Monday, April 30, 2012

Tweet provides material for class

Twitter can be a great resource when searching for materials and websites to use in class.  However, it also is a good place to find stories for Comprehensible Input.  Last night when I was on Twitter, I saw the following tweet:

@ransomtech: "Guy In a Cow Suit Shoplifts 26 Gallons of Milk From a Busy Walmart ...

I checked out the website and read about an 18-year old that entered WalMart wearing a cow costume and later managed to leave the store with 26 gallons of milk inside his costume without paying for them.  (Here is the link for the article.)

Today, instead of spending the first part of class talking about our weekends, I wrote the following words on the board:  Walmart, vaca, leche, robar, dar, policía (cow, milk, to rob, to give, police).  Then I put the students in groups of 3 and told them they had 5 minutes to use their imaginations (I always encourage creativity on these type of exercises) to formulate a news story that describes the event that I read about in the news article.  All communication in their group needed to be in Spanish. 

One student in each group told the class about their group's prediction in Spanish.  These storytellings provided several opportunities for pop-up grammar and for opportunities to introduce new words.  One group even used a sentence with the subjunctive so it was a perfect time to review it.  We also discussed ahora vs. ahorita, learned the relation of the words horno and hornear; shared the fact that cows will actually drink milk if it is offered to them; saw an example of por used in context; and the new word galón, to name a few.

After all the groups had shared, I told them the real story in Spanish and we discussed that for a short time.  At the end of the activity, I gave each student a quarter sheet of paper and asked them to write 1-3 things they learned from the activity.  I wanted this information to better help me see how it was or wasn't useful.  

I know the words that we used in the activity are not acquired yet, especially the brand new vocabulary words such as to crawl, but the activity was a different way for me to provide Comprehensible and Compelling Input.

If I were teaching Spanish 1 or 2, I would have told the story TPRS style.  It's perfect for that because it already is strange enough to keep student interest.  I wouldn't tell them it is a true story, but rather keep that for a surprise after they know the story and can repeat it and read it.

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