vPQA Suggested Slide Sequence

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28 thoughts on “vPQA Suggested Slide Sequence”

  1. This is going to be huge. I can’t wait to use this first summer off (rookie here) to combine another of my passions, photography, with teaching Spanish. I already have in mind a lot of the shots that I’ll need for certain structures that I want to teach, but sometimes my best ideas for teaching come to me when I’m not even thinking about school.

  2. OH THANK YOU!!! I will start studying / practicing this! I’m just starting with a group of middle school students (grades 6-7 but mostly 6th). It’s an after school program, and I only have them twice a week. It’s at the end of a long day, so it will be a real testing ground for CI as a confidence / community builder. I really feel like it is an actual healing modality, but yeah that is me…”out there.” I have my work cut out for me, for sure. I don’t know how this will go but I’ve been wondering for several months about trying it and there is only one way to find out. So much learning for me! After the first session, I can see that the learning curve is steep but not insurmountable. I feel hopeful and excited. And scared too, in all honesty. I can send kids out to the program director if they are not ready to focus. I made that clear the first day–remaining neutral and trying hard to let them know it is not about them “being bad” but literally about whether they can focus. I elicited from them examples of what makes it hard to focus (“when I’m hungry” “when I’m tired” “having a bad day” “stress” etc…) I can see it will be one step forward 3 steps back. And I need to adapt on the spot, for sure. In all likelihood, from a pure acquisition perspective, probably not a lot will happen. It is going to be hard to keep the noise level down. And I am going to do the best I can anyway.
    We did “quiere” and “tiene” (wants and has) along with some TPR. Very basic, and not adding anything extraneous. One girl wants a One Direction CD. She has 3. She doesn’t want an elephant. One boy wants a dinosaur. He wants a stegosaurus. A few of them have iPods and 3 have iPhones. One boy has iPhone 5! Lots of gestures. Lots of yes/no. Lots of stopping the class waiting for silence. Nowhere near enough reps. But these kids have never done anything like this, I can tell. So it will take awhile for them to know how to play the game.
    Any ideas for “dinamicas” and or semi-active rhyming / chanting / group builders are welcome! I will need to mix up spurts of focused attention with movement / games and also some actual free outdoor recess time. I plan to do as much TPR as possible, because this is something we can do outside.
    This program serves kids who receive one or more free meals at school. The town is known to be a place where there is a crazy scary amount of heroin use. My friend told me of 3 families in her elementary school where kids’ parents have died of overdose–in the past couple of months. Eek.
    The kids are really cute and curious and energetic and awkward and self conscious and afraid. All at the same time. And some are such a pain in the @$$. Middle school!!! One girl jumped up to write on the white board. I made that another job, in addition to the regular writer who writes in a notebook. The board writer writes the structures on the board (I whisper to her how to spell them). This just evolved naturally bc the girl really wanted to write on the board. I could tell she felt proud / important doing this job.
    I have a sense that the vPQA will be where I can anchor them in to this experience, so I’m looking forward to trying even a rudimentary version.

  3. Marc your use of photography with this represents the start of what we can call truly personalized language teaching. Now, as we further personalize our instruction and bring in facets of our own qualities as individual teaching artists into our classrooms, the change will happen with even more speed, as textbook teachers realize what is now possible in our profession.

  4. Alisa Shapiro

    you (tekkies) can take the pic in real time (during class) and upload it/paste it in a jiffy into your presentation! No planning just tech know-how!!

  5. That is true Alisa and I have seen that a lot esp. in DPS. It can be done fast. And just to restate why I am making such a big deal out of the way Julie uses images in vPQA is because her way ends up targeting speech output form the kids in a conscious way which is not just uploading a pic during class but planning the class around output, as per the specific steps 4, 7 and 9 below, which to me are the mojo factors in getting kids to speak:
    Visual PQA (vPQA) Classroom Step by Step Process
    1.Choose 3 structures from a district Scope and Sequence word list, or from a novel or authentic reading.
    2.Create a PowerPoint vPQA presentation following the general sequence described below or on p. 199.
    3.Slide 1: Do Now questions (one question on time/weather; three random questions)
    4.Slide 2: Presentation Slide. This presents the first target structure with an image (e.g.Waldo carrying books). On this initial slide provide a visual and the L1 meaning of the target structure(s). This is the only slide that we have English on, because if we sequence well and gradually shelter and scaffold the subsequent slides, there shouldn’t be a need for English.
    5.At this point establish the meaning and the gesture.
    6.Continue on with a few more slides like this and maybe even show the words using the infinitive, past tense or a different form of the present tense so the students see it in other ways.
    7.Image and Sentence Caption Slide: This presents the first structure with an image and a sentence caption: “The boy is carrying an elephant on his shoulders.” Read the sentence slowly aloud and use the pointer to emphasize the different words. It is crucial to find an appropriate and effective visual to accompany the sentence so it serves as an aid in understanding the text if there are any comprehension difficulties.
    8.Ask for a volunteer to translate the sentence. Julie Soldner adds: “If the translation is not perfectly translated, ask for another volunteer or just randomly call on someone to try again. The reason why I do not put the English up there is really two-fold. First, they can become lazy and just read the English (because why not? It is the easy route…and then they don’t push themselves to try and understand it)…also I like to just keep the slides simple and clean-Spanish text and visual. It keeps things uniform. But the goal is always for them to be entirely in the target language so when I eventually get to the question slide, they can read the options and then raise their hands to keep the discussion going. I may also have the support of sentence stems on the slide so they answer in complete sentences and use the new vocabulary structure.”
    9.Question Slide with Response Options. This slide asks a question and provides possible responses. Ex: “What do you carry in your backpack?” will offer on the same slide a list of options like: books, notebooks, pens, pencils, food, erasers, money, candy, cell phone. You can provide a sentence frame at this point as well to help them get the verb form right when they answer.
    10.Presentation and discussion of more slides.
    11.Repeat the entire above process with the second target structure (or third if there is one).
    12.With the PQA now over, ask a story based on the structures. (Step 2 of TPRS)
    13.Read the story using Reading Option A. (Step 3 of TPRS)
    14.Give the quiz.
    Bottom line for me is what Ruth and Anne have said here over the past month about technology needing to serve, not be served by, our instruction.

    1. For number 6 above, when you say, “continue on with a few slides like this,” would you recommend including the English translation for these?

  6. Larry Hendricks

    Ben, I just finished reading the lengthy article that I printed off the Primer section. A couple of questions, please…
    1. You stated toward the end, “Visual PQA cannot precede regular PQA.” Elsewhere I’ve posted about the class I’m going to teach for adults, “Fluency Faithful.” Are you saying you would not begin the class, or in school you wouldn’t start out the school year using vPQA? Is that what you meant?
    2. Obviously, Julie prepares her PowerPoint slides ahead of time. (Wonderful, I want to try it out, too.) Of course, that means that you cannot build a story with your students’ as they give cute answers. The teaching aids are already there on the slides. For example, in your Sample Story on the Primer you talk about an imaginary dog smiling. But if I or Julie or anyone else already has a cat or a horse on her slide, then you’d have to go with that animal, right?
    I’m aware that the story comes after the PowerPoint slides. Anyway, are these assumptions correct? Or could I begin my class of adults with vPQA?

    1. 1. …are you saying you would not begin the class, or in school you wouldn’t start out the school year using vPQA?…
      Yes, what I meant was that vPQA needs a lot of strong TPR, Verb Slamming, and just general reps in whatever setting before going later in the year to vPQA. Julie got that same question at her post observation debrief and I remembered it. It is for the simple reason that vPQA is a kind of step up from the early in the year work and the more simpler forms of PQA like we see, especially, in the Circling with Balls activity.
      2. …could I begin my class of adults with vPQA?…
      In my opinion the verb work must be done first. We give our students a strong verb foundation and then regular types of PQA can follow, because we have a stronger and wider foundation on the verbs, which hold up the language like pillars in each sentence and must be instantly recognizable for the discussion to work, to avoid our students getting the “deer in the head lights” look, which is all on us.
      So to be clear, vPQA in my view has the elements that I isolated in that Primer article that Julie put into her class sequence and is not just working with images in a general way. vPQA is jPQA in my mind – Julie’s – because in observing lots of our young superstars in DPS and I saw no one else do that. So the answer to your second question is no.
      The two things that I saw in Julie’s slide show classes are:
      7.Image and Sentence Caption Slide: This presents the first structure with an image and a sentence caption: “The boy is carrying an elephant on his shoulders.”
      9. Question Slide with Response Options. This slide asks a question and provides possible responses. Ex: “What do you carry in your backpack?”
      That is not my idea of regular simple PQA. That is pretty sophisticated and if we remember it is designed that way to invite output from the kids.
      So that is what I meant about vPQA having to come some months after lots of simple one word yes/no type of PQA.
      That said, there is not a single rule in any of the work that we do. We go into class with faith that we will be guided to honest communication. That is more important than anything and so each class is different, but the structures we target are the same for all those classes at that level. Our success in this work comes from talking to our students about what they think, not anything prescribed.
      Hope that is a clear answer.
      [Credit for the term “response options”: Eric Herman]

      1. ” . . . guided to honest communication.” – And that gives our work AUTHENTICITY!
        Authentic = real interactions conveying real messages for a real audience!
        I’m not sure I’m the one to credit for “response options” – as far as the idea I saw this done first by Laurie Clarcq in 2013 who likely also got it somewhere else, but as far as the term goes, I don’t know.

        1. No idea Eric, have been doing it for ages. Was and often is what my students needed. Truthfully, most good things we use we either created to help students or saw/heard someone else use and tweaked to help students. Often if I borrowed it I can remember where I saw it first….but really I think that it just seemed a natural thing to offer….
          with love,

  7. Larry Hendricks

    That answers my questions, Ben. Thanks a lot. I will start out the class –we begin next month, on Monday nights– just doing regular PQA, such as you have covered so thoroughly in “TPRS in a Year” and “PQA in a Wink.” After maybe six months, I will consider starting vPQA.
    Thanks for the answer, I was anxious to know.

  8. https://docs.google.com/a/asdk12.net/presentation/d/1IKSwdaKZh7QRpnAqkUdlQfiV9H_d5VWoJlLxvrqqe3c/edit?usp=sharing
    …is the slide show that has taken me through two class periods. I included fewer English translations than I might have before, having considered Julie’s comment about too much support sometimes enabling ignoring.
    I highlighted sections, where, after practice with several individuals, kids were expected to get up and ask the information of a new person each time. That way, I could ask with whom they spoke and what the other person said.
    Also on the slides was a reference to the story in one of the videos that I shared here, so that the students will be able to read that story, as well as an open-ended statement about Shrek. I used present, past, and future tense on these slides.
    Our quiz writer told me every time she had five short-answer or true/false questions ready to go, and we took several quizzes over the course of the presentation.
    This slideshow was a lot of work, but it’s going to take me nicely through several days that include story-writing, interactivity, and preparation for MovieTalking our student-made videos. So fabulous!
    I’ve done many many powerpoints in my life, but the tweaks I made because of reading this discussion improved the presentation so that it is really helping students talk and helping me increase the CI and repetitions hugely.

  9. On translation in a PPT: it would be a good thing for a motivated student (that student WOULD read the TL and benefit from the clarity). In fact, there may be a lot of good things we could do in the FL classroom that would be effective for motivated learners. But alas. . .

  10. I just had a nice, unexpected success thanks to vPQA. I have an 8th grade Spanish class just for this last trimester, with 12 boys and 3 girls who are taking Spanish for only one trimester instead of the whole year because they don’t really care about learning Spanish, and/or didn’t do well in 7th grade. I have them first period, every other day. This group has thrown me for a loop because they are completely silent from the moment they come in and rarely make eye contact with me or each other. They comply with anything I ask them to do, but seem completely disengaged.
    Tuesday was awful and awkward and I resolved to plan something better for today. I decided to make a vPQA keynote to teach the structure “es una chica.” I knew that one boy loved cats so I made a slide telling them that my cat is a girl, and followed that with slides asking whether they have cats, how many cats they have, if their cats are boys or girls, and their cats names. I kept track on the board of who had cats and how many, and gave them a quick quiz based on that.
    We had about 15 minutes left and I asked if they wanted to practice on duolingo or play a game, and we ended up playing a couple rounds of hangman in Spanish.
    The kids were pretty engaged the whole class and it was a big victory for me after dreading this class for the past two days.
    Thank you so much for this plc. I have a long way to go, but am feeling really good about the progress I’ve made so far this year at getting out of my comfort zone.
    p.s. For the images on my keynote, I went through creative commons and chose images that were licensed for non-commercial use.

  11. I have a stack of 3×5 cards with the verbs on them which I show the students for reinforcement when we do TPR or Simon Says. As new vocabulary is added to the verb wall I make a second card for my handheld stack. I am someone that remembers words more easily when I can see how they are spelled. I can also sort through them and make different stacks for different stories we are working on, and can separate out words that need more practice. It’s an obvious technique but though I would share!
    I’m VERY excited about the use of the notebook and can’t wait to see some examples of the slides!

  12. I will not be at IFLT, is there anyway the presentation could be recorded? I would pay money to watch it. It helps so much watching someone else applying CI techniques.
    Thank you for all you do Ben, this blog has changed my life. I would have given up teaching had I not found this blog and see how much TPRS teachers struggle just to be allowed to provide quality teaching. I would have caved in to the other teachers in my department. It’s good to know I’m not alone in seeing the olds ways of teaching foreign languages are almost inhumane.

  13. …I’m not alone in seeing the olds ways of teaching foreign languages are almost inhumane….
    Sometimes I think I’m an oddball but not when I hear things like this. How radical to say it, that the old ways of instruction are inhumane. How many current teachers would bristle and find deep fault with your use of that word! And yet, unless a student has lots of smarts, it can be said to indeed be inhumane because it so disenfranchises so many! Thanks for making a point which cannot be made enough.
    As far as recording it next week, we usually say we’re going to and then forget. Just being honest. Maybe somebody will. I do know that I spent about two weeks working on describing every detail of vPQA in my new book and we have lots of information on it in the articles in the vPQA and Haiku Deck categories here as well, which might well be enough.
    Your point about how so many of us who embrace Krashen have to “struggle just to be allowed to provide quality teaching” cannot be said enough as well. We have to learn how to teach this way, and on top of that many of us have to do so surrounded by wingnuts.

  14. Larry Hendricks

    Ben, I noticed that the vPQA6 PP doesn’t quite follow your suggested sequencing instructions above. For example, the second slide, “I carry…” had the L1 translation included on it. You also suggested continuing on with slides using the infinitive, etc. But I didn’t see that in vPQA6 either. For example, are you saying we add a slide that says, “Quiero llevar…”? Or, “Waldo llevó los libros”? Is that what you’re suggesting?

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