Fewer and Longer Structures

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11 thoughts on “Fewer and Longer Structures”

  1. I have a hard time doing PQA with longer structures. But, it isn’t about me, it is about the kids and their acquisition…

    I definitely am going to be amping up my planning for my Spanish 2 classes so that the kids get more from me. It has taken me almost a semester to realize that I cannot teach them the same way as I do my Spanish 1 kids because they come from a grammar and vocab background and I have not taught their level in this style before so we are all learning.

    just thinking outloud also….

  2. I’ve always preferred shorter structures, particularly for circling. I think the longer structures can come up and get reps during the reading, or at the middle/end of a story when they are understanding all the smaller chunks. But at the beginning I like shorter chunks.

    Plus, if “couldn’t get up in the morning” is the structure, that seems to leave us less room for suggestions, as “morning” in this example is already decided. I think it is dependent on the teacher to build from the script into longer and more complex chunks as students are ready.

  3. I think that this also depends on the level of instruction. Longer structures can be great for upper level students with a good CI background, or to challenge those kids who love a challenge. “Couldn’t get up in the morning” on Mondays? Saturdays? the day of the SAT’s? to hide the evidence from last night’s LAN party? still leaves options. Julio’s mom was frustrated because her son couldn’t get up in the morning to ride the bus. What does she do ? Or….Perhaps Marie wanted to make sure that she drove the car to school and her sister wanted the car. What did Marie do to make sure that her sister couldn’t get up in the morning?

    These are really powerful if they are a line in a song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    with love,

    1. Laurie, you’re right, you can still get personalization from that example structure, as you point out.

      My deal with longer structures seems to be the amount of time I am talking without a response. Of course that happens a lot naturally, but when it is a set structure, it is usually attached to other words/structures, and can become quite long. I start seeing eyes glaze over when I’m trying to circle the longer structures, because it means me speaking for longer duration (or much faster) without their response. It’s a small difference, but it is noticeable for me. If we’re ready in stories for longer structures like the ones Ben gives above, maybe we’re ready to transition away from stories into more PQA and reading/discussing. Just a thought. I hope you all will respond and set me straight on this.

  4. I had a longer structure today. I just broke it up in the pqa. I had, “can’t find his girldfriend.” It’s a Matava script. I pqaed “can’t” and how it works with lots of infinitives. Then I added “can’t find” and lastly “can’t find his girlfriend.”

    Does this make sense? The pqa lasted longer, but they understood and they seem to like the buildup. I am interested in hearing what y’all think.

    1. Did it work for the kids? Then we do it. There is and never will be a standardized way of teaching comprehensible input. So we can forget that. It’s alway going to be Wild West in this Krashen stuff. That’s why Susan Gross and Judy Dubois are equestriennes. And why the Chevalier de l’Ouest will ride into the arena and smote all who would try to say there is only one way to do this.

  5. This is an interesting old discussion. Never noticed the Rebar category before and haven’t yet read all the related posts. I was just thinking about this this past week as I used rather long targets. There’s something about this idea I like. I’m going to try it again.
    These are the long ones I just did.

    – veut manger un repas traditionnel – wants to eat a traditional meal
    – vont chez sa grand-mère – (they) go to her grandmother’s

    I kinda broke them up with the PQA. Though it didn’t seem so at the time, vont got a little short-changed, I think. Most kids didn’t hear it in the quick quiz.

  6. All of the links give me “Not Found.” The first one then says, “Error 404.” I have not looked at the otehrs to see what their error is.

    I think that this very much depends on the class, I do know that in German I when I tried to go to two verb structures like “could get up,” I had many more problems then I had with just the verb at least intially. Especially with such a crucial verb as “could.” I would start out with “want,” so I could get them used to that type of verb first and then spreading it out from there. That may be more because of German sentence structure though, because it kicks all of the secondary verbs to the end.

    I agree with Jim that sometimes it can lose some of the reps of the verb, because of the longer time required to circle the whole structure. I think he also right that we should expand our PQA to more complicated sentences with the base structure once they feel more comfortable with it.
    I do like Jeff’s suggestion and will do that more when I encounter a slightly more complex structure with a group.

    I would say that we need to ease them into multi-verb structures first.

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