Monday, October 13, 2014

What's Working

I made it through my first six weeks of teaching with TPRS. I'm loving it! It is definitely a learning experience. I've struggled with my lower elementary classes. We have good days and I have had many lessons I've had to change, but the students and I will figure it out eventually. Upper elementary is going great! Many of the students are more engaged and I am much closer to 90% TL than I ever was in the past. In this post, I wanted to share what is working and some areas that I could use suggestions.

What's Working

  • Rules: For lower elementary, I borrowed my rules from Kristel Saxon (@KristelSaxon). We say the in English, then in Spanish. Eventually I will take away the English. I have noticed better behavior now that we say the rules ever class. I never did that in the past. I'm trying to be better about consistency and procedures this year. The rules are:
    • Speak in Spanish.
    • Raise your hand.
    • No touching.
    • Be respectful.
    • Listen.
  • Partner Talk: I taught all grades a few greetings and to ask, "How are you?" I have them greet 3-5 people in the beginning of class. Eventually, when they know more structures, I am going to ask them to have more conversations. I using greetings so they get used to the routine.
  • Oso: I played Oso (Bear) with upper elementary to practice "se llama". A student holds a teddy bear and stands in the middle of a circle of students. I start the game by saying, "Se llama _____." Oso tries to tag that student before he/she can say, "Se llama _____." If the student is tagged, he/she is the next oso. I learned how to play Oso at the NTPRS conference from Leslie  Davison (@lesliedavison). You can play with any vocabulary.
  • Circling: Circling is going really well with upper elementary. The three structures we are practicing are se llama, le gusta, and tiene. I let students choose character names. After the story, we create story boards together. I haven't had students do retells yet, but we have played games like the flyswatter game and students can very easily pick out each picture when described in Spanish. Retells will begin during my next rotation. Here is the story I used:
    • La chica se llama ______. El chico se llama ________. La chica le gusta pastel. El chico le gusta lechuga. Hay un problema. La chica tiene lechuga. No le gusta lechuga. El chico tiene pastel. No le gusta paste. El chico le da el pastel a la chica. La chica no le da la lechuga al chico. El chico llora.

Help please!

  • Circling with Kindergarten: I've been searching Blogs and Twitter and it seems like this is a common problem. I try to use puppets or have lots of students involved. I keep the vocabulary very simple. I don't add any words we have not already practiced. I have them use hand signals and movements to answer questions instead of shouting out. I only circle for five minutes at a time, some times less if they're really antsy. They just don't seem engaged.
  • Reluctant Students: While most of the students are engaged, I have a few that choose not to participate. I try different activities and I usually have the same response. I can't force them to learn. The is especially a problem in upper elementary.
  • Games: I have a few games that the students really like, but I could use more ideas. Many games I find in blogs are for high school or for students with more vocabulary. My students only have three structures right now and not much extra vocabulary.

I hope you find something useful and I appreciate any suggestions you can offer.