At the beginning of the semester in my Spanish 4 classes, my goal is for the students to hear as much Spanish as possible, in the form of Comprehensible Input. We have a 5-block schedule, in two semesters, which means some of the students may not have had Spanish for a year, or even more if they had a year in which their schedule didn't match with the times Spanish IV was offered.
Several years ago I read a short article in the newspaper and I've used the article with my 4s ever since. The article is interesting by itself that I have no trouble keeping the students' attention as I StoryTell it to them (I never actually read it to them but I keep it close by in case they doubt it really happened). However, the thought occurred to me recently that I should try a different approach the next time I tell it.
First, my explanation of how I usually use the material in class and then my new idea.
We'll begin with the article:
1.Before I tell the article, I review any vocabulary that I think the students do not know or won't remember quickly, writing them on the board in Spanish and English, followed by PQA to the students using the vocabulary. (Still need practice on PQA.)
2. I tell about the news article using the TPRS style, stopping to retell in Spanish. I repeat the story or practicing verbal exer I feel comfortable that the students are able to retell the story, including facts such as what was the boy wearing, where he went, what he wanted to buy, etc. This is one story that we do not sketch.
3. Finally, I give students an answer in Spanish and they have to form a question in SPanish using information from the story. Example: My answer - mantequilla, harina y arroz (butter, flour and rice) - Students form the question - ¿Qué comió el niño para sobrevivir? (What did the boy eat to survive?)
Sometimes this last exercises proves to be a bit challenging for the students. I know because it becomes real quiet and you can almost hear them thinking. I don't have any problem getting the students to participate, it just takes them longer and you can tell they're focused.
My new idea is to begin the story in the middle and tell the students that a little boy walks into a store to buy something. And from there, I can ask them what they think he wants to buy, what type of store it is, how is he dressed, what season is it, what does he use to try to make his purchase, and on and on. As the students guess at what may be the right answer, they'll soon realize that something is definitely wrong that a young boy walks into an alcohol store, in his pj's, in the winter, with his mother's credit card, etc. This will lead me asking more questions to lead them to the reason as to why a little boy would do this.
I don't know if that type of discussion will work better than the first idea. My thinking is that if it keeps their attention, and it's in the target language, AND they understand it, then I will have been successful in giving them the necessary reps as per CI. I could always follow it up with another story by me or by the students.
Do you have any suggestions on how to use this article? (It is such a sad article.)
Reading for in class