I begin the year by spending a couple of weeks teaching basic sports and activities and build fun, personal, totally TL class discussions about the students in the class and what they do. I integrate tons of adjectives, adverbs, some family vocab, girl/boy, friend/gf/bf, etc. Maybe some animals. It is not structured and totally student-driven. Even the assessments are based on their knowledge of each other. I make up little readings early on based on what they tell me about themselves. My favorite and most magical time of my teaching process.
By about October, they are ready for some heavier reading than just a little paragraph a day that I type up . We read 3-4 novels throughout the year. We read:
For each of the novels I use the Teacher Resource guides available at www.tprstorytelling.com. The resource guides essentially turn the novel into a complete cultural unit. I also have my students listen to the audio books and they actually really enjoy this!
I also teach a new song about every 1-2 weeks. The students get the lyrics, the English translation, some assigned vocab to learn, we do cloze listening, and finally a cloze quiz with some vocabulary matching. They love learning the songs, the quizzes are easy for them, and many download the music on their ipods! Check out my youtube channel for a sample of the songs we learn. We also learn a lot of Justo Lamas songs and have fun with the karaoke on his website.
Another fun resource to use is the BBC’s Mi Vida Loca. There are 22 episodes of an adventure/mystery filmed in Spain and it is wonderful! The kids really like it!
Esperanza (I show the films La misma luna and Una mejor vida with this)
For each of the novels I use the Teacher Resource guides available at www.tprstorytelling.com. The resource guides essentially turn the novel into a complete cultural unit.
Aventuras Vascas Available through Discovery Education streaming or
on DVD through Amazon.com (currently unavailable).
I have not taught these classes enough to say I have a “set curriculum.” However, I have tended to focus heavily on “social justice” issues and global awareness.
We still do tons of songs and lots of class discussions. They do more independent reading at these levels and we incorporate more non-fiction at this point too.
El orfanato (with La Calaca Alegre as part of unit on the supernatural)
Voces inocentes; Sin nombre (with Vida y muerte en la Mara Salvatrucha)
La historia oficial, Cautiva (with La Guerra Sucia)
La lengua de las mariposas, El laberinto del fauno, El espinazo del diablo (during study of Spanish Civil War)
In addition to popular music, we often study songs that are related to a unit we study. For example, when we watch Voces Inocentes we also learn the song “Casas de cartón.” When we study the Spanish Civil War, we learn some period songs and discuss which point of view is represented.
We watch the TV show “El internado: Laguna Negra” every Friday
It is important to note that the main thread that runs through all of my teaching is Comprehensible Input. The work of Stephen Krashen is the most important work ever done to advance the acquisition of languages and the eradication of monolingualism. If you are a language teacher you need to become more familiar with his work and rely less on the ineffective ways in which you were “taught.” Languages are not learned; they are acquired.
The missing link for me in Krashen’s work was TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling.). Even though I don’t teach a lot of “silly stories,” I use TPRS methodology to promote language acquisition in my classes. Pre-teaching key structures and vocabulary, personalization, repetition in novel and fun ways, and asking circling questions are key elements in all of what I do.