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First Person Practice

February 24, 2012

Watch out, world! I'm about to post a string of seductively fun ideas from the brilliant mind of Mrs. Debra Abshier! She is a Spanish teacher at another middle school in our district, and not only is she a fountain of ideas, but she is HILARIOUS. If you attended the ACTFL Conference this year, you may recognize her name, as she presented on the Alaska Language Acquisition Network with another member of the group. Deb reminded us all of this fantastic strategy for practicing first and second person forms of verbs. She uses the Kagan structure "Turn Toss" (you take turns answering a question by tossing a ball from person to person...everyone on planet earth has done this at some point, I'm sure...), but requires that the ball be passed back to her after each student responds, so that she can ask the questions. She tosses the ball to a student, asks a question in the second person form, and the student responds in the first person form of the verb before throwing the ball back to Deb. This way of playing the game gives TONS of tĂș/yo practice, but (assuming that the purpose is to work on the form) make sure that you are correcting verb errors so that students don't learn the incorrect forms. This is always the problem with production-based activities, and the reason that I switched to a Comprehensible Input classroom--my students were internalizing lots of Spanish from all the talking that they were doing, but it was chock full of errors! This is a great activity to play on...oh, say, a Friday...when you want to switch things up and do something different and fun. As an extension, you could have a class discussion afterward about the information that was shared during the activity. You could ask things like "Who remembers what Sarah eats for breakfast?" and then discuss what other students eat for breakfast. Or, you could write up a short reading with the information with some errors and review it in class the next day, in a dialogue form ("Sarah said, "I eat tunafish for breakfast every day" and then Mrs. Abshier asked Tony "Where do you go to the bathroom?". Tony said, "In the closet".) Then, as you review it, correct the incorrect information...or see if an awesome story emerges from your modifications :)

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