First Day

This year I am starting out at yet another new school teaching Spanish to grades 5-8. I have come up with a new set of structures and a very basic story script that I will be using in all of my classes, as they have never had TPRS before. The structures that I have chosen to focus on are: se llama, tiene, and es. This will allow me to better assess the students’ individual levels before we move into the next story. I have backwards planned 4 different TPRS novels and hope to actually post some of my planning/resources this year, so check back again soon!

To start the year off, I had each of the students make name tags. I am teaching 10 different classes with 25-27 students in each class, so these will be necessary! I went over some of the basics of TPRS and then we launched into some PQA. I had one volunteer come up to the front and I started circling using the target structures. I used this as an opportunity to teach the class a few TPRS skills, like signaling when they don’t understand, saying “Ahhhh…”, and hitting the desk when I say “Es ridiculo!” When I ran out of things to say about the first student, I brought up another one to compare and contrast.

Some of the phrases I circled included:

  • Ella es una chica.
  • Se llama Jessica. (I suggested a few times that the volunteer was named Taylor Swift or some other celebrity and the students loved it. They seem to think it’s even funnier when it’s someone they don’t particularly like, like Justin Bieber.)
  • Jessica tiene dos hermanos. (I whispered with the student to find out and told the class the answer in Spanish. You could also ask the kids in Spanish if they had enough language ability to answer you. Whispering seems to make them more curious though.)
  • Jessica tiene un gato. (This was a fun one to contrast “tiene” with “es”. I asked “Jessica ES un gato?” and got lots of laughs.)
  • Jessica tiene pelo largo.
  • Jessica es atlética. (Once again, I got this information from the student.)

When I started talking about penguins and elephants, a few students naturally started making up fake pets. I encouraged this by asking them detailed questions about the colour, size, and name of these pets and then sharing the details with the class.

Our next class will involve more PQA and descriptions like those above, though I might let them start using my celebrity masks if they get bored hearing about each other. Eventually we will work our way up to asking a story based on the script below. I’ve included some practice sentences and questions to ask students as well.


  1. La chica se llama Cristina.
  2. Manuel tiene un gato.
  3. El gato se llama Fluffy.
  4. Fluffy es muy gordo.
  5. Señor Deis es muy alto.
  6. Justin Bieber no tiene un iPod.
  7. La profesora de español tiene tres hermanas.
  8. Jennifer Lawrence tiene pelo largo.
  9. Señor Pittman no tiene pelo.


  1. ¿Cómo te llamas?
  2. ¿Quién tiene un animal doméstico?
  3. ¿Quién tiene un perro?
  4. ¿Cuántos animales domésticos tienes?
  5. ¿Cuántos hermanos tienes?
  6. ¿Quién tiene pelo largo/corto?
  7. ¿Cuántos años tienes?
  8. ¿Quién es atlético/artístico/inteligente/simpático?


Ella es una chica. La chica se llama Gabriella. Ella es inteligente. Ella es guapa y atlética. Ella tiene un gato. El gato se llama Whiskers. Él es rojo. Él no es inteligente. Él es muy gordo. Gabriella tiene un problema. Ella no tiene un elefante. Gabriella tiene un gato, pero no tiene un elefante. Gabriella está triste porque Whiskers no es un elefante. Gabriella tiene un amigo. Su amigo se llama Jacob. Jacob tiene un elefante. Gabriella exclama, “Mamá, ¡no es justo! ¡No tengo un elefante!” Su mamá le responde, “Gabriella, un elefante no es un animal doméstico. ¡Es ridículo!”

Posted in Reflections, Story Scripts.

One Comment

  1. Hi There! Thank you for the first days of school post! That was helpful and interesting. I especially appreciate the descriptions of how you would prompt the student comments. I would love to know which novels and sample lesson plans about how to launch the novels. Thanks for your generosity!

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