UPDATED 8/28: I just added a practice activity to do the next day (attached to the end of the post).
Part of me DOES NOT CARE about accents. Really, I feel like I’ve got many bigger, more important battles to fight than teaching the rules of accentuation… never mind doing it with traditional grammar terms. My principal goal for my heritage speakers is to develop their love of reading, period. During back to school night I recite Krashen and encourage parents to buy anything that their kids actually want to read. With compelling reading students will correct themselves much more efficiently than I could ever do with explicit instruction.
Having said that, I also need my students to buy into my class. Interestingly enough, my heritage language learners come to class in the first month anxious to “fix” their Spanish. They understand the case for reading, but nothing gets their attention like an old-fashioned lesson on the rules that govern the use of accents. Seriously! If you are a non-heritage speaker teaching a class for heritage speakers then you know how important it is to earn the respect of your students.
So here is a link to the class blog post that my heritage speakers follow on computer day, the day after I have taught them about palabras agudas, llanas (graves) and esdrújulas. We do lots of reading already in the first week, but when they get antsy I pull out this lesson on la sílaba tónica and it mesmorizes them. There are four activities that gently guide them to recognize the syllable with the golpe. Click here to go to these activities.
the next day: In class, as a quick transition activity after free reading we did these practice matching activities: Click here to download the powerpoint. The students used this student answer sheet (click here) to fill in their own answers, adding an element of accountability.
I’ll follow up with additional activities addressing accents as we continue throughout the year.