It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over! I am scrambling to finish my 2015 goal of going paperless. Spoiler alert: it’s not going to happen. But I am close!

This evening, I stumbled across a reading that I used to extend a class discussion in the first few weeks of my Spanish 2 courseclick here or on the image below to access the reading. We were in the middle of the “Went” lesson (targeting the structure ‘fue’ in Spanish). You could do this activity with any class discussion, of course, but if you are someone that does a ‘weekend activities’ conversation every Monday in class, then you’ll be able to easily work this into your rotation of post-discussion activities.

Read to extend your class discussion
Click on image to access reading and comprehension/text analysis activity

On discussion day, students drew a quick sketch that depicted where they had gone the weekend before. Then, I showed the pictures to the rest of the class, one at a time, and we discussed where that student had gone.

Like I said, we were targeting the structure “went”, but students were consequently exposed to many different past tense verb forms as they naturally ocurred in discussion–all new to them, although most were recognizable due to similarities to their present tense forms. Any new vocabulary (words that students didn’t already know) was written on the board during discussion with the English meaning so that the discussion remained 100 percent comprehensible to students. I employed key TPRS®/CI strategies like circling and checking for comprehension, also to maintain comprehensibility.

We didn’t get through everyone’s illustrations in one class period. After class, I typed up a summary of the class discussion and injected a few personalized questions. I included information about the students whose illustrations we DID discuss in class. (We repeated the process later in the week until we got through everyone’s illustrations.)

I gave the reading to students to read over individually, and they had time to respond to the embedded personalized questions. Then, we worked through the reading as a class, chorally, of course using my TCI read-aloud strategies. Whenever we came to one of the personalized questions, I asked it to the class and we discussed it. Because students had already prepared answers to the questions, it made for a low-anxiety and overall successful class discussion. After class, I collected the papers and formatively assessed students’ progress and [very] emerging acquisition of the past tense.

The primary purpose of both the class discussion and the reading are to provide students with many repetitions of (much exposure to) the structures that we were targeting at the time. For more on target structures, see this post.

11 replies on “READ to extend your class discussion

    1. Well, the most important things would be circling target structures, checking for comprehension, popping up grammar, and personalizing the text (this is already done with the embedded questions in the reading). Employing those strategies will keep the reading comprehensible to students. There are lots of different METHODS to complete read-alouds (different ways to read a text aloud together); maybe I will work on a post about that…

  1. Hi Martina! I’m a new CI teacher. When asking/telling stories with your students, do you use both present & past tenses?

    1. In level 1, I do all of my story asking and reading in the present tense, although the past tense appears as it would occur naturally. I just don’t target any past tense structures until level 2. Many CI teachers (a) target structures of all different tenses throughout the year, (b) do story asking in the present tense and reading in the past tense, or (c) interview actors in the present tense and report the story in the past tense. It was easiest for me to map out my curriculum and align it with what non-CI teachers in my district were doing by targeting just one tense at a time. But like I said…it’s important to included ALL tenses as they would occur naturally. We want to shelter vocabulary, not grammar!

  2. I love ending a class discussion by writing it out on the board (asking student volunteers to retell orally and write, correcting it as I go) and then taking a photo of the newly created reading to re-discuss later. Save Monday´s photo about the weekend for the following Monday and then use it to compare one weekend with another weekend. And yes, it is paperless!

      1. Oh, I forgot about that!! It was made with painters tape… I guess over the summer the custodians must have removed it. Ha ha, wow, thanks for reminding me, that worked so well! What I have done in the past is simply show the photo of our writing and say things like “Justin, the weekend before last weekend you went to Target… did you go again? No? Who went to Target? Jasmine! Did you go to Target to buy a shirt like Justin did two weekends ago?” With the compare & contrast Venn Diagram it would be easy to take notes while we chatted.

  3. Is the reading based on the class discussion? I can not translate the reading on my ipad. Is there any chance you could include a little translation to give me an idea of how you wrote up the discussion?

    1. Yes, it’s a summary of the class discussion. So, “John went to the movies with a friend. They saw “Star Wars”. DO YOU WANT TO SEE STAR WARS? Charlotte also went to the movies, but she did not see John, nor did she see Star Wars….etc.

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