Soap Operas

No prep? No prob! ūüėĄūüėĄ

There are teachers who carefully plan every detail of a lesson, from circling questions to the story plot. Some people even write Movietalk scripts!

Then, there’s me (like this but not a woman).

Image result for disorganised teacher

Since beer, climbing, reading, ladies, bicycles, Go, writing and other fun things take up so much time (and I’m lazy and disorganised), I generally don’t plan much beyond thinking uhh we should probably work on quiere impresionar and is there a Youtube video where a dog goes shopping? (yes there is).

Luckily for people like me we have things like Slavic and Hargaden’s OWIs, untargeted stories etc. And thanks to a combination of my laziness and the epic powers of caffeine, we have some zero prep activities. These are easy on the teacher, they let us deliver loads of comprehensible input, and they¬†personalise the class: we link kids to vocab.

For Class Team, Funky Venn, Comic Panel and Partner Diagram, we do the following:

  1. We solicit details from students.
  2. We draw–¬†quickly— on the board, overhead or doc camera.
  3. We write key vocab.
  4. ¬†We ask and answer questions, circling style, but don’t beat things to death.
  5. We don’t introduce too much new vocab. 5-10 items for a 30-min session is lots.

The Class Team (or whatever)

For this, all we do is make some ridiculous drawings of various kids and group them into a team. Here, we made two soccer teams: No Lo S√© and La Mezcla. The players had superpowers. Saveena’s was rhat she could text at the same time as she played. El Chongo has only one leg but luckily has wings.

Q&A here would be things like¬†who has five legs? That’s right, Jasraj has five legs. Whose superpower is being invisible?¬† No, not Chongo: Hamza Dos is invisible!¬†We would also personalise this by asking students these questions:¬†Ravneet, do you have five legs, or three, or two? Sukhman, are you invisible? etc.

The Funky Venn

One day we were talking about dogs (actually, I talk about dogs constantly), and I asked the class what do dogs like to do? and they said dogs eat, sleep and play, and then¬†El Chongo said sounds like me! ūüėú

So I made a Venn diagram comparing El Chongo with dogs. Here it is:

Both sleep, run, play and eat.¬† But El Chongo uses the bathroom while dogs use the ground, and dogs don’t comb their hair, while El Chongo (Mexican Spanish for “Man bun”) does, etc.

My student Manjot (who goes by Muffin Princess in Spanish class) said¬†I’m like cats,¬†so we drew a Venn for her.

The Partner List

My beginner student Khushi, taking a cue from her Spanish teacher, said¬†yo tengo seis novios (“I have six boyfriends”). So of course we had to draw and discuss them.¬† For this, we first drew Khushi, taking some liberties (she is hideous, has three eyes, and two noses). Then we added five boyfriends and one girlfriend. Then we invented weird characteristics for each (Hairie has no mouth; Alberto has short legs, etc).

The Q&A here involves tiene, body parts, and the relationships between them.  So Adam is scared of Khushi (even though they are dating) and Atam is scared of Alberto.

The Personal Story (with picture)

This was inspired by Beniko Mason’s Story Listening method, which is “pure C.I.”– no “activities” after input. Basically, you tell a short story about yourself (or somebody famous), and you use 1-3 drawings to illustrate

Here, we have vocab on the left and my Grade 8 math teacher, Mr McKay, on the left.¬† I started by describing 13 year-old me, and school, and math class.¬† Then I drew Mr McKay. Then I told how he both looooooved coffee and cigars and was blissfully unaware of the existence of dental hygiene.¬† As a result, we didn’t ask him questions– he could kill bacteria from ten feet away with that dragon’s breath– so as a result I got a C minus.

Here, we just tell a one-scene story and we do Q&A about both the story and the pictures.

(By the way the art was inspired by Stephen Krashen’s famous C.I. demo.)

One-Panel Comic

Here, we draw a one-panel comic and include basic dialogue. Khushi said¬†I’m getting 90% or more in Spanish and we argued a bit and I drew this. Note that my art is so staggeringly bad that¬†I had to label Khushi and me.

Again we will do Q&A here.  We can also recycle by erasing dialogue and adding other words.

When I finished with these, I took these photos.  They will be added to the class soap opera (pasted into an MS-Word document) and printed.

ANYWAY…I hope you can use and enjoy these zero-prep activities.¬† Got any more ideas? Email me or leave a comment.

Soap Operas (3): a simple verb trick

I’ve been playing with soap operas (details here and here). ¬†Our¬†telenovela is La Muerte y las Rosas (death and roses) and every day we add a few sentences to it. ¬†I write these sentences on the board, circle them a bit, and when I have enough for a full page, I type it into my¬†telenovela Word doc and hand the kids another page of it.

I am storyasking (and doing Movietalk and Picturetalk) in the present tense, but we are also doing our¬†¬Ņqu√© hiciste anoche?¬†class opener routine in the past and the¬†telenovela in whatever tense(s) we need.

Written on the board (from yesterday) what happened in the present tense:¬†Will Smith est√° en el hospital, porque se le cay√≥ una coco en la cabeza. ¬†(Will Smith is in the hospital, because a coconut fell on his head). ¬†Yesterday, when this had come up (student Kajal’s dad is Will Smith, and her Mom is Rihanna, ssshhh don’t tell Mrs Smith), I had written it down, and circled it. ¬†So today, a simple trick:

I just changed the verb endings into the past tense and added a tense marker word: Ayer, Will Smith estaba en el hospital, porque se le había caido una coco en la cabeza (Yesterday, W.S. was in hospital, because a coconut had fallen on his head).  I circled this for a bit.

This might be a not-bad idea because we have 95% of meaning established when we generate the sentence, write it down, and circle it. ¬†When we switch to the past tense, we only really have to circle the verb a few times so the kids can hear the difference. ¬†I’m going to make this a regular routine: generate ideas in present, then rehearse in past. ¬†Blaine Ray has done something like this– storyasking in present, and reading in past.

Anyway, simple trick: translate from one tense to another, keeping rest of vocab the same.

 

 

Soap Opera Part Two

Here’s Soap Opera Entry #1 and #3

soap-opera-pic

 

March 2017: ¬†I have Spanish 1 and we are about 20 classes¬†in. ¬†I am doing two parallel sets of activities: “classical T.P.R.S.” story asking √† la Blaine Ray (with Movietalk and Picturetalk to re-use the vocab), and playing around with my¬†telenovela (soap opera) idea¬†which came from our daily routine of asking “what did you do yesterday?”

Anyway, what I am now doing is writing everything down every couple of days. ¬†When I have one page worth of material, I copy it (onto that free brown crappy paper whose clicks don’t count against my total) and hand them out to the class.

Because this has been student-developed, and because I have generally previously written many of the sentences on the board, it is both interesting and comprehensible.  So when I hand it out, the kids can easily read it.  Note:  while storyasking (and the readings from stories) are in present tense, the telenovela is totally unsheltered grammar.

So, here is what we came up with so far. ¬†I encourage the kids to lie/invent stuff/exaggerate, and they have final say in whathappens/does not happen to “them” (ie the fictitious versions fo themselves). ¬†So Ronnie has been murdered in a fit of jealous rage…but he is happy about this, because he gets to be reincarnated. ¬†So here it is, our ¬†Spanish 1 telenovela:

 

Lunes, el veinte de febrero, fue un día muy interesante.

Primero, Ronnie estaba en una de sus cinco casas.  Ronnie tiene una casa en Sydney, y tiene otras casas en Whalley, Washington, Corea del Norte y Paris.  En Paris, la casa de Ronnie es el torre Eiffel.  El torre Eiffel es muy bonito.  Ronnie estaba con sus veinte novias.  Una chica que se llama Avlin fue a la casa de Ronnie:

Ronnie le dijo a Avlin:¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Hola. ¬ŅQu√© necesitas?
Avlin le contest√≥:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Necesito un novio.¬† ¬ŅYa tienes una novia?
Ronnie:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Tengo 19 novias.¬† Pero, quiero otra novia.¬† ¬ŅQuieres ser mi novia?Avlin:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† S√≠, quiero ser tu novia.

Mientras (while) Avlin hablaba con Ronnie…

Una chica que se llama VogueIsha fue a Marte para (in order to) beber café en CafeMarte.  A VogueIsha, le gusta much el café.  Pero no fue a Marte sólo (only) para beber café…fue a Marte porque en CafeMarte hay dos baristas guapos e cómicos.  Se llaman Pootin y Dave Franco.  A Vogueisha, le gustan mucho Pootin y Dave.

Mientras VogueIsha estaba en Marte…

A una chica que se llama Noor, le gusta mucho Park Chan Yeol.  Noor y Chan Yeol tenian una cita.  Fueron a la playa en Corea del Sur.  Park es alto, guapo y muy cómico.

Viernes, el 24 de febrero, fue otro día muy interesante.  Avlin y VogueIsha fueron a un centro comercial en Paris.  Las dos chicas estaban en el centro comercial, ¡cuando vieron a Ronnie con otra chica!

VogueIsha:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬ŅEs Ronnie?¬† ¬ŅEst√° con otra chica?
Avlin:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† S√≠, es Ronnie.¬† ¬°√Čl est√° con otra chica! ¬°Yo estoy furiosa!
VogueIsha:               ¡También estoy furiosa!

Las dos chicas estaban MUY furiosas.  Estaban celosas. Entonces, tiraron a Ronnie desde encima (from the top of) el torre Eiffel.  Ronnie murió.  ¡Las chicas son muy violentas!

Martes, el 28 de febrero, Noor vio a Chan Yeol frente del cine Strawberry Hill con otra chica guapa.  ¡Noor estaba muy celosa! 

Noor le dijo a su amiga:¬†¬†¬† ¬ŅEst√° con otra chica Chan Yeol?
Su amiga le contest√≥: ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† S√≠.¬† √Čl est√° con otra chica.

Noor no hizo nada (didn’t do anything) porque le gusta mucho Chan Yeol.

Mientras Noor estaba en el cine Strawberry Hill, VogueIsha estaba en Marte con Dave Franco.

Emma Watson le dijo a VogueIsha:¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬ŅBesaste a Dave Franco?
VogueIsha le contestó:                             Sí. Yo lo besé.  ¡Fue un beso increíble!

VogueIsha estaba felix, porque le gusta mucho Dave Franco.¬† Ahora, Dave Franco es su novio‚Ķpero hay un problema: ¬°Dave ya tiene novia!¬† √Čl est√° con Alison Brie.¬† Y Alison Brie no sabe que Dave tiene otra novia.

Soap Operas? Hells Yea!

Check this:


So after weather and date, for our daily opener, I ask the kids ¬Ņqu√© hiciste ayer? (what did you do yesterday?), and sometimes they talk about dates and romance.¬†I encourage them to lie heh heh,¬†and sometimes they do, and sometimes we actually hear about their real lives.¬† Because it was impossible for me to remember who was with who, I started writing down their “dates” on the homework board and they started bringing them up on subsequent days.

So now we do telenovelas every day and the stories are great:

  • Shyla was at the mall with a male friend when her new boyfriend SAW THEM OMG so now he is not texting her.
  • Manpal– the total music-geek hipster– is dating his ukelele.
  • Nihaal was with a girl who is 18″ tall
  • Sharky’s GF is short, ugly and smelly, but since physical appearance doesn’t matter to him he is happy.
  • Hafsa’s ex is now dating her twin sister Hajjar…but Hafsa’s new guy (although not as¬†good-looking as the old one) is nicer, smarter and funnier.

Every day, we add a sentence or two to each of the various dramas. Amazing how much the kids remember and it’s a riot playing around with this endless deployment of mini-stories.

You get to mix a whole lot of grammar together, and you get a lot of buy-in, cos the kids are basically inventing everything. The quieter ones just have to show comprehension.

The trick– as always in C.I.– is to get a load of interesting miles out of very little vocab. One noun and one verb (or other word) per day is loads. So lately we have been focusing on dej√≥ a ___ (s/he¬†dumped ___) and enga√Īo a ___¬†(s/he cheated on ___). Great soap opera material.¬†The only problem is getting 1st and 2nd person reps but that’s what imaginary text convos are for. Here, Abby dumps Abdul:

Here, Nihaal’s new girlfriend, la rapera¬†Soulja Fraud, has a blood feud with rapero¬†Quavo. So Nihaal threatens to not road trip (to UtAH) with S.F.

Anyway this is major fun.

Update: here is Soap Opera Entry #2.