NOTE:  This is part 9 of an ongoing series of posts about how to focus on the present subjunctive with a story-based approach and compelling comprehensible input.

The example in from a Spanish 3 class, but the principles apply to any language and any level.

Final Solution:  Ending the Story

After the brief interlude, we go back to the main story:

Así que pobre Marcus no sabe qué hacer.  Haley quiere que él coma piernas de rana, y Kylee quiere que él coma barbacoa de llama.  Pero de repente, él tiene una idea. 

[So poor Marcus doesn’t know what to do.  Haley wants him to eat frog’s legs, and Kylee wants him to eat llama barbecue.  But all of a sudden, he has an idea.]

¿Qué es la idea de Marcus?

[What is Marcus’ idea, class?]

Ask the class for ideas about how Marcus is going to solve this problem.

Marcus les dice a las dos chicas:

―Quiero que ustedes me canten una canción romántica en francés.  Voy a salir con la chica que me la canta mejor.

[Marcus says to the two girls, “I want you to sing a romantic song to me in French.  I am going to go out with the girl that sings to me the best.”]

If a super-star student notices and asks about it, explain ever so briefly that we use canten here just like we used vaya and coma elsewhere: because someone wants someone else to do something.  That is enough of an explanation at this point, especially here, because we are trying to wrap up the story.  We will zero in on their understanding of the subjunctive later.  But at this point some students WILL start making inferences and asking questions.  They can do this because they are in class; listening and interacting with the story as if it were are text.  They are present physically and emotionally.  This shows that in class, as in life, “You must be present to win.”  How are students going to internalize all of this grammar so that it sounds right to them if they are not actually present in class?

Las dos chicas entienden y están de acuerdo.  Piensan que es una buena idea.  Cada chica todavía quiere que Marcus vaya con ella, pero ahora ellas tienen todavía otro problema.

[The two girls understand and they agree.  They think that it is a good idea.  Each girl still wants Marcus to go with her, but now they have another problem.] 

¿Qué problema tienen ahora, clase?

What problem do they have, class?]

Of course they come up with the fact that at least one of them does not speak French.

¡Sí!  ¡Ellas no saben hablar el francés!

[Yes!  They do not know how to speak French!] 

Entonces, ¿adónde van Haley y Kylee para aprender el francés muy rápido, clase?

[So where do Haley and Kylee go in order to learn French very quickly, class?]

¡Correcto!  Ellas corren a una escuela francesa para aprender un poco de francés para cantarle una canción romántica a Marcus en francés.

 [Correct!  They run to a French school in order to learn a Little bit of French in order to sing a romantic song to Marcus in French.]

This sets up the obvious opportunity for Marcus to escape.

Clase, ¿adónde va Marcus cuando las dos chicas van a la escuela francés?

[Class, where does Marcus go when the two girls go to the French school?]

Class comes up with a good final solution—Run, Marcus, run!

Cuando ellas se van, Marcus regresa a los Estados Unidos sólo. 

[When they leave, Marcus returns to the United States alone.  The end.]

I call on a super star student to tell the entire story for the class.  After that, students pair up to re-tell the entire story as best they can, with as many details as possible. 

El fin.   [The end.]


It is important to end each story to give students a sense of closure, but every story that we tell in class does not need to have a neat ending.  The ending on this example is actually a bit weak.  Sometimes the story just ends.  It can end because we run out of time or because we run out of steam.  Do not stress about tying up the ending of a story neatly and logically, just end the story when you feel you need to.