TPRS Notes
This random collection is for teachers in the Anchorage area and beyond
who are studying comprehensible input methods.

I started making the table of contents when the page got too long to see it all. Some things are still not in the table of contents.

Go to...Laurie on Songs / Martina's Learning Objectives /Slow circling example in Spanish/ Jody's Chair Diane Volzer's Apples to Apples game creation explanation... Jack's Nine Myths of Language Teaching/Laurie Clarcq on teaching by Function/Bryce's Poor Anna Lesson Plan/Nathan on Small Classes (These ideas actually work for all sorts of classes); Lynn's Quiz Options Games from Jeremy/ Lori on stations; Susie on grammar; Mira's Flashcard ideas/Fifteen repetitions/Anne Lambert Matava's Story Scripting/ signals/Poor Anna Ideas/Inattentive students/Sub plans/lesson plans for Advanced Spanish/A rubric for Spanish K-2/Bryce's First Hundred Word list (Spanish)/Michele about engaging kids/Student raves about TPRS /Ben's Week+Assessments/Terry on Why go to NTPRS (coaching)/Ben's Week for Denver Teachers/Bryce's Intro Questions/ Wordless Cartoons/Weird City Names/Deb Fish and cat story/ A Video of Scott's First Day/ Scott's First Day explained/ Scott's pagame adaptation/Julie Baird on Reading levels/Robert Harrell's rubric for class interaction/ Next Year Thoughts

A great collection of clipart:

Laurie Clarcq's school home page

Jody's post on Interrogations (from the yahoo group)

Diane V. writes, "I'm thinking it would be fun to do some sort of interrogation
activity of our own (maybe next year...I don't have the time and energy now!).

I do the "interrogation" activity frequently with the parallel story. It takes
about "zero" planning and is an excellent "cementing of structures" activity.

One kid sits in the chair in front of the room and I ask them questions just
like in any other parallel story (comparing them to a character in one of our
readings)--but I do it in an "interrogation" kind of way--voice intonation, body
language, etc.

Much abbreviated version of how it might go:

"So, in the story we read, "fulano" went to the store and bought six
cockroaches. So, I'm going to ask you: Did you go to the store yesterday? Did
you buy cockroaches? Student says no. I say, "So, you're telling me that you did
NOT go to the store yesterday and you did NOT buy six cockroaches. Are you sure
about that?" I turn dramatically to the class. "Class?,what do you think? Did
"sutano" here go to the store yesterday?" Of course, most of them say that he
did. "Ajá, what store did he go to?" (Insert some funny answer here.) "Sutano
says he did not buy six cockroaches. Is that true, class?" Some kid says yes,
that is true. "He didn't buy six cockroaches. He bought 6,000." Much arguing and
negotiating ensue with pleas from the original student that he is telling the

The number of repetitions can be phenomenal in this kind of activity. The
audience feels VERY involved in the parallel story because it is an
"interrogation". The student in front pleads that they are telling the truth. I
express doubt, and we continue. The story doesn't really have to go anywhere in
particular. It's just great fun to do question and answer this way.

Sometimes, I ask the class if they have any questions for the student. (The
reading is up on the screen while this is going on.) I choose a student to come
up and ask one interrogation question of the student in the chair. Afterward,
they turn and ask the class, etc.,
etc., just like I did.

We refer to the text projected on the wall frequently. I cannot know how many
kids are actually focusing on the text, but I try to get in one more opportunity
for the written word and the spoken word to coincide in an authentic and
comprehensible way for them.

Yes, interrogation can be great fun and give tremendous buy in from the
students. It takes almost no preparation. I like that part.

Jody in SF

Lori DeMange on using stations in the classroom:

Well, i can't promise that all the stations are "CI", but recently in a class:
#1)preview the text for 7 unfamiliar words and write definitions; #2)at the
computers in our room make a powerpoint with slides that explain the vocab;
#3)read the text aloud with the teacher; #4)draw 3 scenes from the text we are
reading #5) write a new story by changing details to the one we are studying

i think the magic of stations is that they are not expected to finish the task,
they are just told to work at a task for 10 min., so they work at it and
accomplish a lot more than if i said "here , you have the class hour to write
this new story...or read this chapter..." Also, talking is allowed at stations.
I tell them to keep their voices quiet, but still, talking is allowed, so this
gives them some freedom. Yes, the noise level sometimes gets too loud for my
taste, but then that's my problem.

Susie Gross on teaching grammar

This question was posted on the yahoo TPRS listserve:
  • "I realized late in the year last year that I was supposed to be alternating
"persons" in storytelling but I'm really unclear on how to do that in a
practical way. How do you have an actor up and you're asking the story and using
"je"? Do you use "tu" for the questions and "je" for the answers. It seems this
would be confusing to the students since we're referring to someone else. Does
that mean the student actor is doing the answering with "je"?"

Here's the answer from Susie:
1. Students should hear the tu and je forms in class every day. While doing PQA
(step 1 of TPRS) the teacher asks a student if he or she does the thing that is
being taught. So automatically the question is in the tu form every day for
every term in the lesson. It is easy to teach the student to respond with je if
you like, right at that moment. My preference is simply to say je about myself
and insert my own feelings into the conversation.

Example: plays tennis

T: Who plays tennis? (Kids raise hands. Pick one)
T: Mark, do you play tennis?
M: Yes
T: Class, Mark plays tennis! Does Mark play jai alai or tennis? Right, Mark
plays tennis; he does not play jai alai. I play tennis, too! I play pretty well.
Mark, do you play very well or pretty well?
M: very
T: Class, mark plays tennis very well. I play pretty well, but he plays very
well. Right, Mark? You play very well. You play better than Federer, right?

2. Since that sort of conversation occurs in every class with every one of the
three terms taught in each lesson, it is easy to occasionally write the je and
tu forms on the board and to point to them as you are talking without taking
away from the naturalness of the conversation. That way the spelling of the
forms is part and parcel of the conversation.

3. This is true of all forms, not just je and tu.

4. Verb forms are only part of good grammar. It is important to include
possessive adjectives, dir obj and indir obj, disjunctive pronouns, etc. when
speaking. In other words, shelter vocabulary, don't shelter grammar. Just make
sure they understand what you are saying and then go ahead and say it.

5. When you decide the it is time to actually TEACH the je form (now that they
have heard it plenty) Then end your lesson ten minutes before the bell and ask
"What if I were to retell this story from the point of view of the boy" Then
ask, "would you say "his name is Tommy or My name is Tommy?" The write My name
on the board. Then ask "would you say He goes to the store or I go to the
store?" Then write "I go" on the board (do not write the whole sentence; only
write the part that is changed when going from 3rd to 1st person.) "Would you
say His mother gives him a big bag of money or my mother gives me a big bag of
money?" Write "my mother gives me" on the board.
Now you have a list of terms that will GUIDE the students to speak with correct
grammar when retelling the story from the 1st person Point of View. Have them
retell in the 1st person either to partners or chorally.

i did this sort of thing for about a month before the students got to the point
where they could do it consistently and with few errors.

6. During the lesson as you do pop-ups, be sure to pop-up 1st singular in the


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Michael Miller and Laurie Clarcq on signals in the classroom:

Hi Kristy,

The signal is a very simple way to refocus the class. It is an idea I adapted a
long time ago from a Madelaine Hunter workshop. I start by teaching the kids
that when I sneeze loudly, they need to a)Say SALUD b)Stop whatever they are
doing c) Look me in the eye d) be quiet.

I explain that we do it because we have many things to accomplish and this will
help us to do that.

I practice it once and then we use it 5 or 6 times that period...making sure
that they do ALL of the steps above...and reminding/retrying if they don't.

The key to making it work is making sure that they follow all three steps. :o)
Some people use one signal all year long. I really like to mix it up. Some
groups will respond to many different signals...other end up with a few

Besides the Achoo/Salud signal, here are a few other ones that I use: (with a
little bit of explanation for the non-Spanish speaking folks on the list)

Nunca / olvidaremos We will never forget (Sept. 11)
Oye Amigo/ Dejame en paz Hey friend / Leave me alone
Feliz Navidad/Prospero An~o Nuevo Merry Christmas/ Happy New Year
Viva / Mexico ( Mexican Independence Day)
A Castilla y A Leon/Mundo Nuevo dio Colon Spanish version of in 1492 Columbus
sailed the ocean blue
Pura / Vida Pure Life (Costa Rica...)
No me digas/ Si es verdad! Don't tell me that (You're kidding) Yes
it's true
Asi Asi/ Eres Tu (from the song :o) and yes we sing it!)

Song lyrics, common rejoinders, modismos, refranes....any cool thing that you
would like your kids to know can work! Use it as a regular part of the class
and they will pick up all kinds of great things to say.

My friend Karen uses it as a way to dismiss class as well. She says Hasta
luego, they respond Nos Vemos...and then and only then has class ended.

The possibilities are endless!!

Hope that helps!
with love,
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Inattentive Students
I have had a trick that works really well and is very fun. I have
several "contest words" that I've selected from certain vocabulary
with no particular reason other than they are fun. We start with
"listen" which is cupping the hand behind the ear. Whenever I yell out
that word (in the target language, of course), the first student who
cups his ear gets a participation point. It keeps a lot of students on
their toes. Still, there will be those who don't pay attention. I add
several more throughout the year that take care of this. One is "fall
on the floor!" It may have absolutely nothing to do with the story
(although most of my stories end up with someone falling at some
point), but when I yell out the command suddenly a slew of students
hit the deck. It's quite a funny sight to see. Again, the student who
falls first, gets a participation point. That action also wakes up any
sleepy student from the dead. We also do "man!" which is a slap on the
desk. Great waker-upper. Some of the other bizarre ones:

mannequin (strike a pose)
science (yell "boom")
fall asleep (heads hit the desk)
marry (down on one knee)
by the way (snap with one hand)
chop with the knife (karate chop the desk)
terrible (flick fingers on each side of head)

I have several others, but these come to mind right away. Loads of
fun. No one sleeps in Herr Miller's class!


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Michael Miller
Sabine und Michael German TPRS materials
2418 Hagerman St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Tel: 719-635-0017 FAX: 719-785-5755

Mira's Flashcard Ideas
Several of you have requested my flashcard activities. I will place some of them
here. My flashcard ideas are in response to someone whose students wanted the
traditional flashcards and worksheets to learn like they did before- rather than
tprs. Try to remember to use these activities as input activities. Rather than
one word-- use the vocab in full sentences.

Have students draw their own word pictures of new vocabulary. Place the target
language on the back of the paper. This can be loose leaf paper that the
students cut or rip into "cards."

After acquiring the vocab, have the students place the cards--picture up, on
their desks.
- Use the vocab in full sentences and have the students hold up the correct
- Use a couple of vocab words in a sentence or two and see if the students can
hold up multiple cards.

After telling a story:
Have students place the cards in order--on their desks--according to the
Then retell the story as the students check to see if they placed the cards in
the correct order.
Once in the correct order, have them trade off retelling the story.
Then have them use the cards as an outline to write the story.

As a partner activity:
Have one set of vocab flashcards on a desk between two students. Play slapjack--
you, as the teacher, use the vocab in a sentence. The two students try to be the
first to slap or grab the card.
Students can also use the cards to quiz each other on the vocab. Have them stand
up and when their partner knows all the words in the target language, they both
can sit down.

Have students place the cards in a bingo type of arrangement on their desks. You
can randomly use a word in a sentence. The students can turn over the card if
they "have" that word. The grid can be as simple as a tick-tack-toe grid.

These are just a few of my favorite things..."when the dogs bite, when the bees
I am sure others have more ideas.

Mira Canion
In wonderful Colorado
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Here's a link to Ben Slavic's page, where you'll find Bryce Hedstrom's rubric for speaking at the bottom of the page under "Language Performance Scale." I especially like the notes for students on how to get a better speaking grade.

Scott Benedict answered a question I had about what kids do for a weekly reflection. Here it is.

For the reflections, they are in English, as kids don't have the
skills yet to answer them thoroughly in Spanish.

I ask questions like: "Which activity(ies) helped you the most?"
"Which helped you the least?" "What can I do as a teacher to help you
learn better?" "What can you do as a student to help you learn
better?" "Looking at which learning goals you need to work on, what
can you do to improve them?" "Looking at which learning goals you are
doing well in, what are you doing to keep them so high?" "Which 5
words (not including this week's vocab), do you still need to work
on?" "Set a goal for yourself for the next two weeks with regards to
your Spanish learning. How will you achieve this goal?" Etc. These are
just some of the ideas that I do.
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Story Scripting is made easy in this explanation by Anne Lambert Matava, which can be found by searching "story scripting" on Ben Slavic's website at

How To Script A TPRS Story To Prepare For Reading A Novel Or Other Text

by Ben Slavic on July 7, 2009
The following text is from Anne Lambert’s new story script book. It describes how to script a story from a reading as discussed in the previous blog entry. Point three is, in my view, a new and particularly important idea in TPRS. It may have been done, of course, I just had never thought of anything like that before in my daily meditation on how to best design stories for TPRS classes.
Scripting A Story To Prepare For Reading A Novel Or Other Text
1. Go to a chapter in the novel or short story, preferably the chapter you will be reading next with the class.
2. Read the first few pages carefully, watching for words/structures that are:
• high frequency in real life
• high frequency in this chapter or the novel in general
• interesting enough to create an engaging script from
• not so specific as to be limiting (it’s okay to have one very specific word, like “vacuum cleaner” or “navigate”. The other two structures will need to be generic enough so that the story can go in a variety of directions.)
Jot down all words/structures that fall into one or more of the above categories. The more categories they fall into, the more useful they will be to you and your students.
3. Look at the words you’ve jotted down. See if a story line appears to you. Don’t over think it, just start writing. Write the first sentence, then the second one. See if there is a pattern emerging that could become repetitive. In my experience, the structures/vocabulary can become repetitive in one of two ways:
• you have the main character go to three locations and do more or less the same thing in each location. (Easier, but can come across as somewhat predictable.)
• you find ways to work the vocabulary into the script repeatedly. (More difficult, but the result is less contrived and more free-form.)
4. Assuming that you are developing a script that follows the pattern of three locations, script the first and then the second location. The third location should start out like the first two but you leave the end of it open, to see how the class will resolve it. (Examples to follow.)
5. If you are not going to do the three locations, write the script so that the target structures get used more than once. It’s harder than it sounds. I shoot for three times each, but am happy with twice each.
6. Write your script into a notebook. Write what level class it is for, and when you use it, write the date. Skip lines and leave spaces to write what the class comes up with. I usually do period 1 in red ink and period 5 in blue ink, so that I know which class came up with which detail.
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Eats like an animal is a terrific story, in which the dad outs himself as an animal! The link broke, so here it is:

A Story About Squirrels

by Ben Slavic on May 11, 2009
On this story, Anne says, “Suspend your disbelief. It’s [better] if you do this one just as it’s written, with the only variables being the blanks.” So here is a rare story where we want to stay a lot closer to the script than usual. I can see why.
You eat like an animal!
finish your…!
Justin is eating breakfast with his parents. They are eating bacon. Dad scolds Justin because he is eating so fast and so much. “You eat like an animal!” he scolds. Justin wants to go to his room, but his mother says, “Finish your bacon!”
Later, Justin and his parents are eating lunch. They are eating Spaghettios. Dad scolds Justinbecause he is eating so fast and so much. “You eat like an animal!” he scolds. Justin wants to go to his room, but his mom says, ” Finish your Spaghettios!”
Later, the family is eating dinner. They are eating lasagna. This time Dad is eating like an animal. Justin scolds his dad. “You eat like an animal!” he says. ”Justin,” says his dad. “I am an animal.”
It’s true. Dad is a squirrel. This is new to Mom, but she has no problem with it, because she is an animal too. She is 50% platypus and 50% human. So Justin is 50% squirrel, 25% platypus, and 25% human. Everyone in the family is an animal! No wonder they all eat like animals! From that day on, they always eat like animals. And no one scolds.

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In this post, Anne Lambert talks about her schedule for the year and her reading strategy.
Monday - ask a story
Tuesday - read the typed-up story. I can’t spin it the way you do. What I can do is discuss. It is a continuation of the PQA that we did with the target phrases.”
At this point I told Anne about my Susie-inspired push to curtail PQA type discussion in readings in favor of more reading, but this is where it gets interesting - Anne is allowing a lot of PQA during the (shorter) readings on T/Th because she knows that Friday will be the “big” reading day of the targeted literature - that idea certainly stirs the pot on the reading discussion!
Anne goes on about her Tuesday schedule:
“For example, in the animal story, we had already (in PQA) discussed thoroughly what people eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, etc. While reading the story, however, in which the detail of oatmeal had been added, we could talk about oatmeal for a while. It doesn’t take the whole period. On Tuesdays, after the reading, we have a dictation. (3 sentences. The kids love it. I teach a little grammar–maybe 5 minutes tops.)
Wednesday - ask a story
Thursday - same as Tuesday, only after the reading we have a quiz instead of a dictation.
Friday- FVR (5 minutes) and then we read/ discuss the chosen extended reading. Having used 6 phrases (3 per script) from the text during the week, the kids are very receptive to the new material. When we are translating, and we hit a sentence with one of those 6 phrases, even the less-capable students raise their hands to translate. It gives them confidence to see the familiar, recently-acquired phrases. With Gerhard’s stories, each of which is illustrated with goofy pictures, I let the kids decide which story they want to read next week. It’s funny how seriously they take that task, and the ownership they have of the reading when we finally do read it. Such silly little things, but so powerful.
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The World Language Ning is the repository for reflections and lesson plans for the spring TPRS course with Katya Paukova.

Feb. 15: Follow this link to a Berty Segal class. The first couple of minutes are advertising, but in the middle, there is a nice segment that demonstrates the three-ring circus idea. The "circus" helps give some movement to the class, mixed with TPR, mixed with the potential to use any tense, as well as the possibility of laughing a lot in the middle of class.

March 7, 2009
Yesterday the Alaska TPRS group had a great presentation from Terry Thatcher Waltz (who is a professional interpreter as well as a TPRS Chinese/Spanish teacher) on adapting exercises for interpreters to the upper-level classroom. I won't even try to share everything we heard, because after an hour we had so much information that we had to review our notes together to be able to process it. She has a wealth of experience and many ideas on how to apply her expertise to the classroom. It may seem obvious, but because Terry has nine years of TPRS experience, these new techniques seemed to be an extension of what we are already trying to do in our classrooms with advanced kids, rather than something that would take us in a different direction.

In a nutshell, doing interpreter exercises is a way to assure a lot of comprehensible input while giving students a real-world skill. One exercise would be speaking or playing a text to students and having them practice interpreting in longer and longer chunks, until they are capable of remembering up to a minute's worth of target language at a time. There's a game that students can play in which they listen to a list of words, repeating the words with a one-word delay, then a two-word delay, and finally a three-word delay. The students try to create and break records of the most words in a row that they can repeat. The game requires that they develop the short-term memory skills that will allow them to do interpreting. There are exercises to do with text, others that they could do with recordings, and there is potential for using the difficult situation of having native speakers in the classroom to the best advantage.
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15 repetitions of a story: how to extend it for quite a while:
I had a problem class, too. They liked the personalized stories, especially if there was a "disaster". But they didn't like the constant questioning about the story. I tricked them into hearing repetitions of the structures and vocab. I did about 15 activities with them other than circling with questions. I did not ask them the story...I told it to them. My story. Then we translated it. Next came true or false statements, then I showed a cartoon and told the story out of order. Students had to identify the frame of the cartoon. Then I showed the story on the overhead, with the sentences out of order and the kids had to put it back in order again. Then a transparency with each sentence in a scrambled order (e.g. a attaqué / le canoë / le crocodile). Then I retold the story with the last couple of words missing and volunteers had to finish it. I asked straight content questions. I had them answer those questions orally, and later in writing. I did dictations of the story and we practised spelling. Finally I asked them questions about the story that weren't answered in the story, so they had a chance to be creative. Later I had the kids work in pairs to do retells and their job was to change 3 things in the story, or sometimes to retell and add 3 details to my story. Anyway you get the idea. They kept hearing the story over and over, and reading it repeatedly, but they accepted it because each activity was different. It really worked well with my particular problem class. Good luck!
Jan Miyata in Ontario, Canada
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Vera's Weekly Sequence

Videos of coaching sessions Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part 4. is the New York State Regents exam page for the NYS proficiency exams.

Sub plans!
Here are Karen Rowan's ideas for when a TPRS teacher needs a sub:

My sub plans for a one day absence usually involve stacking 5 day lesson
plans into one day. For example, if I know I'm going to be gone Monday and
Friday is our usual FVR day, I'll skip it and move FVR to Monday. Here are
some options:
1. Free Voluntary Reading. Let the kids choose children's books to read.
Tell the sub to choose a book, too, and model quiet reading.

2. Reading the reader in groups. Translating and writing down the words
they can't figure out together.

3. In groups, have them draw six frames on a piece of paper and create a
story strip in pictures. When they have finished creating the story, each
group performs their story for another group in class. One person narrates.
Others act. Others take the role of props. I call this "Blow the sub away"
because if the sub does speak the language, it's pretty impressive what
they can do.

4. Give the kids a collection of stories (photocopied from TPRS materials,
not created on your own). Have one group of kids create questions about the
story. Another group answers them.
Give them a collection of stories and have them illustrate them.
OR Give groups of students the illustrations, cut into six separate pieces.
Also give them the written story. Have them rearrange the pictures into the
correct order while reading the story. When they finish they move to the
next table and do the second story. Each set of cut up pictures and stories
go back into a separate manila envelope
at the end of that activity have them scramble the pictures for the next
group. The next group has to write a new story from the pictures in their
out of order order.

5. Move freewriting to the sub day. Leave them a free writing assignment
(to be added to their notebooks) to write a story using a list of words you
have previously taught and have been acquired. Add a couple of optional
silly words so that they can get creative.

Most of these don't require much planning or grading --- but be really
cognizant of that. For whatever reason you took the day off, it doesn't
make sense to take 7 hours off and then spend 14 hours making up for it. If
all else fails, leave a movie. It's far better to let them watch a movie
when you're NOT there than when you ARE there!

I think the majority of your planning will be photocopying and possibly
cutting. These are also re-useable.

Karen Rowan
Karen Rowan Workshops, Inc / karen@...
Director, Fluency Fast Language Classes / karen@...
Editor, The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
1-866-WWW-FLUENCY / 719-633-6000
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Here are some lesson plans for a sub. The top part is an answer to a question in the middle.

-The only guide line were that they had to use the vocabulary structures that I
gave them (between 5 & 6 for each groups) at least 3 times in the story/script
and it had to be at least 100 words or more. They could use any old stories
they remembered or do their own thing. I got some as purely stories which is
fine, they work the puppets or whatever while I read the story slowly and run
the video camera. Others gave me a whole "script" with lines, narration, etc.
With that I just tried to read the narrator part in my regular voice and then do
the characters in different voices. That was the hardest, because I got mixup
sometimes, but it's not Hollywood, I only want them for review and then I want
to put the videos on our school web site next year when I use those structures
again. Watching and video and listening to a podcast I make to go with the
structures will help those who have missed a class and missed CI.

Hope this answers your questions

Anita McDaniel
Columbus Unified High School
Columbus, KS

-- In, Angela Bowman <am13bowman@...> wrote:
  • Sounds exciting! Do you have a set number of lines required, or number of
interchanges per character?

  • To:
  • From: punzelrules@...
  • Date: Sat, 9 May 2009 06:03:38 +0000
  • Subject: [moretprs] Review or sub assignment

  • Hi,
> Just a recap of what i sent about substitute lessons the other day. i was
going to do this anyway as a review for the vocabulary structures that we used
this last quarter. I didn't have the original assignment on my home computer
because I had written it up at school and hadn't sent it home.
  • Here it is and I hope some of you can use it.
> 1st I made lists of the structures we had used and put them in groups of 5,
then typed them with enough space between the groups that they could be cut
  • Then i made this assignment below for the students to do on Tuesday and they
were to hand in the assignment & I typed and corrected a few of the more glaring
errors so that we could tape on Thurs. I was disappointed because they thought,
Oh, well it's the end of the year she won;t really make us do these. They didn't
come prepared as expected, so they are to have things done so that when we get
done with our Culture power point presentations next week we can do the taping.
I was going to show the videos as a review that week but they chose not to do
the work, they can live with the consequences.
  • Here is the assignment:
> Review Video project:
  • We will be reviewing the vocabulary that we have used this year. You will work
in groups of 3. La Profe will decide the number of people in your group. The
project: Your group is to use the vocabulary that you chose and create a story
that can be acted out as it is read by the Profe. You must use the vocabulary
that you have chosen at least 3 times in the story. You are to have paper dolls,
dolls, puppets, etc to do the acting and a stage (simple) with a background that
fits with your story (does not need to change). The story must be decided on by
the entire group and each group is to have a script writer, a set designer and a
person to choreograph your story. Each person must have a job to do.
  • You will pick a set of vocabulary words. With those words your group will make
up a play that contains each of those words at least 3 times (more if possible).
It is also important that your group use as many words that we know as possible,
and as varied a vocabulary as possible in your story. It must make sense, it
must be entertaining and it must include the words you picked. It must also be
school appropriate.
  • The scriptwriter will be responsible for writing down what the group decides
on. It must be readable and it will be handed in today so that the Profe can
make corrections, if necessary, so your play can be narrated by the Profe for
the video we will make of your play on Thursday. You will get to practice with
the Profe before the video is shot.
  • The Set designer is in charge of designing the set and assigning jobs for the
rest of the group to make or bring from home that are necessary to stage your
play. The stage can be a cardboard box with the top and front cut out. You can
use drawings or colored paper or anything else you can think of to decorate your
  • The Choreographer will direct where the characters need to be in each scene
and what they are to do.
  • All people in the group are to be responsible for a character or set movement,
etc. Make sure each person has a job to do. The group should practice the last
20 minutes of class. On Thursday you can practice with la Profe and then after
each group has practiced we will shoot the video.
  • All scripts must be done within the 1st 50 minutes of class.
  • The rest of the class each group will practice their play with a student
narrating at least 3 times and the other students acting out the play the best
they can without their props. Each group is to have their materials, stage, and
characters with them on Thursday. There will be time for one dress rehearsal
with the Profe narrating, before taping.
  • On Thursday your group will set up your stages in the classroom and practice
your play. The Profe will narrate the play as she is recording the play. Be
prepared to listen to what the Profe says so that your characters do what they
are supposed to at the right time.
  • When taping is going on, all students must be QUIET so that the sound on the
tape will be clear.
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And more ideas from Carmen:

Re: ideas for a sub?

I'm way behind so others may have already suggested what I do but here are some
common things that I leave with subs. I don't have subs a lot but the end of
this year I have been gone for a variety of reasons and so I've had to create
sub plans almost weekly!

1. Have them read a short mini-story, answer some questions about it and then
change the ending to a new ending.
2. Give them a picture sequence and have them write the story.
3. Read an extended reading in pairs or individually. Write a letter as if they
are one of the characters in the story (and have the letter topic relate to
whatever happened in the story).
4. Compare/contrast in writing a story that they read while the sub's there with
either an acted out story we did in class or an extended reading to a
5. I sometimes leave movies as a LAST resort but I try not to.
6. Grade nothing that you leave with a sub - completion credit for doing it -
because who knows what they really did in your absence. :)
7. Cloze exercise with a song.
8. Have students draw pictures of an original story in small groups and then
tell the story to the class (they only can use their pictures).
9. Have students write an original story using current vocab and then illustrate

A few ideas at any rate!

Carmen :) in Vegas, baby!
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Need lesson plans for advanced Spanish: here's some help--

I have lesson plans (for Spanish levels 3 and AP/5) on my website as well,

Carmen :) in Vegas, baby!

Next Year Thoughts on Ben Slavic's blog: what do some experienced teachers already plan for next year.

A rubric for Spanish K-2 that seems as though it might even help those of us us in high school!

Report Card Rubrics for Spanish (K-2)
Needs frequent reminders to pay attention and participate.
Reluctant or unable to respond.
More time and experiences needed.
Pays attention and participates with minimal reminders.
Consistently tries to respond.
Appropriately participates in activities.
Developing and making positive progress.
Pays attention during instruction without being reminded.
Demonstrates confidence in speaking the target language.
Readily and appropriately participates in activities.
Independently uses prior knowledge to anticipate meaning and make sense of
spoken language.
Independent and advanced level of understanding.
Native Speaker (or near fluent).
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Poor Anna Ideas

some things I do with the book:
- writing and acting out skits (Anne with her parents, Anne with her friends,
Anne with her siblings) after reading first chapter
- jeopardy game with information from a few chapters (I do chapters 3 and 4, all
the going places in Belgium stuff)
- writing book summaries in French at the end of the book, or write comparison
of Anne "avant - après", her attitudes and behaviors before and after the trip
- you could also have students write descriptions of Anne from the point of view
of other characters in the story: her mom, her brother or sister, her friends
in US, her friends and host sister in Belgique, Richard, etc.
- you could also play "Qui suis-je" with students sharing descriptive sentences
about a selected character in front of the class, and the class has to guess who
it is they are describing.
Stuff about Belgium:
I show a film on Belgium and share a lot of information about Belgium, with
comparisons to our area of the US (size, rainfall, population per square mile,
time zone, maximum distance between two points, size of cities, distance from
the ocean, etc - all kinds of information I have accumulated that allows kids to
better understand the differences between that part of the world and ours - info
I also discuss the relations between French and Belgians, how they make fun of
each other, and share some jokes that they tell about each other.
We also discuss Jacques Brel and his life, and study the song "Les Flamandes",
and I have also played the Belgian national anthem for them and studied the
text, I found a funny video on Youtube of a young man singing the anthem.
Hope all this helps!
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Re: Engaging Students in Stories

by mw13 on Wed Oct 27, 2010 3:32 pm
Wow. 108 minutes is a really long time. You need to have a minimum of 5 very different activities ready to go. You probably need a game, a song, a reading, a story and a quiz at the very least. That's very challenging! I have to assume this is high school...middle school at 108 minutes would be awful!

I have had your scenario happen (though 85 minutes are our two long periods). Generally I'd suspect that the sleepers and lost-attention kids are those who aren't understanding too long, and are figuring things won't be any better today. If that's true, I'd work to regain their trust that they're going to understand in this class.

The first thing I'd try would be to make a super simple story, with only one TL word that they needed to know. My idea would be something like "Eminem gives Jacob a cheeseburger." (Jacob is the kid in the class who likes Eminem.)

"Gives" would be the only sure-certain word to keep. I'd ask "Who?" until someone named an equally interesting famous person (possibly suggesting names from their questionnaires), or I'd just say, "No! It was Eminem." I'd circle that famous person's name for a while, checking whether he's a guy, a girl, a musician, an actor, a good musician (etcetera). If the kids aren't up and interested and answering by now, I would be realizing that we need a talk. But usually, by now they're into it. Then I'd figure out what he gives, and then to whom. I'd pick my star actor to be Eminem/alternate hero, maybe with a prop that shows who he is, and keep him acting.

I'd make it so juicy that if Jacob is the one who likes the main character, he is sitting up on the edge of his chair. He can't wait to find out who is going to get that cheeseburger. When it turns out it's him, he will be delighted. At that point, Jacob will not deign to accept the cheeseburger from Eminem. He's too cool (or at least you'll coach him that way). Eminem is going to be disappointed, and may keep upping the ante, or maybe he'll just go home and cry.

Right then, stop and do a T/F quiz. If you make it short and sweet, to take only two minutes, with grading on the spot, they should all get A's, and turn it in and now you can write up the story as a class. Or do something else that comes from it. They could then re-write it. They can draw it and then tell it to their neighbors. They can act it out in groups of two all around the room as you tell it. You can have them draw it in their notebooks, then you write it out of order on the board and they label captions. Do a running translation. Do dictations.

Once you have a couple of stories going, you can expand on each story every day. You can ask the kids to give you three ideas in writing about how to expand the existing story, take those ideas and write them up for the next day...

No one should blurt out in English (read up on Pagames...or other ideas). No one's head should be down, unless they are sick, in which case they should go to the nurse.
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Here's Michele's article in the ACTR journal on retirement.

Bryce’s First 100 Word List

by Ben Slavic on September 15, 2009

[I think Jim asked for this. It didn't format well, but will eventually find its way to the big group of Bryce's downloads on the posters link of this site.]



Foundational Classroom Spanish Vocabulary

This first unit is basic Spanish vocabulary that is crucial to function in the classroom. It will lay the ground work for us to talk about the things we need to do in class, and it will also prepare students to understand and tell stories. This unit includes:

• Basic Classroom Vocabulary (so that we can use Spanish daily in the classroom)

• Basic Verbs and Commands (so that we can get used to hearing Spanish and acting on it)

• Basic Body Parts (useful in telling stories)

• Colors (always useful to describe things)

• Basic Story-telling Words (so that we can have some fun and REALLY learn some Spanish)

Acquiring the vocabulary in Unit I & II is important for your success later in this course.

Most of these words will be acquired in class. If you are in class I will make sure that you get it. Students that attend daily and mostly pay attention in class will find that they do not need to study very much and they will learn a lot of Spanish.

Every day in Spanish class students receive expert instruction that is adjusted to their level.

Students that do NOT attend regularly will need to get these words the hard way to pass tests and quizzes—they will have to memorize the vocabulary outside of classfor most student this requires between 30 and 60 minutes of study per day to keep up with classmates.

This necessary study time logically applies to both excused and unexcused absences: if you are not in class you are not getting the input and you will not learn as much.

Ah, but if you ARE in class, my dear students, you will learn Spanish!


1. se levanta (#372) gets up
2. se sienta (#710) sits down
3. anda (#536) walks
4. rápido (#652) fast
5. despacio (#3398) slowly
6. toca (#325) touches
enséñame show me
7. apunta (#1361) point at
8. el pupitre (not in top 5,000) student desk
9. el piso (#797) floor
10. la silla (#1307) chair
11. la puerta (#354) door


12. salta (#1071) jumps
13. para adelante (#516) forwards, to the front
14. para atrás (#483) backwards, to the back
15. agarra (#2074) grab
16. la luz (#256) light
17. la ventana (#1265) window
18. el libro (#253) book
19. el papel (#277) paper
20. el muchacho (#1687) boy
21. la muchacha (#2506) girl

(The numbers are not Essential…yet)

uno 1 dos 2 tres 3 cuatro 4 cinco 5
seis 6 siete 7 ocho 8 nueve 9 diez 10


22. levanta (#372) lifts up, raises
23. baja (#569) lowers
24. la cabeza (#298) head
25. la mano (#150) hand
26. la rodilla (#2208) knee
27. el pie (#386) foot
28. derecho (#912) right
29. izquierdo (#1703) left

Every paper you turn in for this class needs 4 things:
1) Your first and last name
2) The date written out in Spanish like this: el veintiocho de agosto
3) Your class period
4) The title of the assignment

30. tu nombre (#199) your name
31. la fecha (#749) the date
32. la clase (#288) the class
33. el título (#653) the title


34. abre (#252) opens
35. cierra (#454) closes
36. pequeño (#184) small
37. grande (#62) big
38. la boca (#635) mouth
39. el ojo (#247) eye
40. la nariz (#2119) nose
41. la oreja (#2407) ear
42. el hombro (#1927) shoulder


43. dibuja (#2317) draws
44. grita (#1597) shouts
45. suave (#1784) soft, gentle, quiet
46. fuerte (#1010) strong, loud, hard, forcefully
47. le pega (#1395) hits it/him/her
48. a la derecha (#) to the right
49. a la izquierda (#) to the left
50. mira (#142) looks at, watches


51. tiene (#18) has
52. sonríe (#2731) smiles
53. está contento (#17) is happy
54. bonito (#1707) pretty
55. la pluma (#) pen
56. escribe (#) writes



La mano de Meghan
Meghan’s hand
mira looks at
dibuja draws
le pega hits (it, him)
grita yells
tiene has


ahora now
bonita pretty
buena good
está contento is happy
corazón heart
habla talks
pero but
porque because
sonríe smiles
su his
veinte 20
minutos minutes
derecha right
izquierda left
le gusta likes it
no le gusta doesn’t like it

Meghan tiene una mano bonita. Justin mira la mano de Meghan. Justin dibuja un corazón en la mano de Meghan.

Meghan le grita ?¡Idiota! ?. Meghan le pega a Justin. Justin está contento.


57. tira (#759) throws
58. le da (#39) gives him/her
59. la basura (#2594) trash
60. la mesa (#461) table
61. el techo (#1386) ceiling, roof

62. la pizarra (not in top 5,000 words) chalkboard, whiteboard
63. el lápiz (#3296) pencil
64. el reloj (#1685) clock
65. es (#8) is
66. el chico (#1079) boy
67. la chica (#1907) girl


68. corta (#597) cut
69. las tijeras (not in top 5,000 words) scissors
70. la profesora (#621) the teacher (female)
71. el profesor (#621) the teacher (male)
72. el brazo (#620) arm
73. el pelo (#1056) hair
74. ¿Cómo te llamas? (#104) What is your name?
75. Me llamo… (#104) My name is…


76. el cuaderno (#3220) notebook
77. llora (#1466) cry
78. se ríe de (#1493) laughs at
79. el suelo (#432) ground

80. toma (#122) takes
81. come (#389) eats
82. mucho (#45) a lot
83. un poco (#74) a little


84. lee (#244) reads
85. el periódico (#765) newspaper
86. la revista (#804) magazine
87. la pelota (#2445) ball
88. arriba (#544) up
89. abajo (#631) down


90. rojo (#533) red
91. verde (#878) green
92. azul (#904) blue
93. amarillo (#1586) yellow
94. morado (not in top 5,000) purple
95. blanco (#250) white
96. negro (#317) black
97. anaranjado (not in top 5,000) orange
98. la pierna (#1201) leg
99. el cuello (#1920) neck
100. la cara (#356) face
101. café (#1250) brown
102. gris (#2290) grey
103. rosado (#4461) pink

104. entre (#58) between
105. sobre (#48) on top of, about
106. corre (#332) runs

Examen Número Uno (Test Number One)

This test will be a 100 question test taken from the 106 Essential Words in Unit I.
Words on the test will be in Spanish, you will write them in English.
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Re: High school games

New post
New post
by senorjordan on Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:57 am
Here are a couple I have used over the years:
1. 'Caramba'
Here's a brief explanation... if you have technology it makes it a little easier and you don't waste paper but I did it back before I had a projector.
a. You make cards (slides) of different vocab.
b. Then you insert some cards that say "Caramba" on them and scramble it all up. ( I usually do 10 caramba cards/slides)
c. you have students in teams
d. have teams elect a representative (this is the person you will listen to)
e. you show the vocab word (or show English word) or even something from a TPRS story and have them translate or finish or true or false... anything
f. if they get it right, they get a point and they may continue or stop
g. if they stop, they keep all the points they have accumulated for that round and never lose them for the duration of the game
h. if they continue they keep going until they: 1) stop, 2) miss one 3) get a 'caramba'
i. if they get one wrong or a 'caramba'; their turn is over and they lose any points from that round
j. my kids have a love/hate relationship with this game.

2. Conecta 4
a. I made a powerpoint and it's a tad tricky but it plays like the game 'Connect 4" with two teams
b. instructions are included in powerpoint (slide 1)

3. ¿Dónde está Wally?
a. in previous years I used this to practice place vocab
b. if you have tech, I have a powerpoint template
c. if you don't have any tech, you can print out pictures of places and glue them onto a piece of heavier paper with a small pocket at the bottom and then insert some different waldos into the pockets randomly. Have those pictures taped on the board and have the students guess.
d. they write down their answers and if they are write, they get a point
e. to build suspense I go person to person and ask "¿Dónde está Wally?" and they have to tell me a guess... then as a class we see if they were right or not

4. Jeopardy
a. I have a powerpoint template
b. if you don't have tech in your classroom, you can always write number values on the board with the categories and have a notecard with the questions and answers. I've done both and either one is successful with the students.

5. sentence scramble
a. I've come up with sentences and the cut them all up and had the students try to put them back together beforehand timed
b. the group that gets the most wins

6. crossword puzzle w/ clues
a. I projected a crossword on the board w/ an overhead and then had each team with a different marker color. They were given clues for the words (in Spanish) on a piece of paper and then they had to figure out what the word was. One person could come up to the board from each team at a time to write a word in there.
b. the winning team had the most words filled in correctly

7. Scrabble
a. I made my own little scrabble sets on cut up card stock paper/notecards
b. i made sure there were plenty of letters as well
c. students drew like 15 letters at the beginning and always got 2-3 blanks at the beginning as well.
d. first student would place a word down
e. students would build off of that word (like in Scrabble)
f. they would keep building off the of the words
g. the winners had: 1) most words or 2) longest word

8. ¿Dónde está mi _?
a. last year I had a student walk out of the class and stay in the hall... when they came back the other students had hidden one of their items... students then had to describe the person who took it.
b. this could be adapted to describe body characteristics, clothing, locations like 'near' 'far' 'above' 'below' etc

9. steal the bacon
if you're covering vocabulary... I liked printing out pictures last year when first introducing vocab. After introducing it on the first day or second day, we had the students compete to grab the vocabulary word on a piece of paper before the other... this is an incredibly fun thing for them even at the high school age.... I just had them keep score...

10. memoria
a. cards of things with pictures and spanish words or translation and spanish words
b. students play memory with the cards
c. take turns flipping them over; looking for matches
d. if they get matches they may continue looking

11. pesca "go fish"
a. play 'go fish' with cards...
b. rules of 'go fish' apply
c. "tienes _? (do you have)
d. Sí... o pesca

Those are some off the top of my head. I hope this was helpful. I'll keep thinking.

If you'd like to see the PowerPoint templates of Conecta 4, ¿Dónde está Wally?, or Caramba... you can email me at
and I'll email them to you.

-Jeremy Jordan

statistics in vBulletin
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Lynn on different ways to write quizzes (Ben's blog)

Lynn 11.28.10 at 11:51 AM
what could a range of comprehension batch of quizzes look like? wow, so many options.
mostly 8 – 15 words/phrases
quizzes take about 10 minutes, usually
i don’t test them to death. here are a few approaches and I think it shows me who is where. I think there’s enough range here that the students realize that it’s a pretty good reflection of how much “intention to listen to understand” they are putting in. YES, most everyone scores good marks but the truth is, you have to be NOT listening to learn in here!
i go through the recycling bin in the photo copy room, cut paper in quarters or lengthways, keep them in a basket on my shelf and use those for the quizzes. Students move their desks (that’s a couple of lessons at the beginning of our time together) always the same students, same place, away we go. my kids sit in two horseshoes with spaces between middle desks so I can get through quickly. i drop a handful of papers quickly and they pass. takes seconds.
after writing, kids pass their papers for marking. the rule is, if most of them don’t succeed, I haven’t taught it well enough, test doesn’t count. HAS HAPPENED ONCE – when I thought I had taught a lesson to a block and they were too sweet to say “hey, you didn’t teach this!” we didn’t count the quiz…they were happy, I was happy. although, what a waste of time that was!
i have them call out their scores (teaches numbers) they can say “pass” and come tell me later. saves a ton of time, we can get through this in a matter of seconds versus minutes of me recording later.
when they are done I say (in target language) they can make balls and fire the paper in the recycling, or try and hit a particular student. they must pick up the paper and throw it at someone else who puts it in the recycling. or, they line up at a masking tape line and if they hit the basket, they can get something out of the sack of fun. all this is in French, which is totally comprehensible by the end of our time together. the options are endless, passing the papers, putting the papers in their binders, getting up and giving them to someone who has to get up and put them in the recycling….on and on, the trick being to give them some relief from the constant barrage of input, have some fun, get moving
pull words from the lesson and have them write English/French
have a list of words, vocabulary I’ve gone over a few times – be it “weather words” or vocab from class activities. call out the words and use them in sentences as well.
have a list of words, vocabulary I’ve gone over a few times – be it “weather words” or vocab from class activities. call out the words in isolation.
have a list of words, vocabulary I’ve gone over a few times – be it “weather words” or vocab from class activities. ask questions using the words and kids answer in French or English, one word answers
have a list of words, from vocabulary from the day’s lesson (warn the kids at the beginning there will be a quiz at the end) – be it “weather words” or vocab from class activities. call out the words in isolation.
at the end of the lesson ask the students for a list of words they think they should know after the lesson. use it immediately – I get to use a whole bunch of new vocab finding out the vocab for the test and there comes another lesson right out of the blue! woo hoo. (another quiz in the making)
Keep an ongoing list of vocab that I’ve taught (five words or phrases each day) post it on chart paper/or run off on the printer at the back of the room. I give the students an updated copy at the end of the month. The rule is that I can only test them on the words on the list (I sneak other words in when I use them in the questions on the quiz) the English is not on the posted list I keep at the back of the room. I keep the list on a chart so I can manipulate the French and English easily. When I want a fairly huge review quiz I simply delete the English column (because that’s easiest ) If I want to test them on about 50 words, I always give that as a huge review sheet first. which is the vocab list without the french or englis and they can use their list to complete the review. I let them know there is a huge actual test around the corner and they better take a look at that list and review. the marks are always very good for the most part and those who really aren’t concerned about making French the most important thing in their lives make that pretty clear with their score – c’est la vie
We’ve been together for a few months. Now I have a list of phrases they should know. I turn this into a list…about 30 questions using the target words. Class list in hand I ask the questions and call on random students.
star – perfect tick – hesitant dot – got it, with help X – not yet
I only ask about 10 – 15 questions, more is too much I think. after i have a substantial number of responses I turn it into a mark for oral comprehension out of whatever I decide 10/15/25
Using the same list, I choose only a few of the questions. I put this on the screen or run it off so they have a hard copy they can keep, put in their binders for reference or to study from….or, when I need a quiet day, they must answer in full sentences and write in their notebook (which never leaves the class)
I run off a hard copy of some sentences and double space. They write the answers below.
I write sentences or use dictés or use stories, run it off on a hard copy, they write the translation below.
I make up some questions, they give me two crazy responses and one correct
I write the (on the screen) really good ones as we work together. i have multiple choice quiz presto and I can use it next class, or a few classes down the road.
I give them a list (after much time together) of the 1 00 000 000 sorts of questions Blaine has provided in his books and we use all the time,
who what where when why how many does, will, negative, two for one, and or, affirmative
they can answer with one or two words. in English if they wish, i always tell them I prefer they answer in French but English is okay.
keep in mind that lots of reading is really hard on some of the students and they don’t feel at all successful and they look at the page and just freeze, and put on the brakes…. these students won’t survive high school french where the focus is from a texte daily. so sad.
too darn bad we have to test them.
i do get some grumbles from random students when i hand out the papers. which i’ve learned to address instantly. ABSOLUTELY no complaining…think it, but DON’T say it. I must test, this isn’t a choice, end of story.
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Diane Volzer (from yahoo group page) on Apples to Apples game:
You can create this game in 10 minutes! I save the cards in an envelope for
each chapter of Cuéntame Más. Then next year I will be ready at any time to
pull them out. I just handwrite them on index cards (use colored index cards
for easy sorting....copy all of the cards several times to make sets: a blue
set, a yellow set, etc. Each group simply uses a different colored set of cards
(but the sets are identical).

I also like to have gold bonus cards I carry around with me. When I catch
outstanding Spanish going on I give the extra cards. this past week, one
student tossed a student a pencil to borrow as the game was starting. It rolled
off the desk onto the floor. the "receiving" student said "Where is it?" The
"tosser" said, "Se cayó." (It fell).

“Apples to Apples”
--Scrap paper squares
--Writing utensil for each student
--fill-in-the-blank cards created by the teacher ahead of time
--awards for winners, if desired
• Kids work in groups of 6-10.
• Kids play for specified length of time or until everyone has 2 turns, etc.
• Everyone takes turns being a leader.
• The first leader selects a card, reads it to the others, and waits for each
person to write an answer on a small scrap paper/half index card.
• Everyone turns in their answers to the leader.
• The leader then reads each phrase/sentence aloud and picks his/her
“favorite” answer.
• Whoever wrote that answer gets to keep the card (which represents a point).
• Then the next person becomes the leader, reads the phrase, and play
continues. We play for a specified length of time.

**Create “fill-in-the-blank” cards using current vocabulary. For example,
we are working on “no deja de hablar” (doesn’t stop talking) right now.
Some samples:
No deja de _.
no deja de hablar.
no deja de _.

Students might respond:
No deja de lavar las orejas sucias.
Oprah no deja de hablar.
Taylor Swift no deja de hablar de Justin Beiber.