Jonathan Harris, Spanish Teacher, St. Gabriel Consolidated School
One way to help maintain an open attitude for your students is to utilize their prior knowledge. I have found using a bilingual book to be a good way to help, and since it is bilingual, the story can be longer and a little more complicated . Perros, Perros (Dogs, Dogs) by Ginger Foglesong Guy is a good example of using a bilingual book. The basic plot is a variety of dogs running through a town, but it uses opposites. The TPR words used will be arriba, abajo, por el pueblo (up, down, through the town). Again, the story is bilingual, and switches back and forth between Spanish and English after every phrase. The students are told to point up for arriba, down for abajo, and to trace an imaginary circle for through the town. Students usually do the motions twice, for both the English and Spanish, which is fine, because at the end of the story they can duplicate the motions. Again, the re-occurring question in English is “Where are they going?”, which has the motion of shrugging shoulders. This shrugging will be done for all questions until the individual question words are mastered. Perros, Perros also provides an opportunity for students to learn how to pronounce the “rr” sound in Spanish, which is a unique experience for English-speakers. Students generally have fun pronouncing the trilled-r sound and are given a minute or so to practice.
Since Perros, Perros is a longer story, it will be read twice, but not during the same class period. The second time students will do motions to some of the opposite words that can be acted out, like fast, slow, big and little. Twice would be a maximum, because students already know the plot and would probably respond better to a different story.