Making children’s books more comprehensible

As we talked about in our previous post, children’s book are usually not the best type of book for a second language classroom, although there is one that we do like. Most of the words are not comprehensible enough to help students acquire the language. And we know that input only aides in acquisition if it is comprehensible. So, if we plan to use children’s books, we have to do a little bit of work to make it comprehensible; but thankfully it is really easy. Continue reading

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Open House Parent Night

We just had our Back to School Open House night for parents this past week and I’d like to share a handout that you can give to parents to explain TPRS and using comprehensible input in your Spanish classroom.  This file is completely editable so you can adapt it to your own particular situation. It does include some great quotes about language acquisition and the benefits of using TPRS. I’ve also attached a link to a google slides presentation that you can also use.


To download the free file Continue reading

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TPRS Curriculum Year 1

Over the summer, I had time to organize the stories I teach. I was able to a document the story, it’s targeted vocabulary structures, grammar pop-ups and even cultural notes.
Plan your TPRS curriculum this with google docThis is for an 8th grade (second year of level 1), however it is the first year they use learn through storytelling.

You will see a mix of Senor Wooly, MovieTalks, and well as stories I’ve written myself. You can check out this google doc and make a copy for your own editing purposes. Continue reading

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Hombre Mosca Readers and Stories

If you are looking for a Fun AND Compelling story for your class, but can’t think of one, you’re in luck. Scholastic en español publishes the FlyMan series in Spanish and boy, are these books great for storytelling and acting out in class.

I typically don’t use a lot of (if any) children’s books in my class, because a lot of them are not comprehensible for my students. However, this series is written and illustrated in a manner that is would be appropriate for early level classes. And if you do it as a class story, you can make it 100% comprehensible.

I first checked the book HombreMosca y Frankenmosca out from my local library and loved it so much I bought my own copy and plan to use it as a story during Halloween time. This story is perfect for beginning level students because Continue reading

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Reading Passport

In 15 days, Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off in the United States. For those of you who have followed this blog, you know that I love to teach my students about the importance of perspective.

I’ve also used the theme of travel to have students create their own passports. This year, in the second week of school, students put together their passports. They were able to follow the directions I gave in the target language, as I modeled the expected steps. This year instead of leaving the inside pages blank, I put the list of Hispanic Novels that my school librarian has collected for me. (OVER 100 NOVELS!!)

Using the image above, we talked about what learning about cultures does. My goal is for my students Continue reading

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Incorporating Spanish Rejoinders

Last year I used our school’s poster maker to create a bulletin board of rejoinders that students could refer to during storytelling to react to the stories. Or when I would use one of the phrases, I could point to that word on the poster so that students could see what it meant.

We all know how important rejoinders are; being able to react to something. It lets the speaker know you are engaged, listening, and giving the appropriation emotion.

This year before I went back to school, I was able to observe my best friend who teaches at a nearby highschool which had already started classes. His whole department has embraced TPRS and I was able to see some new techniques in action.

One of my favorites parts of the lesson I observed was how the teacher Continue reading

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Data Tracking for World Language

Many teachers now have to include data showing student growth as part of their teacher evaluation. World Language teachers in Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and other languages can track student growth during a 5 minute timed writing.Using Timed Writings in Spanish

During the first week of class, I plan to give my students a prompt of a 6-image story sequence. I will ask students to write for 5 minutes. During this timed-writing students should write as much as they can without stopping (no asking questions, no going back to try and edit)

When the 5 minutes are up, Continue reading

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Me Gusta vs. Me Cae bien

If you like it, put a ME GUSTA stamp on it

Obviously me gusta is an important phrase in Spanish 1 classes, but sometimes we tend to over simplify things and forget that another word also means “to like”: caerse bien. When we like things and activities, Me gusta is the way to go, but when we like people, we have to be careful. In English, saying you like someone can be confusing.

Teenage girl: What do you think about Jon?
Teenage friend: He’s nice, I like him.
Teenage girl: Yeah, but do you like him, or like-like him?
<Giggles ensue>

We all know that liking Jon would be that she likes his personality; that he is a nice person. And we also know that “like-liking” him would be more in a romantic sense. English is confusing! Lucky for us, Spanish gives us two separate words for this to avoid confusion.

With people:
Me gusta = like-like, in a romantic sense.  (Me gustas, quiero ser tu novio)
Me cae bien= like, as a person.  (Un gusto conocerte, me caes super bien)

So to say “Me gustas” to someone is really an awkward phrase, unless you want to date them! To compliment them as being buena gente, use “me caes bien”.

I think this can be more easily explained with some authentic resources. Let’s consider the following memes in Spanish: Continue reading

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What to do with all those travel photos

Admit it. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos that you’ve collected from your travels to the target culture. And how many of them have your students seen? Here’s an easy way to share them passively with students, some of whom may have their own travel bug piqued.

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Class Novel Tips

We asked students in a survey what helped them understand the class novel the most Here are some of the most descriptive answers:Increase Understanding during reading Continue reading

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