Mini-reflection on TPRS/CI

It’s finals week here at my school. I always finish the year with a novel study (though I will be adding more to each class next year, hooray!) and the final project the last few years is to create some sort of thing that shows me understanding. (You can see my requirements/rubric for Spanish 1 here. The other levels have a similar instruction sheet.) Here are some things that have happened this year that I think are due to a full year of TPRS/CI:

Me le gusta– An interesting grammatical error that I’ve never dealt with before is ‘me le gusta’. It seems like my students are properly acquiring te gusta – there is never any confusion that one. They can also explain the difference between me gusta and le gusta when specifically asked. But when they produce it on their own, a number of students produce it as ‘me le gusta’. Hmm.

Enhanced storytelling abilities – This one is not so puzzling. In the past, almost all my students preferred to do a booklet-type summary (with more time spent on the pictures and only 1-2 sentences of Spanish per page, of course!) or a video using Powtoon or other software. This year, almost all my students were evenly split among the written summaries and creating a Kahoot. The summaries themselves were often very high quality, much higher than in previous years. Most students far exceeded the minimum length requirement. I even had one student do a diary-entry style retell where she had to do a horizontal conjugation and put everything into the yo form. She did a great job with it! Sadly, I also had a few students who chose to have Profesor Google do their work. I was hoping this would be the first year I didn’t have to have The Talk (I didn’t have any other issues this year!) but I guess the summer slide was too irresistible.

Enhanced questioning abilities – So as I said, many of my students also made Kahoots. For the most part, these also turned out fantastically. Kahoot is fun because it forces students to create questions – which is a solidly intermediate skill. It did mean that I spent most of the last 3 days saying ‘you don’t need hacein your question, Spanish puts ‘does’ there automatically’ but it was very good practice. The intermediate level students had better quality questions, but the novices were able to put together reasonably comprehensible questions. I think the extreme questioning that happens through CI methods really helped push them to that next level.

Conjugation – Interestingly enough, even though I spent approximately 1 hour total per level on explicit grammar instruction (and almost always per student request), I received far more text that was 1) conjugated correctly or 2) conjugated at all than I ever have before. I am interested to see how this pans out over 4 years of education with me. Instead of having Spanish 2s who can teeechnically sooooorta write in all the other tenses, but it’s generally a mess, I have Spanish 2s who tend to stick to present… but when they venture into other tenses, it’s more likely to be correct. This is consistent with the intermediate level that we are working towards.

Given this information and my prior reflection posts, I think I have a good idea of where I want to steer my teaching for next year. Of course, I won’t be taking much of a break this summer. I have AP training on June 1-4, a literacy conference on June 12, a workshop with Carol Gaab on June 18-19, and an ESU-sponsored exchange with Mexican teachers at the end of June. I’ll be taking July off and then it’s back to school on August 10! Onwards and upwards!

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