I need a lot more practice with my PQA. I definitely need more student engagement in middle school classes. They are getting bored. Really bored. When they get bored, they get antsy and they get squirrelly and they start acting out. In other words, they started the class having fun, but what they were doing got boring because there was no change in the way that the questions were asked and there was no variation in the activities that they have done every class period. They have been doing the same thing that they have been doing since day one in my classroom. That’s on me and I have only myself to blame for their disinterest. Even though our new format for Spanish class started off as fun and really engaging, they have gotten used to it and need some new inspiration. (The honeymoon period is over). What they have been doing lately is to try to find ways to get back to having as much fun as they had at the beginning of the year.
As I posted about earlier (With a little help from my friends), I am constantly looking to more experienced teachers to help me out. I am a department of 1 at my school, so I don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off of and no one to discuss the methods or outcomes with…Or to borrow ideas from. So, I borrow from the internet. Look on the right hand side of the blog page and you’ll see all the blogs I follow on WordPress. Those are only the WordPress blogs, there are so many others that are not included on that list. My PLN is getting to be pretty huge and I love that everyone is so willing to help.
This week, I’ve been reading Chris Stolz’s post about using TPRS and what he does and I have adapted his ideas to write the list below of questions that I can use to improve my own instruction.
I think that I can vary my instruction for them and also find ways to get the kids to be more fluent in speaking:
1. LOTS more PQA – Ask several students questions about themselves after I ask the character
a) Names of characters in Stories
· Ask the class: ¿Cómo se llamaba la chica?
· Ask the actor: ¿Cómo te llamas / te llamas __class’s suggestions__?
· Ask at least 4 students: ¿Te llamas _actor’s name? ¿Cómo te llamas?
b) Descriptions of characters
· Ask the class: ¿Cuántos años tenía ___?
· Ask the carácter: ¿Cuantos años tienes?
· Ask at least 4 (some different, some the same as the others) students: ¿Tienes __ años? No? Cuántos años tienes
· Ask the class: ¿Cómo es _(character)_? And suggest some answers, write down the other suggestions of adjectives that the students suggest
· Ask at least 3 students per adjective about the character: ¿Eres __(adjective)_?
c) Descriptions of where the character is
· Weather terms
· Date / time in history
· Characters can move around in time and space – change the historical period and the weather from place to place
2. Different types of writing activities
a) Have students describe themselves / friends / family members in paragraph form using adjectives or using the forms from the story that we are currently learning
b) Describe pictures up on the board
c) Writing their own original stories in the style of our stories from class
This is a lot to work on at the same time and I know that as soon as I post this, I will come up with 4 or 5 more things that I want to improve what I’ve already written about improving myself. My goal is to take this a little bit at a time: I’ll be starting with PQA today and tomorrow.