Monday, January 7, 2013

Rediscovering ReadingA-Z

I am rediscovering the benefits of  This website is designed for elementary readers in English, but many of the books are translated into Spanish and there are even some translated into French. In January 2012, I bought a year's access to this site through my school district's budget.  I used it several times, but then it was pushed to the side and I did not use it very frequently.

In December, I started using the site again for warm-ups at the beginning of the class.  The challenge was to find stories that had vocabulary that students already knew with only a limited amount of new vocabulary.

When I was planning my lessons last weekend, I decided to change up the way I was using the site.  Instead of showing the books with the words, there is also an option that you can project the book without the words. That's when I realized that here are ready-made sketches of either familiar stories or completely new stories to the students, that I can use with lots of Comprehensible Input!

My Spanish 2 class continues to need an incredible amount of input of verbs in the past tense.  For today's class, I projected the familiar story of "Los Tres Cerditos" (the Three Little Pigs), but without showing the words.  The sreenshot below shows one of the pages of the book without any words in the box below the illustration.  The bar on the left of the screenshot below shows some of the options available when you are projecting it, such as typing in your own text, highlighting, and others.

The students and I went through the pages and described the  characters, how they felt, their actions, what they said, etc.  The bar on the left of the screenshot shows some of the options available to the teacher such as adding text and highlighting.

After we had described every page of the book, I reviewed it again, by describing what was happening on each page.  Then the students worked in groups of 3 to retell what was happening.  After that, the students took a 10 point quiz on the story.  I showed them 10 pages and they could write anything that related to the illustration as long as it was 1) in the past tense, and 2) they didn't repeat any of their verbs.  It was completely their choice which verbs to use for each page.  

One change I will make the next time is to start with more Comprehensible Input by me.  I think I should have described the first page by using either/or questions, true/false questions, and short answer questions instead of going right into asking the students to tell me sentences of what was happening.  I asked for output at the start instead of giving input first.  I had a good deal of participation from the students the way I taught it, but I know it would have benefited all of the students (those that participated in saying sentences and those that didn't) if I had given them the Input first.

Next semester, I'll be using this website on a regular basis.  The cost for a one year subscription to the site is $89.95.  You can also print out the stories in a booklet format for later use.  If you subscribe to the site and need an emergency lesson plan, you can print out the story without words so the students can create their own story.


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