Word Frequency

A BUNCH OF BOOKS OR A COUPLE OF CLASS SETS?

Brett, an experienced Spanish teacher in South Carolina, writes: Hi Bryce, I was just reading your article about 9 Steps to FVR. I'm trying to build up my reading materials. I basically have none at my new school. Would you recommend prioritizing based on getting a bunch of different books or buying class sets of a couple of select books? Good question. I would go with a bunch of different books. Here's why: Students acquire more language when they can choose their own reading materials. The free choice aspect gives them more buy-in and more engagement. When they can decide what [...]

SHELTER VOCABULARY, NOT GRAMMAR

When I was beginning to learn TPRS I remember Susan Gross saying, "Shelter the vocabulary but not the grammar." Why? Because that's how we actually use language. When adults speak to children they use less advanced words but they do not shelter the grammar. They do not use only what we language teachers think of as simple grammar. They use any tense or mood that is suitable, but they unconsciously bring down the level of the vocabulary. Here is an example of why we need to teach multiple tenses. It is not a message for a child, but it is [...]

LEVEL 1 STUDENTS CAN READ: BRANDON BROWN

Here is more evidence that level 1 students can read on their own, even early in the year. They begin to pick up on their own more than we are teaching in class. If they know much of the vocabulary in the novel they can do it. These simple beginner novels are just the ticket. This is the Dual Entry Journal Report of a level 1 student after 5 weeks. This one is from the first few pages of Brandon Brown quiere un perro, by Carol Gaab. They read in Spanish, but write in English to show understanding. Same level, same [...]

SPECIAL PERSON INTERVIEWS IN TRADITIONAL UPPER LEVEL CLASSES

The Special Person questions are not regulated to lower level classes. They can be adapted to any level. And if you want to target a specific verb form with Special Person questions, you can. With practice you can make natural sounding questions and conversations that lean towards almost any verb form. EXAMPLE:  THE PRESENT PERFECT FORM I wanted to model for a student teacher how students could be interviewed with questions in almost any verb form. It just takes the right set up and then following through with logical questions. The class in this example had not explicitly been taught [...]

FUN “ADS” FOR THE CLASSROOM DOOR

You know those one-sheet homemade ads you see on lampposts around town? The kind that are popular on college campuses? The kind with the little tear off tabs? I have been experimenting with similar fake ads for my students to enjoy before they get into the classroom. The goal is to use compelling comprehensible input. To "Control the vocabulary, but not the grammar," as Susan Gross says. It is high frequency vocabulary with un-sheltered grammar. The ads use the most common words and they are used in a natural sense. If the message calls for the past tense, the future [...]