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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Engaging lesson plan for Imperfect Tense

Goals for today's lesson:
1 - Provide a lot of repetitions of various verbs in the imperfect tense 
2 - Provide input that will engage the student
3 - Don't specifically tell the students that my focus for the lesson is the imperfect tense 

I started the lesson with the picture of an elderly couple (find it HERE) projected on the board.  I mentioned a few comparisons using young and old and then moved right into the goal of building a story around the two people.  We first established the basic details such as their names, their age, and where they live now.  Then I asked my students about details of their life in the past using the following questions as a guide:   

- Where did they used to live when they were young?
- What were they like?
- Where did they work?  What was their job?
- To where did they always on vacation?
- With whom did they talk every day/week?
- What did they believe?
- What did they want?

My students are getting better at "playing the game" and with a little help from me, we ended up with an interesting profile for these two people.  Throughout the profile building exercise, I continued to review the previous information to increase the number of repetitions.  Goal #1 ✔

After we had talked about "Dan" and "Beyonce" for awhile, I told the students to stand up and their ticket to sit down was to repeat one of the established facts about the couple.  If they couldn't remember any, they had to give a new fact about their past.  At first students took turns repeating the facts, but as the number of facts available yet to repeat dwindled, students started raising their hands to give new interesting facts; even several that were already seated wanted me to call on them because they had a good fact to add!  #Goal 2: ✔

Photo by Martin Smith, Flickr
For the last activity of the class, I counted off the students and put them in groups of 3. Then I projected another photo on the board, (right) and they had 10 minutes to write a profile on the two new people.  I instructed them not to write their names on their papers because I wanted to award points to the group with the best background information and I wanted to decide without being influenced by seeing their names. I chose the background information that explained how the couple was connected to the characters in The Hunger Games.  (I may have been slightly biased toward that since last night I just finished reading the second book in the series in Spanish.)

The next time I meet with the class, I'll ask some Verdadero/Falso or short answer questions to review the material yet one more time.  That will be on Monday, so if I have time Sunday evening (not tomorrow or Saturday due to ACTFL12), I may type a list of background information and the students will have to read it and find the sentences that describe "Dan" and "Beyonce".

As for Goal 3, well, I confess I mentioned that I put a graphic organizer on their Edmodo group a month ago and it was still there if anyone wanted notes.  (For what it's worth, I predict very few, if any, will bother to view the graphic organizer that I provided.) 

FYI - here is the profile for the first couple pictured above:

- Dan, is 82 yrs. old, from India, played cricket when young; 
- Beyonce, is 80 yrs old, from Alaska, played football when young;
- they're retired and now live in San Diego; they used to live in Portland, Maine;
- they're friends of the pope; actually Dan is his cousin
- they used to go to Vatican City every year for vacations
- they worked as spies for Canada
- they were athletic, hard-working, and funny
- Dan had 2 legs, but lost one in an accident in Serbia; now has one leg
- they had 2 sons 

14 comments:

  1. What fun ideas!! Gracias por compartirlas!!

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  2. What graphic organizer did you use?

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    1. It's an old graphic organizer that I actually made for a job interview years ago. I used it in class before I started teaching with TCI/TPRS. I no longer use it in class, but maybe it would be a good visual help for students AFTER they have acquired the imperfect tense.

      Link to Graphic Organizer for the Imperfect Tense

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  3. I tried and the kids loved it! I used a picture of my grandparents (didn't tell them) and the story was hilarious. When they finished I told the real story of the picture using the same structure as the class story. Two days later they created their own stories using the picture you gave above and today they will hear the real story of Frank and Anna. Great idea! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Great - thanks for sharing your story of success!

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  4. I am excited to give it a try...hopefully my spanish 2 kids won't be too "cool" to respond. I was wondering if you actually script the answers or just rely on memory for them to recall the story?

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  5. Renlynn
    I do one of two things:
    1. When we are developing information on the characters, I list that information on the board so it is available to read at any point in the discussion. Before I erase it, I take a picture of the board with my iphone or ipad.
    OR...
    2. I have student jobs. One of the student jobs is to list information about the character or the story details. I hand the student a clipboard and lined paper for them to write the details.

    Last week in my 1st period class I forgot to remind the story detail writer to take notes. By the end of the day I forgot 2 details in the story. Often, I type the class story for them to read the next day so since I forgot 2 details, I left blanks at those parts of the stories and the students told me the answers and then everyone had to write it on their paper. That worked fine too.

    Some classes are quicker at responding and coming up with good ideas and others I have to encourage and they slowly loosen up and play along.

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  6. I just want to be clear: You gave the students information about Dan and Beyonce in Spanish? And the list above, about them....when you write it on the board - is it in Spanish as well?

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  7. so was this the first time your students had heard about the imperfect or did they already know about it and this was just a fun activity you did with them?

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    1. It was not the first time I used the imperfect in a story. The goal was to provide additional input with the imperfect. Students already knew the high frequency "vocabulary" words vivía, tenía, era, trabajaba, (because when I first introduce new structures, I introduce 2-3 words as "vocabulary" and not as verb tenses. This activity allowed students to use those previously introduced structures/vocabulary words in a different context with the stress on creating a backstory and and not on tenses and grammar.
      It's always nice when the students take ownership and run with it, as they need with this lesson. :-)

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  8. Love your idea, but I have a question: you say "At first students took turns repeating the facts, but as the number of facts available yet to repeat dwindled" I don't understand this part. They can repeat what someone else said, but at a certain point they can't repeat anymore?

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    1. No, they could not repeat what another student said.
      The students had to repeat (or say back to me) the facts that I originally told them, but they could not repeat what a student said. If they couldn't think of something that wasn't already said (repeated back to me), then they had to make up a new piece of information about the subjects.

      I apologize for not making that clearer in the original post. Let me know if you have additional questions. :-)
      C. Hitz

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  9. Thanks for clearing that up. I tried this in class today, and felt that it went really well! The students were engaged in all steps of the activity. Thank you! Love your website--you're very creative.

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