Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reading to Students - Part 2

I read the first 3 chapters of Brandon Brown quiere un perro to my Spanish 2 classes during the first week of school. (see earlier post "Reading to Students" for information on how I read the first 3 chapters of the book).

After a four-day weekend due to Labor Day, I wanted to review the events in Chapter 3 before continuing with the next chapter with the following activity.

Chapter 3 
I organized sketches of the main events of chapter 3. The easiest way to do this if you do not want to make the sketches is one day before this activity give the following slips of paper to 9 of your students. (Hint: Use a standard piece of copy paper and divide it evenly into 9 squares - like a tic tac toe board; then when you piece it together again, you won't have to resize the sketches to fit onto one paper.) Write the following sentences in the TL and give them to students, or in English if you think that is needed.
-  Brandon says goodbye to his mother and leaves on his bicycle
-  Brandon sees Jake and his dog outside of Jake's house
-  Brandon and Jake leave Jake's house on their bikes
-  There are many people and dogs in the park.
-  A little dog passes in front of Brandon and Jake on their bikes.
-  Brandon picks up the little dog and talks to it.
-  Brandon picks up the dog and rides to his house with the dog.
-  Brandon enters the house with the dog.
-  Brandon is in the bedroom with his dog and he is happy.

Collect the sketches and tape them together but NOT in the correct order that they appear in the book. Write a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i on each of the sketches.
Write sentences in Spanish that will match each of the sketches.

The following day, project the sketches onto the board with a document camera (or copy a sheet for each student). Talk about the sketches, especially if the students' artwork may not be as clear as you would like. Describe a sketch and students say which sketch you described.

Then hand a reading review sheet on chapter 3 and let the students work in groups of 3 to complete the review.  Below are my instructions and the first few sentences of my worksheet.

I went over the answers on the left first, followed by the answers on the right. 

Chapter 4
I wrote the following words on a large piece of paper (white butcher paper):
se despierta, se hace muchos ruidos, se duerme, recoge, lleva, de nuevo, está nervioso, (la cama) está mojada, ve, tiene vergüenza, observa, cierra
Together the students and I decided on a motion for each of the words and then we practiced them TPR style, adding a new word after I felt each word and motion was solid.

Then the students formed a circle with their chairs and I asked for 2 volunteers for each word.  I instructed them to stand up and do the motion when they heard the word(s) while I was reading Chapter 4. I used the document camera when reading chapter 4 so students could follow along as I read and both listen and look for the word so they could do their motions. The reading kept the class engaged and they even helped out their classmates if I paused after a word and the students assigned didn't hear or read it right away.

After the reading, I distributed a paper with questions and multiple choice answers to review what they read.  

An example of questions on my handout is:

1. ¿Quién se duerme rápidamente?     Brandon       el perrito       Brandon y el perrito

2.  ¿Cuándo se despierta Brandon?      a las 7           a las 6             as las 5

The multiple choice questions gave them reading practice to go along with the verbal input they have been receiving on the book. 

Chapter 5
I chose the following structures to practice from chapter 5. I put the verbs in the past tense since I am slowly adding past tense into our warm-up discussions.

se llamaba ______
vivía solo en una fortaleza
quería comer con 

I story-asked a story about a boy that lived alone in a fortress that wanted to go out to eat with someone. I had a powerpoint to go along with the story to rule out who the boy did not want to eat with, which included capitán Crunch and el presidente, in order to have them become familiar with those cognates that are used in chapter 5. The powerpoint also had places where the boy did or didn't want to eat with the other person. 

Because the vocabulary was introduced with the past tense, I wanted to make sure the students got an abundance of reps of the past tense, therefore we didn't have time to read any part of Chapter 5. We'll continue with that tomorrow.


  1. This is great. I plan on reading Brandon Brown quiere un perro to my level 2, 3, and 4 Spanish classes. Thank you for the useful resources.

    1. This book should not be used for levels 2,3,4 Spanish. It is WAY too easy. It is a first semester level 1 book.

    2. Hi Natalia,
      Thank you for leaving a comment!
      Each teacher will need to assess their own situations and classes and students before in deciding which books to use at which level. I have many colleagues throughout US that use some novels at lower levels than what I use them and others that use novels at higher levels than what I use them. It depends on each situation.
      When deciding which novel to use at which level and HOW it is used at that level may depend on:
      1. Are reading it or listening to it? Most students find it easier to understand a text that is read to them if they are also following along and silently reading it as it is being read, especially for students at the novice level.

      2. # of instructional hours in previous level, in this case, in Spanish 1. If they have had less than 100 hours, than they are at a different place than students with 125 (25% more hours) or more hours. When you read that teachers use a certain novel at a certain level, keep in mind that different schools have different schedules. I know of one school that has 150 instructional hours per level - I would love that!!! How cool! I want that! My students have less than 100 hours per level.

      3. The Spanish 1 experience: In 2013, not all the teachers at my school were using CI and TPRS in the classroom. The students that came from a CI /TPRS classroom were able to listen and comprehend without problems, but the students from the more "traditional" class, were not as comfortable.

      4. As I mentioned in the blog post, I used it in the first few weeks of school. I did that for several purposes: 1) I only had one copy that I had bought that summer, 2) I wanted to use the book to help me assess what the students were comfortable with and how much they understood, 3) I wanted to use it as a "review" of Spanish 1 material and start out the year in a very positive manner. And it worked!!!!

      I have several copies of the book in my room for SSR so I no longer read it to my students in Spanish 2. The number of novels have increased tremendously and there is a huge selection. It's wonderful that teachers can find books to not only suit the level of their students, but to also fit their interests!! Thank you to the writers and publishers that make that possible. :-)

      C. Hitz

    3. I forgot to mention, that some teachers think their students understand more than what they actually do. That, in itself, is worthy of several blog posts. :-)

  2. I love this idea, especially for my classes with an abundance of 14-15 yr old buts, who need to move around from time to time in order to stay focused. However, I'm a bit confused on you explanation of activity prep. Can you clarify the part about the copy paper and the nine squares, please? Does each student receive one square on which to draw an image of the sentence, to then be placed in the proper order? Thank you.

    1. In the end, you want to have 9 sketches that will fit onto one 8 1/2 x 11" paper. The easiest way I found to do this is to only give students 1/9 of the paper (from a paper that was evenly divided into 9 squares when folded and then cut apart). The 9 students will get one small square of paper and 1 sentence. They sketch the sentence on the small paper and hand it back to you. Then you can tape it back together but in a different order. If you give them a bigger piece of paper, then you will have extra work to shrink it down to the correct size - that is extra work you want to avoid.