Saturday, December 15, 2012

Freeze Frame to Re-enact the Story

Last week was rough physically.  I was out the first two days due to the flu and pushed too hard to return to the classroom again on Wednesday. Because I rushed to return, Wednesday I didn't have the energy needed to lead a new story with TPRS.  So for my second day back, I felt like I had three days to make-up and in Spanish 1, we blew it out of the water!

There were two things that I felt I had to do to try to get back on track: 1) move to the next episode in the "Cuentos de Ensalada" story, and 2) introduce 3 new structures/vocabulary words in a new through TPRS.

Episode 7 (photo from 2011)
First, I reviewed the last information we knew about "Teresa and Tomás" and then I taught episode 7 from "Cuentos de Ensalada" with the surprise crime scene in the park.  I distributed a copy of the episode and I read several paragraphs in Spanish and then students worked in small groups to translate it to English. When they read it in English, I eavesdropped on several groups and was pleased to hear ALL groups reading through it without any major problems.

Immediately following the reading, I had new structures on the board for them to copy in their notebooks and added the English meanings.  Some we had actually had before, but it was a good time to review.  The structures were:  
- tropieza = s/he trips
- se cae = s/he falls
- es torpe = s/he is clumsy
- derrama = s/he spills

The story was about one of the students in the class that works as a waitress/waiter but is clumsy.  A famous person enters the restaurant, orders soup, which the clumsy waittress/waiter delivers to the table but unfortunately trips, spills the soup on the famous person, and then falls down.  The famous person is quite angry, stands up and leaves the restaurant.  

I started the story without any actors, but quickly added student actors when I saw the student interest.  The class enjoyed hearing the story from beginning to end with the actors.  That alone would have keep their interest, but I had one more activity for them - FREEZE FRAME, an activity that I learned from Carol Gaab's session at ACTFL.

In the first Spanish 1 class of the day, there were 3 parts so I put students in groups of 3 and they decided which person they would portray.  Then the groups spread out through the room and as I told the story, I paused at times to say FREEZE FRAME, and they froze their actions.  They needed no encouragement whatsoever to get into their roles.  The 2nd Spanish 1 class only had two roles and after a few practices, they were just as creative and imaginative with their poses as the first Spanish 1 class.  The best part was their laughter and enjoyment of the activity.  Of course, the fact that they followed along as I retold the story without any problems made the activity "worthy".  

It was two out of the ballpark homeruns in one class period - twice.  Yesterday's frustration is a dull memory. 



  1. Is the "Cuentos de Ensalada" story still available for purchase? I cna't find it anywhere online but would love to introduce it to my Spanish 1 class!

  2. I don't think it is available. Years ago I contacted the author, Stephanie Campbell, at and she responded. She may still be able to reach her at that email and if so, maybe she will know how/where you can find the material.
    The website may also have some ideas for where to find it.
    I have checked on e-bay from time to time to see if it is available out of curiosity to see if teachers have that option to find it and I have never been successful in finding it.