One thing I love about TPRS is that you never know when the students will help to spin a story that turns into MAGIC. I'm learning that many times this happens when you don't follow your plan A. Susan Gross explained to me that the story I have planned should be considered "Plan B", one that should only be used if all else fails. After she said that, I realized that the day before, I had experienced exactly that with my Spanish 3 students. Below is how I shared the story with Susan Gross last week:
I can relate to what you said about my story being plan B. That happened to me on Friday. I wanted to review le/les gustaba(n) and en vez de. But, during PQA I found out I was the only one in the classroom that had never heard of the singer "Drake". When they asked me what music I like and I said Brad Paisley, one of the students (a great guy that has a great sense of humor) said, "oh, you're country" and then made kind of a "duh" sound. And a that moment I remembered a story about a guy that goes into the town village every day. All the villagers think he's dumb so they offer him a nickel or a dime and he always picks the nickel because it's bigger. They laugh at him because they think he's stupid and the next day the same thing plays out. This continues every day. Then one day a stranger sees this take place and pulls the guy aside to tell him he should pick the smaller coin because it's actually worth more. The guy then says that he knows that, but if he picks the dime, they won't offer him the choice every day and he won't be able to pocket the 5 cents every day.
I knew that the words for city and country were coming up in the near future so I decided the "dumb" person would be from the country and he would go into the city every Wednesday. When I asked the kids who the person from the country is, of course they said "Sra. Hitz". (The previous day we had a discussion, in Spanish, about how I live on a farm and that I wake up at 4:10 a.m. every morning to feed the cows before I come to school and at times help deliver calves - yes, even to the point where my hands go where no hands should ever go in a cow. If you live on a farm you know exactly what I'm talking about.)
So, I chose actors to play the other parts, and of course I played myself, and you know what Susie?, I had a blast and the actors were awesome. The students were so focused on what was going on in the story. It was PURE MAGIC! Of course then the story was over and I laughed when I saw my "focus words" of gustar, etc on the board and someone said, "Yeah, whatever happened to the person going to the Drake concert?" and right on the heels of that comment another student said, "I like stories. I learn a lot" (or something similar).
I know I can't expect that every day, or at least not until I relax more and learn to let things play out in a natural way, but WOW, it was enough to energize me and make me want to see it happen again.
That happened last week and to my surprise, my students in my two Spanish 4 classes served up more MAGIC yesterday when we talked about the fears of some of the students. (Who would have thought that a high school student would be ok with acting like a bird?)
Be assured, this MAGIC doesn't happen every day in my classes. Admittedly, there are days when the story just falls flat and I'm left wandering what went wrong. But, just knowing that the potential for that energizing MAGIC to pop up at any time is there, makes the start of each story an interesting and unpredictable adventure.
Thanks Susan for telling me to move my Plan A to the Plan B spot and leave the door open for MAGIC to enter the classroom.
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