Ok, so, if you know us in the #niplang department, we love our theatrics and drama. The more outlandish and outrageous we can be, the better. Overacting? YES! TOO MUCH AT TIMES? Well… Our mantra is: whatever works, we’ll do it.
As you also may know, big changes have occurred in #niplang’s approach to teaching world languages. We are putting an increased emphasis on speaking and listening with the goal of increasing fluency and promoting communication skills. This skills-based approach has created a new batch of competent, confident speakers who can communicate effectively with others. However, as much as we have evolved in our language instruction, sometimes, we just have to get back to basics, especially with some important “boring grammar stuff, ” like POR vs. PARA and SER vs. ESTAR. Differentiating between using ser or estar (the verbs “to be”) in the proper context can be very challenging. Likewise, deciding between por/para (prepositions than can mean for, by, because of, per, in order to, etc.) can be nearly impossible without a formal introductory lesson. Unless you learn the proper grammar rules, you can end up making some serious unintentional errors that could significantly change what you are trying to say.
But how do you make a boring grammar lesson fun? With a little drama, of course! Next week, students in Level 3 Honors Spanish will begin creating video “shorts” that contrast the uses of ser/estar and por/para. So, how is this fun, you ask? Haven’t we done enough videos?
In groups, students will have to execute their series of (10), 10-second video shorts..in the style of an over-the-top, dramatic telenovela such as:
Complete with unnecessary close-ups and overreacting, students have to (over)act out these videos in Spanish, include English/Spanish text subtitles, and articulate their reason for using each respective word in context.
Knowing how creative my students are, I can’t wait to see how these videos turn out! Check back soon for some sample student work.
So, how does our ridiculousness help us in our classrooms you ask?