My First Successful “Staying In The TL” Lesson

“Woohoo! I did it!”

“Finally an idea worked. Finally, a lesson that helped me successfully stay in the target language for a long amount of time!”

It’s a simple lesson that I came up with before I started staying in the target language. It can be modified to help learners of all ages and proficiency levels.

All you need is crayons (for each student) and a worksheet that looks like this:

rainbow spanish class


 

For Novice Low or Novice Mid

Walk around the classroom. As you give one worksheet to each student, say sentences like these, “Here’s a paper for you. A paper for you. A paper for you. And one for you. Here’s a paper for you. For you, and you and you.”

Then, pass out crayons in the same way: “Crayons for you. For you. Here are some crayons for you…etc.”

Once the materials are passed out, display a sample worksheet at the front of the classroom. Hold a box of crayons in your own hands. Take out a red crayon and hold it up in the air. Motion for the students to do the same. As students are taking out their red crayons, say things like, “Good! Good Aiden! Good! Yes, red. Red. Red. The red crayon! Good Jessica…etc.”

Once all students are holding up the red crayon, have them repeat the word, “red,” after you. Then, turn your back to the class and start coloring in space #1 on the rainbow with the red crayon. When you finish coloring that section, start walking around the room saying, “Good Aiden! Good. Yes. Red. Good.” Hold up a few papers of students who are coloring in space #1 correctly.

When most students are done, hold up your red crayon and say, “Goodbye red!” and put the crayon back in the box. Keep saying, “Goodbye red,” until all students have put away their red crayon.

Go back to the displayed sample worksheet and say, “Okay. Number 1…red,” or, “Okay. Number 1 was red.” Point to space #2 and say, “Number TWO. TWO. Number TWO is orange. Take out orange.” (Hold up the orange crayon.)

Make a coloring motion with the orange crayon and say, “Class. Color #2 orange.” (You may want to say the sentence a few times.) Turn around and start coloring space #2 with the orange crayon.

Repeat this pattern until the rainbow activity is finished. If you want (and if your students would like it) make up a little tune that you can sing while the students are coloring using ONLY the L2 color and number words. (i.e. “Number 1…red. Number 1…red. Number 2…orange. Number 2…orange…etc.”)


 

For Novice High or Intermediate Low

Follow the same pattern (as with Novice Low or Novice Mid) except substitute the simple L2 words for L2 phrases and/or questions.

After the materials are passed out, hold up a crayon and say things like, “Aiden. What color is this? Is this color red or is this color orange? Aiden. Point to something else in this class that is the color red.” (Aiden points to something red.) Teacher says, “Good Aiden. Yes. That flag is red.” Teacher turns to address the whole class and says, “Class. Take out the color red.” As students are taking out the red crayon say things like, “Not the blue crayon. NOT the green crayon. Don’t take out the purple crayon. The RED crayon. The RED crayon. Take out the RED crayon. Good! Yes! Yes! Like Jessica. Good Jessica! Yes class. Take out the RED crayon.”

Ideas For Interpersonal Mode

After you’ve done the rainbow lesson as a whole class, pass out blank worksheets and give instructions for students to work in pairs. Tell the class that they will color the rainbows with mix-matched colors. “Space #1 WON’T be RED. It will be a different color. It will be the color that your partner tells you.” Pass out a small piece of paper to all the Partner #1s in the class and tell them to keep it hidden. The paper will tell them what mix-matched colors to use for all the rainbow spaces.

#1 – Green

#2 – Red

#3 – Purple

Etc.

Walk around the room and make sure each pair of students is speaking only in L2 and coloring according to Partner #1’s instructions.


Intermediate Mid – Advanced Mid

Pass out the worksheet and the crayons. Instruct students to color space #1 RED, space #2 ORANGE and space #3 YELLOW. Tell them not to color spaces 4-6. Write your instructions on the board and have them start coloring.

While they are coloring, SECRETLY change your written instructions by erasing the word, “yellow” and replacing it with the L2 word for “purple.” On your page, color space #1 RED, space #2 ORANGE and space #3 PURPLE.

When all the students are done, start walking around the room with a confused look on your face. Take one of the students’ rainbows (choose a student who is confident and NOT easily embarrassed) and say things like, “Tyler. You colored #1 RED, #2 ORANGE and #3 YELLOW! Yellow!? Why did you color it YELLOW!?” (Let Tyler answer.) Then say, “No, Tyler. I did NOT say to color it YELLOW. I asked you to color it PURPLE! See! Look at the instructions I wrote on the board!”

Let the students start venting their frustration at you in the target language. Encourage them to say things like, “No, Miss. You did NOT say to color it PURPLE. You must have changed your instructions!” Argue back and say, “Why?! Why would I change something like that!? And we all know that the third color of the rainbow is NOT yellow. It’s obviously PURPLE. All of you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Continue the argument for as long as you’d like. Repeat the incident with instructions for coloring spaces 4-6.

Ideas For Presentational Mode

Ask the students to write a story about a mom/dad doing this rainbow activity with her/his child. Tell the students that their L2 narrative must include dialogue. Have them model their story after the frustrating experience they just had with following your rainbow-coloring instructions. Give them some sample sentences like, “Son…you shouldn’t have colored #2 YELLOW. I told you a thousand times that it was supposed to be ORANGE. I told you that #1 was supposed to be RED and #2 was supposed to be ORANGE. It would be better if you listen more carefully in the future.”


Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Part 7 – “To Go” (Future, Present & Past Tenses)

In this PART 7 post you’ll find a list of ideas to help you develop lesson plans for teaching…:

  • …the verb “TO GO” (in the future, present & past tenses).
  • …the question word: “Where?”
  • …the days of the week.

Don’t feel limited to what is written below.  Let these simple ideas launch you into developing more creative, thoughtful, and effective ideas.

The only thing you really need to remember is:

“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.”

 


Instructional Activities/Strategies

1- Days Of The Week – Introduction or Review

First, show a calendar that has the days of the week written in the target language.  (If you have a way to project it, it’s fun to use Google Calendar and change the settings so that the days of the week show up in the language that you teach.)  Showing the days of the week on a calendar, and pointing to each one as you say them, is a very simple way of making them comprehensible.  (Side note: For the purposes of this lesson, students don’t need to have the days of the week memorized, nor do the students need to prove that they know the direct translations of the days of the week.  It’s enough that they know that you are talking about days.)

Show the students an oversized calendar and have them repeat the days of the week in the target language.

Show the students an oversized calendar and have them repeat the days of the week in the target language.

Next, write/post the days of the week (from left to right) on the board.  Write them as spread out as possible with enough space below to record some data.

2- “TO GO” – Future Tense

Pick a day of the week.  Under that particular day, write (and at the same time, say) a few sentences like the ones listed, in bold, below.  Each sentence should have the name of a student in it.  At first pick students who tend to be more confident than the others.  Each sentence should also have the name of a place that students would really like to go.  (i.e. McDonald’s, Starbucks, Six Flags…etc.  The purpose of picking locations like these is to peak the students’ interest.  It’s important to peak students’ interest because, depending on their proficiency level, they may have no clue what you are saying/writing.  Remember, when students have no clue what you’re saying, they will quickly lose interest.  Avoid losing the interest of your students by using names of their classmates and by saying the names of places that everyone recognizes and would like to go to.)

“On Thursday, Laura will go to Starbucks.”

“On Thursday, Emily will go to Starbucks.”

“On Thursday, Aidan will go to McDonalds.”

On Thursday, Trista will go to Six Flags.”

After all the sentences are written on the board, step back and say (in the target language), “Wow.  Okay.  Great.  Laura.  Okay.  Laura.  On Thursday, Laura will go to Starbucks.  And Emily.  Yes.  Emily.  Laura and Emily.  On Thursday, Laura and Emily will go to Starbucks.  And Aidan.  On Thursday Aidan will go to McDonalds.  And on Thurdsay, Trista will go to Six Flags.  Great.  Wow.  Great.  Okay.”

Finally, you may want to ask the class to read the sentences on the board out loud in unison.  (Side note: At this point the teacher does not expect the students to know what they are saying.  However the students are still willing to say it and stay engaged because everyone is thinking, “Okay, I’m not sure what’s going on…but it has something to do with my friends Laura, Emily, Aidan and Trista…and it has something to do with these fun places.  What’s gonna happen?  Let me see and find out.”  The names of students (and of exciting places) are keeping the students engaged, even though they aren’t sure what’s being said in the target language.  Meanwhile, something very exciting is happening.  While student interest is peaked, Teacher is introducing the target grammar structures.)

(Side note #2: The fun thing about moments like these is that Teacher gets to introduce and repeat the target grammar structure without the students really even noticing.  The students aren’t actively paying attention to the future tense form of the verb “TO GO”.  They aren’t actively noticing that you taught them a 3rd person plural conjugation for the future tense of “TO GO”.  They are waiting (some of them excitedly waiting) to find out what these classmates are going to do…and what in the world Starbucks, McDonalds and Six Flags have to do with anything).  While they are thinking about something exciting and curious, the teacher is intentionally teaching but the students are learning passively.  The students start learning without trying to learn.  It’s an amazing experience both for the instructor and learner.  Learning L2 by accident!  When my students have moments like these, sometimes I like telling them, “L2 class is like T.V…all you have to do is watch.”)

3- “TO GO” – Present Tense

Teacher pulls out teacher-made signs/printouts that have the words “Starbucks,” “McDonalds” and “Six Flags” in big attractive letters.  Teacher takes the Starbucks sign and hangs it up at one end of the room.  Teacher says, “Class: Starbucks.  This is Starbucks.  Right here is Starbucks. (Teacher motions/points to a defined imaginary place next to the Starbucks sign that is the part of the classroom called Starbucks.)

Teacher repeats sentences like these while she hangs up the other signs in different parts of the room.

Now every student knows where Starbucks, McDonalds and Six Flags are located in the classroom.

Teacher walks back to the middle of the room, shrugs her shoulders and asks the class, “Where is Starbucks?”  When students start pointing to the Starbucks sign, Teacher uses the Two-Hand Method to help them answer the question, “Where is Starbucks?” with the phrase, “There it is.”

Teacher continues asking about the location of the other signs, “Where is McDonalds/Six Flags?” and students answer appropriately by pointing to the sign and saying, “There it is.”

Teacher goes to the sentences on the board and reads all four while she looks at them.

Teacher looks away from the sentences and looks directly at Laura and says, “Laura, on Thursday, where do you go?  On Thursday do you go to Starbucks?  On Thursday do you go to McDonalds?  OR on Thurdsay do you go to Six Flags?”  When Laura answers with the word Starbucks (because it’s so obvious) Teacher writes the answer in complete sentence form and uses the Two-Hand Method to help Laura say, “On Thursday I go to Starbucks.”  Teacher praises Laura for her complete sentence answer saying, “Great.  Good Laura.  Good job Laura.”  Teacher motions for Laura to stand and says, “Laura, stand up.”  Teacher motions for Laura to walk to the spot on the classroom floor beneath the “Starbucks” sign and says, “Go to Starbucks.”  Teacher gives Laura a reward/incentive for answering/participating/going-first.  (Side note: At this point, Laura may feel very “put on the spot”.  She may have felt a bit embarrassed to be going first and to be instructed to stand up and walk in front of all her peers.  (Again, that’s why Teacher should pick confident students to go first for activities like these.)  Teacher should have a high-desire reward to give to Laura for going first.  An even better reward situation would be to pick two high-quality rewards and say, “Good Laura.  Good job.  Do you want ___(reward #1) or ____ (reward #2)?”  Have class give Laura a round of applause.  If any of Laura’s peers acts obnoxious or does something to make her feel awkward…there must be a significant consequence…or else no other student will want to participate because they will feel afraid of their peers making fun of them.)

Teacher continues by looking away from Laura and directly at Emily and repeats the line of questioning/script that she used with Laura (in the paragraph above).

Teacher continues this pattern with Aidan and then Trista.

Before moving on to step #4 Teacher may choose to do all of steps 2 (future tense) and 3 (present tense) over again with new student volunteers.  The purpose of the repetition is to make sure that the whole class has a good understanding of what’s happening before introducing the new target grammar structures from step 4 (below).

4- “TO GO” – Past Tense

Once steps 2 and 3 are done, Teacher should make sure all student volunteers are seated.  Teacher should write the following questions/answers on the board and have a discussion with students about what happened (past tense) in steps 2 and 3:

“On Thursday, who went to Starbucks?”

“On Thursday, _____ went to Starbucks.”

“On Thursday, who went to McDonalds?”

Etc.

Getting Everyone Involved

Once the students feel moderately familiar with steps 2, 3 and 4 it will be easier to get everyone involved.  Try some of the following ideas:

  • Add more “locations” around the room.  (i.e. “the park,” “the movie theater,” “the mall,” “Taco Bell,” “Local Ice Cream Store,” etc.)
  • Do a whole week in fast-motion.  Make a list of the days of the week on the board.  Write down a long list of sentences in the target language (future tense) delineating which students will go to which places on each of the particular days.  Teacher can point to any particular day of the week on the calendar and see if each of the students know where to go based on the sentences written on the board.  At any point Teacher can stop and ask questions in the future, present and past tenses.  When practicing the target grammar structures it would be good to have the questions and answers written/posted somewhere conspicuous.
  • Ask students to write down or say (in the TL) where their peers will go on different days of the week.  After a few of these directions have been written down or said, their classmates will have to walk around to the correct places in the room.
  • Recycle this activity throughout the year.  Call the activity something catchy in the target language (i.e. “Let’s Go!” or “Where Will We Go Today?”).  Give the students chances to review/practice these grammar structures at random times throughout the year.

Assessment Ideas

  • After students are familiar with steps 2-4, start recording whether they walk to the appropriate spot in the room when the cue/direction is given.  Use a rubric to assign a grade based on whether they walked to the correct spot needing help or not, or after walking to incorrect spot(s) or not, etc.
  • Write a “model email to a friend” on the board in front of all the students.  The email should contain information about where you go on certain days of the week.  Ask students to answer comprehension questions based on the information included in the “model email to a friend.”
  • Ask students to write text messages to each other or to you.  You can do this on real devices or, if that is not possible, make a “text-message-conversation-template” to print out and have students fill in the conversation bubbles in pairs.  Students should use the target grammar structures to ask and answer questions about their plans for the week and where they will go or where they would like to go.  Students can also ask their friends questions like, “Where did you go last Saturday?”

REFLECT: What did the students experience during this activity?

  • Students got to get up and walk around the room.
  • Students repeatedly heard, read and said different forms of the verb for “TO GO.”
  • Students passively learned the word, “Where?”
  • Students used the interpersonal mode to help Teacher compile relevant information.
  • Students wrote in the target language.
  • Unit assessments were meaningful and generally non-threatening to reluctant students.
  • Digital assessment option allows students to practice collaborating and to learn 21st century skills.
  • 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.

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).

See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

learn Spanish with Señor Howard

 

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com – @HolaSrHoward

Part 1 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Have” and “To Want” Verbs

 Part 2 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Introducing “To (NOT) Want”

Part 3 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching How Change in Quantity Affects The L2 Sentence

Part 4 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Future Tense of “To Eat”

Part 5 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Past Tense of “To Eat”

Part 6 – Teaching “To Listen” & “To Like/Not Like” – Various Tenses

Part 7 – Teaching “TO GO” – Various Tenses

Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Part 6 – “To Listen” & “To Like”

In this PART 6 post you’ll find a list of ideas to help you develop lesson plans for teaching the verb “TO LISTEN” and some “Statements of Preference” (TO LIKE/LOVE/ENJOY).  For step-by-step examples of how to teach these types of lessons, please see the comprehensive lesson transcripts from parts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of this series entitled, “Teaching Grammar 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.

 


Instructional Activities/Strategies

Making learning the verbs "TO LISTEN" and "TO LIKE" meaningful and engaging by using and discussing music in the target language.

Making learning the verbs “TO LISTEN” and “TO LIKE” meaningful by listening to and discussing music in the target language.

1- “To Listen” – Future Tense

First, identify a variety of popular musical selections from the target culture.  Introduce the verb forms of “to listen” by saying (in the target language) things like, “Michael will listen to Song #1.  Rachael will listen to Song #2.  William and Thomas will listen to Song #3 and the rest of us will listen to song #4.”

Help students practice the introduced forms of the verb by continuing in the following fashion, “Class, who will listen to Song #2? (Students answer.)  And who will listen to Song #1?  (Students answer.) etc.”

Help students practice writing complete sentences that include these verb forms by doing the following: “Okay Class.  Let’s write it on the board.  Ummm.  Who will listen to Song #1? (Student answers.)  Great.  Let’s write that on the board so we can remember.”  Repeat until the written list is complete.

2- “To Listen” – Present Progressive Tense | “To Like or Not Like” Present Tense

Use iPads, CD players, computers, listening stations to allow the students to listen to the assigned songs.  The first time the songs are played students should only be asked to listen.

The second time the songs are played, circulate throughout the room and ask students, “Are you listening to Song #1 or are you listening to Song #2?”  Motion thumbs up or thumbs down and ask, “Do you like the song or do you not like the song?”

3- “To Listen” – Past Tense | “To Like or Not Like” Past Tense

Conduct a debriefing time and ask questions like, “Class, what song did Rachael listen to?”  (Class answers and Teacher continues.)  “Rachael, is it true?  Did you listen to Song #1?  …or did you listen to Song #2?”  AND, “Rachael did you like Song #1 or did you not like Song #1?”

Reinforcement / Student Practice ideas:

Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 several times over the span of a week or 2 weeks.  Assign different songs to each student every time the activity is repeated.

Assessment Ideas:

Non-Digital Assessment Option:  Teacher writes a friendly letter (addressed to “Dear _____”) using content and grammar structures from this unit.  (i.e.  “Hi.  How are you?  I like music.  Do you like music?  I like the song called ______.  I listened to the song 4 times on Sunday.  Do you listen to the song called ______?  Do you like the song or do you not like the song?  What songs do you like?”

For the assessment students must write back.  Create a rubric to help students know how you will grade them.

Digital Assessment Option:  Distribute iPads, laptops or simply pen and paper.  Create a Google Doc and share the shareable link with each student.  Students open the Google Doc on their device and prepare to collaborate.  Teacher writes a series of questions for students to answer while also asking the questions outloud.  Students follow the progression of questions verbally and on their screen.  Students are only required to find the question(s) next to their name and answer.  Questions can include, “Rachael what songs did you listen to?”  “Rachael, which songs did you like?”  “Rachael, which songs did you not like?” Rachael is required to write her answer on the Google Doc.

Alternatively, Teacher can have the questions already written.

REFLECT: What did the students experience during this activity?

  • Students repeatedly heard, read and said different forms of the verb for “to listen and to like”.
  • Students used the interpersonal mode to help Teacher compile relevant information.
  • Students wrote in the target language.
  • Unit assessments were meaningful and generally non-threatening to reluctant students.
  • Digital assessment option allows students to practice collaborating and to learn 21st century skills.
  • 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.

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.

 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Your voice is valuable! Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Part 1 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Have” and “To Want” Verbs

 Part 2 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Introducing “To (NOT) Want”

Part 3 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching How Change in Quantity Affects The L2 Sentence

Part 4 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Future Tense of “To Eat”

Part 5 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Past Tense of “To Eat”

Part 6 – Teaching “To Listen” & “To Like/Not Like” – Various Tenses

Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Part 5 | “To Eat” | Past Tense

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
  • Teaching future tense conjugations of the verb “To Eat” – Part 4
  • Teaching L2 “Question Words” – Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4

In this post (Part 5) we will discuss how to introduce the past 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 5 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 reviews some of the Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 target grammar structures by saying/doing the following:

Without saying anything, Teacher passes out several individual size boxes of variety cereals (including Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms) to students who are sitting quietly and attentively.  Everytime Teacher places a box on a student’s desk, she motions for silence and stillness by saying, “Shhh.”

Once the cereal is passed out, and all students are sitting quietly (and no cereal box has been opened), Teacher writes the following L2 sentences on the board:

“Who has Lucky Charms?”  “Who will eat Lucky Charms?”

“_____ has Lucky Charms.”  “____ will eat Lucky Charms.”

While standing next to the sentences on the board, Teacher starts looking around the room and identifies which student has which cereal by saying, “Rontrell has Cheerios.  Okay. Rontrell will eat Cheerios.  Isabella has Cheerios too.  Yes.  Rontrell and Isabella have Cheerios.  So Rontrell will eat Cheerios and Isabella will eat Cheerios.  And.  …and… (teacher looks around the room to see who else has a different variety cereal) …and, let’s see…umm…William.  Yes, William.  William doesn’t have Cheerios.  William has Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Yes, William has Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Rontrell and Isabella have Cheerios…and…William has Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  Rontrell and Isabella will eat Cheerios and William will eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”

Teacher raises her hand, (to imply that she would like students to volunteer to answer her questions) and asks, “Who has Lucky Charms?  Who will eat Lucky Charms?”  Teacher calls on a volunteer to answer.  If the student answers with an incomplete sentence, Teacher uses the Two-Hand Method to elicit a complete L2 sentence.  Teacher rewards students for participating and using the target language.  (Consider using ClassDojo.com to reward on-task behavior.)

Teacher continues asking students the target questions from the board until she feels all students, or almost all, have understood how they are supposed to use these L2 questions and answers.

Teacher walks towards a student (who has cereal) and says, “Rontrell.  Go ahead.  Eat.  Eat.  Eat your Cheerios.”  Teacher walks to  Isabella and says, “Isabella.  Go ahead.  Eat.  Eat.  Eat your Cheerios.”  Teacher continues saying this to all the cereal eaters until all of them have opened the boxes and eaten their cereal.  After each student has received directions to eat, and while students are still eating, Teacer keeps saying, “Eat.  Eat.  Eat your cereal.  Yum.  Delicious.  Delicious.  Eat.  Eat.”

When students are done eating, Teacher asks each student to throw away the trash and return to their seats to pay attention to the next portion of the lesson.

To introduce past tense forms of the verb “To Eat”:

Teacher pauses in front of the room looks at all the students who have returned to their seats from throwing away their trash.

Teacher writes the following L2 phrase on the board:

“I ate ______.”

Teacher walks to Rontrell and says, “What did you eat?  Did you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch or did you eat Cheerios?”  (If Rontrell answers with an incomplete sentence, Teacher points to the board to imply that he should answer completely using the sentence written on the board.  If Rontrell has trouble, Teacher uses the Two-Hand Method to help him succeed.)

Teacher walks to Isabella and says, “Isabella, what did you eat?  Did you eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch or did you eat Cheerios?”  Teacher waits for Isabella’s answer and accepts it if/when it’s a complete L2 sentence.

Teacher continues like this until all cereal-eating students have been asked (and have answered) the target question, “What did you eat?”

Teacher introduces and practices the 3rd person form of the past tense verb by doing the following:

Teacher walks to the board and tries to write down who ate which cereals.  Teacher will purposefully get confused and write some wrong answers.  She uses this strategy to motivate students to use L2.  Students will think it’s funny and fun to see Teacher’s mistakes and correct them.  At the same time they will be having to learn and use the correct 3rd person form of a past tense L2 verb.

Teacher goes to the board and begins to write the list:

Rontrell ate Cheerios.

William ate Cheerios. (side note: incorrect)

Students start interrupting and saying, “No, no, no!” because William didn’t eat Cheerios.  Isabella ate Cheerios.

Noticing that the students are correcting her, Teacher turns around from her writing and says, “William didn’t eat Cheerios?  Are you sure?  William didn’t eat Cheerios?”  Teacher uses the Two-Hand Method to help the students say, “No!  William did not eat Cheerios.”  Teacher pretends like she understands now and says, “Okay.  Rontrell ate Cheerios but William did NOT eat Cheerios.  Right?”

Teacher picks a confident student and asks him, “Rontrell ate Cheerios…and…who else?  Aidan ate Cheerios?  Rachel ate Cheerios?  Who?  Who else ate Cheerios?”  Teacher uses the Two-Hand Method to help the confident student answer, “Rontrell ate Cheerios and Isabella ate Cheerios.”

Teacher thanks the student for the correct contribution and makes the necessary changes to what’s written on the board.

Teacher continues the activity in this fashion until there is a complete and correct list of student names on the board next to the correct cereal variety that they ate.

REFLECT: What did the students experience during this activity?

  • Students repeatedly heard, read and said different forms of the past tense verb for “to eat”.
  • 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 reviewed present tense and future tense forms of the verb “to eat”.

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.

 See what others are saying about Tuesday’s Tips For Staying In The Target Language.

Señor Howard

Señor Howard – www.SenorHoward.com/blog – @HolaSrHoward

Caleb Howard – www.SoMuchHope.com – @calhwrd

Your voice is valuable! Share your target language teaching experiences!

Leave comments below or add to the conversation on twitter by using #TL90plus (for staying in the target language” comments) and/or #langchat (for general language teaching comments).

Part 1 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: “To Have” and “To Want” Verbs

 Part 2 – Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Introducing “To (NOT) Want”

Part 3 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching How Change in Quantity Affects The L2 Sentence

Part 4 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Future Tense of “To Eat”

Part 5 –  Step-By-Step Guide for Teaching Grammar In The Target Language: Teaching Past Tense of “To Eat”