I met many people during the week at NTPRS who mentioned that they enjoy reading this site. Thanks for the encouraging comments. The comments also made me realize that people ACTUALLY read this stuff, so I better get it together. I know that some of you asked me to blog often to share all I was learning during the week. I would have loved to have done that, but I was also staying with and visiting good friends in the area and didn’t have much free time.
With this post, I’m going to list and briefly describe some of my highlights from the conference. This list is as much a gathering of thoughts for myself as for anyone else. I’m going to describe ideas and strategies that were new for me. This is in no way a complete list of all the incredible presentations I saw. I will give more thorough descriptions of some of these ideas in later posts.
Ping pong/Volleyball translations: Many people seem to be already doing this, but it was new to me. Partners go back and forth reading a line and translating. It works well with rotating partners.
Incentives for completing novels outside of class: Offer a reward for those who read novels (exemption from an exam, PAT time, ice cream). Another similar idea was to require the completion of at least one novel in order to get an A.
Double entry journal: Again, this seems popular among many but was new to me. Students copy a passage and then write a reaction.
Events: I had begun to see the value of this last year, but Blaine and Von Ray described it well and helped me see how to utilize “events.” An event is any quick break in a story that uses dialogue and action (not much circling) to show why the story is as it is.
Three chairs: Michelle Whaley demonstrated this activity, and the potential is endless. Students choose a situation in which three characters would converse. Three volunteers sit in the chairs and each volunteer has a support team of students behind him/her to help.
Classroom teams: Use teams (country names) for different sections of students in each class to easily divide into groups for any activity.
The power of improv: I’ve always believed that there was a connection between good TPRS storytelling and improv comedy. In Von Ray’s session, several of us experienced it. We discussed the way an improv comic must LISTEN and not force comedy. We also practiced a few activities that helped us improve our skills. I will write about this more in the future and how it could benefit any TPRS teacher.
Pancho Camacho: A game in which students hold cards with recent vocabulary terms. A base phrase is projected (i.e. Henry is going to buy). One student starts by finishing the phrase with the term on another’s card (Henry is going to buy fruit). The other must reply: (No, Henry is not going to buy fruit. He is going to buy fish), which leads to another student. The player speaking when the timer goes off is out and the game continues.
Tips for the storytelling process:
- Make paint stick heads for family members not just celebrities.
- Don’t teach new structures with cultural stories
- Use TPR for brain breaks
- Quick partner talks to come up with story details
- Require actors to answer in complete sentences
- Look for the subtext or story “under the Spanish” when creating stories
- Ask a story before PQA from time to time
And so much more . . . What a great week!