Showing What We Read

Wow! Capítulo 6 is now one of my all-time favorite chapters to act out in a tprs reading class!

I began by writing three things on the board that we were going to do today:

  1. Leo Capítulo 6 en voz alta y ustedes escuchan. (I read Ch. 6 aloud and you listen.)
  2. Leo Capítulo 6 en voz alta y ustedes escuchan y actuan. (I read Ch. 6 aloud and you listen and act.)
  3. Leo Capítulo 6 en voz alta mientras ustedes leen también. (I read Ch. 6 aloud and you read, too.)
  4. With any left over time, we would summarize in English.

I told them that when we finished each part, I would do a 10-finger comprehension check. They were to hold up the number of fingers that indicated their level of understanding.

  • 0 = Is the teacher speaking Greek or something?
  • 5 = I understood about 1/2 of what she said.
  • 8 = I understood it pretty well. A few things were difficult.
  • 10 = I understood everything she said.
  • Of course, they could choose any number in between which matched their sense of their own comprehension.

In short, this chapter is where the romantic rubber finally hits the road. Mario (one of the secret agents) and Paula (the investigator hired by Luis’ father) meet, become infatuated with each other, and get a little bedazzled much to the chagrin of their friends.

Reading #1:

Before I began, I asked them what they thought they should do as I read. After the first few “obvio” answers (listen, pay attention, etc.), one student said, “We should make a movie in our heads.” Another one added on, “Yes, like we’re in a theater and we are watching it.” I pounced on those answers and wrote them up on the board. During the first reading, I made certain to:

  • go very slowly,
  • read with expression,
  • stop and ask occasional questions for clarification when I thought I might lose them
  • do some grammar pop-up questions to help clarify word meaning: What does the “n” on van mean? What does “son” mean in “Paula y Luis son de Barcelona.”? If I wanted to say “He is from Barcelona”, how would I do that?, etc.

There were many chuckles, snorts, eye rolls, and other clues that many kids gave me as I was reading which told me they had very good comprehension of what was going on. The chapter is romantically juicy and that really hooked them in–full of short, rich dialogue. Comprehension Check #1: = 7-10 fingers all around

Reading #2

I chose four actors from the class box. I told them they had to really get into the parts and since they had already heard the chapter once, they knew what they were in for. All four ran to the front of the room. I have very strict rules about acting:

  1. Speak English, lose your job.
  2. Only do what the text tells you to do.
  3. Don’t distract.
  4. No one may make fun of an actor.

Well, in both classes, the actors had me on the floor laughing. I read the chapter with grand expression, exaggerated voice, and much gesturing. Right after I would say a piece of dialogue, the actor would repeat it–imitating me. If they weren’t expressive enough, the class would yell for them to do it over. That is always fun! By the time we finished Reading #2, our ribs hurt. The actors got more and more into their parts. Right at the end of the chapter, the mean, ugly secret agent, Javier, asks Mario, the handsome, nice secret agent, whether he was able to take the pictures Javier wanted. Mario responds affirmatively, saying, “Yes, I took pictures of Paula–lots of pictures of Paula.” Javier is enraged and screams, “No, not pictures of Paula, pictures of the investigation!” The actor playing Javier was on his knees, arms in the air, fists curled, face grimacing, and yelling the dialogue. The class roared. We had so much fun. I don’t think any of them were aware that it was all happening in a foreign language. I included the rest of the class by having them gesture new vocabulary. For instance, in one part of Chapter 6, Paula looks over the city of Barcelona and compares what she sees to things she had seen in her imagination in Paris. When I said, “costa”, they all made “coast” gestures. When I said, “el centro”, they made shapes of buildings. When I said, “catedrales”, they made cathedral shape/gestures—and on and on. They actually like it. Who knew? Comprehension Check #2 = Everyone held up 10 fingers.

Reading #3

I put the book up on the Elmo and read. The kids read and translated away as though I were speaking in English. We raced through it–super easy! Comprehension Check #3 = all but unnecessary

Great reading day!

4 thoughts on “Showing What We Read

  1. I am considering dividing the class into groups of four today, having them choose roles, reading the chapter AGAIN to them, and having them act it out. This will definitely work for this age group (11/12/13). I worry about not moving on quickly. What I believe I should really be thinking about is them not getting enough CI. They enjoyed this chapter so much; I think I’ll go with it.

  2. I hear you when you worry about moving on quickly, but it’s such a slippery slope. Love the idea of continuing to engage with them on something they love.

  3. Hi Judy
    Long time. I love your blog. I am planning on reading Pirates with my 9th and 10th graders. Do you think that I should begin with Los Agentes for this age group? They had Spanish with me last year. I see them 3 days a week for 50 minutes.

    1. Hi Anu-so nice to hear from you!! Yes, go ahead and skip Agentes Secretos. If your students have been with you since last year, they should be able to read Piratas without a problem. Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

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