iFLT 2018 “Adult Spanish Language Lab” with Leslie Davison

Leslie Davison – Check out her website!!

Teacher Apprentices (TA) – This language lab had 4 advanced CI teachers who were spending the week with Leslie. They were teaching, assisting and planning with Leslie as she teaches adults learning beginning Spanish.

Class – Adults (school administrators, student parents etc.) with little to NO Spanish. This is the second day. They did “Circling with Balls” the previous day to get to know each other and assess where everyone was functioning.

CLASS starts


TA goes over a picture that is from their PQA the previous day, SLOWLY and  POINTING to Question Words and the vocabulary on the walls. TA is reviewing the information from the previous day by asking about the personal information. TAs notice that a student is missing. TA connects the student’s absence to her personal information from the previous day. (She is still at the beach. She is riding in on a helicopter.)

STORY (review) – simple stick figures


TA goes through the story SLOWLY using the drawings and with lots of comprehension checks reviewing the story.

ASSESSMENT (Quizlet) –

TA asks for the students to get out telephones to play a game on Quizlet. Quiz questions are facts from the story.

Leslie gave prizes (cultural products) to someone with a question.


New TA reviews the PQA information from the students yesterday and then picks a new student to interview. TA picks information from the drawings the students drew on their name-tags. Then he asks follow-up questions (yes/no, either/or)

“Ryan” (student pretend name) corre muy lentamente. Corre maratones. Es el “FLASH” (superhero) Tiene una identidad secreta. (Compares the FLASH to other superheroes) Then TA pulls up “Ryan” to mimic dialogue as the TA taps on his shoulder to have him move his mouth. “Yo corro rápidamente” TA compares information about other participants to new information. Continues to builds on the information about “Ryan” being a runner.

TA asks “Does anyone else run?” TA continues to try and make connections with other students in the class. “Julie” likes romantic novels. “Hannah” likes to read. Hannah, do you like to read romantic novels? ¿A quién más le gusta leer? ¿Cuál es tu libro favorito?

** One student is assigned to certain question words to shout out the meaning of the question words.

** “Changing the ending to an “O” makes it “I do something”

** Writes cognates on the board to help students make the connection to the COGNATE through hearing and READING.

** There is a space where they had discussed their favorite movies, books, and music the previous day. They had the students write on it in ENGLISH on the paper and then the TA discussed it.


BRAIN BREAK – Choco-la-te slap game

Uno, Dos,Vámonos…

READING – typed out version of the story from yesterday’s class.

TA reads in SPANISH. Highlighting the important or incomprehensible words by translating them into ENGLISH. She leads the class in translating sentences into ENGLISH. “Everyone read it back to me in English” TA has a tennis ball. TA reads in SPANISH sentences then throws the tennis ball to “George”. George rereads the same sentence in ENGLISH. Then George reads a new sentence in SPANISH and throws it back to TA who rereads it in ENGLISH. After the demonstration, the class gets in pairs and does this back and forth reading activity. OK, if they don’t get done when the TA calls time.

TA did not have them translate the WHOLE story as a class. They did the back and forth reading activity, then the TA read another part of the story SLOWLY with VOICE INFLECTION encouraging students to ask questions.

Students got in pairs again to translate more of the story. And the TA then reads the rest of the story stopping to answer questions and point out any incomprehensible parts she suspects might be difficult.

“mano a mano” – hand in hand

Group Activity

No time to finish, but to put them in groups after the break, Leslie uses directional words to divide the class. She pre-taught the vocabulary in a chant.

** If we need to repeat it, that is OK. We need to give students processing time.

I had to go to another session but they moved on to creating the story “El rey no tiene una boca” which I learned from Leslie!! I LOVE IT!!!  I have a blog post about it HERE.

DEBRIEF (later that morning)

How did you plan? 

We plan together. Playing off strengths and interests.

Would this work in a student teacher/coach environment?

It would be powerful, and it would be an experience for them to take risks. Even if they are not CI trained.

How is teaching adults?

Adults are easier. It is less stressful because of the classroom management. There is a motivation. Technology can be novel to them. You can be silly or serious with them. It energizes me. I have had some of my PL group come and help me with my adult class.

Translation? When to use it?

The group was at different proficiency levels of adults. If they are OK with their limited understanding then move on WITHOUT more explanation because then you can

It makes sure everyone is on the same page. Sometimes you can over translate. But you have to help them out too. You have to be watching for comprehensibility. If you over translate then they might not be motivated to listen because you are going to translate.

Using English to build community?

Especially in beginner classes, you have to weigh the cost but many times that moment they wow you can have a “changing attitude moment” in ENGLISH. It is not planned but to build a community there will be times you need to CONNECT to a kid. It builds loyalty.

Planning the story, how did you pick those structures?

I have used this story multiple times. I know it works. Tomorrow we may do more simple stories but we are going to focus on recycling these structures.

There is a lot of stuff on the walls.

The stuff on the walls is not that overwhelming to them. We are not asking them to produce it all. 


Possible Student Jobs to mimic the TAs in this language lab 

(or I have a student teacher who could do these things)

Picture Taker – Student takes pictures to help teacher review the next day with a visual to help students, but NOT just pictures of a story. Have a student take a picture of any student interest information with the student posing to communicate the new information.

Board Writer – A strong fast processer can help write new important or “out of bounds” vocabulary

Artist – I have used these students in the past but it could be a person drawing VERY simple stick drawings as you tell a story. It doesn’t have to be a more complex or defined picture.

Quiz maker – Someone writes statements or TYPES them into Quizlet as you teach to then do the QUIZ after the story or the next day to review.

Room/Noise Monitor – Student notices when things get too loud and the teacher needs our attention and starts a chant (example: UNO, DOS, TRES clap)

Question Word translator – When the teacher uses a question word (who, what, where etc.) the student shouts out the translation or a memory reminder to help class remember the meaning

Brain Break – Student signals a brain break. Leads/chooses the Brain Break

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