We just finished the fifth week of school. This year in my level one Spanish classes I am focusing on “Special Person” interviews. I am not teaching to an overt grammar syllabus. I have not done any units. I have not even told any stories yet. I am focusing on high frequency verbs. We have done a few songs and games, and students are doing free reading both in and outside of class, but the main focus is on personal interviews. The students are the curriculum. And, at least for now, it is working well. Class becomes compelling when it is about them.

We have interviewed about 13 students in each class so far. With each interview they acquire a little more language, so we get to know every new interviewee a bit better. The students can understand FAR more than they are able to produce, but what they are producing just tickles me. I am very pleased with their attention to one another and with their willingness to learn.

None of the students whose quizzes are shown have had Spanish before. On this third quiz they were told that the boring “resume” information would no longer be an option–unless it is something that is interesting. For example, “His name is Jared”, “He is 14 years old”, “He is in 9th grade” and “He lives in Johnstown” no longer count on the quiz because that would be virtually the same for every single kid, but some of that kind of information would be OK if it is different from the norm and interesting. So “His name is Sung, but he prefers Tony”, “He is 18 years old”, “He is in 12th grade” and “He is from China” counts on the quiz. This is real information about a real kid in class and it would count because it is so different.

This time students had to write at least 20 sentences about just 3 of their peers because they are getting to know so much about them that the writing would take too long if the quiz were over 5 students. Here are some results from 3 different classes. You will see some overlap in the vocabulary, because kids tend to talk about the same things, but there are unique elements in each one.

If you are new at this technique, try to imagine the kinds of questions I must have asked to elicit this kind of information from the kids. I ask follow up question after follow up question. There was a LOT of input. There were at least three times as many questions and answers in the oral interview because acquisition precedes production by a loooooonnnnnnggggg ways. Students heard me interview the student, I reported back to the class, I veryfied information

Quiz #3, Raquel

  1. Nyah: She likes to play volleyball.
  2. She has lived in JohQuiz #3 Raquel 3rd Hournstown for 14 years.
  3. She likes to sing.
  4. Nyah is short.
  5. Nyah sings better than Mr. Hedstrom. (She spelled my name wrong!)
  6. Nyah sings well.
  7. Lauren:  She can drive on I-25! (A major and busy interstate west of town)
  8. She likes to play volleyball.
  9. She likes to dance.
  10. She dances jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballet and acro.
  11. She dances six days a week.
  12. She has her permit.
  13. She to drive well
  14. She plays the outside hitter position (I allow kids to write positions in sport in English because they are low frequency words and therefore not all that valuable to know at this level.)
  15. She dances a lot.
  16. She has lived in Johnstown for fifteen years. (I allowed this because not too many kids have lived here their whole life.)
  17. Brady.  He doesn’t hunt with his friends.
  18. He doesn’t hunt with his hands.
  19. He doesn’t hunt penguins.
  20. He hunts with bow and arrow.
  21. He likes to hunt and fish.
  22. He likes to lay baseball.
  23. Position catcher and second base. (Umm, not actually a sentence.)
  24. He hunts with his father.

Here is Quiz #3 by a girl in another class, Kayla.


  • He prefers Nick.Quiz #3A 5th Hour Better Kayla
  • Nick likes to play American football.
  • Nick is from Mount Laurel.
  • Nick is from New Jersey.
  • Nick is number eighty eight in football.
  • He doesn’t have his license now.
  • He doesn’t have a car now.


  • Erin is from Oxford.
  • Erin is from Benton County.
  • Erin is from Indiana.
  • Erin likes to draw animation.
  • Erin likes to play volleyball.
  • Erin wants to play volleyball at Roosevelt for four years.
  • Erin has lived in Johnstown for one year.
  • She works with children.
  • She is on the freshman team.


  • Colton likes p
  • Colton has four cats.
  • Colton has one brother.
  • Colton has two sisters.
  • Colton doesn’t have a car now.
  • Colton doesn’t have his license now.
  • Colton’s mom is a “cat lady”.
  • Colton doesn’t have a job.
  • Colton’s sister is called Lacey.
  • Colton likes to play baseball.
  • Colton likes to play basketball.

This is Quiz #3 by a girl in yet another class, Piper. I keep asking her if she has had Spanish before. She says no. In this class it is just clicking and we are using more and richer language, but this girl is really catching on. The questions and order are roughly the same as other classes, but the students keep responding more enthusiastically and they are getting more.

Khristopher:Piper Quiz #3 7th Hour

His name is written Khrianqzssso. (This is a class joke. His name has a different spelling, but I pretended that it was spelled VERY differently. This is how we practice the alphabet. This is a Grant Boulanger trick, and I love it.) He is fast! He likes to run. He is in Cross Country. He would like to run track. He has his permit. He has a truck. The truck is green. He has an F-150 from the year nineteen sixty eight. Khris is not a good boy. He is a bad boy.


She has lived in Milliken for fourteen years. She likes to play volleyball and softball. She doesn’t work. Kelly plays volleyball for Roosevelt on the D team. Kelly plays volleyball for a club, too. The club is Norco. She doesn’t play softball. But she is going to play softball in one year. She doesn’t dance. Kelly plays volleyball very well. Kelly’s sister likes to dance.


She likes to draw. She is in art class. She likes to ski also. Keona skis well. She skis at Copper Mountain. She skis on blue and black (runs). She likes volleyball, but she doesn’t play volleyball. Keona’s dad doesn’t ski, but Keona’s mom skis. Keona skis with her friends and family. She is from Houston, Texas.