I am teaching all LEVEL 1 Spanish right now and I always struggle coming up with interesting ways to introduce the new vocab without a direct translation. It’s easy if the words are congates, but some words are harder to explain. Besides, we all know it is better to LEARN new words in context.
Today I just started a new unit called “What I like to do” (clever, I know!) so students can talk about the activities they like or don’t like to do. Instead of giving a vocab list I gave them a blank sheet of paper and a popsicle stick. I told them their job is to LISTEN and jot down notes when they hear or see something that they want to remember.
I also told them to feel free to jump in the conversation – as long as it is in SPANISH. If they spoke English I take the stick and the only way to get it back is to participate again. I’m don’t usually force them to use ONLY Spanish, but today I really wanted to make sure they were listening and this is my best way to ensure I have their attention. If they still have the stick at the end – they get “credit” for the day.
I used a PREZI that I made up last night. (Screenshot is above but if you have never see one in action you NEED to check out the link below ) The one I made is not life changing, but it is so much more personal than a powerpoint. We simply looked at pictures and I told them some of my opinions and asked them questions. I also wrote “pienso que= I think that” “porque= because” and “con = with” on the board for them to refer to when I used them.
I know this is not a breakthrough idea and language teachers do this all the time, but it was an awesome day and it feels good to do a good job, see students sucessful, AND know your students were engaged. Several students told me – “That was so fun learning all those words today!”
Such a good reminder that the INPUT that language students receive is SO important! They need someone to model it for them before they can produce it themselves. The PREZI made it more interesting for them and much easier for me to put the words in context!
Here’s my PREZI if you want to check it out… http://prezi.com/euxp5buuiut0/que-te-gusta-hacer/?auth_key=4707f180e4fb0bb84dbe164fc1e8256a4d8d56aa