What Is My Daily Intro Routine?

I open every class with an intro routine.  I add one or two words per day, and by the end of the course, the kids have picked up about 90 expressions from just intro alone, and they have had loads of exposure to a huuuuge variety of grammar.  Here’s how I do it.

  1.  I ask, class, what is the day? and class, what is the date? Then, I answer in the affirmative and ask a few questions:  class, is it Tuesday or Wednesday?  That’s right, it’s Wednesday.  Class, is it the 28th or the 29th?  That’s right:  it’s not the 28th– it’s the 29th. You can also start with the past tense on Day 1: Class, yesterday was the 3rd and it was Monday.  This will teach kids days and numbers 1-31 with zero effort.  Time: 1 minute.

     

  2.  I ask class, what is the weather like today? That’s right, class: it’s snowing.  Class, was it snowing yesterday? That’s right:  yesterday, it wasn’t snowing: it was sunny! If the weather where you are never changes, talk about weather elsewhere. You can also start with the past tense here: Class, yesterday did it snow or did it rain?  That’s right, class: it snowed.  it did not rain. Spanish teachers are stoked: reps on hizo, llovió, estuvo etc.  Time:  1 minute.



  3. The missing kid. This is great way for French and Spanish teachers to introduce the subjunctive.  If Zak is away, I say clase, Zak no está aquí.  ¿Dónde está?  [kids make suggestions] Clase, ¿es possible que Zak esté en casa? ¿Es possible que Zaka vaya al medico hoy? etc. Your pop-up is simply va means goes, and vaya means might be going or is maybe going.  Time: 1-5 minutes.If you’re a scene-spinner, you can turn this into a mini story:  Clase, Zak fue al médico porque tiene tres ojos.  No quiere tres ojos—quiere sólo dos.

     

  4. We do what did you do last night?  First, I model it myself:  I tell the kids about my evening, thus: Class, last night I drove my  purple Ferrari home, and then I had a date with Angeline Jolie.  That’s right, class:  Ang is single so we had a date.  Our date was fun and romantic.  We went to McDonalds!  Ang was very happy but I threw up in my Ferrari. 

    I ask, Suzie, what did you do last night/yesterday?   Yes, I do this with Day 2 beginners.  I use the following “past tense PQA” chart.  Initially, the kids just read off it.  On Day 2, the question was what did you do last night? and they could only pick I went to…. and I played…

So I would ask a kid what did you do last night? and they would (in the first few days) read something like last night, I played GTA 5 or yesterday, I went to Wal Mart.  I would ask questions about their answers, re-state in 3rd person, and then do compare and contrast questions.  Here is a sample dialogue from today (we have had about 27 classes):

T:  Manpreet, what did you do last night?
S: Last night, I went to Wal-Mart.
T:  Class, did Manpreet go to Wal-Mart or to Safeway last night?
C: Wal-Mart.
T: Manpreet, did you go to 7-11 last night?
S: NoI went to Wal-Mart.

Here we are getting 1st, 2nd and 3rd person reps on the basic past tense.  I “allow” one new word per day, so after 8 days the kids at least recognise the basics (ie what is on the chart).  Yes, you can do this with total beginners and it’s a not-bad idea…because the longer people hear  _____, the more chances they have of picking it up.  After they recognise everything on the chart, I add a new word or two on the board per day. Time: 5-10 minutes.

5. The news. On Day 1, ask one news question: what happened in the news yesterday? Kids will say something like the Patriots played the Chargers. Write this on board, then S.L.O.W.L.Y. circle it. Introduce ONE verb form per day.

With that vocab, you can ask questions such as did the Patriots play the Broncos? (no) Did the Patriots play the Seahawks? More reps? Point to your question words and ask where did the Patriots play? and when did the Patriots play? You want to use where? and when? because these allow a lot of circling without adding any new vocab.

The next day, ask the same question what happened in the news? and circle the same item  briefly (if it happened again– eg if there was another football game, talk about that).  The talk about a different item eg Angelina Jolie dumped Brad Pitt!  Within 5 classes you will have a solid set of good vocab, kid centered, to discuss.  Only introduce one verb per day.  Time: 5 min.

6. On Friday, we do weekend plans, using this:

6. Soap operas grew organically out of  me blatantly lying about my evening activities.  Kids, were like, well if Sr can date Angelina Jolie, *I* can kiss Dave Franco.  For soap opera details, read this.  Soap operas have two parts:  creating the story, and (once enough has been created to fill a page) printing it out and reading it.  Time: 1-80 minutes, depending on class and energy.

7. Monday? Do selfies ‘n’ stuffies!  Time: 10-15 min. 

8. Birthdays. If you are organised, look ahead and– if it’s OK with the kid in question; know your audience– celebrate Birthday person’s special day.  I play on mando and sing “Cumpleaños Feliz” on the mando and ask questions like how old is Hafsa?  is she 14 or 15? Who is older: Hafsa or Señor Stolz? Hafsa, are you having a birthday party/dinner?

9. Read a story. With my 1s, after the first week, we daily read one of the short stories in the Spanish 1 FVR booklet. The Spanish-1-FVR-booklet Enid edit  is free!  I read one story aloud, and ask a few questions. This book has 30 + stories and works the Super 7 verbs hard. time: 5 min.
 

Note: we don’t do everything every day. Here is how you might organise it.  The missing kid gets done only when somebody is away.  Weather I do daily at the start of the course and less as time goes on.

Mon: weather, selfies ‘n’ stuffies or what did you do yesterday?
Tues:
 what did you do yesterday?, news.
Wed: weather, news.
Thurs: soap operas, what did you do yesterday?
Fri: news, weekend plans, assign selfies ‘n stuffies

If you like using class jobs, you can add “the newspaper reporter” and “soap opera writer” to the list.  This person’s job every class is to write (in the class notebook) the sentence or two you put on the board for the soap opera and for the news.  This will focus the kid(s) in question, and allow you to remember which block talked about what last class.

Anywaythe aims with the intro routine are to

  • keep all language 100% comprehensible
  • introduce a variety of grammar and vocab incrementally
  • tailor language to student interests
  • recycle things daily whilst avoiding themes or topics
  • unshelter grammar
  • build community indirectly

 

 

37 comments

  1. Vi is an irregular verb, it never has an accent. Please fact check with REA. I know a lot of our textbooks state it has an accent, but please check for yourself.

  2. Hola,

    Do you typically use this routine all year? How do you decide what to discuss/what content to cover? How do you keep it from being predictable/boring/the kids losing interest? Gracias.

    1. I do use it all year, but it changes. EG once they get the weather etc I spend less time on that.

      The soap opera doesn’t get old cos we use whatever the kids come up with.

      Talking baout yesterday/last night can get boring so I limit that to one or two kids per day. Basically, you focus on what the kids find interesting.

  3. Do you have the students do something as they enter your class or are they just hanging out waiting for you to start class?

  4. I just shared this with a colleague who is starting to teach a new class and was looking for ideas…and now I’m making sure I have it bookmarked too. Thanks for gracious sharing.

  5. Every time I come back to this post, either to remind myself of the basics, or to share it with another teacher, I smile at #3. Before I’d ever started storytelling, there was a day that a perfect-attendance student was missing, so I asked whether anyone knew where she was. The class offered some funny ideas, and I went with them. When the student returned, she was absolutely offended that “on the one day I was missing, you had the best conversation ever.” She wanted to hear the whole thing again. After that, we did a story about anyone who was absent. In a survey aimed at understanding and combatting our huge absentee problem, almost all my students said the one class they were afraid to miss was mine. They wanted to be part of the storytelling (but not the focus of the story). When I discovered TPRS a couple years later, it made perfect sense to me to be part of this community.

    1. Perfect! I make sure the absent kid gets an anecdote that is obviously not them (eg the athletic kid gains 400 lb) so it has to be corrected.

      Also I have learned to tune this to the kids. Some kids just wanna hear “Johnny was sick” but others looove eg “Bikram had explosive diahrea.”

    1. You start with one word eg “ate” (ask them). Class, I ate a dinosaur yesterday. What did you eat? You ate pizza. Class, John ate pizza. John, did you eat dinosaur pizza or rat pizza? Ah— you ate rat pizza.

      You just add one new word (+ cognates) per day.

  6. I wish I could have all the Spanish from your head. This can work so well for me in Russian, but in Spanish, I don’t have enough language to do it properly. We can do a little, and this year I have two kids from Spain, so I need to ask for their assistance. You rock…this is the sort of (not-totally-planning) that has kids walking out saying stuff like, “We didn’t have to do any Russian today. All we did was talk.” Gooooooal!!

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