Last summer I spent a week at El Lago del Bosque – Cass Lake of the Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji, Minnesota as part of my Master’s program. Observing the language villages in action was one of my favorite parts of the program because I always left feeling inspired! I admired the students who were learning languages like Finnish, Swedish, and Danish and lamented that I hadn’t picked up a third or fourth language while I was younger. I remember wanting to teach my students about food scarcity after watching kids pretend to be reindeer and snow mobiles as they played tag, wanting to have a garden project in which kids measured the produce and then cooked it in an authentic dish, and wanting my husband to create Kubb for my kiddos to play outside on a fall afternoon. I often found myself justifying how I could use the Spanish language to teach about non-Spanish cultures. It’s no wonder I am a full supporter of Content-Based Instruction!
One idea that I got from El Lago del Bosque that I think would be extremely valuable for a TPRS teacher (or a teacher who is using a story in an activity like MovieTalk, reading a novel, etc.) would be to add VCR setting posters to employ during the story. Basic VCR settings include: Pause, Rewind, Fast-Forward, and Play, but could be opened up to even more options like Stop, Mute, Record, etc. to incorporate more vocabulary.
I envision these “buttons” being something both teachers and students can use alike. I can see the teacher directing the class to the “VCR” (said in target language) and then allowing a student to choose which one. I could see giving the “botón de pausa” to a specific student to employ at any time during the story and the teacher creates 5 questions in the target language instantaneously. I can also see the teacher using these while having students act out a chapter they’ve read out of a novel. The possibilities are endless!
I will be putting my own VCR posters to at the front of my room this year, right next to my question posters (taken directly from Scott Benedict at TeachforJune.com). Feel free to take and use what I’ve put together – or make your own copy and tweak it as you see fit.
A very special thank you to El Lago del Bosque – Cass Lake for being this post’s inspiration!