When we do our Get-to-Know-You interviews (by the third week I am now calling them “Quien Eres?” [Who Are you?]) we don’t just talk and gawk over students in class.  It is indeed great fun to ooh and aah over each new and fascinating detail, but I expect them to really know something about one another, so we have quizzes over their classmates. One by one, I point out five students whom we have “interviewed” in class.

We are now into the second round of quizzes, and the average is still over 90%. I have never asked this much of level one students and I am thrilled with how much they know about each other and how much Spanish they are using.

Words are sticking because they are words about real kids that they know or that they want to know. “Horses” goes with one girls, “Photography” with another. “Wrestling” goes with one boy who has wrestled for 12 years now–since he was 3!

Here are the answers from a student’s quiz. This is a particualrly international class–we have one exchange student from Italy and one from China in this class. Students only have to write the name and one detail, but they are spontaneously writing MORE than required (!?)

1. Ella se llama Yu Bing.

2. Vive en Johnstown, pero es de China. Grita “Soy de China”

3. Se llama Regan.

4. A ella le gusta caballos. Tiene siete caballos.

5. Se llama Ricardo.

6. Esta en grado diez, pero juega en el varsity de futbol americano.

7. Se llama Jason.

8. Es loco y le gusta construir cosas. Tiene un go-kart.

9. Se llama Laurenza.

10. Es de Italy. Habla espanol, italiano, y ingles. Le gusta la fotografia. Es bonita.

Perfect language? Nope, but again, I will take it. They are using short memorized chunks of language and talking about common, concrete topics–almost a clinical description of ACTFL’s description of Novie-Low language use. But here is the difference for me this year: they are expressing them enthusiastically, appropriately, and (mostly) unprompted. What the kids like about it is that they are learning about one another and enjoying one another’s company. Many of these kids have sat beside one another for years in other classes and have not learned one interesting thing about their peers.

Hope we can keep up this mojo.