Tomorrow is the big day. The day we have been building up for is here. We are really diving into story telling using the preterite and imperfect tenses, but you know me. I am always looking for a way to break away from the traditional methods of teaching this concept and focus on the internal thought process that we use to make the decision between the two tenses to tell a story. Teaching the preterite and imperfect is less grammar to me and more like metacognition. I have been trying to train my students to be aware of what it is that they are thinking so they can choose the right tense in order to convey to their listeners and/or readers their own stories.
This year's plan is new. Here we go...
First, I am going to have my students explain to me again what the preterite tense communicates. I will then ask them the same of the imperfect. Together we will co-construct a table that outlines all of this side by side.
Second, I will ask my students what would be appropriate questions to ask someone using the preterite. What kinds of things can you ask with this tense? We will list those questions under the uses we brainstormed before. As you can imagine, I will do the same with the imperfect. They will tell me what questions are possible with the imperfect, and even if they can't immediately respond in Spanish we will figure out how to build them together.
By the end of this process we should have a lovely T chart that has these two tenses and the questions we might ask with them side by side.
Here's the fun part!
I will then use the set of photos linked below and give them this prompt:
Imagine that you went on a vacation or trip during which something insane occurred. The photo that you will see next represents that trip and the event that took place.
Click here to download the Wacky Vacation Photos.
I will then give instructions to my students to use the picture they see to answer the questions they prepared earlier, and I will give them several minutes to do this. I will encourage them to answer as many of the questions as they can based on the prompt and the picture.
Their next set of instructions will be to take the responses they generated and order them logically as if they were telling a story rather than just answering questions. I will also encourage them to fill in any gaps they might find so that the story flows.
Finally, I will ask students to share their stories with each other by reading them to one another, and I will close the class with volunteers to read them for the whole class.
This will be the first round of this type of lesson. I plan to adapt the prompt or add a twist or two over the next few days. The picture will change, too. I am sure at some point I will collect a written story, and one day I won't allow them to write at all, but they can tell a story to a partner by using the questions they prepared in their notes.
Anyway, we will see how it goes!
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