocab--do the refs know how to play football?  Do you fight with the refs?  Does your coach fight with refs? Is your team successful?  Etc.

After about 20 minutes, I started into a story.  I had a picture of Deb on the smartboard, with the board on blank.  I asked the students "What was the dog's name yesterday?" Everybody knew--Renny.  Where did he live? What state did he live in?  Who was his owner?  After we got to Deb, I turned the screen on and showed her picture.  (By the way, Deb, I took liberties with your story.  I hope you don't mind).  I said that Deb was successful.  She knew how to speak Spanish and French, so she was successful as a Spanish teacher and a French teacher.  Circle circle circle (vocab--she knows how to and she is successful).  But Deb had a problem.  Deb got sick.  She had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I had another pic of Deb with the words in Spanish below.  I translated the words (actually, one of my students did, since they were cognates) and then we went on.  She got sick and wasn't successful.  She didn't know how to teach when she was always tired.  She knew how to teach Spanish, she knew how to teach French, but she didn't know how to teach when she was sick.  Circle circle circle.  The principal fought with her because she was absent a lot because she was sick.  She fought with the principal, but finally she stayed home.  She wasn't successful.  Circle circle circle.  She had to find a way to live, and she thought, What to I know how to do?  I know how to speak French.  I know how to speak Spanish.  And I know how to use the computer.  Circle circle circle.  Deb had a dog named Renny.  She knew how to make a video with Renny.  The video was successful.  Then she made videos about climate and the seasons, etc.  I showed all the videos I had.

After I told the story (no actors necessary--the students were focused and understood everything), I retold it and then called on individual students to help me rewrite it in the "yo' form.  I do this by saying, "?Qué es Deb? Deb es profesora.  Good, now how would you say, "I'm a teacher?" Yo so profesora.  Etc.  I keep it in Spanish as much as I can, though I admit that's a weak spot for me.  The rest of the period was taken up writing the story in the "yo" form.  The students then translated it to each other--one read the first half and the other read the second.

Today, we reviewed the vocab and then I went right into a written story using the same vocab.  This was the story about the boy starting a band that I share a couple of days ago.  I had them read and translate, but I didn't ask very many questions--another weakness.  If it weren't block day and I had them again tomorrow, I would give them an activity using the story--either t/f, fill in the blank, or cloze.

I do this pretty much every time I do a story. I try to find things that are current and interesting for them.  Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.

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