Let's turn boring grammar exercises into
communicative activities!
Foreign Language Association of Georgia
2014 Annual Conference
“Taking Flight to Global Awareness”
March 7-8, 2014
Kimberly Murphy, Ligia Ryburn
Panel Moderator: Dr. Anja Bernardy
Agenda
• Provide tips and ideas for modifying textbook
grammar lessons into communicative activities.
▫ Examples are provided in Spanish
▫ Hands-on worksheets are in Spanish and French
▫ Methods can be applied to all languages.
• The goal is to use the target language even when
teaching complex grammar points.
Georgia Performance Standards for
Modern Languages
Use of Target Language
• “The use of the target language as the principal
means of communication in the classroom is
absolutely essential from the very onset of
instruction. Teachers must utilize the target
language themselves for the vast majority of
instructional time… and employ instructional
strategies that allow and encourage students to
practice using the language.”
Georgia Performance Standards for
Modern Languages
Use of Target Language
• “… employ instructional strategies that allow and
encourage students to practice using the
language.”
• “The goal of language instruction is to have
students use the target language for specific
communicative purposes. ”
Why stick with textbook grammar?
• We always “branch out” - add authentic texts,
videos, outside sources, etc. but we still follow
book…
• Standardized tests might be based off the book.
• Some classes utilize textbooks to maintain
consistency among different classes of same level.
• A study we conducted informed us that students
remember their MS and HS language classes as
having a grammar focus.
Study: University Students' Perceptions of
Secondary Foreign Language instruction
• Proposal: to find out how well-prepared students
are for college level standards-based instruction
with:
▫ (1) instructor use of the target language;
▫ (2) student use of the target language; and
▫ (3) the integration of technology and culturally
authentic materials
Study: University Students' Perceptions of
Secondary Foreign Language instruction
• surveyed 6 first-year KSU Spanish courses
• students compared language learning experience
and standards-based methodologies in MS/HS
versus KSU.
▫ Written surveys – 98 in total
▫ Oral interviews – 9 in total
How often TEACHERS speak Spanish
How often STUDENTS speak Spanish
How comfortable students are in
participating in brief, spontaneous
conversations in Spanish
How comfortable students are in orally
presenting in Spanish
Testimonies from Student Interviews
• What would our students like to see more of in
their Spanish classes?
▫ INTERACTION – All 9 students asked for either
“more interaction,” “more speaking,” or “more
hands on activities” in the classroom
• Now, let’s listen to snippets of actual testimony
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•
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http://www.voki.com/php/viewmessage/?chsm=d0b5a4d168b272e65d5eee22d3ce6383&mId=2036056
http://www.voki.com/php/viewmessage/?chsm=aa3defacf3698299709e3177d0d9c7c9&mId=2102830
http://www.voki.com/php/viewmessage/?chsm=318ef1c44d6b732ca7fef9520d68b540&mId=2036057
Testimonies from Student Interviews
• They feel the focus is on grammar and
translation.
• The students want more opportunities to speak.
• We need to provide multiple opportunities and
authentic situations with which to practice this
language!
Teaching Grammar in the Target
Language
• We want to teach grammar points WHILE using
the target language.
• We want to focus on communicative aspects of
grammar.
Tips for Teaching Grammar in the
Target Language
• 1. Provide grammar point within meaningful context.
▫ Stories, dialogues, mini presentations, authentic texts,
video clips, etc.
▫ Recycle vocabulary and previously learned content!
• 2. Have students utilize the grammar point in context.
• Focus is on context and not on structure.
▫ Ask questions based off context.
▫ Move from yes/no → either/or → short answer, etc.
• 3. Draw students’ attention to the grammar point.
▫ Underline, use different colors, etc., to emphasize.
• 4. Reinforce grammar point through extension activity.
Now, let’s see how we used these tips
to modify textbook grammar lessons…
• In the first lesson, a short story was used to
introduce the context.
• In the second lesson, a situation was created
utilizing recycled vocabulary.
• Book: ¡En español!
2dos by McDougal
Littell, p. 116
• Grammar point:
“Talk About the Past
Using the Imperfect”
▫ all forms and
conjugations
• Previous
knowledge:
▫ present tense,
▫ past tense with
preterite
• Practice Activity: What
things did these persons
do in the past that they
do not do now?
• Sentences are in present
tense. Task is to change
the tenses to make them
in the past.
• Utilizes variety of verbs
and all subject pronouns.
Modified Grammar Lesson
• 1. Provide grammar point within meaningful
context.
▫ The imperfect tense is found in many texts, short
stories, and fables.
▫ “El boxeador” from Relatos Divertidos: 33 Spanish
Mini-Stories with Exercises, by Mark Frobose, Carlex,
Inc. 2006
▫ Read the story.
▫ Pictures and/or clipart provide extra input.
▫ Acting out expressions reinforce meaning.
1. Provide grammar point within
meaningful context.
“El boxeador nació en la pobreza,
se crió en la violencia y casi vivía
en el gimnasio donde se entrenaba.
Era un hombre fuerte y poderoso,
con brazos gruesos y puños de
piedra. Cuando boxeaba, pegaba a
su contrario. A veces su contrario
le devolvía los golpes. El boxeador
llevaba los recuerdos de peleas
anteriores en su cara triste. ¡Era
un hombre muy duro!”
El boxeador nació en la pobreza,
se crió en la violencia y casi vivía en el
gimnasio donde se entrenaba.
Era un hombre fuerte y poderoso, con brazos
gruesos y puños de piedra.
Cuando boxeaba, pegaba a su contrario.
2. Have students begin to utilize the
grammar point in context.
• Ask questions focused on the message of the
story, but utilizing the grammar point.
• Put them in pairs to discuss their answers before
bringing back to whole class, if desired.
▫
▫
▫
▫
▫
¿Dónde pasaba la mayor parte de su tiempo?
¿Dónde se entrenaba el boxeador?
¿Qué tipo de hombre era?
¿Cómo eran sus brazos?
¿Por qué tenía su cara triste? Etc.
We move to step three when:
• We have assessed our students in understanding
the context.
▫ Oftentimes, they will start using the grammar just
to complete this task (although not always
correctly)
• Now, we want them to take note of the grammar
point used within the context.
3. Draw students’ attention to the
grammar point.
• Provide students with script.
• Underlining, bolding, using different colors
helps to demonstrate grammar points.
“El boxeador nació en la pobreza, se crió en la violencia y
casi vivía en el gimnasio donde se entrenaba. Era un
hombre fuerte y poderoso, con brazos gruesos…”
▫ Draw a timeline on the board to guide students
when the story takes place.
▫ Now is a good time to have them look at differences:
“vivir – vive vs. vivió vs. vivía”.
2002
Vivía en Honduras.
Hoy
Vivo en Marietta
con mi familia.
Llegué a los EEUU.
▫ Guide students to use the imperfect tense when
talking about habitual actions or descriptions of the
past.
▫ Then, guide the students to figure out the structure
of the imperfect verb tense by writing a list of verbs
with from the story and underlining the verb
endings.
▫ It helps to ask students what the infinitive forms
are:
Guide the students to figure out the
structure of the imperfect verb tense
Write a list of the verbs from the story
entrenar
vivir
devolver
entrenaba
vivía
devolvía
boxeaba
pegaba
llevaba
4. Reinforce the grammar point
through an extension activity
▫ Write the theme on the board: Example: ¿Qué
hacías tú cuando estabas en la secundaria? ¿Qué
comías tú?¿Qué película o programa de
televisión veías tú? Etc.
▫ Utilize the Think/Pair/Share to get students to
think about their own answers before sharing
with a partner.
▫ You can help them with written questions and
some verbs in the infinitive form, such as boxear,
jugar, correr, leer, escribir, salir, by adding them
to the verb lists already provided for the imperfect
forms.
▫ You can add question words for more practice:
¿Con quién comías? ¿Dónde comías? ¿ Por qué?
etc.
▫ This helps them to create longer sentences by
stating reasons.
5. Homework assignment
• Ask your parents to describe two things that they
liked to do when they where children, and write the
answers in Spanish.
• Next day. Take advantage of the students’ answers
and use these answers to reinforce the 3rd person
singular and to introduce the plural forms of the
verbs.
• Book: Realidades
1 by Prentice Hall,
p. 84
• Grammar point:
Present tense
of –ar verbs
▫ all forms
• Previous
knowledge:
▫ Subject pronouns
▫ Verbs in the
infinitive used
with likes/dislikes
▫ Personality traits
with “to be”
• Practice Activity:
Plug in the correct
conjugation of the
verb “to study.”
Pictures provided for
school subject vocab.
• Practice Activity:
Saying correct
conjugation of –ar
verb in infinitive
according to subject
pronoun card.
Modified Grammar Lesson
• 1. Provide grammar point within meaningful
context.
▫ Las actividades que yo hago en la escuela.
▫ “Hola, me llamo ____. Soy muy inteligente y
estudiosa. Me gusta leer libros y escribir cuentos. En
la escuela estudio la literatura en inglés y en español.
También soy talentosa. Toco muy bien la trompeta y
la guitarra. También canto en el coro de la iglesia,
pero no canto muy bien. Otra cosa, me gusta bailar
mucho. Bailo la cumbia, la salsa y el merengue. A
veces bailo el robot.”
2. Have students begin to utilize the
grammar point in context.
• Repeat script, but asking students questions
about themselves.
▫ ¿Y tú? ¿Tocas la trompeta?
▫ Ah, ¿sí? Y, ¿tocas muy bien o más o menos?
▫ ¿No tocas la trompeta? ¿Tocas otro instrumento?
¿el violín, el clarinete, etc.?
• Small whiteboards are great for assessing at the
same time.
▫ Escribe ¿Qué instrumento tocas?/ o ¿Qué materia
estudias?…etc.
3. Draw students’ attention to the
grammar point.
. “…. Toco muy bien la trompeta y la guitarra.
También canto en el coro de la iglesia, pero no canto
muy bien. Otra cosa, me gusta bailar mucho. Bailo la
cumbia…”
• ¿Quién toca, estudia,
baila…tú, ella, o yo, la
Señora Murphy?
•
•
•
yo toco la guitarra
__
yo estudio literatura
__
yo bailo la cumbia
__
• ¿Qué materias
estudias tú?
• El verbo es “estudiar”
pero yo estudio y tú
estudias
4. Reinforce the grammar point
through an extension activity
• Survey activity – interpersonal communication
• Students conduct surveys to find classmates
who do the activities in the list.
▫
▫
▫
▫
Do you play an instrument?
Do you sing?
Do you swim?
1. ¿Nadas?
Etc. in TL
2. ¿Montas en monopatín?
3. ¿Practicas deportes después
de las clases?
4. ¿Tocas el violín?
5. ¿Dibujas muy bien?
Nombre del Estudiante 1
Small Group Activity
• You will be given a copy of a grammar
lesson in a textbook with:
▫ The 4 steps.
▫ Students’ previous knowledge.
• Examples in French and Spanish
Small Group Activity
• In groups, you will devise:
▫ 1. The context or situation that will demonstrate
the grammar in use.
▫ 2. A way to draw students to the pattern.
▫ 3. An extension activity where your students could
utilize the grammar meaningfully.
• You have 5 minutes.
Present Group Ideas
• The grammar point
• The context to teach grammar point
• The extension activity
Q&A
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Grammar point - DouglasCountyForeignLanguage