On Monday this week, Cécile Lainé and Claire Walters came to our local TCI group meeting and demoed the Story Listening technique that Beniko Mason has developed. Having Cécile demo the story of Romeo and Juliet in German, which no one in our group speaks, really helped to put me in my students’ shoes and show how compelling this technique can be. I had to try it, and Romeo and Juliet just so happens to fit perfectly with the first pre-colombian legend in my Mitos y Leyendas de Latinoamérica unit: Iztaccíhuatl y Popocatépetl.
In the past, I have had students read and discuss the legend of the Toltec princess and Chichimeca prince who fell in love and married in secret, only to die tragically when their families found out. Only after reading the legend did we ever discuss the parallels it had to Romeo and Juliet.
With Story Listening, I flipped this process. I told the story of Romeo and Juliet first, highlighting key characters and phrases along with illustrations of the main action. My class was engaged with the story the whole time, and afterwards they used my pictures to re-tell the story in Spanish with a partner. (With younger students or a less familiar story, I would have the retell in English, but these were juniors and seniors in Spanish IV and they did beautifully.)
Only after putting in the work of telling the familiar story did I give them the legend to read. I think we’ll have a richer discussion of the text tomorrow!
My Spanish II students right now are reading Kristy Placido’s Robo en la noche, a novel that I’ve taught for many years now.
In chapter 4, the structure “contar chistes” comes up quite a bit, and while not essential to the novel the way some structures are, who doesn’t love a good joke? I scoured the internet for Spanish jokes that would be simple enough for beginners to comprehend. (Nothing is worse than having to over-explain a joke.)
After we read and enjoyed the jokes as a class, I had them get up and tell their favorite joke to a partner, then switch and switch again until everyone had moved around a bit. CI? Not quite, but it worked as a nice brain break!
When we got into actually reading the chapter, I set up some actors in a Reader’s Theatre, and every time the phrase “contaba chistes” came up, my “Cecilio” character had to tell one of these jokes.
This year is my ninth year teaching Spanish, but my FIRST year teaching French! After a decade of disuse, I’m brushing off my college minor to teach a two-day/week French course for seventh graders.
Of course I went straight to Martina Bex for CI resources. I’ve had so much success over the years with her Spanish materials, I just had to seek out her French materials as well.
I started the year with Martina’s “Dit” unit and found some additional resources to supplement.
First: a little music:
For the first listen-through, I had my students write two words: “Dit” and “Danse.” Then all they had to do was try and tally how many times each word was said!
This song is so catchy they just had to listen to it again, and I had a cloze worksheet prepared for them: Mika Elle me dit
We had time to watch the video a third time through and just danse danse danse out the door.
The next week, I adapted a well-loved embedded reading, the Grandma story, and created a slideshow with the first four versions.
After reading, discussing, circling, and acting out each version of “Grand-mère,” my students were ready to read the final version for homework: Grand-mère