I just had a chance to write more about my last day at NTPRS. It was really wonderful. As I am excited about using FVR (Free Voluntary Reading), I attended Michelle’s session on FVR. Both she and Mike agree to let a child choose a different book if they do not like what they are reading. You do have to watch to make sure that some students do not take advantage of this, but it is an important fact if you are going to start this program. Whereas Mike has his students discuss the books, Michelle sometimes gives them targets such as find three cognates, two words you know and one new word that you figured out. I am going to try a mix and see what works. Some classes or levels may prefer different styles. It is so important to see what works for your own students. Michelle’s library is amazing, and she rotates her books. I am so envious of her stash, but I am going to Scholastic to stock up before the school year starts!
I also went to Martina’s TPRS and the textbook session. As I have stated before, my students pay for a textbook (and it is expensive!) My department uses the textbook, so I feel it is important to find a healthy balance. Martina starts with the vocabulary lists and comes up with sets. Think of starting with high frequency verbs and vocab shadows that you can use such as tall or short. That way you can say: The girl is tall. The girl is not short, but she is tall. Martina also has her students pick celebrity alter egos by giving them this list. How genius is that?! Then she can start different stories with their names. For beginners, she started off talking about Shakira. She talks about where she is from, the weather there and describes her. (Unit 1- hello!) Then, she starts to talk about Shakira’s boyfriend and ex-boyfriends. She talks about where they are from, the weather where they are from, and describes them. It is already 10 times more interesting than any textbook reading, you have the vocabulary, and you have a nice start to a story when the current boyfriend meets the ex boyfriend! Another tip she gives is to rewrite the English “culture” sections in the textbook in comprehensible Spanish. (Because why is it written in English to begin with?!)
NTPRS was a wonderful experience, and I was so happy to be able to go. If you are given the opportunity to go, I hope that you do!