As per Mira’s great suggestions:
I started class by writing on board:
- Ustedes van a leer el Capítulo 6.
- Ustedes van a buscar su frase preferida del diálogo en Cap. 6. (I could have had them choose anything from the chapter, but decided to stick to dialogue only–worked great)
- Ustedes van a escribir la frase en español en un papelito.
I made sure to help them carefully examine the instructions, making certain that my lowest kids understood them.
We have worked on “ellos/ellas” + verb for a long time. Recently, I added “ustedes” to the mix. So, now I ask questions like these:
- ¿Qué quiere decir ustedes?
- What does the “n” mean?
- What does “va” mean?
- What does “van” mean?
- ¿Qué quiere decir ustedes van?
- ¿Qué quiere decir ustedes van a escribir? (van a jugar, van a celebrar, etc.)
- How would I say, “You (all) are going to eat pizza?”
I’ll have to ask these questions a gazillion times–a few at time everyday–just remembering to include this structure everyday and to park with it for a few minutes over a long period–months. SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE ACQUISITION RACE.
They started to read the chapter. I started to pass out the little slips of paper. What is the most important part of this exercise to a sixth grader? Yes, the color of the papelito, of course! I knew it would be, so I had several different colors–which, of course, meant that they asked for their preferred color en español as I walked by.
Given that we had done so much work on this chapter already, they swiftly and pretty carefully (I was watching) read through the chapter again. After they’d written their bits of dialogue on their papelitos, I told them to watch me. One of the things that I have learned, after setting up so many great activities in my life only to see them fail miserably upon execution, is this: Not only is it OK to model EXACTLY how an activity will look, it is VERY SMART. So, I walked over to a student’s desk, looked her in the eye, and in my most romantic voice delivered my favorite line from the chapter: Tus ojos son divinos. I prompted her to read hers to me while looking at me or at her paper (if she was a bit uncertain). I did it with two more people. Of course, as I expected, one of the kids had chosen my phrase. After I said mine to him, he came back with, “Tus ojos son divinos, también.”. Talk about good listening!
We did this for a very short time–about two or three minutes. I directed them to stand up, mill around to find partners, and to speak nothing but their lines. No English, no commentary. Very cute. When they all sat down, I asked in Spanish who had chosen which phrases and we counted. Just another way for them to hear the Spanish phrases one more time and personally connect to them. A student collected the papers and recyled them.
Then I told the class I wanted them to think of one word which they believed was the most important one or most powerful one–representing the chapter. They wrote it on another tiny square and put it into a hat in front of the room. Doing this is very different from just asking for the class to throw out words. It is anonymous. It is active. Everyone participates. There is less fear.
What great answers! Of course, #1 was: romance. Others: molesto, fotos, agentes, amor, and some others that I can’t remember now. I chose them one-by-one from the hat, asked who had written it, and asked them why they thought that. Not all kids could give extended answers in Spanish, but many could. All could say something intelligible in Spanish to defend their opinions.
All students reported that reading the chapter had been super-easy.
I started to show them pictures of Parque Güell today. Internet connection was sooooo slow, that it became painful. I’ll make a slideshow (with all of my extra time–ha) for another day.
With leftover time, they worked in their table pairs to start reading/translating Capítulo 7. I didn’t expect them to finish. Their homework assignment:
- Read Chapter 7
- Write down any unknown words with Page #
- Give themselves a “comprehension check” score: 0-5 on the chapter
Lots of español today. Lots of varied activity today. They listened, read, wrote, and spoke–and got a little culture, too. The hardest part was timing it all well. That’s the art of it all, isn’t it?