Hey amigos, I’ve got a new script for you! And guess what?? It TARGETS -AR imperfect conjugations! Yes, folks…this script here will provide your students with some good ol’ comprehensible, targeted input! But let’s be clear here–the kind of targeting that I do with this story (and the way that I intend for you to use it) is “Targeting 2”. Read about Non-targeted input versus Targeting 1 versus Targeting 2 here.

Understanding the differences between Targeting 1 and Targeting 2 is crucial to providing research-based language instruction to our students. Even though I specifically chose verbs for this story that are -AR verbs that worked well in the story frame, and I accepted only those student suggestions that were expressed with -AR verbs, my expectation at the end of this unit was NOT that…

  1. …my students would memorize the rules related to -AR imperfect conjugations (all endings and when to use them).
  2. …my students would fully master (understand and be able to produce now and forevermore) the target structures.

My goals for this story (and the accompanying unit) were:

  1. My students would acquire language. Both the target structures and all other language that students hear throughout the course of story asking are fair game. All language is fodder for acquisition, whether or not we target it.
  2. My students would begin to acquire the target structures. By the end of story asking, *all* of my students can understand the target structures within the context of the story. Some of them will remember the structures forever; others will forget them after just a few days. Some will be able to interpret them in new contexts and maybe even produce them; others will be stretching just to accurately interpret the story as originally told. This is because language acquisition looks different  for every learner and every structure. We can predict how quickly we think that individuals might acquire any given item, but we can’t know for sure. What we DO know for sure is that in a class of 35 learners, there will be 35 unique roads to acquisition for each of our target structures.

If I can’t guarantee full acquisition of the target structures by the end of a story asking session, you may be wondering why target at all? When I was teaching Spanish II, I targeted grammatical constructions in sequence in order to align my curriculum (which was taught at the middle school level) with high school Spanish II. I also chose to target as a compromise with the grammar-based teachers to which my students were headed (I tackled the same grammatical constructions that they did, just in a different way). Furthermore, I chose to target because it helped me organize, plan, and find peace and beauty in the midst of the beautiful mess that storytelling can sometimes be!! Not everyone needs a plan (heeeeeeeyyy non-targeted input friends!) but I needed one for my sanity. And so I targeted. Targeting 2 targeted. Targeting 2 allowed me to combine what I know about Second Language Acquisition with what I needed to play nicely with other teachers and keep my sanity.

If you are someone that must give common assessments that include grammar sections, consider Targeting 2. Provide targeted comprehensible input to your students for the majority of the learning period. Use pop-up grammar to make students consciously aware of the patterns that they are interpreting subconsciously. If you want or must, spent a very short time teaching an explicit grammar lesson. Your students will be better prepared for the grammar assessment because you have done the things that actually result in language acquisition (provided comprehensible input). More importantly, they will have started down the path to full acquisition of the targeted items, even if they don’t reach the end. Continue providing comprehensible input (unsheltered, meaning you allow all grammar to happen naturally as it is needed to communicate the message–even within the context of targeting). Each time that students are exposed to the targeted pattern in the future, they will be one step closer to total acquisition.



se quejaba de – s/he or I complained about

a partir de ese momento – from that moment on

aguantaba el comportamiento – tolerated the behavior


The main character is always late somewhere. Lots of people complain. His/her behavior is tolerated by an authority figure for a long time. Eventually, the authority figure yells at the main character. From then on, the main character arrives late and then engages in an additional bad behavior once there. The cycle repeats until finally the main character is arriving late and then doing lots and lots of naughty things until some kind of resolution is reached.


  • Identity of main character
  • Regular event to which main character arrives late
  • Identity of authority figure
  • 3+ bad behaviors of main character *try to stick to -ar verbs—see ideas below!
  • Complaints from other attendees
  • Reasons that authority figure tolerates bad behavior


Click here to view the complete script.

Click here to learn how to use my Matava-style TPRS® story scripts!


  • church
  • (x) class
  • work


  • Gritaba (erráticamente, románticamente) en (alemán, japonés, etc.)
  • Practicaba (el tenis, el fútbol, etc.)
  • Jugaba a Candy Crush a todo volumen
  • Tocaba (la guitarra, el piano, etc.)
  • Caminaba en círculos enfrente del (pastor)
  • Llamaba a 911
  • Se comunicaba con (espíritus, extraterrestres, etc.)
  • Hablaba con sus amigos
  • Escuchaba (música en su iPhone)
  • Bailaba (en un bikini, música sexy, etc.)
Click on image to access complete script

All story scripts shared on http://www.martinabex.com are licensed under a CC-BY-SA-NC 3.0 license:

You are free to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format and remix, transform, and build upon the material under the following conditions: You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. 

7 replies on “Story script to target -AR imperfect verb conjugations

    1. Martina, I absolutely love teaching with TPRS and CI. Re “Rebekde”, do you use a cortometraje with it? Better yet, have you posted a lesson plan on Teachers Pay Teachers that I may purchase? Thanks,Jean Kellough

      1. What about “El aguante” by Calle 13 for a cloze
        and I think I’ll use a Baby Boss movie trailer for a movie talk.

  1. The image cracked me up! My son’s life right now- Lego Star Wars- any flat surface in my house right now is covered in Lego pieces and “battle scenes!” This sounds like a fun story that kids could really get into. Thank you for sharing your talents.

  2. Love this! Going to give my Spanish 3 kids some new stories with past tense input after spring break. Looking forward to using this script! Mil gracias!

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