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 course—click 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.
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.