Friday, August 2, 2013

New Year, New Class

Well, Happy August!  I'm excited to be back to school...well, I'm not, really, but I know that I soon will be.  I'm going to be teaching Spanish 1 for the first time in many years, and I'm also mentoring a new teacher who will be teaching the same levels--1 and 2--that I teach.  I would like to say that I'm excited, but I'm really not.  I know, though, that the best thing for me to do is just to TEACH.

What do you do during the first days of class in Spanish 1?  I plan to start right in with "circling with balls", included as "Power PQA" in the following link.  For those of you who didn't get to go to NTPRS this year, this is a list of handouts that were given out at the conference.

My head hasn't quite been spinning, but I have been thinking a lot about what to do.  I am in an enviable position, I think, because I am already the main 2nd year teacher, so I know what I want my students to know when they come to class.

In TPRS, we don't do "list vocabulary"--that is, we don't expect the students to memorize items in a list (seasons, colors, numbers, etc.).  Instead, we include these things in stories.  I go a step further--I give them the vocab in songs.  My students from 10 years or more ago tell me that they STILL remember "Quiero el bifstec!"

When I am ready to go to the first reading (probably sometime in the first week), I will start with a very simple story such as this.

There is a student.  He is a boy.  He calls himself Jim.  He plays baseball.  There is another student.  She is a girl.  She calls herself Sally.  She plays soccer.

This is a very short story, of course, but it becomes a playing field for tons of questions.

Class, is there a student? Is there a student or an elephant?  Is there an elephant?  No, there isn't an elephant, there is a ________.  Is the student a boy?  Is the student a boy or a girl?  Does the student call himself Mike?  Does the student call himself Jim?  Does Jim play baseball?  etc.

These seem like horribly simple questions, but remember that some of these students have never spoken Spanish before.  This easy first exposure gives them lots of repetition and a way to feel comfortable and confident that they can do this!

I hope that you have a great school year!  During the year, I will be sharing stories with you--basically for first and second year.  I would love any requests for stories, especially in the advanced levels.  I'm very rusty, and writing helps my skills to stay strong.


  1. I can't wait for school to start! I love teaching Spanish 1 and I'm starting to get a handle on Spanish 2. Unfortunately, I am the only tprs teacher in a department of 5 so I have to custom tailor my stories to fit the chapter vocab (omg I don't know which chapter I hate more... The one about standing in line to go through customs or the sports one since I know nothing about any sport!).

  2. Any time you want help, let me know. What is your book? There is a group (I think it's called Booktprs) that you might want to try if you don't have it already. Have a great year!

  3. Hi Meg,
    Is the group you mentioned above on Yahoo Groups, too? I wasn't able to find it as "Booktprs" but I would absolutely LOVE to know if there's a group out there. My school uses the Descubre series. This is my first year using TPRS and I'm writing stories using structures from Descubre. I'd love some more resources -- I figure there has to be someone out there who's already done this, so why reinvent the wheel?
    Thanks for your help,


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