Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Using CI to Make Comparisons

When I taught straight from a textbook, there was always a lesson on making comparisons.  I think one was called "Making Comparisons of Inequality". Now that I teach with Comprehensible Input, I include comparisons in conversation using a powerpoint slide of famous people. Not only is this approach interesting, but it is easy and requires little preparation work on the teacher's part.  

Teacher prep before class:
1. Create a powerpoint slide with photos of  famous women.  I have a slide with photos of Beyoncé, Betty White, Adele, Dakota Fanning, Ophrah Winfrey, and Michele Obama.

In class:
2. Ask students the names of the 6 people. Allow time for this part of the conversation to be flexible. For example, I provide extra input by asking students if they know someone else that is named "Betty". That can lead to what names do you think of when you think of an older person? (maybe Mabel, Henry, Elliott, Beatriz, etc)

3.  Make comparisons of the people on the board.  I began with asking students ¿Adele canta mejor que Beyoncé or Beyoncé canta mejor que Adele?  ¿Quién tiene más años, Beyoncé o Dakota Fanning? ¿Oprah Winfrey es más famosa que Michele Obama o Michele Obama es más famosa que Oprah? ¿Quién es más atractiva, Beyoncé o Betty White?
One student in the class captured everyone's attention when he said Betty es más atractiva que Beyoncé. Perfect! I stopped asking questions to the entire class and then focused on that one student. The student continued to play along and through that time period we learned that Betty White is more attractive than Beyoncé; that Betty White canta mejor que Beyoncé, that Betty White tiene más amigas que Ophra Winfrey...basically, anything or anyone that I compare Betty to, Betty always came out on top.

4. Lastly, distribute small squares of paper and tell students to write:
  1. the name of a famous person
  2.  the name of a student in the classroom

In having the students write 2 names on the paper, my plan was to...

5. Compare the names of famous people to each other and then compare two students to each other. However, the first card I pulled from the pile was Donald Trump and the name of a boy in class. The name Donald Trump produced good engagement and listening behaviors from the students so I stuck with those two names, and, of course, one thing we compared was hair. After I asked several comparison questions, I asked the students to talk to a partner and think of another comparison.

We continued with several other papers with names Larry the Cable Guy and Kim Kardashian. I always made sure that if we used the words inteligente, fuerte, guapa, my students ALWAYS had better traits than the celebrities.  

I like to include comparisons in class stories, but I did this activity after a quiz in a way to engage the students and give them a lot of reps of comparisons through talking about people they knew.   


  1. Thank you for posting this idea! we are working on a chapter where this topic is awkwardly covered and I had no idea of how to teach it using ci. You rock! :)

  2. Love some of your ideas here. As a undergrad about to start student teaching this has been a helpful post.

    1. I'm glad to hear it was helpful, Linda.
      I hope your student teaching goes well. :-)