Mi padre se llamo…

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that drives me most crazy is the phrase “Me llamo es.” I hear it occasionally from my 2s and even a couple of 3s still make this mistake. So when my 1s started demonstrating this pattern, I knew I had to nip it in the bud! Additionally, since we’re now learning family member words, my 1s were starting to apply gender to the phrase when talking about themselves or others. In their weekly blogs, I’ve been seeing things like “Mi madre se llama Ana. Mi padre se llamo Pedro.” On the one hand, I appreciate what this means about their proficiency – that they’re starting to generalize and (maybe even) internalize the rules. On the other hand, I don’t want this error to become too ingrained.

We’ve touched on introducing others, but we’ve never spent much time with it. We’ve talked briefly about when talking about what I do, it usually ends with o, and for others, it’s different. That’s about as in-depth as we’ve gone. So instead of doing a grammar lesson, I really just wanted to get them some repetitions saying it correctly and hopefully help some of them get the pattern in their brains.

So today we played a game that I (oh-so-creatively) called Family Match. I projected the rules in English while I explained them in Spanish. I wanted them to hear me speaking Spanish, but I also wanted them to understand the rules.

I printed out the cards and cut them apart. Each student got one card, and had to find the other person in the room with the same card. They were not allowed to speak English or show their card to anyone else. They could only practice saying, for example, “My dad is called Pedro. He is funny. He sweeps the floor.” My goal was that, by hearing and saying this over and over again, the correct patterns would start to get into their heads. Since we’re also starting into 3rd person singular verbs right now, it was a good review of that as well. (We also did a Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell inspired Buque de Guerra last week)
It went fairly well. Once they got past their desire not to stand up first thing Monday morning after a 3 day weekend, they quickly found their pairs. I think if I do this again in the future, I’ll make some changes:
1. Fewer relatives and more repetition. In each set, there are 4 of each father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, brother and sister. All the (for example) fathers have the same name. Students had to pay attention to the chore and description to make sure they really had their match. I think in the future, I’ll limit it to just 2 or 3 family members, and remove the description. That way I can create more combinations which are slightly more difficult to match. The idea is that, by doing that, it’ll force the kids to say and hear more repetitions as they go through more people to find their match.
2. Today, when the kids found their matches, they sat down. Afterwards, each group read the lines on their cards in order to prove to me that they found the right person. That wasn’t terribly exciting, but it was one more repetition of proper patterns. Maybe in the future, I’ll just have them come prove to me privately when they think they have it right.
3. Maybe give it a time limit? Just to add some excitement and suspense, ask them to see if they can find all the partners in, say, 2 minutes. Or start with a higher number, like 4 or 5 minutes, and then play more rounds, each one shorter than the one before. I’ve done that kind of activity in other classes before, and it’s been fairly popular.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Just wanted to say, I learned not to get too frustrated at this – sometimes I think it’s just a pure brain glitch, a moment where English transfer overrules what the brain knows it should be telling the kid to say. I had a student do this introducing himself on a video to a partner school in Honduras in the spring of Spanish 3. We all had a big laugh about it because he was one of those kids – he achieved IH proficiency in three years and ended up being the valedictorian and scoring a 4 on the AP (before it was graded so easy!). 🙂

    1. Melanie says:

      Well I’m glad it’s not just me! Good to know there is hope!

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