Some of the activities I use to prepare my Spanish 2 students to read their first novel with past tenses are embedded readings of Larry el vampiro, a MovieTalk the video Vampire's Crown (click here for more resources), and Sr. Wooly's La Dentista song. Embedded readings was developed by Laurie Clarcq and Michele Whaley. Check this BLOG for many examples in several languages.
Below are the activities and materials in my lesson plans that provide comprehensible input of the past tenses based on the Larry el vampiro story.
The focus words are:
le dolía la muela = his tooth hurt
quería morder = he wanted to bite
no podía ______r (infinitive) = he wasn't able to ______
1. Use sketches of stick figures with a pain somewhere in the body to provide repetitions of what someone WANTED TO DO, but WASN'T ABLE TO DO, because SOMETHING HURT. I used magnets to put a sketch on the board and then I used the circling technique to ask questions about the "person" and their ailment and what they wanted to do but couldn't do. On the right is a photo of and write what the person couldn't do. To the right is a photo of my notebook with the sketches I later drew on construction paper to use in class to give you an idea of how simplistic the sketches can be. After all, we're teachers, not artists.
2. I made a PowerPoint of photos of people and animals with part of their body that hurt. Discuss what hurt the person or animal and what the person wanted to do but couldn't because of the pain. Last year I tweeted that I needed ideas on how to teach this and the ever creative Martina Bex suggested I search for photos of ridiculous or unbelievable injuries to increase student engagement. It worked! I found some eye-catching injuries!
3. Use TPRS to create the story. I talk about a vampire that had a problem because his tooth hurt. The students add the details what he wanted to do but couldn't and what he decided to do.
4. Distribute version #1 of Larry el vampiro. Read with the students. Ask students to give additional information for the story that goes in between #1 and #2, a sentence to go between #2 and #3, etc. The students copied the sentences that I wrote on the board.
5. Project version #2 and version #3 on the board. As I read, I asked students to raise their hand when I read a sentence that was not included in the previous version. Since we have been working with the past tenses for a few weeks, I tried to recycle words we've used thus far this school year as well as vocabulary and structures in the upcoming activities and novel.
To break up the reading, I showed them this powerpoint (pictured above) to verbally review the story and for them to retell it. Sketches in the powerpoint are by a talented student, Anna, that was in Spanish 2 last year.
6. I distributed version #4 and they read it with a partner. I collected version #4 to use next semester, and gave the students version #5 for their story folders. We did several comprehension and reading activities with version #5 to increase their understanding of the text.
7. Students had 3 minutes to draw a sketch of an event or description in version #5 on construction paper. I collected the sketches and taped the first sketch to the board, and without looking at the story, students had to say a sentence that related to the sketch.
Then I taped the second sketch to the board UNDER the first sketch. First students had to decide if it depicted the same thing. If it did, it was removed from the board. If it was different, they had to say a sentence that described the sketch. Then they had to decide if it happened in the story BEFORE or AFTER the first sketch. I taped it to the left or right of the first sketch.
We continued in this manner for the rest of the sketches, pausing at times to retell the story using the sketches that were on the board.
8. Finally, with all the sketches on the board (in a class of 28 students we ended up with 12 different sketches), the students completed a 10-minute fluency write to retell the story. The sketches provided the story plot to help them remember the events.
It's pure coincidence that I'm at this part of my curriculum when it's nearing the end of October. Of course that doesn't happen in the spring semester. :(