Re: Giving a TPRS demo with students that have no Spanish

I used to do this with the 8th graders in my school before they signed up for
classes. Because they don't know much (so they really don't have much ability
to add stuff into the story), I printed out a full page picture of a cat and a
fish and pizza. I was in the gym when I did this so I gave the pictures to 3 of
the kids who were responsible for holding up their picture when I said it. I
also included a sign for a student to hold that said Hay. I spent just a tad of
time teaching them a motion for quiere comer and for va a (just like your
fingers walking). I stuck to only who and what and to where for question words.

There is a little (used motions to indicate little) fish. The little fish wants
to eat a cat pizza. (I just gave a quick translation of de as "made of".) The
little fish goes to Pizza Bill's (a local pizza place). There is pizza, but
there is not cat pizza. The little fish goes to Taco Bell. There is no pizza
at Taco Bell. There are tacos at Taco Bell. The little fish is sad (motion
it). The little fish goes to (really fancy restaurant in the area).
(Restaurant) has cat pizza. The little fish is happy and eats a big cat pizza.

Although I would normally not worry about how long we spent on a story, for the
"effect," I wanted to spend the last few minutes having them do some reading so
I went a bit faster than usual. I wrote up a story about a cat who wanted to
eat fish tacos and we read it together. This impressed the kids that they could
read it (I did a lot of repetitions in the written story so it looked pretty
long) and many of them were excited to go home and "read" the translation to
their parents.

Some ideas on what to do when they don't know anything: stick to proper names.
Proper names let you focus their comprehension more on the structures than the
extras. Kids really like to eat so that's a good structure to start with,
especially when it lets you use popular fast food restaurants. Limit the
circling to the least amount of question words you can. Get the kids involved
physically in the telling so they feel a part of it. Remember your goal is to
make them feel really successful so they leave with a positive feeling for what
the class will be like. Keep the story as simple as possible. Those fun extra
details you add in your regular class? You just don't have the time to include
those so keep it simple. Try not to speed up the process if you can at all
avoid it. Because they are absolute newbies to the language, they need those
extra reps and for you to go really, really slow.

Those are my two cents. Hope you can find something in there to help out.