Wants To Go To The Bathroom

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



27 thoughts on “Wants To Go To The Bathroom”

  1. Angie I put it into three locations and tried to follow the standard scripting practices as we see in Anne’s books. I hope I didn’t mess it up. Let me know and I can change it but I think it is easier if the scripts all follow the same pattern. I know that is true for me anyway. In an ideal script, each target structure occurs once in each of three locations. But there are no rules. Let me know if this is o.k. or I can change it. I would ask teachers who get a home run script like this to please follow the above scripting format and send them to me complete with target structures listed in italics (but not in the story) and variables underlined (with some name to replace by the class makes it easier as I did above). Try to get each target in each location, because that is where we get our reps.

  2. This story would be a perfect one to do in conjunction with some Senor Wooly (puedo ir al bano?). You could use the video for some MovieTalk using these same structures, no matter which language you teach!

    1. Angie I got a message from Anne Matava on the formatting of the script:

      … if you want to get maximum reps of all 3 target phrases, it might be easier if you have 3 different kids. Each wants to go, goes, doesn’t return, and someone goes looking. Do you see?….

      In this case I changed Sally to Jill but could only get those two in due to the nature of the script. I will ask Anne to add this point to the scripting chapter she has in her two books. Maybe if we all keep sending her enough stories she will publish a Volume 3.

      And also Angie I don’t think it works on the blog to underline and italicize. So sending them to me at benslavic@yahoo may be our best choice.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed that story. Did you write out the original script or did it just happen from extended PQA? Even numbers are fun when taught in an amusing point as you point out:

      …a really fun part of the story was figuring out how long she had to wait for the pass and then how long the teacher waited for her to return….

      Look at the verb in that sentence – “figuring out”. There you were, side by side with your students with happiness in the air trying to solve a problem with them. Sounds different from the old way. I am so genuinely proud of you.

      1. OK so Sean pls. send an example of a few lines of a possible story and explain how that works with the italics process, but what about underlining? We need to get more scripts sent in to share with each other but the variables in those scripts really need to be underlined. The italics don’t matter that much, and we don’t use bold at all with scripts, so can the underlining be done in these comment fields?

  3. A really fun part of the story was figuring out how long she had to wait for the pass and then how long the teacher waited for her to return. The students shouted out so many numbers, from minutes to hours to days.

  4. The script looks fun! However, as mentioned already, I don’t see how I’d get enough reps in, because each structure is not 3 times in each of the 3 scenes. If I have time I might try to tweak it and report back.

  5. Simplify it. Just use the 3 structures as a 3-line story. They work perfectly together and don’t need anything extra.

    Sally wants to go to the bathroom. She goes to the bathroom and does not return for 3 days. The class looks for Sally.

    possible variables: Sally, bathroom, 3 days, the class

    Sally wants to go to the bathroom. She looks for the bathroom. She does not return.

    3 events is one way to get the reps. Another way is to repeat the same story with a new character each time.

    This is how I’m doing things right now. The PQA is amazing. This is what we need more of: 3 structures that naturally flow and can stand alone and tell a story – that to me is a “micro-story.” This is where PQA and Stories get blurred and why I don’t think we have to distinguish the two.

    My difference is that on a “Story Day” we get up the actors, we use the Super 7 verbs, and we often recycle more language.

  6. I realized that I have to credit Joe Neilson for this story. In his handout from the Maine conference a couple years ago, he has a story based around the word todavía (still) as in…she’s still in the bathroom!

    1. Angie I credited you both, Joe for the original story idea and you for bringing it to our attention.

      We need to figure out a way to not lose story ideas in the ocean of ideas that are suggested here. Since so many scroll out due to the nature of the blog, I will send this story to Anne and ask her to file it and others (if people keep sending them in, hint) for possible future use.

      Anne writes her own stories and uses them in class and is very precise about scripting (very detailed analysis of variables and targets and how they all fit together which is why her stories work so well), so she may be able to “cook” some of these story ideas we get here and maybe she may even publish a very useful Volume 3 book combining her original stories with some polished versions of story ideas she gets from here. I can at least ask her.

      1. I find myself using the same stories in the same order this year as last year in my level 1 classes. It worked so well last year, there is no reason it won’t again this year. This is really putting my mind at ease.

    1. just a guess Angie, there is (hay), is (es), is (está), has, wants, goes, says? That is what Blaine and Von say you should start with. I personally use these almost exclusively for the first 9-12 weeks.

    2. The Super Seven come from Mandarin teacher, Terry Waltz–to be adapted to your target language:

      Location (to be at a place) –estar

      Existence (to exist somewhere, “there is”) –hay

      Possession (to have something) –tener

      Identity (to be something or someone) — ser

      Preference (to like or dislike something) –gustar

      Motion (to go somewhere) –ir/correr/caminar

      Volition (to feel like doing something) –querer

      1. I’ve always found expressing Necessity (to need) and Knowledge (to know) to be important for beginner students. More so than “to like” even (although it is also very important).

        But I think Terry’s list is hugely important (and intuitive)… this should be the crux of the syllabus of an entire first year program.

        1. Terry’s working with Mandarin, so I can tell you a nifty thing about Mandarin: there are two characters that both approximately mean “would like” or “want”. They get put together into one word (and that’s how she starts using it) and then you get 3 for 1: the first character is more like “would like to” and also does “thinks that”; the second character is more like “wants” but also “needs” and “will (verb)” so we really go a long way with those 2 syllables.

  7. If I understood this correctly, Terry also mentioned the subtle cultural differences between languages, where we may want to teach one verb form over another.
    In French I find “voudrait” (would like) rather than “veut” (wants) softer, and more useful to know.

  8. Well that is a wonderful thing and thank you for saying that, Catharina. That is the first mention I have every heard about imparting those subtle differences between verbs in beginning classes. Why not? If we have the tools (the micro stories, VSA) to target these differences, why not do it? Brilliant. Everybody thinks that these subtleties are best introduced later, but when they are introduced later they become the target of the conscious analytical faculty of highly intelligent and curious and motivated students. When they are introduced from the beginning, however, they stick, because they then bypass the conscious mind and go directly to where real fluency is born, in the deeper mind.

  9. Since this thread is getting so popular, I’ll take the opportunity to say this:

    I find these structures (and others) difficult to PQA before beginning the story. These structures make total, compelling sense in a story, but do not lend themselves to PQA. I skipped straight to the story in my level 2 classes this last week with great success.

  10. I agree, James. I have not been doing PQA so far with story structures because I just can’t figure out how to do it, and also because my I don’t know how to get my Novices to pay attention to PQA, so I try to get all the reps in afterwards with retells, activites, and more stories with the same/similar structures. It’s amazing how they’ll focus in on characters in a story but not so much on each other, but that probably has a lot to do with my (lack 0f) technique. I’m assuming my PQA skills will improve as I go along and get more practice.

    1. That’s been my point. The lines of PQA vs. Story can be blurred. A story can be just as personalized as PQA. In fact, many times, PQA is all imaginary details provided by students – customized, not personalized. If it’s compelling, comprehensible, contextualized, and concentrated (reps!), then you’re giving the vocabulary the best chance of acquisition and any grammar at i+1 too! Add to that 3 more C’s: core (high-frequency), changing (multiple contexts), and cumulative (recycled) and you got the 7 C’s, which should be our guiding principles.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben