Virtual TPR and Beginning the Year

I’m still not sure exactly what this year is going to look like, but I don’t think anyone else knows either.

I do know that, as always, I want to focus on making opportunities for students to receive comprehensible input. One way I try to ensure comprehension throughout the year is to establish gestures for high frequency words when possible.

The HIGH frequency verbs that I’m working with this year, based on Super 7, Sweet 16, and Frequency dictionaries, and what words *I* most use in class, are: looks at, leaves/goes out, sees, likes, gives, puts, thinks, says, there is/are, knows, stays, wants, can, does/makes, arrives, has, goes, should. I don’t have ‘is’ in there because it’s really hard to gesture, and it is the highest frequency verb so it will naturally be used a lot, and students sometimes hear ‘es’ as ‘is’ which… sometimes helps… they guess the meaning pretty quickly in context.

Theoretically this should be pretty easy to do via video: Establish meaning, show a gesture, model the gestures, mix them up to start processing the meaning, repeat. Do in sets of three, randomize, repeat.

If you’re like me, you’ve had a hard time thinking on your feet to randomize commands, so I introduce to you…. The TPR randomizer! Feel free to make a copy šŸ™‚ Put your list of words/phrases in the first column and everything else will automatically populate.

Admittedly, TPR is great for learning vocabulary, but it doesn’t often give a lot of context. I do highly suggest looking at TPR Materials from CPLI to learn more about the research of TPR as a language learning approach. I LOVE “TPR is More than Commands” by Seely and Romijn, and Berty Segal’s book “EnseƱando y aprendiendo el espaƱol por medio de la acciĆ³n”

What I HAVE seen in my classrooms in the past is that when I don’t start off with a solid base of TPR I notice instructional gaps “Why don’t students already know this word/gesture” right, because I didn’t teach it. I think TPR can be a great way to set a foundation of high frequency words that you’re going to use all through student’s learning. And the thing I love MOST about TPR is that when I teach verbs with it, I teach 3rd person singular, but as long as we have had the gesture established, I can use any form of the verb and still remain comprehensible.

So, what’s my plan with TPR as a virtual learning tool?

I have created some loom lessons to introduce the gestures and meanings, which also include screen grabs of me spelling the words to ‘teach’ the alphabet. Click the image below to look at the videos, and in the 3rd video… don’t mind my sunburn.

So after EACH spelling video (they watch the gesture introduction, and the spelling video) I am going to use my schools LMS, Canvas, and our G Suite for Education to create activities that put words into context.

Some ideas are: read a sentence and match the meaning of the TPR word. The sentence might be “Bob tiene chocolate” and students would need to choose ‘has’ from a list to show comprehension of ‘tiene’

I might use Charlala to give drawing prompts “Bob tiene chocolate” and students draw a person with chocolate.

I might give sentences and students try to translate, sentences will probably be recorded on video so I can do the gestures.

I might do a little story (Like video 6) but much shorter, essentially, storylistening with very simple sentences to start, adding in words naturally to make it more compelling.

So there are some of my ideas right now. I’m going to play around with our LMS and see what other kinds of activities I can do and I’ll post them on twitter @welangley and try to remember to update this entry.

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