7 minutes video demo Techniques to watch for


(This is intended for language teachers.  It’s from a workshop at iFLT in July in which I was demo’ing Asking a Story.   It’s a demo in a workshop so there are occasional interruptions by Jason Fritze to comment on techniques.  It’s level 1, so it should be fairly comprehensible to beginning Spanish students, too.)


Karen Rowan teaching level 1 Spanish

Prior to this lesson / demo we used a Personalization Activity to get to know all of the students in the class quickly.  From that exercise we learned that “Molly” was a fan of Enrique Iglesias.  As we set up the story, we knew we wanted to build to the structure “no se las da, se las tira” and have students chant it. (A Joe Neilson technique.)  This lesson was designed for a level 1 class.  This particular audience is of mostly Spanish teachers and two non-Spanish speaking German teachers, who served as our pacesetter (aka barometer) students.

Techniques to watch for:

  1. Grammatical concepts:  indirect and direct object pronouns, personal a, singular vs plural (son / es), sentence structure
  2. Using actors, coaching actors
  3. Pointing to the question words and pausing after the question word
  4. Writing down unknown words (incomprehensible words to the pacesetter students)
  5. Barometer checks, ten finger comprehension checks,
  6. Pop-up grammar explanations in about 5 seconds
  7. Delaying grammar explanations until after the structure has been heard multiple times (question regarding indirect vs. direct object pronouns).  This question was later answered, but did not end up in the 7 minute video.
  8. Asking repetitive questions and levels of questions (Berty Segal Cook).   Waiting for GOOD answers. (cementerio)
  9. Using cognates.
  10. Pace.  The pace is slow.  Appropriate for a level one class.
  11. Parking on a question and digging for more details.  (Where does he get the flowers?  Where in Spain?  Madrid?  Where exactly?  The cementary?!?!)
  12. Coaching teachers. (Jason’s interruption regarding re-stating the correct answer after a choral response. Some people said “los flores” and others said “las flores.”  Jason coaches to re-state “las.”  Notice how brief Jason’s coaching is, how the suggestion is immediately placed into the next sentence and how Karen does not respond to Jason regarding the coaching.  This is a valuable piece of coaching that neither the coach or the teacher allow to disrupt the flow of the lesson.

When this 7 minute clip stops, a teacher from the audience is invited to come up and pick up the story where Karen left off.  She teaches for approximately 5 minutes focusing on integrating all of the skills in the story that was already set up.