Spend time now, save time later
Remember the daily calendar from preschool and kindergarten? It was the best. “Calendar helper” was seriously the best job EVER...you got to go up to the front, change the date, use the pointer to go through the days of the week. It was like being a real teacher.
Did the kids who aren’t teachers now yearn for the day that they pulled calendar helper from the helper jar? I wonder…
Either way, that trusty calendar routine is a great bet to get our kids to acquire so much without having to “teach” it. Think about it:
All of that. Done. In a matter of minutes each day. Bonus...we get to avoid grading spelling tests disguised as vocabulary quizzes for all of those topics. Plus, these are great opportunities to talk about seasonal differences in different places. For example, summer vacation in Uruguay starts right before Christmas, when it's hot and sunny!
In the novice level, in our first week or so of class, I model exactly what they will do every day, counting the dates, asking ¿hoy es lunes? Noooo…. ¿es martes? You get it. We choose the weather for the day and the season. Now, we are in San Diego. So we ALMOST NEVER use anything other than Hace Sol, Hace Calor, and the occasional Hace fresco. To the point that if it should so much as drizzle, kids run in screaming Profe, llueve hoy!!!! like a bunch of locos. The point is, after they see the weather every day, that repetition leads to acquisition.
You’ll find that if you use great Comprehensible Input questions, even the kids that seem off in the nubes can participate. Ask questions like this “¿Hace sol hoy o llueve hoy?” Repeat it a few times looking around as if you are trying to decide who to choose. Choose your student and ask it again. If you have symbols or pictures, they’ll have no problem answering, and get to feel that success that we want them to feel.
The other day, my student came to me to tell me that someone asked her what day the PSAT was at our site. She told me:
"Profe, solamente le repetía la palabra miércoles. No podía recordar Wednesday. ¿Qué me pasa?”
Acquisition. That's what. Of course I wanted to launch into a neuroscience explanation of accessible vocabulary, but I kept that to my self.
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