Se Hace de Noche

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15 thoughts on “Se Hace de Noche”

  1. It’s interesting, Jody, how you spend entire class periods on two phrases. I’d love to see a video of you doing this. That’s the kind of talent I need to work on developing. I wonder, how long are these class periods… 40 min?

    1. No, you’re perceptive, Sean. I would never work on a poem/song a whole class period. It would kill me or them. More like 20-25 minutes (half of a class). Leave ’em wanting more. That’s my motto for everything. We do something else with that other 20-25 minutes. I respect my dwindling sanity. 🙂

      I can milk the heck out of this stuff, though. This, I have learned. Milk it good today; grab another teat on the udder (new tactic), and milk it again tomorrow, and then, the next day, too. My brain is always thinking and filtering, “How can I make this activity comprehensible input and make them think they’re doing something else besides “listening and learning?”

      Setting up this rhyme as something horrible, creepy, and scary, before we even begin and something we shouldn’t be doing in class, always helps. Each day, I ask them if they really want to learn more of the rhyme because it’s really horrible, creepy, and scary, and I don’t want to frighten anyone in the class. They scream to learn more of it. I ask them if they’re sure a few times–building more interest. Then, I just teach them two lines. Works. During the set up, they learn words like: horroroso (causing terror), desagradable (icky/creepy), espeluznante (scary) which, of course, I repeat a gazillion times for effect.

      The more confident they feel, the more fun it is for them. Just like Susie G says, “Spanish will just fall out of their mouths.” The trick is to change up the tactic about every 5 minutes. I’ve worked with all ages, but mostly the 9-14 group. Holding their attention and keeping them focused are major challenges as you know. I’ve found these same tactics work for teens and adults but they can concentrate a lot longer.

      1. This is helpful, Jody. What else would you be doing for the other 20-25 minutes after you’ve exhausted your energy on the poem/song? Reading exercises? Output games? Brain breaks?

        I’m real curious about how much time our tribe members here actually spend doing CI-listening in a class period, how long we spend doing CI-reading in a class period, and how long we spend in brain breaks.

        With my ~15 year olds, I really try for 15 minutes straight before any kind of brain break. And some days I hardly do any kind of reading… which I wonder if I need to revise.


  2. The other half of the class is the usual tprs story rotation: Intro of vocab strings/structures, pqa with whole class and actors, story asking with whole class and actors, reading, parallel story with whole class and actors, cartoon, dictation, quiz, writing assessment–wherever we happen to be in the cycle–it doesn’t matter. We can start any of those activities and finish it or NOT finish it. There’s always another class. If we’re working on a novel, we just start wherever we are in the novel.

    I try to do CI the whole class. I do different CI activities within the class time frame. Dictado, vocab quizzes, and writing assessment are the only non-CI things I do. They are assessments which are, hopefully, informing the tactics (ways to create compelling repetition) I create within the CI story. My references to my sanity and theirs have to do with my commitment to keeping their brains happy–periods of intense activity, rest, enjoyment.

    I am very picky and selective about doing rhymes, songs, etc. If they are mostly incomprehensible, I don’t bother. Too much work for me; students get bored; and in the end, it’s all about me and what I like–not what they like. Teaching them fills up a lot of class time which can be a plus for many teachers and students.

    I am still not convinced songs, etc. add very much to acquisition until students are quite proficient. Just my opinion–not an invitation to an argument. Being able to sing a song likely adds to the club membership aspect of language and to acquiring the sound of the language, but that is truly conjecture on my part. The odd thing here is that I am a singer and a musician. I listen to latin music almost exclusively, do lyric transcriptions for band leaders, and sing it professionally. Still don’t think it adds much to acquisition until advanced fluency is present. Remembering a song lyric doesn’t strike me as acquisition. That is something else.

    1. It all depends on what we do with the song that determines its usefulness for acquisition.

      The vocabulary can be acquired if we establish meaning well and get enough reps, while trying to also get reps in other contexts. Then, we can talk naturally and discuss the lyrics of the song in a way to get some “structure” acquired, though I would not be trying to force the grammar structures in the lyrics to be acquired.

      I suggest we treat the lyrics like we would a story. We can PQA, story ask, or read and act and parallel the details of the song.

      For example, in the song, “La Cucaracha,” it’s about a cockroach who can’t walk because he doesn’t have a leg. So, we can TPR the song, act it out, ask circling questions, then turn it into a story by rewinding (why doesn’t he have a leg?) or going forward (what does he do to find another leg?).

      I’m using songs and I also take every opportunity I can to inject the rest of the day with lines from the songs. Gives us more language to play with in our stories. We did the Pin Pon song and he has become a character in our stories.

      1. I use this song once my students know everything except le falta and gastar. My goal is to use le falta in many ways through circling and a story. Gastar is just an extra word but I don’t spend any more time than through the song(gastar is in one of the versions). I treat a song like this the same way. We create a motion to the structure le falta and review the motions for the other structures in the song. One year our story was about a cockroach that was lacking a taco and he sees a boy with a taco. The boy sees the cockroach and is afraid and drops the taco. The cockroach is happy and eats the whole taco. Thinking back I could have said he can walk fast and then afterwards I could say his stomach is so big he can’t walk increasing the repetitions of can’t walk. The song is just the mode in which I teach le falta. It’s similiar to movie talk. I choose a video where I can target a structure. The video is just the way to use compelling and repetitive language. Now what would be very cool would be if there was an animated video of La Cucaracha to watch after finishing the story and make it a real movie talk.

    2. …I am still not convinced songs, etc. add very much to acquisition until students are quite proficient. Just my opinion–not an invitation to an argument….

      We could have fun arguing about when to start in with songs. My take on that is that reading and songs should start to be used only after year 1, which should be filled with CWB/OWI to start the year and then quickly to micro stories and then right about now or in November we roll into stories based on good scripts, reading maybe only one novel in the spring at level 1. So the kids do almost all of their reading in level 1 in Step 3 so that readings created from stories are the only real reading they do at level 1, and the Three Steps are the anchor for most of the instruction in the first year.

      When I share the method with others, I find myself saying now that stories are for levels 1 and maybe some of level 2 and that it is not a true statement to say that TPRS is a plan for high school language instruction but really for the first year. We do all those other forms of CI beyond level 1, so stories are a level 1 thing, really. Let us be clear – none of the IL/IM levels can be reached without all those stories Iin levels 1 and part of level 2. I still don’t believe that guy Arnold reached IM with most of his kids without massive amounts of CI at the lower levels. Maybe his kids travel to French speaking countries a lot and he has like five superstars, all white, all rich, all memorizers, all driven by tests, all privileged, in his classes. I’m talking about the guy in that ACTFL argument going on right now, where Eric has a headlock on a bunch of people.

      Simple novels, the easy ones that many people suggest we use in level 1, are in my view best for level 2. I base all this on the exponential nature of this kind of work. I see the acquisition curve going way up at the end of level 2. All the earlier input, if the teacher was able to teach in accordance with the ACTFL 90% Use position statement (really 95%+) for the first two years makes all that input sprout into output flowers in wonderful and unexpected ways. Then level 3 becomes a dream, where in the past, without lots of CI in levels 1 and 2, level 3 sucked. An added bonus of all that input in levels 1 and 2 is that their confidence is so high after level 2, since we delayed the harder reading and gave them a huge year based in stories in level 1, they sign up for level 3 believing in their capacities and we get big enrollments at the upper levels as a result, thus increasing our job security. This is the opposite of what traditional teachers do, trying to weed out the stupid ones. How wrong they are.

      Then, to the point Jody raised above, songs aren’t incomprehensible to them just before we hit the upward movement of the exponential curve in around February of level 2. I just agree so much with Jody’s point. I know that one thing we share is what she mentioned above about how she never says anything to our kids that they don’t understand easily. And so that’s where harder readings and songs should be delayed. Why play a song for them if they can’t understand it? Picking out a few words is fun, I guess, and I’m not saying not to do it. It’s just my style and Jody’s. If I ever did a song at the lower levels it would be really simple and I would backwards plan (with micro stories) the snot out of it for a week before playing it. And I wouldn’t let them even know it was all building toward a song just because it is so cool when they actually hear it after a week and can understand it. That gets them going to YouTube for more input!

      Sorry for the rant. Jody makes a simple comment and I go off on it. Oh well.

      1. Oh. I should have specified. I like using very short songs, 4-8 short lines. Nursery rhyme-type songs. I wouldn’t try to teach a song that plays on the radio – too much incomprehensible language. And the short songs work for acquisition, not because they are songs, but because they get put through the 2-week cycle or at least some of the steps.

    3. Thanks for the reply, Jody. And yes, we are dismantling that club membership aspect to foreign language learning. No more country club-esque segregation!

  3. Here’s an example of a song used a la T/CI. It’s a song based on an authentic children’s song/chant, called, “¡Qué Llueva!” (Let it rain!)
    I did it during last year’s rainy spring, challenged by a colleague’s suggestion to T/CI-ify old materials. I used a version of the song from a famous Spanish children’s song-writer/performer, José Luís Orozco. He added some new animals to the established folk poem.
    I made a projectable word doc with lyrics and cute clip art for comprehensibility.
    I front-loaded and circled the new structures. We TPRd, gestured, listened to it, sang it, clozed it etc. over a few days. The best part was when we dramatized it!
    The song goes something like this:
    Qué llueva, Qué llueva, Let it rain, Let it rain,
    el quetzal está en la cueva. The quetzal bird is in the cave. (other animals come later)
    Los pajaritos cantan, The birdies are singing,
    Las nubes se levantan, the clouds are rising,
    ¡Qué sí! [clap x2] ¡Qué no! [x2] Yes, No,
    ¡Qué caiga un chaparrón! Let it pour!

    Here comes the best part – we turned it into a skit!
    -4-5 kids sitting on the rug in a semicircle w/arms forming a cave;
    -the bird/snake/other animals in later verses locomote into the cave on cue;
    -two birdies flap their wings on cue;
    -two cloud people rise up from the floor with billowing arms on cue;
    -everyone else does the rhythmic claps on cue, followed by ‘raining hands.’
    -Extra job – flashing the lights off/on during the downpour.

    Everyone who wants gets a part – extra birds, clouds, cave makers…
    I don’t care whether they remember, “chaparrón” [downpour] but there are some decent verbs in there:
    The “Let it rain!” thang is great – esp the imperative part (Qué + subjunctive) which repeats again at the end: ¡Qué sí! Qué no! ¡Qué caiga un chaparrón!
    está en – is in
    cantan – they sing
    se levantan – they rise [also used for ‘stand up’]
    we also learn some locomotion verbs for the various animals that enter the cave – fly, walk, run, slither…

    En fin, a song is like any other text with the added layer of melody…some lend themselves beautifully – if they are simple enough, rhyme, rhythm, reps, TPR-able, high interest.
    My 1st graders just got chick eggs in their classroom -annual life-cycle study – they will care for ’em til they hatch…So we started learning the classic song, “Los pollitos dicen, pío, pío, pío” [The chickies say, “peep, peep, peep”] so they’ll have a sweet song to sing [‘Softly, Señora! Los pollitos have sensitive ears!’] to the eggs and to the temporary class pets – this is a great way to harness existing excitement among lil kids…plus parents etc. love the connection across disciplines and there are several Youtube animated/captioned versions of it…
    We already pretended we were little chick eggs getting ready to hatch…And I found/modified a super simple Spanish emergent reader (which is printable – they can take home and color/share it!) on eggs hatching, which they are very excited about! Viola a mini theme for April with a song at the center!

  4. I just heard a good joke in a French movie the other night. After laughing, I thought, “This would make a great little story in French class. Perfect for Level 1.” It has several basic structures and a couple that could be the new ones that get some vPQA (or whatever) before we do the joke.

    Here is the joke in simple English to turn into simple whatever language. I’m on the lookout now for good story jokes. Got any good ones, anyone?

    There is a guy.
    He is walking in town.
    He finds a penguin.
    He asks a policeman what he should do with the penguin.
    The policeman says, “Take him to the zoo.”
    The man and penguin go to the zoo.
    A little later, the policeman sees the man again. He is still with the penguin.
    “You didn’t take him to the zoo?” he asks.
    “Oh yes, we went to the zoo. He loved it! Now we are going to the movies!”

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