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!!

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