Unfortunately for me, ‘backward planning’ usually means doing things backward: as in the wrong order. I have never had a systematic way of introducing past tenses to my students, and so their knowledge of it is always somewhat spotty. They leave my Spanish II class able to interpret the past tense with ease, but their production of it lacks accuracy.
This will change. At least, that is my goal.
Update, 2018: So funny for me to read this now! Now, I know that my students were exactly on the right track. Of course they weren’t producing the verbs accurately! Interpretive ability always precedes productive ability, and it takes time for a language learner’s brain to build a complex mental representation of language.
We’ve already read El Nuevo Houdini, and I taught them a unit using El que se enoja, pierde, but I think that my students would have benefited from some more sheltered lessons before jumping into those things (more lessons like “said” and “went“). And so now we will spend the fourth quarter back-tracking, looking for opportunities to communicate using more concentrated repetitions of fewer verbs at once.
After Spring Break, we’ll start with a lesson that works with the verbs “I/he saw” and “I/he came” using a Caesar sentence lesson (click on the image to download it in Spanish; click here to download it in French). I’m excited because it will also give us lots of opportunities to work with other preterite verbs, all chosen by the students. Then, we’ll jump into lessons that focus on sets of -AR verbs, -ER/-IR verbs, and I-Y verbs.
Back to basics, baby!!