So far in this series entitled, “Teaching Grammar In The Target Language,” we’ve discussed:
- Teaching “To Want” and “To Have” Verbs – Part 1
- Focusing on “To NOT Want” and “To NOT Have” Verbs – Part 2
- Teaching subject pronouns Part 1 & Part 2
- Numbers review – Part 3
- Teaching how sentence components change with quantity change – Part 3
In this post (Part 4) we will discuss how to introduce the future tense forms of some verbs while staying in the target language.
Remember our main approach/principle for teaching grammar while staying in the target language is…
…give students MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES in which the target grammar structures are used often enough to be noticed and acquired.
Read the following script of how a teacher uses this approach in the foreign language classroom. (Note: The following Part 4 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.)
“I have Cheerios. I have 2 boxes of Cheerios.” (Teacher pulls them out of a bag or out from under a desk.) “Yes. I have 2 boxes of Cheerios. (Pause) Also… Also I have Lucky Charms. Yes. I have Lucky Charms. I have 2 boxes of Lucky Charms.” (Teacher pulls them out and puts them next to the two boxes of Cheerios.) “I have 2 boxes of Cheerios and I have 2 boxes of Lucky Charms. (Pause) Also… Also I have Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I have 2 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch.” (Teacher pulls them out and puts them next to the other 4 boxes.) “I have 2 boxes of Cheerios AND I have 2 boxes of Lucky Charms AND I have 2 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (Pause) You (teacher points to a student) …you don’t have Cheerios. You (teacher points to another student) …you don’t have Cheerios. I have Cheerios. But you…and you…and you…and you don’t have Cheerios. (Pause. Teacher walks back to her boxes of cereal. She looks at them and pats her hungry stomach and says…) “Delicious. Delicious Cheerios. Delicious Lucky Charms. Delicious Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”
Teacher walks to the board and writes the following questions/phrases:
“Who wants ______?” (Note: The blank is for the cereal choice.)
“______ wants ______.” (Note: The 1st blank is for a student name and the 2nd blank is for their cereal choice.)
Teacher raises her hand (to indicate that she is looking for volunteers) and says, “Who wants Lucky Charms? Who wants Lucky Charms? Who wants Lucky Charms? Let’s see… Oh…Daniel wants Lucky Charms. And…I see Kristen wants Lucky Charms. Dae’Quan wants Lucky Charms.” After making these observations, Teacher randomly picks a student name and says, “Aiden, do you want Lucky Charms? Yes or no.” If student says “yes,” then Teacher uses the Two-Hand-Method to help him to say, “I want Lucky Charms.” Once Aiden says the complete L2 sentence, Teacher should look pleased and say to the class, “Oh Aiden says, ‘I want Lucky Charms. Wow. Good Aiden! Aiden says, ‘I want Lucky Charms.'” Teacher gives the Lucky Charms to Aiden and says, “Here Aiden. You have Lucky Charms. But Aiden! Aiden! Don’t eat them. Leave them right here. (Teacher points to the corner of the desk.) Don’t eat them! Okay, Aiden? Don’t eat them.”
Teacher pauses and gets the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Teacher raises her hand (to indicate that she is looking for volunteers) and says, “Who wants Cinnamon Toast Crunch?” and repeats the line of questioning/discussion from the paragraph above. (Remember all of this repeating has a purpose. It’s allowing your students to notice the target grammar structures/rules that you are trying to help them acquire. They won’t notice or acquire them unless you repeat them tirelessly. Additionally, they will be bored if you don’t make the repitition meaningful and engaging. Remember: we should purpose to give students MEANINGFUL EXPERIENCES in which the target grammar structures are used often enough to be noticed and acquired. In this model lesson, the food (and the opportunity to eat it in class) is what makes the experience meaningful.)
Teacher repeats this line of questioning until all 6 boxes of cereal are passed out on the corners of the desks of 6 students. (Side note: If you are “Desk Free,” like Ashley Uyaguari, you can modify the activity by placing the box of cereal in front of the student seated on a rug.)
To start introducing the future tense of the verb “to eat,” Teacher writes the following L2 phrases on the board (where the 1st blank is for the student name and the 2nd blank is for the cereal choice):
“______ will eat ______.”
“Who will eat ______?”
“_______ will eat ______.”
Teacher walks around the room saying, “Hmmm. Okay. Okay. Let’s see. Umm. Aiden. Aiden. Yes. Aiden will eat Lucky Charms. Yes. That’s right. Yes. Aiden will eat Lucky Charms. And… and… and…Daniel will eat Lucky Charms. Aiden will eat Lucky Charms and Daniel will eat Lucky Charms. And. …and. …and Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Let’s see. Allison will eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And Lucas will eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And Wilson will eat Cheerios. And Roneem will eat Cheerios. Yes! Yes! Great. Aiden will eat Lucky Charms. (Teacher points to Aiden and each of the following students that she will mention.) Daniel will eat Lucky Charms. Allison and Lucas will eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And Cheerios? Wilson will eat Cheerios and Roneem will eat Cheerios.”
Teacher pauses and moves toward the board implying that she wants to write this information down so as not to forget it. With her back to the students she starts writing who will eat each cereal but then pretends to forget parts of the information.
Teacher writes and says, “Aiden will eat Lucky Charms.” And then Teacher starts sounding confused and makes the mistake of writing, “Allison will eat Lucky Charms.” At this point some students might start correcting the teacher. The teacher uses the Two-Hand-Method to help them say, “No Teacher! Allison will not eat Lucky Charms. Daniel will eat Lucky Charms.” Teacher realizes her mistake and says, “Oh yes. Duh! Oh yes. Allison will not eat Lucky Charms. Daniel will eat Lucky Charms.” Teacher erases her mistake on the board and replaces Allison’s name with Daniel’s name and starts from the top saying, “Aiden will eat Lucky Charms. Daniel will eat Lucky Charms. Okay…ummm… (sounds confused again, and asks:) …Class…who will eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch?”
Students take turns using the target language to help the teacher make a list (on the board in complete L2 sentences) of delineating which students will eat the cereal varieties. Teacher may choose to ask students to help by giving answers verbally. Teacher may also allow one student at a time to come to the board and use the dry erase markers to write the correct and complete L2 sentences.
To introduce first and second person forms of the future tense verb, Teacher can ask questions like, “Aiden what will you eat? Will you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch or will you eat Lucky Charms?” If student struggles to come up with the appropriate answer you can write it on the board or use the Two-Hand Method.
REFLECT: What did the students experience during this activity?
- Students repeatedly heard and read how to use “to eat” in the future tense.
- Students used the interpersonal mode to help Teacher compile relevant information.
- The teacher stayed in the target language.
- The students realized that they could not only survive in an L2-immersion environment but that it can be fun.
- The students learned some first person, second person and third person verb conjugations.
- The students saw L2 in written form.
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.
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”