Nice to Meet You!

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7 thoughts on “Nice to Meet You!”

  1. I used this story last night with my adult Spanish students, who have had on average about 15 contact hours with me. We just started a new session, so we had a few new students, and so we had to do a big “Mucho Gusto” after I introduced each person. And we even came up with a sign, made-up by one of my students, which was simply a half bow and a swoop of the right arm (the left arm swoop with half bow gestured “likewise”). Having these gestures reinforced even more for me the importance of this visual/motor element to storytelling.
    Anyways, here’s our story, in Spanish. You’ll notice that we did not get to more than one location. One was plenty for me to get in loads of compelling repetitions of the target structures. And no stress about moving to a different student or a different location, we just stayed with this scene for one hour.
    If any of you tried this story out and created a reading from it, I hope you’ll share it with us!
    —-
    MUCHO GUSTO
    Sue conoce a una persona muy famosa en SeedSavers. ¡Conoce a Barack Obama! Sue lo conoce en agosto cuando el presidente está visitando Decorah. A las siete y uno de la tarde lo conoce.
    En el momento que conoce a El Presidente Obama, Sue le dice, “Mucho gusto, me llamo Sue.” El presidente no le dice nada. Se pone muy nervioso. Se pone nervioso porque Sue le dijo “Mucho gusto”. (Barack Obama es muy famoso, pero Sue es más famosa… ¡Sue es super famosa!)
    Sue se pone un poco confusa porque el presidente no dice nada. Entonces Sue le mira al presidente por cinco horas. Por fin el presidente le dice algo a Sue. Pero no le dice “Igualmente”. Le dice, “Mucho gusto. M-m-m-me ll-ll-ll-ll-ll-ll-llamo John McCain.”
    Ahora Sue se pone muy confusa, porque Sue sabe que realmente no es John McCain. Sabe que es Barack Obama. Sin embargo (nevertheless) Sue le dice, “¡Mucho gusto John McCain!”

  2. …having these gestures reinforced even more for me the importance of this visual/motor element to storytelling….
    I am experiencing a similar kind of renaissance with the importance of the gestures this year, Jim. They are huge. We could theoretically tell an entire story with gestures and it really helps the kids, especially in level one, since those kids have no base auditory vocabulary firing connections off when we speak.

    1. I’m taking a sign language class right now and it is great for this (albeit a very traditional aka boring and not as effective approach). I am fine with making up a sign as we go along, especially if a student made it up, but we save a lot of time and distress as a class most of the time if I just give them the sign, and I’d rather it be a useful ASL sign so they can learn yet another language in Spanish class. I’ve actually considered lately about mentioning this aspect in the course description: “students will be exposed to many America Sign Language (ASL) signs and will undoubtedly acquire several of them throughout the course.”

  3. I like the authentic sign language gestures as well, Jim. We are still heavy into classic TPR in my level I classes at this time in the school year. One of the classroom “jobs” at that level is the gesture expert. It is the kid that sits closest to the bookcase that contains my two ASL dictionaries. She/He looks up the gestures that I do not know or cannot remember and models them for the class.

  4. I asked Susie about that once and she said just to let the kids make up the gestures. So, and here is another example of what works for one doesn’t have to work for the other in TPRS, I gave it up after a few years of trying to learn ASL and apply it in my classroom.

  5. I like ASL for abstract words and function words. These are hard for the students to come up with gestures for, yet I want students to notice them just as much as the more flamboyant words. One summer, I found someone to teach me”is ” and “the” in signed English, but I forgot by the time school started. On words like that, it’s hard even for me to figure out a gesture. like Jim said, it saves time and stress. On the visual words, my classes are split. Some like the freedom and fun of making up their own and some think it’s really cool to learn another language (ASL) in Spanish class. so I try to keep ASL signs in mind as a back up if students need or want them.
    I have one class of 19 boys and no girls, and the funniest thing happened yesterday. I did the song “the clown dances” with them to practice the body parts. It’s a simple TPR song. I wanted 3 kids to be dancers at the front, but almost everyone was begging to be picked. So we stood in a big circle and I watched them pour their whole heart into it (except for 3 kids who politely moved a little). When kids started being dismissed (end of day) and I stopped, they asked me to please do one more round. There were smiles all around. This class has a number of kids who struggle with simple assignments like vocabulary pictures. I think I have found their strength. It made my day and showed the importance of gestures.

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