Today was the 17th day of class. We did two stories so far this week so I wanted to change this up a bit but still offer an activity that provided plenty of CI. The structures for the day were: vive en, tiene # años, es moreno/a. I did the usual PQA with the structures. Before we started on how old someone is, I told the kids to give me a number between 70 and 92. I wrote the numerals on the board and the words for the number and that is what I used to talk about my age.
After I thought I had 50-60 reps in with PQA, I projected the photo of a person on the board. (It was a screen shot of Luis in Discovery Streaming's "La Tienda de Luis" video series. If you have access to Discovery Streaming, this series is great for a beginning level. I've been using it with Sp2 so the 1s hadn't seen any photos of Luis before.)
Then I told the students that they needed to describe him and give background information about him using only the vocabulary that they have learned in the last 17 days. The first few sentences used the new focus words since they were fresh in their minds. Then there was a few more suggestions, a little bit of a laul, and then one girl came up with the sentence "Sanchez (the name they gave him) no tiene amigos." The rest of the class said, "ahhh" and after that, there was a constant flow of hands in the air, followed by funny sentences. Another girl added, "Él tiene 29 gatos." This led to "Sanchez no tiene amigos porque tiene 29 gatos." I made sure to react positively to EVERY sentence, repeating it, and pausing at times to ask either/or, yes/no, and short answer questions to review what was said.
Then I projected the photo of Tía María (from the same series). It wasn't long until they started making sentences about a relationship between "Tina" and "Sanchez", such as "Tina abraza a Sanchez. Tina vive en Texas y Sanchez vive en el basurero en Mexico. Tina salta en el estómago de Sanchez."
The afternoon class named her "Doris". Their sentences included "Un tiburón come Doris. Doris vive en el estómago del tiburón. Doris trabaja en Redner's (que está) en el tiburón. Doris besa al jefe de Redner's en el piso." Ahhh yes, the imaginations of teenagers. Be prepared when you give them that type of creative freedom!
The students were coming up with these creative sentences and the majority of them were grammatically correct - spot on - more than I could have hoped for and better sentences than what I used to see coming from students at the beginning of Spanish 3. This is just another example of what the students can do with the language after they've had an incredible amount of Comprehensive Input. Why or why did it take me so long to "get it"? Some days I feel like I'm going so s-l-o-w by limiting the vocabulary, but then I see the payback for that patience when the students provide grammatically correct sentences. I do believe the words are starting to "fall out of their mouths" - Laurie coined that phrase, right?
But the best part was when a student that regularly doesn't bring his notebook to class, needs reminded to lift his head up off the desk, and generally seems disinterested much of the time, raised his hand and contributed to the sentences with a grammatically correct sentence. He did that two more times during the class and I saw him smile a few times. That...was the best. It made my heart do a little dance. :)