It’s not that hard to teach grammar while staying in the target language. Additionally, learning grammar doesn’t have to be a headache for your students.
In PART 1, of this “Teaching Grammar In The Target Language” series, we discussed how to teach “To Have” and “To Want” verbs. In this post you’ll read the transcript for a step-by-step guide to introducing “To Not Want” and teaching the words for “or” & “and.” (Note: The transcript is written in English, although you should imagine the teacher saying all of her statements in the language that you teach. i.e. French, Russian, Arabic, etc.)
Teacher pulls out an individual box of Cheerios. Teacher says, “I have Cheerios. (pause) I have Cheerios. (pause) I have Cheerios but YOU… (teacher points to a student) …YOU don’t have Cheerios. And you… (teacher points to another student) …you don’t have Cheerios. I… (teacher points to herself) have Cheerios but you (teacher points to a student) …don’t. And you…(teacher points to another student) …don’t. And you don’t. And you don’t have. And you don’t have. And you don’t have Cheerios. ALL OF YOU, all of you, all of you (teacher is pointing to the whole class) All of you don’t have Cheerios. But I do. I have Cheerios.”
“I like Cheerios.”
(Teacher opens Cheerios and starts eating them.) “Delicious. Delicious. I like Cheerios. I have Cheerios and you don’t. You don’t have Cheerios but I do have Cheerios.” (Teacher might choose to sing the following phrases to rub it in: “I have Cheerios. Delicious Cheerios. You don’t have Cheerios. I have Cheerios.)
Teacher pauses. Teacher goes to the board and writes, “Who wants Cheerios?” and “I want Cheerios,” in the target language. Teacher pulls more boxes of Cheerios out of the bag. Teacher raises her hand and asks, “Who wants Cheerios?” Teacher identifies 4 students with their hands raised and helps them answer the target question by pointing to the written answer on the board or by using the two-hand method.
After the four students have said, “I want Cheerios,” Teacher goes to the board and writes (in the TL), “Who has Cheerios? _____ has Cheerios,” and “Who doesn’t have Cheerios? _____ doesn’t have Cheerios.” (At this point the teacher may choose to sit down and use the discussion, that follows, as a formative assessment. Teacher will ask students either of the questions that are written on the board and assess student responses based on their correctness/completeness.)
When the discussion/assessment is finished, teacher pulls out an individual box of Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cheerios. Teacher says, “I have Cheerios. I have Lucky Charms. I have Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” Teacher goes to a student who has Cheerios and says, “I have Cheerios. I have Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I have Lucky Charms. (pauses) You have Cheerios. But you don’t have Lucky Charms. And you don’t have Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” (Teacher may choose to repeat this step several times with other students who have Cheerios but not the sweet cereals.)
Teacher goes to several students, who have no cereal, and asks, “Do you want Cheerios or do you want Cinnamon Toast Crunch?” (Teacher helps the student say, “I want ____.”) To a student who says, “I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” the teacher responds, “You don’t want Cheerios? (waits for student to shake his head ‘no’) You DON’T want Cheerios?” (Teacher helps the student respond by saying, “I don’t want Cheerios. I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”
After the student says the phrase successfully, teacher writes on the board, “Do you want Cheerios?” and, “I don’t want Cheerios. I want _____.” Teacher spends time asking students, “Do you want Cheerios?” and helping them answer with the sentences that are written on the board. (Teacher may choose to reward student use of the target language by giving students several pieces of their preffered cereal to eat.)
REFLECT: What did the students experience during this activity?
- The teacher stayed in the target language.
- The teacher administered a formative assessment.
- The students experience a formative assessment in a very low-anxiety, natural way.
- The students realized that they could easily survive in an L2-immersion environment.
- The students naturally learned some subject pronouns.
- The students learned some first person, second person and third person verb conjugations.
- The students naturally learned how to make something negative.
- The students saw L2 in written form.
- The students practiced responding to L2 questions with complete L2 answers.
- The students got repeated chances to acquire the words “and” & “or” in the target language.
Have you tried out any of these grammar teaching suggestions from Tuesday’s Tips for Staying in the Target Language? How did it go? Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #langchat (for general language teaching comments) and/or #TL90plus (for“staying in the target language“ comments).
Stay tuned to over the next weeks for more blog posts on teaching grammar while staying in the target language.
Your voice is valuable! Share your target language teaching experiences!
Part 5 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Past Tense of “To Eat”