Sunday, September 30, 2012

Spanish MadLibs

Even though I no longer identify parts of speech when I explain with pop-up grammar (ex: I don't say, the past participle for romper is irregular so for that verb you don't follow the pattern of removing the infinitive and adding -ado or -ido ... is it any wonder the students never learned that way?), I'm going to find a way to fit in this Spanish MadLib activity when I have a few minutes at the end of the class with my Spanish 4 students.

I'll give the example in Spanish (i.e. give me a word like espiando, susurrando, escondiendo, instead of "present participle", tell me a noun and if it calls for a feminine noun I'll wait until I hear the first feminine noun, etc).  Then after the story is created with the MadLib generator, I'll continue the discussion by asking them WHY the person was doing what the action in the first place, and HOW MANY TIMES she had done that before, and other questions.  Yes, total silliness, but a good way to take a breather while staying in the target language and learning new vocabulary - and, most importantly, keeping the students engaged while having fun in the target language.
Affective filtered lowered -

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Guest Blogger

Bonjour! I'm Señora Hitz's French teacher colleague. She asked me to write about how I employed the students to do certain jobs as I was storyasking today.

I had several positions open for students today. I had one student responsible for counting the repetitions of the focus words. I had another student responsible for writing the 10 point true/false quiz for the end of the period. I had a third student (who promised to be ruthless) be the contribution checker. This person's job was to note those students who offered suggestions to the story as I asked for them.  The other part of that job was to routinely scan the classroom looking for students who had their heads down, eyes glazed, or were just not with us.  I also had a student who was responsible for completing the story outline with the class suggestions as I asked the story.  Finally, in addition to the actors, I had the cue card holder. The cue card holder had three cards to hold up while I was telling the story. The holder had to listen very carefully to see whether the "ahhhh", "ohhhh", or "awwwww" card was most appropriate. I plan to add more cards in the future, perhaps with "C'est fascinant" or "C'est vraiment dommage".  In three classes, I used a final student to write the names of the places that the actors went to and tape the place name on the desk to keep everybody straight as to where exactly Wolfie went to try to find his cheeseburger, for example.

I was skeptical that the jobs would work, but the kids clamored to volunteer.  Without having to mark suggestions, note kids who weren't with us, fill in suggestions, or write a quiz, I was free to circle, check for comprehension, and coach the actors.  The students did a fantastic job and the entire class was seamless.  I would love suggestions for other jobs!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Storybird to teach the Imperfect

UPDATE (again): If you have asked for access to this book in the last year and you wrote your email in your comment, you should have received a PDF of the story in an email tonight, February 3, 2020.

The Storybird website USED TO BE FREE for teachers to use. They know charge a monthly fee or if a teacher wants a copy of the story s/he wrote, s/he has to pay a one-time download fee to be able to share the story with others. I paid to download the story. If you would like a copy of the PDF, leave a comment below, or BETTER YET, send me an email at: cynthia underscore hitz at yahoo dot com 
and I will send the PDF to you.

If you commented below and said you want access to it, but you didn’t leave an email, there is no way I can send it to you.

Update 7/22/19: I don't know what is going on with this site, but I had to UPDATE the link again. Try THIS LINK to view the story. 

UPDATE 4/24/19: Storybird is changing some of its settings. As of today THIS LINK works.

There is a public community library 10 minutes from my house with a huge Spanish section.  I have found many books there to use in class, but one problem that I encounter when looking for books for my lower level Spanish classes is that there are not many that limit the vocabulary.  

Over a year ago I was looking for a book that used the verb GUSTAR so my students could see GUSTAR used in context, with illustrations.  I looked through their huge collection, but came up empty.  I went to the Storybird site and created my own story that used gustar.

For the first time in many years, I am teaching a Spanish 2 class this semester. I started my Spanish 2 students with the present tense because I thought I needed to get them all to the same "place" with their abilities.  After a week or two, I gave up on that idea and decided to jump in and start telling stories using past tenses.  I did as the experts say - I chose 3 structures (quería, fue, no lo encontró) and started asking a story.  We've had 2 more stories with the past tense since then so the students are getting used to hearing the new endings on the verbs.  This week, I'd like to read a story to them that has illustrations and uses a lot of imperfect tense, but has limited vocabulary.  Instead of making the trip to the library, I turned to Storybird again and wrote "El mejor regalo para Pablo"
(The storybird site does not allow teachers to make stories public if they are not in English.  Therefore, links to stories that are public in another languages are sometimes deleted. Try THIS LINK to view "El mejor regalo para Pablo".  If that still does not work, send me an e-mail or leave a comment with your e-mail address and I can send it to you.)

UPDATE 9-30-12:  I made a PowerPoint quiz based on this Storybird book. 
HERE is the 15-pt quiz I gave me students.

If you have a few spare minutes, please do me the favor of reading the story and leaving your suggestions or ideas in ways to improve it.  I'm not happy with the title, but I haven't had any inspirations yet on how to change it. And, by all means, if there is a grammar error that I overlooked, I ask that you point that out to me so there are no errors when I read it to my students later this week.

Thanks for your help!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Creating Imaginary Descriptions

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. :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

iPads and Sketches in Spanish

Student sketches of Class Story
Last year I wrote a grant for an iPad because I wanted to use a digital storytelling app on the iPad to record the stories for my Spanish 1 students.  The problem last year was that when I received the iPad, I didn't have any Spanish 1 classes that semester.  Therefore I had even one more reason to look forward to teaching Spanish I this fall.

I have been asking/telling stories with my Spanish 1 classes since the 5th day of class.  Today in the last class of the day, I had planned to use the iPad to record a story.  These are the steps of today's lesson.

1. I asked the students to raise their hand if they could draw well.  Three hands shot up so I sent them to the board to "try-out" for the artist job today. (The applying for a class "job" idea came from Ben Slavic at NTPRS this summer.)  One girl was doing a beautiful job but taking a long time to sketch; the boy was looking at the other two girls to see what they were drawing; and the second girl, who got the job for today, drew a recognizable sketch in a few short seconds.  When I told her that she was in charge of making the sketches on my iPad, she was even more willing to help out.

2. I had a basic idea for the story with the focus words: trabaja, es perezoso/es perezosa; and el jefe/la jefa.  I "asked" the story with the students contributing to the actions and places in the story, circled each new sentence, and chose several actors to play the parts of the characters in the story.

3.  My artist helper sketched the story as it was being developed using the Educreations App.

4.  After the story was completed, I put the students in groups of 4.  Each group got 5 mini white boards and had to sketch 5 scenes from the story.  

5.  The groups presented their story in front of the class.  They needed to say at least one sentence to narrate each white board. They were permitted to write their sentences on a paper and use it during the presentation, but only 1 group chose to use a paper during the presentation.  (I'm sure that had a lot to do with the fact that I had circled the sentences and structures so many times when creating the story.)

6.  While the students were sketching and planning their mini presentation in #4 above, I typed the story.  After the presentations, I projected their story on the board.  I read it in Spanish and they read it in English in unison.  We also read a similar story that a morning Spanish 1 class had created to give the students additional repetitions of the vocabulary and structures.

7.  After the students left, I used the sketches that my student made and recorded the story on the Educreations App.  (It's embedded below.  Keep in mind that I have to speak slower at this stage of their learning.)

8.  Every day after school, I post a summary of that day's class activities and upload any documents that I distributed in class and attach any links to websites we visited.  I embedded the Educreations story so both classes are able to access it 24/7.

I was glad to finally use the iPad for its original purpose and hope to continue recording stories throughout the semester.  I want to post the collection somewhere online for my students and the students in the other Spanish 1 classes at my school.  If you have any suggestions on a good site to post them, please send comment below or send me a Tweet on Twitter @sonrisadelcampo.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

AutoRap App

My daughter found a fun app this morning and shared it with me.  It is called AutoRap and it records your voice and turns it into a rap.  Or you can change the mode to Rap and record with the music but I haven't experimented with that yet.  It is available for the iPhone, the iPad and Android.

Of course I wanted to record something in Spanish to see how language friendly it was.  Here is my recording with the app entitled:

  Me gusta la clase de español.

I'm not sure how much educational value it has but it may be fun to have the students record something in Spanish and share it with the class, maybe having it play as the students come into class.  You know, something like the "Rapper of the Day" segment.

What ideas do you have for using this app in the classroom?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ser vs. Estar

I wanted to review Ser and Estar with my students this week, but I didn't want them to focus on grammar.  I wanted the focus to be on having the students work together on a goal to communicate something that, coincidentally, called for sentences that used Ser and Estar. After a little thought, I came up with the following activity. 

When a major bookstore closed in my area, I bought these state books for $1 or less, packed with large photos of people and places.   

I found a photograph of a man at a flea market and tore it out of the book.  On Day 1 of the activity I posted the photo on the board next to several questions that the class needed to answer about the man.  The rule was they had to speak only in Spanish (that's a standard rule) and their answers had to be creative.  
Some of the questions they had to answer were:
- ¿Qué está haciendo el hombre?
- ¿De dónde es?
- ¿Dónde está? ¿Por qué está alli?
- ¿Cómo es el hombre?(características; cualidades inherentes)
- ¿Cuál es su nacionalidad?
- ¿Qué hora es?  ¿Qué día es?
- ¿Por quién fue sacada la foto?
- ¿Cuál es su profesión?
- ¿Es miembro de qué organizaciones?
- etc

The students were focused on creating an identify for the man that they didn't realize that all the sentences they were using had either Ser or Estar. It the students 30+ minutes to come up with an identity that they agreed on.  That's 30 minutes of discussion in the TL, concentrating on a communicative task and not listing rules.  At the end of the class I asked them if they knew why I had them to the activity.  They gave answers such as: "you wanted us to use our imaginations", "you wanted us to work together", "it required us to talk through our suggestions in Spanish", etc.  I told them that they were good reasons but not the underlying reason for the activity.

The next day we continued the activity, but this time students worked in groups of 2, I gave each group a new photo, and they worked to create an identity for the person.  I told them they would have to share with the class about their person so it was totally up to them if they wanted to write notes or not.  For today, I put the questions/facts that they needed to address in English.  We only had time for 2 groups to present and those two groups did not have many errors on their descriptions. I asked them again if they knew why we were doing the activity.  I got the same type of answer as yesterday.

On the 3rd day, the remaining groups talked about their photos and I needed to make some restatements when they used the wrong verb in their answers. Finally, a student turned to me and said, "Señora, I think I know why we're doing this."  After some prodding by me about the activity, several more students figured out why were did the activity.  One girl answered, "so we know the difference between Ser and Estar.  

I'm convinced that by using the language to create an identity, the students made more progress than by memorizing a list of reasons to use Ser and Estar. How much better for them to focus on communication than on grammar.  The assessment today was similar, with students writing about a person in a photo, in full sentences.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Value of a PLN

Are you enjoying the benefits of having a PLN (Personal Learning Network)?  Gone are the days when you only have teachers in your building to share your ideas and lessons.  With technology at hand, your PLN can be world wide!

Teachers in your own building/district
First of all, my most valuable collaborator and support is Krista, a colleague in my department at school. She and I are in constant contact with each other, at school or away from school, sharing websites, ideas, struggles, frustrations, successes, and more recently, CI and TPRS strategies.  Sometimes after school we have what I now refer to as 'debriefing sessions'.  Hats off to any of you that are the only teacher in your building or district that uses TPRS. I know it would be a more difficult journey without my colleague, Krista.

Teachers in nearby districts

Another valuable member of my PLN is Liz, a teacher in a nearby school district.  She is my go-to person when I'm considering going to a conference or workshop because she is committed to professional development.  She has gone to several conferences with me, sharing the costs of hotels and taxis.  Long airplane and car rides provide plenty of time to share what we've learned at the conferences.

Conferences and Workshops

The next time you're at a conference or workshop, search out teachers with common interests.  Not only can you form new friendships, but it'll give you additional opportunities to learn from others in a more relaxed atmosphere. This week I had a long phone conversation with Marta, a Spanish teacher from WI that I met at my last conference, in which we discussed how we were implementing TPRS in our instruction. I look forward to future conversations on our progress with TPRS in the classroom.   

Forums: moretprs and flteach

Moretprs is a forum specifically for teachers using TPRS. Some members have over a decade of experience using TPRS, many of them national and international presenters, and they frequently respond to newer teachers' questions either on the forum or through direct emails.  I recently discovered the flteach listserve (not TPRS specific), another valuable source.


A colleague of mine once said that she doesn't have Twitter because she doesn't have a smartphone.  Don't let that hold you back from building your PLN on Twitter.  Many times I access Twitter through my smartphone, but at night when I'm home on the laptop, I use Twitter the most.  My favorite hashtags are: #spanishteachers #langchat & #flteach. I've made numerous contacts and discovered useful links to sites, resources and ready-to-go lessons.   Many educators on Twitter have their website listed in their profile, which leads you to more information that they have freely shared.


Edmodo is another PLN builder. I belong to several groups relating to Spanish, iPads, and other categories.  It only takes a few minutes of browsing through the posts or teacher-made folders, and I have new materials that I can use to compliment my lessons.  The Spanish group is a good platform to pose questions to other Spanish teachers.

 One important thing to remember, don't limit your PLN to teachers in your field or at your level. I've gleaned valuable information from educators in different fields.  So how about you, are your enjoying the benefits of a PLN?  If not, what are you waiting on?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing Analysis

This year I started something new related to the students' writing.  I used to collect their compositions, stories, or essays, then circle their mistakes along with a code so they knew what the problem was.  For example, if they wrote "los vacas pequeñas", I would circle the word "los" and put "ag" next to it, which stood for "agreement".  In this way students knew that they made an error with agreement.  The students rewrote the writing piece with the corrections and submitted it again for a higher grade.

The problem with this practice is that It Did Not Improve Their Writing!  I found myself circling the same mistakes with each new writing that they submitted.  I was spending a lot of time finding the errors, circling them, coding them, and then rechecking their papers when they were resubmitted, but all that time and energy wasn't helping the students to become better writers.

Instead of investing time that leads to no positive results, I changed my approach on writing.  This year, the emphasis is on how much they can write AFTER they have had a lengthy amount of comprehensible input.  Many times I've heard the experienced CI teachers say, when the students no longer feel pressured to concentrate on the grammar, but rather focus on writing their thoughts, they write more and what they write is better grammatically.  But, it depends on comprehensible input before the writing activity... a LOT of comprehensible input.  As Bryce Hedstrom once mentioned Input Output. Input, Input, Input, Input, Input, Input, Input, Input, Input, etc = Output.

To date this school year, my Spanish 2 students completed two writing activities that were handed in.  For these beginning writings, I didn't count the number of words.  I did a "writing analysis" on the students' work to help me know what areas I need to focus more on during the instruction.  For the writing analysis pictured above, I chose several structures and verbs that were used in the stories or the questioning and then looked for only those errors in the students' papers.  This took much less time because I didn't physically circle the errors, just glance over the writing and make tally marks on the chart.  On this analysis, it's clear that there are several verbs that I need to recycle into this week's input.  The estar + ando/iendo doesn't surprise me because they only touched on that at the end of Spanish 1.  And, of course, ser vs estar was the next problem, but the number of errors for the amount of writing they did didn't cause too much alarm.  It appears as if I'll need to include sentences that include these structures in the next few stories.  

I don't plan on doing a writing analysis each time the students hand in a writing assignment.  However, I will do it from time to time to make sure I am including more practice in the areas that show up as weaknesses.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Using Videos of Children's Stories

As I was searching through the large collection of Spanish videos on Discovery Education, I found the video "Clic Clac Muu, Vacas Escritoras".  Since I live on a dairy farm it caught my attention so I watched it.  It's a funny story, with cute animations and, best of all, the narrator speaks very clearly.  I used this video with my Sp4 class. (update: The video USED to be available on YouTube, but when I checked it today, March 2013, I found out it is no longer available.  Maybe it will be reloaded onto youtube in the future.)

Suggestions for preparing students for the video:
1. Several days before showing the video, pull out vocabulary from the video that you think the students either don't know or need to review. 

 My goal was for them to understand the entire narration.  Some of the vocabulary and phrases I chose were: no habrá, ¿Quién ha oído semejante cosa?, una huelga, la manta, desde afuera, no podía creer lo que oía, and le entregó.

2. If you spend the first day of the school week talking about your weekend, choose 3 of the above words/phrases and make comments or questions using those words. As you use them, write them on the board for students to see. It's a sneaky way to introduce new vocabulary, but it works. I chose the phrase "¿Quién ha oído semejante cosa" and used it after a student said something about their weekend. The students picked up on this expression and I heard them saying it voluntarily the day I repeatedly said it in reaction to the what the students said about their weekends, as well as the following day.

3. Cut out an article from a newspaper but don't let them see the title.  It can be about anything. Then act as if you're telling them a news story, but really it's "fake news" to introduce new vocabulary. My "fake news" was about workers at a plant that went on strike and the neighbors brought them blankets at night to keep warm.

4. Let the students create a story using several new vocabulary words.  

By Friday my students knew the new vocabulary and were ready for the movie.

Suggestions for the movie:
1. Watch the movie, then Q&A about the events.
2. Pull out several screenshots from the movie before watching it and let students guess/describe what happens and order the screenshots.
3. Tell the story with the collage and then show the movie.
4. After watching the movie, project the collage on a whiteboard.  Write numbers or letters for each picture frame. The teacher says a sentence or two about one of the pictures on the collage and students identify which one it is.
5. Use the collage of Las Notas and put them in order.
6. Print out a few copies of Las Notas collage and then project the other collage on the whiteboard.  Students identify in what part of the story each of the notes belong.
7. Type a summary of the story, (or use my summary).  Upload the summary to Textivate and choose the option that breaks the story into 8, 10, or more sections.  Students put the sentences in order.  Works great with a smart projector or smartboard. 
8. Go to Michigan's CLEAR site and make a Cloze activity.  (Textivate will automatically do this for you and save you time, but you cannot chose which words it replaces with a blank so it's not as useful as an activity as ones you can make at Michigan's site.)
9. If students haven't heard the story before (several of mine had), pause the video and ask what they think will happen next; discuss.

Homework: I uploaded screenshots to VoiceThread.  My students have to narrate 3 frames on VoiceThread in Spanish.  If another student has already made a narration for a frame, they may add another one for that frame as long as they don't repeat what the first person said. (I do not have the VoiceThread that I made for this linked because I told the students they are the only ones that have access to the thread, at least until they have finished with their narrations.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Debriefing after 4 days

My school finished the first four days of instruction on Thursday, August 30.  Since there was no school on Friday, my colleague asked if we could get together to debrief after 4 days.  We spent an afternoon discussing TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), the activities we used, what worked, what didn’t, asked for each others input and advice, and shared what we plan to do next week.  It was an energizing way to collaborate and reflect on our first few days of the school year and to support each other in our goal to improve our teaching for more student success.

My Spanish 1 and 2 lesson plans for the first four days revolved around personalization and getting to know the students.  I used the "Circling with Balls" technique described by Ben Slavic in his book "PQA in a Wink"  (but w/ construction paper and sketches).  In those classes and my Spanish 4 class, I made a conscious effort to practice some of the fundamentals of TPRS such as Signing/Gesturing and PQA (Personalized Questions and Answers).  With the focus on learning to know more about the students through PQA, it has been my best start of the year to date!

This summer I also read another book by Ben Slavic titled "TPRS in a Year". The book describes 49 TPRS skills.  The skills that I practiced this week are explained below.  (The number in parenthesis is the number of the skill in the book.) 

1.   SLOW (#6) There’s no way to successfully teach a new language without going slowly.  I instructed my students to swipe their hand over their head when they didn’t understand something.  In the past I had them place their hand on their desk, palm up, and place the other hand on top of the palm in a fist.  The old way was less obvious which was a problem for me. The hand swipe over the head catches my attention every time.

I’ve read many times that we have to go SLOW and I experienced the need to go slow from the student’s perspective when I was in Linda Li’s Chinese class this summer at NTPRS, but seeing all the hand swipes in the last four days from my students cemented in my thinking the need to go SLOW.  If there is one student in the class that doesn’t understand, then I have failed to provide comprehensible input for the students.  It is easily remedied by going back, restating or repeating, and checking for comprehension.

2.   “What did I just say?” (#10)  I used this phrase multiple times in my classes this week.  First of all, it helps me SLOW down my instruction.  Secondly, it clears up any possible confusion that students may have.  Most times I ask the question to the whole class, but sometimes when I’m looking the students in the eyes and I know which students know the answer, I’ll call on an individual student to answer the question.

3.   Teaching to the eyes (#7) From my experience, “Teaching to the eyes” says to the student,  “I’m glad you’re in my class and I’m going to constantly check with you, and look your way, to make sure you understand what I’m saying.  You are important to me and at no time do I want you to feel lost or confused.”

On day 1, I explained to my students how crucial it was for them to look at me when I’m teaching, because I need to see their eyes to determine if they understood me.   I can’t do my job well unless I am able to pace the lesson according to their needs.  That information and assessment comes first from their eyes, and if I misjudge their comprehension, the hand swipe over the head is the safety net. 

“Teaching to the eyes” does not come naturally for me.  In my first year of teaching, at a middle school, the high school department chair came to observe me and asked me if there was anything I wanted her to look for.  I asked her to watch to see if I was looking at the students or above the students’ heads.  In the last few years as I read more about TPRS, it’s clear that “teaching to the eyes” is essential for teachers to know if they’re providing comprehensible input.  I had a college professor that was excellent at this, and at times would watch to see how long it would take from one glance directly at me until the second glance – it was never more than a minute of two.  This strategy will be one of my main focuses this year because I have seen the value each time I consciously do it.

4.   Point and Pause! (#4)  I posted the question words with their English translations at the front of the room and wrote all new words with their translations on the board.  As I used those words in PQA and in circling, I forced myself to point at the word, pause to give students’ minds time to recognize the words, and then continued.  After a few times this skill became almost second nature.  If your focus is on making everything comprehensible, it seems only natural to point at the words written on the board to ensure the students understand and pausing to give them the time they need to make the connection. As they acquire the words, the need to point at the acquired words will disappear, and then I can continue to point and pause at new words.

My goal is to focus on one or two new skills each week.  Next week’s skill is #9: Barometer student. I’ll also be asking stories next week, (the Sp1 and Sp2 classes this week were mostly PQA and TPR) which will encompass many of the “step two skills”, but the Barometer student skill is the one that I'm pinpointing to improve.

If you haven't read Ben Slavic's two books mentioned above, I strongly recommend them to give you a thorough understanding of the skills and techniques.

Best wishes for a successful and enjoyable week of teaching whether you’re also in your 2nd week or your 1st, 3rd, 4th, etc. week!