You finish teaching the three phrases and then start the PQA. One of the structures is “laughs loudly” and the second is “grows”. The first structure, you sense, has more of a charge to it and might lend itself to some better PQA. You choose it, and start to circle it around the room to see where it goes.
You listen to their cute answers, formulating a plan of action, waiting for a line of thought to develop. You do not impose anything on the kids – you just listen to their cute answers.
You ask the class where Mike laughs and someone says in the kitchen and you ask Mike to stand up and you walk her over to “the kitchen” and you ask her to laugh in the kitchen and you circle that, and you sense that it isn’t going anywhere so you thank Mike and ask her to sit down and you ask another question about when Jill laughs and that dies out and you ask another question and after awhile something with glitter comes along and you expand on that via circling.
When things flatten out a bit you respond with exaggeration of common things and by comparing whatever is going on to someone else in the room. Things unfold naturally. You are doing PQA.
From their point of view they are creating the scene. You accept, you reject, you wait, you circle, you make eye contact, you point to the rules, you pause and point at new information, you go slowly, you do all the skills. You have control. They only think they do.
Most often, one of the cute answers carries some energy – “laughs loudly” is a PQA funfest, because you get to tell Jeff to laugh loudly and Jennifer to laugh quietly and it is just such fun. (They pay you for this). The words continue to convey meaning and the words evolve from the personalized questions and cute answers and soon you are off and running into a scene.
You have this nagging feeling, however, that when you kept circling “laughs loudly”, you left the other two phrases back in the dust, not circled, not brought into the story, just back there, ignored. How are you going to get them in?
Glance at them during the story. Whisper over to them, “You’ll get in on the action if we let you in. I am not going to give up this general frivolity just to let you in. We’re having a language party and you can wait buy the door. You may or may not be invited in.”
Then let the other phrase or both of them in the door only when and if they fit into the story line that is being created. Remember that it is not the vocabulary that drives your TPRS lesson, but the uninterrupted flow of comprehensible input, that can do far more for your students than any list of L2 words.
If the words by the door never get in, don’t feel bad. The words were boring. You didn’t want them there – some administrator who writes curricula after having taught a language for twenty years and couldn’t stand it any more because he thought it was all about word lists and grammar did. If you just keep speaking the language with your kids, those words will get into the party at some point. Then they can dance. Just don’t let them crash your TPRS party. No party poopers.