Accidental CI


Oops!  I think I just accidentally taught a bulk of my class in 100% TL using comprehensible input (CI) and TPRS.  I must confess that I walked into my first hour class not knowing what I was going to teach other than that we were going to review vocab then take a quiz over it.  After that I wasn’t sure how I was going to proceed.  Turns out I spent most of the class using CI to review.  It was fun, the students loved it and did great.

We are learning restaurant and food vocab.  I wanted to review fork, knife, spoon, etc before the quiz because we hadn’t spent much time on it.  I drew them one at a time on the board and had the students tell me what they are in Spanish.  This evolved into an accidental crazy story about a knife dripping with what looked like blood but turned out to be ketchup, a crazy fancy glass that was really a bargain (recycled vocab) and me being broke from paying for my “fancy” glass that I could only afford ketchup for my spaghetti sauce.  One student asked if I was eating alone and this evolved into me being a crazy, broke old lady eating by herself at a restaurant with her gross spaghetti and her fancy glass and plate.  I invited the students to eat with me.  They declined.  😦   We followed this up with a quick round of pictionary in partners using the target vocab we had just practiced.

CI flowed into other parts of the class as well.  I had students play “Piedra, Papel, Tijeras” (rock, paper, scissors)  to decide partners and who would play what role in some activities.  They don’t know the word for scissors and probably don’t remember the word “piedra” on it’s own but by acting it out they knew exactly what to do and even used the Spanish words!

Our warm- up activity was a fill in the blank convo between a client and a waiter with the target vocab missing and a word bank.  They filled it out on their own.  We went though it.  Next I had them act it out with their partner.  I modeled with actions and emotion with the help of my partner “invisible Susie” (who is always by my side and a beloved member of class).  The students then did their own versions with much attitude, emotion and action for the target vocab.

I must say it was one of the most enjoyable classes of the semester and one student remarked “We should just do stuff like this every day.”.  Another said, “Hey!  We’re having a whole conversation all in Spanish!”.  At the end of it all I had about 5 minutes left so we talked, in Spanish, about what we are having for lunch today.  I explained, in Spanish, what a fritter is and it was a nice filler.

To build from one student’s comment, yes, we should do this every day.  Tomorrow I am planning a more intentional use of CI and TPRS.  Today’s “accident” was wonderful.



3 thoughts on “Accidental CI

  1. I’m in awe of you teachers that so effortlessly, accidentally create beautiful CI moments for your classes. I have never had great success in this area! Maybe next year…right? 😉

  2. Takeaways on how to be like Maestra McH: think of as many conversation topics as possible before class (in case you are not so fortunate as to come up with them on the fly) that relate to the theme and familiar vocabulary. Also, have a few familiar children’s games with actions at the ready!

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