One of the most important steps to storyasking, that I neglected for a long time, is introducing the vocabulary–as in spending time introducing it, not just giving students a list. As I focus on this step of the process this year, I am already noticing gains in comprehension by students that struggled through much of last year.
Part I: Presentation
The purpose of the presentation phase is simply to establish meaning. TCI teachers are sometimes criticized for translating terms for students, and I reject it! If you are able to use translation to establish meaning, do it. It is fast and accurate. Gesturing is not fast. Gesturing is ambiguous. If you can, translate!
- Write the words in Spanish on the board.
- Have the students repeat the term in Spanish.
- Write the English translation next to the Spanish, leaving a small space in the middle.
- Draw a picture that illustrates it in-between the Spanish and English.
- Point to the picture and say the term in Spanish.
- Ask, “¿Cómo se dice «Spanish term» en inglés?” (How do you say «Spanish term» in English?)
- Teach or cooperatively develop a gesture for the term.
- Repeat for each new term, returning to the previous term(s) before you move on to the next.
Part II: Contextualization
I never did this step until I saw Carol Gaab use it in her curriculum. Brilliant! I would skip right to questioning and wonder why my students’ heads were spinning! Show the students several examples of each target term in comprehensible context. If you’re like me, this means planning ahead and writing several sentences that include each term because I can never seem to think of good examples on the fly! They should be sentences that the students can understand with the help of the “key” that you’ve created on the board.
Part III: Questioning
Here is the fun part 🙂 Again, it is always good to plan ahead and have several questions written that are COMPREHENSIBLE and include the target terms. The more open-ended the questions can be, the better–although I find that I often need to follow up an open-ended question with one or two yes or no’s in order to get their creative juices pumping (Ex: What makes your head hurt? Does Justin Bieber’s voice make your head hurt? Math homework?) Usually, they will start contributing ideas after one or two yes or no questions. Circle responses
and reflect them back to the class for discussion!
I rarely introduce vocabulary and start stories on the same day, not really on purpose, but that’s how it usually works out. I like it that way, anyway, because I can use the terms in the next day’s bellwork, which allows the students time to remember what they learned the previous day, and gives some opportunity for more PQA and pop-up grammar before we get into the story. (Learn how to ask a story here
What are some of the strategies or patterns that you use to introduce vocabulary?