Nice to Meet You!

I am going to start stories a little earlier this year. I don’t know why. I’ll keep on focusing on the kids and doing the personalization and norming of the classroom and all that, of course, until the classroom is entirely personalized and the rules are clear, but with September visions start dancing in my head of actors being goofy and general silliness happening , so why not start a story or two in the next week and see what happens? I can always punt and go back to those things that we listed here last week as options to the Circling with Balls activity when it begins to lose steam.
Anyway, I asked Jim Tripp if he had anything in the way of a good starter story, as it were, and he sent me this one, with a nice note explaining a few details. My opinion on where this can be used is that this story could fly well in any level, 1 all the way up to AP. Here is Jim’s introduction to the story and then the story below:
The beginning of the year is a great time for this story. Nevermind that some of the terms used are always in the first chapters of textbooks. What we who use comprensible input can use is that there is probably at least one student who met someone famous, or at least quasi-famous, over the summer. (Or they went somewhere where you and the class say they met someone famous.) You might find this out from a questionnaire you do, or from a summer prop, a conversation in the hallway, or from some PQA in class.
And don’t feel pressured to do this story in multiple locations right now. If you only talk about one student, and how that student meets only one person, you can still get in enough meaningful repetitions of the structures to allow students to acquire at least one of them. I think it’s definitely a worthwhile story (worthwhile meaning that it allows you to deliver some compelling CI). Here it is:

Nice to Meet You!

My name is ______
gets really nervous
nice to meet you

Jonah meets Adrian Peterson. Jonah says to him, “Hi, my name is Jonah.” Adrian Peterson gets really nervous. He says, “My name is Tony, Tony Danza.” Jonah says, “Nice to meet you Tony.”
Lindsey meets Channing Tatum. Lindsey says to him, “Hi, my name is Lindsey.” Channing Tatum says nervously, “Nice to meet you.” He gets more nervous and says, “My name is Luke Skywalker.” Lindsey says to him, “Nice to meet you Luke.”
(Repeat scenario with a different student and a different celebrity.)

Nice to Meet You!
Extended version**

by chance
My name is ______
gets really nervous
forgets his name
nice to meet you

By chance, Jonah meets Adrian Peterson at Buffalo Wild Wings. Jonah says to him, “Hi, my name is Jonah.” Adrian Peterson gets really nervous. He forgets his name. He says, “My name is Tony, Tony Danza.” Jonah says, “Nice to meet you Tony.”
By chance, Lindsey meets Channing Tatum at the Cedar Rapids airport. Lindsey says to him, “Hi, my name is Lindsey.” Channing Tatum says nervously, “Nice to meet you.” He gets more nervous and forgets his name. He says, “My name is Luke Skywalker.” Lindsey says to him, “Nice to meet you Luke.”
(Repeat scenario with a different student and a different celebrity.)
TPRS TIP: Celebrities worship our students, not the other way around. Sometimes we make exceptions of course, but the default is that our students are the best-looking, the coolest, the strongest, etc.
**Don’t get confused by this second, longer story with the extra target structures. The way Jim writes his stories is he always offers a longer version to go with the original. Here is what he says about this embedding of vocabulary in these extended versions of his stories:
“The extended versions include 2-3 extra structures to add length and complexity to the stories. Extended versions are ideal for the teacher of longer classes (i.e. block classes in high schools) and/or more advanced students. Another way to utilize the extended version is to incorporate the additional structures into the reading the day after the story is asked. Thus, the simpler version is used when we ask the story, and the extended version is used in the creation of the reading, which is especially pertinent in accelerated or block classes.”



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!
    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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