Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Story--was very lucky, every--but, she drowned

Hola everyone--
I'm sorry to be so long in writing.  I'm trying to get over some health issues.  Anyway, here's a story for 2nd year--It's the story of Natalie Wood, a famous actress, and it's true (except the paragraph about the cruise--I had to get every--but in)

There was an actriz named Natalie.  Natalie was very lucky--she was very beautiful and famous, had a lot of money, and had a very handsome husband.  Natalie was very lucky, but she was also afraid of one thing--she was afraid of the water.  It began when she was a girl.  When she was making a movie, she fell off a bridge and almost drowned.  The film was named "The Green Promise".  Also, her mother told her that she had a dream in which Natalie drowned in dark water.  So she was very afraid of the water.  She never came to the water--not even to swim in her own pool!

Había una actriz que se llamaba Natalia.  Natalia tenía mucha suerte—era muy hermosa y famosa, tenía mucho dinero, y tenía un esposo muy guapo.  Natalia tenía mucha suerte, pero también tenía miedo de una cosa—tenía miedo del agua.  Lo empezó cuando era niña.  Cuando hacía una película, se cayó de un puente (bridge) y casi se ahogó.  La película se llamaba “The Green Promise”.   También, su mamá le dijo que ella tuvo un sueño (dream) en que Natalia se ahogó en aguas oscuras.  Por eso, tenía mucho miedo del agua. Ella nunca vino al agua--¡Ni siquiera (not even) nadar en su propia (own) piscina!
One day, Natalie was talking with her husband and he said, "We're going to travel on a cruise ship.  I want to go to the Bahamas, and it's a lot of fun when you go on a cruise.  She told him that she was afraid--she didn't want to go.  So they didn't go.  A few days passed, and then they heard the news--the cruise ship sank and every pasenger except three drowned.  Her husband was surprised and very sad.  Natalie was also sad, but she said to herself, "Oh, I'm right to be afraid of the water!  But I didn't go on the cruise and so I didn't die!
Un día, Natalia hablaba con su esposo, y él le dijo—Vamos a viajar en un crucero.  Quiero ir a Las Bahamas, y es muy divertido cuando vas por crucero.--  Ella le dijo que tenía miedo--no quería ir.  Por eso no fueron.  Pasaron unos días, y entonces oyeron las noticias—el crucero se hundió y cada pasajero menos tres se ahogó.  El esposo estaba sorprendido y muy triste.  Natalia también estaba triste, pero se dijo --¡Ah, yo tenía razón para tener miedo del agua! Pero no fui en el crucero y por eso ¡no me morí!
Natalie thought that now she didn't need to be afraid of the water.  Her bad luck already passed.  So when her husband wanted to take a trip on a boat in the evening to spend time with some friends (including Christopher Walking), she told him yes.
Natalia creyó que ahora no necesitaba tener miedo del agua. Su mala suerte ya pasó.  Por eso, cuando su esposo quería hacer un viaje en un barco en la noche para pasar el tiempo con unos amigos (inclusivo Christopher Walken), ella le dijo que sí.

What happened then is a mystery.  The only thing that we know is that the boat didn't sink.  There weren't choppy waters.  Every passenger returned without any danger--except Natalie.  She fell from teh boat and drowned.  As her mom had dreamed, she died in the dark waters of the sea. The actress who always had good luck had bad luck at the end.
Qué pasó después es un misterio.  La única cosa que sabemos es que el barco no se hundió. No había aguas turbulentas.  Cada pasajero volvió sin peligro—menos Natalia.  Ella se cayó del barco y se ahogó.  Como había soñado la mamá, ella se murió en las aguas oscuras del mar.  La actriz que siempre tenía buena suerte tuvo mala suerte al final.









Monday, April 15, 2013

what shall I do tomorrow?

When something horrible happens, I think that we would be mistaken should we try to ignore it in class.  While this isn't your normal PQA, you definitely can go with questions and answers about it.  If your class takes ownership of the situation, you can get some very good personal discussions going.


Class, who here knows what happened yesterday in Boston?

Where did the bomb explode, on the sidewalk or in the street?

Did many people die?

How many people were hurt?

How many people here have family in Boston?

Julie, who do you know that lives in Boston?  Was s/he at the Marathon(be very careful with this.  Be very sensitive to your students.  If they had people at the event, it might help to talk, but it might not be)?

And so on.

After a while, you can start a story.  Of course, this will not be a wonderfully funny story, but it might be a way to let the students get their feelings out.


John was in Boston.  He was really excited because he was going to run in a marathon.

He runs in the marathon and is very tired.

He comes to the end and is very proud because he is about to finish.

As he is running, he hears a bomb.  He feels _____ (scared, angry, curious)

He looks to the sidewalk and another bomb goes off.

He goes to the sidewalk to try to help.

Suddenly, he doesn't care about winning.  He just wants to help.

The more you talk and repeat, the more you can get not only repetitions but also responses to the horrible event that happened.

Of course, as in all things, use your best judgement.  If it's too raw, don't do it.  We're in AZ, so it didn't affect us, other than making us feel shocked, helpless, and angry, just as most of the US did.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skeleton (bunch of sentences) for a story.

Student wants to play soccer with Messi.  He knows a lot about soccer, but only from reading books.
He has never actually played.  He writes a letter to Messi, telling him that he wants to play.  Messi decides to play him, and they go to the soccer field.  All the student's friends go to cheer for him, and all of Messi's teammates go to cheer for him.  The game starts, and all the friends start yelling at him, saying pages from the student's soccer books.  "Page 23!"  The boy does something fabulous.  (I know NOTHING about soccer, so you should put in specifics)  Messi tries to make a great play, and another friend calls out, "128!" and the boy makes another great pass. And so on.  Finally, Messi is so impressed that he offers the student a place on the team.

Monday, April 8, 2013

This story is for Ignacio, who wanted a funny, interesting story in English.

Sam wanted to do something special.  Trouble is, he wasn't sure what special thing he could do that would turn heads and make people notice him.  So Sam thought and thought and then he thought some more.  Finally, he went to his old grandfather.  "Grandpa, if someone could do anything for you--anything at all--what would you like them to do?

Grandpa was very methodical.  He never did anything fast.  He thought about Sam's question carefully and then thought some more.  Finally he said, "If someone could do anything for me, what I'd like them to do is to take away the trash that has accumulated in my yard"

No sooner had Sam's grandfather said the words than Sam was off to do this special thing.  Trouble is, he didn't go to his grandfather's yard.  Instead, he went to the house across the street and took everything out of their yard.  Chairs, tables, a hammock--everything went into the trash.  "Lucky for them," Sam said to himself, "Today's trash day!"  Pleased that he had done something important that people would notice, Sam went off to school.

When he came home, Sam found his father comforting his neighbor, an old woman.  His neighbor was crying!  "I can't believe that anyone would be that mean!" The neighbor was saying.  "I had been visiting my grandchildren, and when I came home, all my lawn furniture was gone!  Even my poor dead husband's hammock!"  Sam's grandfather was very sad.  "Poor, poor thing,"  he said.  I can't imagine why anyone would have done such a despicable act!"  Sam was horrified, especially when he realized that the trash man had already come by.  There was nothing he could do--everything was gone.

Sam felt really bad when he realized that he had not done a special thing, but it turns out that he really had.  Sam's grandfather and his neighbor, Mrs. Millikin, became very good friends after that.  They visited each others' houses so often that one day Grandfather said, "It would save us a lot of money if we sold one of our houses and lived in the same house together.  Slowly getting on one knee, he said, "Lucy, (Lucy was Mrs. Millikin's first name) will you marry me?"  Of course Lucy said yes, and so Grandfather and Lucy got married.  They sold Lucy's house and moved in to Grandpa's.  As a wedding present, Grandpa bought Lucy all-new lawn furniture, and Sam cleaned out Granpa's yard.  Now everyone was happy!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Using lists to teach (for TPRS and those who have to follow a curriculum)

When I was younger, I was a bilingual teacher.  I went to many workshops, but the best one I went to was called "Putting the Whole Together."  It was very like TPRS in that it concentrated on CI and making things interesting for the students rather than keeping with the "drill and kill" approach.

Now that I'm teaching Spanish. I still use some of the techniques.  As I said, they're very similar to TPRS.  One thing that would be helpful to those of you that have to teach list vocabulary according to school curriculum would be the matrix (I know it has a clever name, but I've forgotten it).

In PTWT, the matrix was made in this way:
The (noun) (verb) in the (noun)
The (noun) (verb) in the (noun)
The (adj) (adj) (noun) is (verb) in the (noun)

You sing the result using "The Farmer In the Dell"

The astronaut sleeps in the rocket
The astronaut sleeps in the rocket
The sad, ugly astronaut sleeps in the rocket.

You can use a similar technique by having a matrix for the words you have to teach.  They're there so your students use them, it can be done as a preliminary activity so you don't take too much time away from your lesson, and they are interesting to the student because they make sentences that go with their families, teams, skills, or whatever.

I received a message from a teacher today asking for suggestions on teaching stem-changing vocab.  A list is perfect for that.  Her list and my list follow:
tiene – s/he has
tenía – s/he had
prefiere – s/he prefers
quiere – s/he wants
va a – s/he goes to
more than – más que
less than – menos que
vuelan – they fly
tiene miedo – s/he is afraid
family nouns

Here is the activity:
noun  has number family members
my family member likes (noun), but I prefer (noun)
I want to go to (city, state, country) to visit my (family member)

The list would be prewritten and on the board (if you have tech) or on a large piece of paper, so it can be reused.

You would model it for the students:

John, how many brothers do you have?
John: 3
Class, (go to the board and point to each item as you say it) John has three brothers.
Then you would have every class member ask the other student how many brothers, sisters, grandparents, etc. they have.
Then you would ask for volunteers.  As they answer, you touch the right spot in the sentence.  (You can stop this when they get used to it).

After they get the first idea down, go to the second.  Model and assign in the same way.  Of course, how much of each is going to depend on the age of your students.  If they can read, they can do this.

You might spend 15 minutes doing this a day.  That's 15 minutes of expected curriculum, and at the end, you can have 30-40 minutes for CI.

There are other ways, too, of course, but this is one way.  Of course, if the expectation is that they know how to conjugate on a verb chart, you have to do that, too. Remember, though, that it is possible to spend most of your year in CI and then at the end of the year, teach them how to take what they already know, having learned it throughout the year, and put it into charts.

Good luck!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What do students do while you're telling a story

This post is to answer a very good question posed to me by a teacher.  "What do you do while listening to a story besides respond?"  Well, responding is the main thing, the most important thing, and sometimes the only thing that students are asked to do.  The key issue here is the term "listening".  Your students should not listen--they should participate.  Responding may seem to be old hat once you've done it a time or two, but it is an essential part of the process.  Responding holds them responsible.  It allows them to contribute.  It gives them the ability to be part of the story.

Now, I'm not sure whether you're talking about an oral or a written story.  I assume you're referring to a reading--a story that the students read instead of a story with actors--a written story.

When my class reads a story, I only enter in at the beginning.  I have a smartboard, so I have the story already written on the board.  The students follow along (watching the board) while I read the story for them in Spanish.  I always read to the period or comma, then I stop.  At the beginning of the year, I tell them that it's important to ask me for any words that they don't know, and I praise them when they do.  I then translate the word and write the English on top of the Spanish.  To me, this is the most important part, since it gives them immediate translation so they won't feel that they can't read the story.  At this point of the year, I just pause and they ask.  If nobody asks and I'm pretty sure they don't know a word, I ask what the word means.  If some know and some don't, I take a translation and write it.  Otherwise, I say it and write it.

After I have finished reading, the class reads together in groups of two.  One student reads in Spanish and the other translates.  They switch roles after every sentence.  1-L2, 2-L1, L2, 1-L1, L2 etc.  I then use either my victim cards or my seating chart to call on individual students to translate.  They do get a grade for this, although I stop doing that around this time of the year.  The grade is a participation grade.

When the students have translated the entire paragraph, you go back and ask the story just as you would have on a retell of any other story.  There are lots of things that you can do at this point:  t/f, fill in the blank, add to the story, do a comparison story, etc.  Once you finish this, I might ask someone to tell me one event from the story.  They can't start at the beginning.  Then I will ask someone else to tell me something that happened before that.  The next person will add something that happened in between the two events.  And so on.

In an oral story, the students have much more buy-in if you ask the story.  Don't start, there was a boy named Brian.  Start, there was a boy. what was his name?  Where did he live? Who was in his family? How big was his house?  etc.  These all give the kids buy-in.  Once you get to the tie-in, you can keep them alongside through circling and using the question words.

John knew how to speak Spanish.  Class, did John know how to speak Spanish?  Did John know how to speak Spanish or Greek?  Did John know how to speak Greek?  No, he knew how to speak Spanish.  How many years did it take for John to know how to speak Spanish?  How many years will it take for you to know how to speak Spanish.  Does John's dog know how to speak Spanish?  Who else in John's family knows how to speak Spanish?  John has a Greek girlfriend.  Next year, do you think that John will know how to speak Greek?  Why does John know how to speak Spanish when he has a Greek girlfriend, etc.

You can get lots of responses this way.  I think the major thing to remember is that the story is important, yes, but not nearly as important as getting reps of the words.  You can veer away from the story and find yourself in a whole new story that is your students' creation.  That's true success.

Monday, April 1, 2013

What do YOU need?

Hi All,

I'm posting a letter here--weird, right?  But I really want to ask you and I'll really listen to the question and try to respond this week.

It's Easter break for me, and it will be summer before you know it.  I have a little extra time, and so I'm wondering--what would help you in this blog?  If you could know one thing about TPRS, what would it be?  I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I've been around and would love to help.

I'm also going to post this on Sirena and Morelist, so you can respond in any of those venues.  I know that some of you can't post comments on here, and that's fine.

Hoping to hear from you soon,