I’ve been meaning to start a blog for quite some time… not just to document the things I do that are successful, but also to re-share and REMEMBER the inspirations and resources I find helpful and useful. A couple years ago I tried doing this with a colleague but as a first-year teacher I barely had time to make my lunch each day let alone sit down to write about my journey and experience.
Anyway! As I sit here on this lovely Saturday night, dreading the coming time change (I think we, as teachers, value the sleep we get on weekends), I was working on some activities for my Spanish 2 class (inspired by Carrie Toth) and started reflecting on the week I had with this particular class.
This year I teach one section of Spanish 2. Which is great! But also hard because it is one of my largest classes with 32 students. As we are working our way through the past tenses, I needed a way to introduce them that was not just notes and grammar driven. I realize people get into their philosophies of the best way to teach a language and I am all for comprehensible input — however I also love organization and I like giving the students an opportunity to synthesize and organize the information they have gathered. This is why I give notes focused on grammar concepts.
So to go back to this particularly great day of class we had (on Wednesday to be exact), students had seen all of the preterit tense and they were noticing it being used with key words (last night, yesterday, March 12, etc.). This was when I chose to show them the imperfect tense. In an old Spanish for Mastery book (either 2 or 3, I cannot remember) there is a story called “El robo del museo”. Basically there is a robbery that is depicted by 2 pictures. Then there are 2 eyewitness accounts of what happened (in the preterit & imperfect.) I had students read the testimonies first and circle all preterit verbs they recognized. We then looked at all the blank spaces between circles where a lot was obviously happening plot wise, but as far as class was concerned we had not covered what these weird looking words were!
This is where I broke it down with the students and we started picking out these other verbs that we knew were verbs based on context, but we did not quite understand why they looked different. Students then realized these verbs will filling in the description of what happened during the robbery. I gave them some helpful prodding and really built up their egos to help them realize they did not need MY notes on the imperfect, that they were able to decipher it all on their own!
I then showed them the picture of what actually happened and we discussed which witness was better. As a follow up I had them complete a workbook practice that pulled in more keywords with the imperfect. On day 2, the students came in and were able to refer to the STORY and use examples from there of imperfect uses and did not even want the notes I was trying to offer them!
Truly one of the more rewarding lessons I have had in awhile and the kids were engaged the whole time as they wanted to know about the museum robbery AND figure out how they could understand a story without knowing every.single.word (because they think they do in English!).
Alright I think for a first post this is pretty lengthy… I plan to keep up with this so hopefully I can become as well-known as my Spanish-teacher idols that I love to peruse their blogs for to get ideas and inspirations.