On Monday I started the class writing just the words una mascota: a pet on the board and then asking, ¿Quién tiene una mascota? Taking mental note of the kids who did not raise their hands, I then proceeded to ask each of them, ¿Quieres una mascota? until I came across a student who wanted but did not have a pet. A major tragedy which easily occupied us for the next forty minutes as we imagined what kind of pet the student wanted, why they couldn´t have it, who else in the class had a similar pet, and a fantasy story in which the student managed to get the pet of their dreams.
Even better, it seemed like my classes were right on my level knowing exactly what I was looking for:
student 1: Ella quiere a hippo
profe: ¿un hipopótamo? ¿Wendy quiere un hipopótamo? (write hipopótamo on the board)
student 2: un hipopótamo morado
profe: Wendy, ¿quieres un hipopótamo morado? (pointing to the purple color paper)
profe: Pero, ¿dónde hay hipopótamos morados?
student 3: ¡Yo!
profe: ¿Tienes un hipopótamo morado?
student 3: ¡Sí!
In each class they were fascinated by this basic hook: the imaginary pet. I even decided to teach this lesson with my level 3 class, substituting the structures quería conseguir and necesitaba escoger for the basic level 1 structures (but otherwise allowing students to take control of the narrative).
I followed up the next day with this story that I wrote (click here to download) , which students read in pairs and then illustrated on their own. A few students told me that they enjoyed the story, which I think is code for they actually understood it. Now I am going to write a follow-up story for the level 3 class…