I decided to play around with One Word TPRS in some of my classes today. I discovered a couple of things. First, when you start with a noun, don’t say “Hay un ____” [there is a ____]. The reason is that later when you ask how many of the noun there is/are they will always say one. And they should because you just established that there was only one.
Second, maybe it is best to wait a little bit of time before you go into One Word TPRS because it is important to build the trust and the base rules of the class. If you do it too soon, the students have not really learned how to participate in your class and you may invite confusion — especially if you “forget an answer.”
Third, make sure that the students are driving the identity of the noun. If the teacher is deciding the identity too much then the students do not have as much ownership of the noun and it is not as personalized.
It amazes me how quickly class goes. It used to go fast before, but now it really flies. The great thing is that I have so much that I can do and I haven’t even been moving that fast through circling with sports balls. I think that I may be spending too much time on it, but the kids are doing so well and coming up with such interesting details. I am looking forward to getting into the stories. This has been a good training time for all of my classes (as well as me) and I am curious to see how it will develop.
At first when I started teaching, I thought that I was messing kids up because I was not following the school curriculum. At times, I felt like my students were getting behind and in some ways they were, but at least they were actually learning Spanish.
Now, I don’t feel like my kids are behind at all. They are acquiring the language faster than I have ever seen, under my teaching. They aren’t falling behind, but they are being enabled to use the language and it is pretty exciting to experience!
Today I had my students do the first chart of my wall charts. Since they are level 2 kids, they should know a lot of it already, right? It was simple vocabulary, but they could not remember most of the words. So, I am going to go through the words with them. I will be curious to see if they get it faster than my 8th graders who are pretty sharp.
It was a reminder to me that even when students experience a good tool box teacher, they do not acquire the language as well. I hope that my students will be able to acquire the language even while I am still trying to figure this all out. I think they will.
I had a student freak out a little today when I told her that we are not taking notes in class. I knew that she was concerned because she was used to the old system of cramming in order to get a grade that doesn’t correctly reflect the actual acquisition. I know that she will be okay, but she was one of the students that had a tendency to space off in class. This is probably due to the fact that she is a visual learner and therefore needs to be taking notes.
Although I know that the class will be a challenge for her, I am not about to give up the aural acquisition that she needs. It will be an adjustment I will try to do everything I can to make sure that she is staying in-bounds. I know that if the students are in-bounds, they are acquiring the language.
I told my classes that I have unannounced quizzes, but I don’t think that all of them believed me. I am curious to see how this will change how much some of them pay attention and I realize that I need to enforce this rule more on this rule more. I know that I will have to make some parent phone calls to keep to motivate them a little more. I am happy that this school has such supportive parents and I wonder how the phone calls will go.
I have discovered that it is essential that a language is personalized. As soon as I start talking about something that they are not interested in I begin to loose them. When I add a new detail, it sparks the interest again. I need get better at circling so that I don’t loose the kids while I am circling. I understand, though, that this is a process.