Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tally Counters

Have you ever asked your students to tally how many times you saw a targeted word or structure during a class period? If you're like me, you overestimate (greatly), how many times you use a structure during the class period.

This semester I ordered three tally counters from Amazon and when they arrived last week, I put them to use immediately, and I LIKE THEM. 

Why? I like them because I can hear the click each time the student presses the clicker. When students used to keep tally marks with paper and pencil, I didn't know if they were recording all the times I said the word. Now I can hear it and so can the other students. Sometimes I've seen the person next to the tally counter nudge him (or her) and tell him that he missed clicking the button. 

The photo above shows the tally marks for today's story with the structures:
sube al taxi; contesta; baja del taxi. I was aiming for 50 or more for the class period and I fell short on all three structures.  :-)

The tally counters are an eye-opener. I always think I've said the words more times that what I actually do.  That's exactly why I suggest to those teaching with TPRS, or TCI, that are aiming for a high number of reps should assign a student to tally the # of repetitions of the target structures. 

Tally counter is one of the jobs for my students this semester and since I introduced the new tally counters, I have no problem finding volunteers for the job.


  1. I started using tally counters in the first quarter this year, but I became discouraged because I had read somewhere that it is ideal to shoot for some 80 repetitions per structure. I barely reached 40 per structure on a good day. I stopped being consistent with them, but I want to try it again with a new personal expectation. My goal is 80 reps for the 3-4 days that I spend on the story, including the PQA and follow-up reading. That seems more doable to me. I really do feel that it will be a valuable tool for consistency.

    1. A goal of 80 reps over several days is a good option, in my opinion. I only ask the students to count the reps on the first day when we create the story and complete other activities. I'm hoping that in the next 2 days after the story, I will have hit 80 reps. Using the reps was a real eye opener for me.