Friday, November 9, 2012

130+ repetitions of a new word + review

Student sketches as per my descriptions
 Q: How do you get a lot of repetitions from one word?  
A: Tell the students to draw it.

My Spanish 1 class is currently working on the 2nd chapter of stories in the Cuéntame Más series.  We did a story earlier this week with the words el cuervo, tiene miedo, and se esconde debajo de la cama (the crow, s/he is afraid, s/he hides under the bed). Yesterday I did PQA with the words detrás del cacto, sales de, and deja (behind the cactus, you leave, and s/he leaves...something/somewhere), but we never got to a story the kids gave me great feedback during the PQA sessionMany of the other words in chapter 2 the students already knew due to the previous 2 months of TPRS. However, they didn't know pájaro (bird).  I didn't really want to do another story since we got a lot of mileage out of the one earlier this week, and I didn't want another full class period of PQA

C - El pájaro negro corre tras el pájaro verde.

I realize that pájaro is not a high frequency word. Because of that, my goal was to be able to give a high number of repetitions of the word, but to have the students focus on more than that particular word (which is what TPRS usually does in storytelling). 

At the beginning of class, I gave each student a half sheet of paper, and a small paper with a description of a bird or what it was doing.  The students sketched the description. Then I put 3 or 4 sketches at a time under the document camera and started asking questions about them.  This turned out to be an unbelievably easy way to provide a high number of repetitions and it kept the students' attention because they were interested in seeing what their classmates drew. By the end of the activity I had 130+ reps, plus we had reviewed a lot of the vocabulary from previous stories.

Here are a few of the descriptions I gave to the students:
- a big bird talking to a wolf
- a little black bird running after a big green bird
- a bird wearing blue jeans
- a sad bird listening to music in his bed
- a yellow bird drinking Coca-Cola in a canoe
- a bird with big eyes
- two birds telling a "knock knock" joke to a big, angry snake
- two yellow birds, one big and one small, eating spaghetti
- a bird behind a cactus that is smiling
- 2 red birds hiding under a big bed         


  1. Do you give each student a different description to draw? This might inspire me to ask for the document camera back. Thanks!
    Kristin in Iowa

  2. Yes. I had a different description for each student. In the small class, I gave some students 2 descriptions.