It’s Changed!


Recently I stumbled across a Spanish textbook for 3rd grade and I found some interesting ideas for story activities. In this activity, students get into a group and read a story. Then the teacher reads the story aloud. While reading, the teacher intentionally changes details in the story. You could change a character, the setting, an object, or a situation. The students have to pay attention to the story retell and call out “¡Está cambiado!” when the teacher says a detail that is different from the original version. Then they have to say what the change was and describe how the original version of the story differs. I think it would be fun to make this a competition and play it with individual or team whiteboards. I would give a point to the team or teams that call out “¡Está cambiado!” first. Then I would give a point to any team that can rewrite the part of the story that was changed so that it matches the original version of the story. They could even copy the original phrase directly out of the reading if you let them have it in front of them during the retell. This way they are getting additional input by having to re-read the original version over and over. I definitely plan on testing out this activity with my class and I will update you with you it goes when I do!

Source: Español, 3er grado, p. 113

French Animated Clips

This website has a great selection of French animated video clips. Each animated story is about 10 minutes long and are narrated in French. You can even find the story of the Hockey Sweater here, or “Le chandail”: “Ce court métrage d’animation ressuscite l’époque des années 1940, où tous les jeunes étaient subjugués par leur idole, Maurice Richard. L’écrivain Roch Carrier n’y échappa point et il nous livre ici, avec humour et nostalgie, les impressions et les sentiments d’une enfance empreinte des modèles du temps.”

Silent Acting

A new blog post by Cynthia Hitz describes an interesting activity idea to encourage a second reading of a text. This would work with a novel or a reading from a class story. First get a couple of actors up at the front of the class. Put other students in groups of 2 or 3. Choose selected sentences (8-10 would be a good number, depending on the length of the text) and have the students at the front act out one sentence at a time. The catch is, they cannot talk or use any props. After they have acted out the sentence, have the other students work in their groups to find the exact sentence that was acted out. One of the students in the group must write down the sentence that they think was acted out on a piece of paper or on the board. After a minute or two, they show their sentences and receive a point if they wrote the correct sentence down.

Source: Cynthia Hitz, Teaching Spanish with Comprehensible Input

Highlighter Race

Another great idea that comes from Carrie Toth (@senoraCMT) via Kristy Placido (@placido) on Twitter. These two ladies always have wonderful ideas to share with the rest of the TPRS world and I highly recommend following them on Twitter! Basically for this game, two students sit together with 1 copy of some song lyrics. The part that is different than usual, is that the song lyrics have been put through Wordle. Wordle is a tool for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source. Below is an example one I made from the song “Je te donne” by Leslie et Ivyrise. You can choose to have common French words removed, but because this particular song has words in English as well, I chose to have the common English words removed instead – that’s why you see words like “te”, “que” and “et” still. Once you have the song lyrics in Wordle format, the 2 students race to highlight the words as they occur in the song. Each student uses a different colour highlighter so that they can see who “wins”.

Source: Carrie Toth, Twitter

Wordle: Leslie et Ivyrise - Je te donne

Look and Discuss

This is a new idea from Ben Slavic’s PLC called Look and Discuss. I think it sounds great and can’t wait to try it out in my class! See the steps below:

  • Go to The Big Picture –, Google Images, or somewhere like that. Pick out an image that contains some vocabulary that you would like to teach your kids.
  • Frontload the discussion with that vocabulary, establishing meaning in the same way that we set up stories in the first part of PQA. Offer no more than four new structures. Too many structures and you lose the kids. We always limit vocabulary and offer tons of properly spoken language (grammar) to our kids.
  • Discuss the picture in the TL, using the targeted structures.
  • Be happy if you only get five sentences all built around the few words you started with done in twenty minutes of slow circling. You will see something happen – there will be crystal clear comprehensible input happening all over the classroom.
  • With ten or fifteen minutes left in class, ask the kids to write what they can remember from the discussion. They can refer to the words on the board and the other posters you may have up in your classroom to help them write.
  • If time allows, put a few writing samples from what the kids just wrote up on the board for general classroom discussion. Do not correct the grammar.
  • Collect what the kids wrote. Use them as a grade if you want or toss them. Remember that you don’t have to grade everything that you collect.

Source: Ben Slavic, Ben Slavic’s PLC