ME GUSTA unit – Where are my students?

If you haven’t checked it out yet, my first unit ME GUSTA is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. I have been amazed by the interest, and I hope that all of you who have started the year with ME GUSTA, your year has started smoothly.

I started my new Kindergarteners in this unit and used it as a review for my 1st graders. I wanted to check in to let you know where I am in the unit. (NOTE- We started school AUGUST 3rd.)

KINDERGARTEN

It is funny how every year I forget how slow Kindergarten goes because of the NEWNESS of everything. So where am I with Kindergarten?

  • I finished LA CAJA MAGICA – name game the first day. (AWESOME!)
  • We finished the Comprehension Draw on Class 2 & sent it home with the first parent letter.
  • I changed ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? from Class 3 to further in the unit because I wanted it closer to the actual story. We just did that last week, and will look at the resulting bar graph this week.
  • We are still working through their drawings of what they like and don’t like. I do about 2-4 drawings a class time based on their attention span.
  • We looked at “I’m lovin’ it” commercials in English and Spanish. (Ba da ba da daaa ¡Me encanta!)
  • We have done both Simple Spanish videos. (BIG HIT!)

What did I change?

  • Considering I have had Kindergarten for 11 classes based on my unit you would think I was done. Nope! Why? delays like class field trips, fire drills, taking my time and reading the engagement of the room, class earned Spanish fun day, and this week as I write, I am out of school due to hurricane Irma. Do I wish we were further? NOPE because I paced it to them. They are still engaged and are learning. I am spending the time in class on compelling Comprehensible Input so NO REGRETS!

What is next?

  • Speaking of delays, besides the two days off for hurricane Irma, I am in charge of assembly this Friday. (an hour at the end of school on Fridays that the whole school gets together and watches a special presentation, celebrates weekly birthdays and reflects on the week) My Kindergarteners are doing the interactive dance. (Note- They are not memorizing the song. We are doing the motions and will have the words on the screen for everyone to see. Plus it is a song they know in English.)
  • This week I plan to look over the Starburst bar chart, finish the last name card drawings and practice the song below for assembly.
  • Then next week (after assembly- Whew!) we will start the story which I have made some changes. (see below in 1st grade) which is Class 6 (HA HA- I gotta figure out a different format so I don’t give the impression that these classes are true to the time I spend doing these activities- IDEAS? ANYONE?)

1ST GRADE

This unit was a review for 1st grade. I did simular activities and stories with them at the beginning of the year but I wanted to do this specific story. They know ¡Qué asco!, Me gusta, Me encanta, tengo hambre, and other words. So where am I with 1st grade?

**My Kindergarteners have lunch RIGHT after Spanish so one of the first phrases they learn is “Tengo hambre.” I usually teach it the first time a Kindergartener says that he/she is hungry (about the first 5 minutes of the first Spanish class.). We all stop, grab our stomachs and say “Tengo hambre.”

  • We didn’t do La Caja Mágica activity because I was using it to learn names. I already know all their names so the purpose behind it was lost on me. HOWEVER looking back I could have done it with them because 1st graders would have loved the game too.
  • I wasn’t planning to do ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? with Starbursts but the kids saw the Starburst wrapper chart and wanted to do it again. So I did ¿Qué hay en la bolsa? with Starbursts with them and added it to the chart for Kindergarten.
  • We did the story and IT WAS AWESOME!! I changed it a little as we got into it.
  • After completing the story, they videoed it with partners. I will upload the videos as unlisted to Youtube and send parents a link.
  • NOW I am working with them to tell the story in assembly tomorrow.
  • Here is the story in 1st grade in slideshow format.

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So where am I headed now?

  • Kindergarten will finish ME GUSTA then onto my next unit to write up which includes the activities from the blog post I wrote on “Soy una pizza.”
  • 1st grade will move on to TIENE MIEDO which is about what scares us and describing and creating different monsters (non-scary of course). The plan is to write this unit up also but that will be down the road.

 

 

 

Name Game Gold: Kindergarten Edition

So every year I get a new batch of 5 year olds. The most pressing issue for me on Day One is learning names. This summer I created a game for the beginning of the year.

This game is the main activity for Class ONE of my unit Me gusta which is an introductory unit for the year targeting Pre-K through 2nd grade. 

Here is Class One Lesson Plans as it is written in my unit. Below that is my reflection on Class One for me.

UNIT 1- Me gusta PLANS Class ONEUNIT 1- Me gusta PLANS Class ONE (2)

My GOALS

* Use the phrase “se llama” – his/her name is (he/she calls himself/herself)

* Learn everyone’s name

* Use action words like – salta (jumps), baila (dances), camina (walks), mira (looks at) etc.

  • So I started by telling my students in Spanish / English “Tengo un secreto” (I had them lean in to hear. – a trick I learned at Tina and Ben’s workshop) I told them that I have a magic box, and the magic box knows their names. “It may look like a plain cardboard box but it is isn’t. Don’t be fooled” I told them.
  • Then I had my most wiggly student come up and pull his name “NO MIRES” (Don’t look!) otherwise the box will know, and it won’t work.
  • He walks up to the box, and chooses a card. It is a girl name. I announce to the class “Se llama Ella Kate.” The class erupts into giggles and disagreement. After making sure that this is not his name, I wonder out loud why it didn’t work “no funciona”. I ask who has that name. I give her the card and the class says “Hola, Ella Kate”
  • I had other students try, and it continued to fail. I started to get pretend frustrated and I pretended to cry. “¿Por qué no funciona?” “Why won’t it work?” (I translate things for them since they are absolute beginners.)
  • Then I took suggestions of how to make the box work. A students suggested shaking the box. So I had the whole class stand up and shake with me. “La clase sacude.” Then we tried again. It didn’t work. I took suggestions from other students and turned them into mini TPR sessions (shake high, shake low, shake fast, shake slow) We jumped, danced, turned in circles, and talked to the box sweetly.
  • Then a brilliant student suggested we LOOK in the box. I walk over to him. “¿Mira?” He looks in the box and finds his name. He raises it as if he has found gold. The class cheers. I am so happy because “La caja mágica funciona.”
  • I let every student with a name still in the box find their name by LOOKING (“mira”) in the box. Each one celebrating their name.
  • It is time to go back.

45 minutes. 1 plain cardboard box. 21 pieces of paper with their names on it.

What did that make? GOLD!!

“CI without stress” Elementary Adaptations

I attended Ben Slavic and Tina Hargaden “Ci without Stress” workshop a few weeks ago in Atlanta. I had seen many of you who have attended their workshop this summer, and I was excited to see it for myself.

For those of you who have not read their book A Natural Approach to Stories I highly recommend it.  Whether you are adding tools to your teaching toolbox or adopting the whole program, I think all CI teachers can benefit from their book. It is a refresher in why we teach the way we do, and great CI activities.

Tina and Ben teach/taught middle school and high school language learners. So their methods are naturally targeted at those audiences.

On the second day, I was with some of my Chattanooga CI group and some elementary teachers are the workshop for lunch. We discussed how we could use the same methods we had learned in our own elementary classroom.

***If you live near Chattanooga and would like to join our PLC then email me. We would LOVE to have you!

Here are some of the things we discussed we would want to adapt for our elementary students.

Ben & Tina’s Classroom Rules

In the book and in the workshop Ben and Tina used 6 rules. I plan on using these rules in my room this year. They communicate exactly what I want students to understand about my expectations.  But as a group we felt that they needed a little “elementary make-over” to word the rules in a way our little language learners could understand. Here is what we came up with:

 

 

 

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Again you can get more information about this rules and the meaning behind them in Tina and Ben’s new book A Natural Approach to Stories.

Here is the PDF of the images above.

Questions to build imaginary characters

If you have seen Tina Hargaden’s posts and videos on her YouTube channel. Then you are familiar with the invisibles.

The invisibles start with a number of questions that choose between two opposite characteristic traits. Here is the traits they highlight below.

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Tina and Ben chose these traits because they build characters with depth and purpose which make for compelling stories.

As a group of elementary teachers including the WONDERFULLY talented retired elementary teacher Jennifer Raulston, we discussed that these character traits are PERFECT for the middle and high school student, but elementary students might need some adaptations.

Our thought in changing some of the traits where in response to the emotional and mental development of our students. So we took the purpose of the traits along with some of the other things we learned from Tina and Ben and came up with a slightly different list. You will notice that the descriptions ABOVE the line DO NOT change, but the character traits BELOW the line are different.

BIG or SMALL

What color?

HAPPY or SAD

__________________

Biggest Fear?

Favorite thing (to eat, to do, or object)

Secret

Likes/Dislikes

Student Jobs

Student jobs are an AWESOME way to give students responsibility in the classroom, reduce teacher workload, and give students ownership to a character and/or story. Ben and Tina have a list of important jobs for students during a story with detailed descriptions on what the student does and how to set up your room to use these jobs to their full potential. (read their book for more info)

When a student is doing their job then they are required to do at least 2 things at the same time: process the comprehensible input of the story or character AND complete their job responsibilities.

When we discussed student jobs as elementary teachers we felt that student jobs were difficult to pull off in the elementary setting especially the younger the student. We fear that students don’t have the mental ability to multitask in this way.

So what do you do? …

THE ARTIST- One idea that Elijah Barrera suggested was while creating an invisible character the teacher is the artist instead of a student.

  • You could turn the easel away from the students and as you are drawing you repeat the descriptions (maybe even getting it wrong sometimes so students can “correct” you.)
  • You could put on a beret and/or take on a different personality as “THE ARTIST”

This saves the REVEAL as a compelling activity. Students are invested and still excited.

VIDEOGRAPHER- I wonder if you could turn this into a PHOTOGRAPHER. Then as you retell the story. You pause and call on the photographer to take a picture. (Doesn’t every kid know how to use a camera on a phone or iPad?) This would solve three problems:

  • ONE – They don’t have to decide how to film a story.
  • TWO- You are pausing a story to let them do their job so they can pay attention because their job essentially stops when you are telling the story.
  • THREE- You still have visuals to use when retelling and reviewing the story

JOBS THAT MIGHT STILL WORK:

Professor #2 (Annabelle Allen had some interesting insights to what she does in her room with this job. She doesn’t use a Profesor #2 or second teacher as she calls it. See her post HERE.

Actors

Story Driver

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So what are your thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

Do you plan to adapt Tina and Ben’s ideas for your classroom? In what way and why?

 

How I plan a K-2 lesson… Building Blocks- After the story

So, how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?

Here is my first post about Building Blocks of my lessons- TPR.

Here is my second post about Building Blocks of my lessons- PQA.

Here is my third post about Building Blocks of my lessons- STORIES

BUILDING BLOCKS 

Things that I continually use throughout a lesson.

So the story is over…now what?

Well, if it was a good storytelling day, then make the most of it.

If it wasn’t (and we have all been there), then we can still salvage it. Call it STORY REHAB.

There are lots of activities to choose, but here are some of my favorites. You can choose just one, 2 of them or all. It just depends on your goals.

Number 1 —  DRAW THE STORY

As you retell the story, students draw the story on their paper. I use a simple 4 box storyboard.

4 box storyboard

I like to draw with them so that as I draw I can describe what I am drawing. And, many kids don’t know how to draw certain things like speech bubbles, expressions, and adding details. The very creative kids draw their ideas, and kids who need some extra support can look at my drawings to guide them.

What is great about this activity is all the extra repetitions the students hear, and it is a less stressful time for students to ask questions.

After you have the drawings, you can retell the story as students point to their drawings. You can then do it out of order to check listening comprehension. You could have some of the students try and tell about one frame in Spanish or all of them. I always make this optional and worth classroom points. (For more information on classroom points, see my observation notes of Annabelle Allen La Maestra Local)

Number 2 —  Character Study

Which character?

If your story had 3 or more characters, then you either have students draw the characters separately or create a document quickly with google images or images free of copyrights on pixabay.com. Students then cut them out, or you can cut them out ahead of time.

Screenshot 2017-06-06 18.58.09Download PDF of the image above – Character Study Butterfly

Once students have all the images, you describe the character. For example, tell something they might say or something they do in the story to the class. Students listen and raise the picture or pictures of the characters matching your description.

Variations:

  • Put pictures of the characters around your room and students walk to the picture of the character you are describing.
  • Take the activity outside! Students draw the characters on the sidewalk with chalk, and then as you describe the character, they can jump on top of their drawings.
  • Now take those same images and students act out the story as you retell it. Or, as you retell the story, they hold up the character you are talking about at that time and switch throughout the story.

Number 3 —  Parallel Story 

I like to make a PowerPoint of a story that I can use year after year that is similar to the story I know I will tell or we will create as a class. Sometimes I have the story written out on the slides, or sometimes it is just the images. You can also check Storyteller’s Corner on TeachersPayTeachers for GREAT stories. I love to tell her stories in class and print them for my classroom library.

Below is a sample of one of the PowerPoints I have made.

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Number 4 —  Act out the story again

Something great about little kids is they will love to act the the story. You can have another set of actors to act out the story, OR you can put the kids in groups and have the groups act out the story at the same time as you retell it. (All the World’s a Stage)

Number 5 —  Musical Story Review

I love to turn on the music. It can change things enough to make it novel. So, turn on your favorite Spanish song. Students walk around the room. Then, when you stop the music, they listen for a sentence from the story that they then act out. For example, (stop music) “The butterfly flies to México” or “The snake says -I like the desert-” Of course you do this in the target language.

Number 6 —  Drawing

I love this one when I have an unexpected 5 minutes left after telling a story.

Pass out half sheets, and have students draw:

OPTIONS

  • their favorite scene from the story. You can have requirements like there have to be 2 characters and/or the setting around the characters.
  • what happens next in the story OR maybe draw a spin-off scene (like in the story of “The King doesn’t have a mouth” the students draw HOW the king lost his mouth).
  • a story ending. Cut the story off before you end it. Your students draw the ending. For example “The boy opens his present, and it is ______ .”

 

Stories in K-2 classroom (Building Blocks for how I plan a K-2 lesson)

So, how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?

Here is my first post about Building Blocks of my lessons- TPR.

Here is my second post about Building Blocks of my lessons- PQA.

BUILDING BLOCKS

Methods that I continually use throughout a lesson.

Story-asking

Story-asking is a very big part of Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS). If you have had training in TPRS at conferences like NTPRS or iFLT, then you know the method.

Here are some blogs that explain it better than I can. Some of these links include DEMO videos.

Martina Bex: Story-asking

Julie Baird: Story-Asking

TPR stories: Story-asking

(AWESOME resource for LOTS of information)

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EVERY TEACHER HAS HIS/HER OWN STYLE.

Here are the differences:

TIME/ATTENTION- Most story-asking in my upper elementary and middle classes last for 20-30 minutes. I do not attempt this with my younger students. I started to take stories and divide them into mini-stories that can be combined into 1 BIG story. I gave an example in my post El Rey no tiene una boca of how I divided that story. These mini-stories take between 5-10 minutes. The rest of the class, I do CI activities like songs, games, PQA, TPR etc.

FEWER OPTIONS- When I do story-asking with my older students, I ask for lots of details. I, also, ask more open ended questions or questions that need a longer answer. Why does the character do this? What does the character say? Where does the character go?

With my younger students, I don’t ask as many questions. I ask for a name sometimes. Many times, especially in Kindergarten, I ask an EITHER/OR question. Did the character go to Pizza Hut or Dominos? I stay away from open-ended questions and long answers because most students don’t have the language yet to express that kind of answer. I also keep to a tighter script with fewer details. Lots of times “story-asking” can be more “story-telling” like you will see in the example below. I start a story by telling students the set-up.  Then, they get to choose the details in the next parts of the story.

PROPS/VISUALS- I try to do this with all my classes but I am very deliberate about providing visuals for my younger students. There are student actors or puppets for everything. If I have a mask or wig to help then I use those, too. If the character is moving to a new location, then that student actor or puppet must move. Reoccurring structures (quiere, tiene, va a, le da etc.) all have a gesture that I do and have the class do with me when telling the story. I have a set of location posters that a student will hold up during the story. I also will take pictures or have a student worker take pictures as we tell the story for students to see when retelling the story another day.

CLASS PARTICIPATION – I like to have all my students participate during a story. I like to have my students mimic the characters. One character begs for the other character’s pizza. First, I have the actor do it. Then, I have another student beg in the same way. Then, the whole class begs. Anytime I use a frequently used structure the whole class does the gesture and says it with me.

  • My older students have jobs while telling a story (drawing the story, summarizing the story, taking pictures,  etc.). When you have time, check out Bryce Hedstrom and Ben Slavic posts about classroom jobs.

VOTING – This goes along with class participation because it includes the whole class in a story. At the end of a story, I give students two options for the ending. I will put a motion to the ending. Then one by one each student votes for the ending using Spanish (points for using Spanish) OR they can just do the motion. I will repeat back their answer for the class. It is very similar to what I described in the LE DA game I learned from Leslie Davison.

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EXAMPLE

This is going to be very detailed, so consider yourself warned!
I am sharing my style with you. It is not the only way it can be done.

 

STORY SCRIPT (Part 1 of “El Rey no tiene una boca.”)

Hay un rey. El rey tiene un problema. No tiene una boca. ¡Qué lástima! No puede comer. No puede hablar. No puede cantar.

There is a king. The king has a problem. He doesn’t have a mouth. What a shame! He can’t eat. He can’t talk. He can’t sing.

TELLING THE STORY IN CLASS (what actually happens)

“Clase, hay un rey.” I write “el rey” on the board and translate because it is a brand new word. I choose a male student, and I have a crown for him to wear. Then, I gesture and say “Siéntase,  rey” for him to sit on the teacher stool as a place of honor. “La clase dice -Hola, rey.-” The class responds. “Oh clase, más formal” Es un rey. La clase dice –Hola  rey-” We bow formally to the king and say -Hola- in our most snobbiest accents.

“Clase, El rey tiene un problema.” The class responds with the automatic response we established earlier in the year. “DUM DUM DUUUMMM,” I whisper dramatically and slowly for effect. “Clase, el rey tiene un secreto.” I make sure everyone is engaged. I might call on individual students to ensure everyone is listening. “Eric, el rey tiene un secreto.” Then,  I list all the things that the king has. “El rey tiene ojos. Los ojos son cafés.” “El rey tiene una nariz.” “El rey tiene pelo. Tiene pelo rubio.”

(Dramatically) “El rey … no tiene … una boca.” I pause. I act shocked and repeat it a couple times either to the whole class or addressing individual students to fish for dramatic reactions

“Clase, ¡Qué lástima!” This is usually already posted as a rejoinder, but if not, I write it on the board to introduce or remind students what it means. “La clase dice -¡Qué lástima!” The class responds.

If I haven’t posted “puede” and “no puede” before, then I write them on the board now and translate. These are not new words to my students because I have introduced them at the beginning of this unit. I have a stack of signs/flashcards of infinitives that students recognize. (They know “come” means “he/she eats” so I have a sign with “comer” and someone eating.)

“Clase, ¿El rey puede comer?” (holding sign of COMER) The class responds “NO.” One student might say “¡Qué lastima!” If they don’t then, I prompt them by saying it myself. “Clase, el rey no puede comer.” I act shocked and repeat dramatically with examples. “Caroline, el rey no puede comer… chocolate.” SHOCKED “Toby, el rey no puede comer…pizza.” SHOCKED “Clase, el rey no puede comer… ¡EL HELADO!” SHOCKED. “Clase,¿el rey está contento o está triste?” The class responds and I have my actor be sad.  I also compare students who can eat chocolate or pizza to the king. I have those students act out what they can do.

I then go through a sign or two of actions he can do.  “Clase, ¿El rey puede escribir?”(holding sign of ESCRIBIR)  The class responds. “Sí clase, el rey puede escribir porque tiene… “The class responds “manos, brazos, dedos etc.”  I have the actor playing the king act out by pretending to write or really writing something on the board. I might have other students write. The whole time I am narrating. “El rey puede escribir. Caroline puede escribir. etc.”

“Clase, ¿El rey puede bailar?”(holding sign of BAILAR)  The class responds. “Sí clase, el rey puede bailar porque tiene… “The class responds with different answers “piernas, brazos, manos, etc.” I will have my actor dance then, I will have other students dance and then the whole class. “La clase puede bailar. Toby puede bailar. Yo puedo bailar.”

“Clase, ¿El rey puede hablar?” (holding sign of HABLAR) The class responds “NO.” One student might say “¡Qué lástima!” If they don’t, then I will prompt them by saying it myself. “Clase, el rey no puede hablar.” I act shocked and repeat dramatically with examples. “Caroline, el rey dice -Hola- “No, porque no puede hablar.” “Patrick, ¿El rey dice -Tengo hambre.-” “No, porque no tiene una boca… No puede hablar.” I try to keep asking and giving examples until the class is finishing my sentence. “El rey … NO PUEDE HABLAR.”  Each time it makes sense, I will throw in a “¡Qué lástima!”  Hopefully, students are starting to do that for me. I will continue to compare students who can eat chocolate or pizza to the king. I will have those students act out what they can do.

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Then, I am done for the day. I don’t go any further than this. Sometimes I will even break this story up with a brain break or other activity if it is going on for too long. I don’t always extend each part if I feel like I need to keep it moving. If the class is responding well, then I will extend it.

When the story is done, I usually do an up and moving activity because, for the most part, students have been sitting through this activity.

The next class time I will review part one and continue the story into part two.

How I plan a K-2 lesson… Building Blocks- PQA

So how do I plan a lesson for my Kindergarten – 2nd grade class?

Here is my first post about Building Blocks of my lessons- TPR.

BUILDING BLOCKS 

Methods that I continually use throughout a lesson.

Personalized Questions and Answers (PQA)

PQA is a great way to get in repetitions of your vocabulary especially in 1st and 2nd person. It’s BIGGEST benefit for me is the class environment it creates. You get to know your students. Students get to know you. They see that you care about them, and it makes the content more personal and compelling.

There are LOTS of ways to do PQA. Some teachers are so good at it that they get all their content from these conversations. I am not really that teacher. I am confessing that PQA is not my strength. So this is how I personalize in my K-2 lessons in a way that works for me. All these ideas are from other teachers, but I don’t really remember who. (If you know, then message me and I will give them credit.)

Here is how I do PQA in my classroom with K-2.

  1. DRAWING- I have students draw their answers on a half sheet of paper then I collect them. As we go through the unit, I discuss 2-3 papers at a time each lesson.As we get closer to the end I stop telling them who the paper belongs to and they have to guess who I am describing. **TIP- if your students’ drawings are too hard to interpret you can make it a game to guess or as they draw, walk around and write at the bottom of their drawing what it is they are drawing.
    • For example, in the “El Rey no tiene un boca” I have a half sheet that has “PUEDO” (I can) on one side and “NO PUEDO” on the other side. Students draw something they can do and something they can’t do.

img_20170210_124831.jpg

  1. 4 CORNERS- I place signs for designated places in my room for 2-4 different possible answers to a question. I have a series of questions that students answer by going to that part of the room that matches their answer. OR I ask each student individually (dramatically of course). Then the student goes to that part of the room or adds their name to a chart. To keep it novel you can have the class start to guess what each student will choose. I usually do this when I have already asked half the class. I like to stop and count the number of people in each group or ask students more questions if their response is unexpected.
    • For example, Series of questions- What do you like on your pizza? Students go to the “Yo quiero” (I want) or the “No quiero” for each ingredient.
    • One question- What is your favorite sport? Football, Soccer, Baseball or Basketball
  2. POP-UP PQA– (A lot like “pop-up grammar”) It is short and quick. Maybe I’m in the middle of an activity like a story or MovieTalk. I’ll ask a question that relates to what we are discussing.  I stay with the question until the class checks out. That may be 4-5 questions with one student or it may be 1-2 questions with multiple students. Then I move on. I might check in with students as we continue to compare their answers to what is going on in the activity.
    • Let’s say a character in a story goes to the beach. I stop and ask if a student likes the beach. Did you go to the beach this summer? Where? Did you go with your family? Did you swim in the ocean? Do you like the mountains or the beach? Later on I might say something like “The character goes to Daytona Beach, not Panama City Beach like Caitlin did this summer” or maybe the PQA can make an appearance. “The character goes to Daytona Beach and sees Justin because that is Justin’s favorite beach.”

 

**NOTE- I do not have all the answers but I can tell you what I know so far, and I also want to share some of the people that helped me on this road.

GREAT RESOURCES for PQA (If you have other good resources then let me know and I will add them to the list)

Ben Slavic– one example of PQA “Circling with Balls”

Bryce Hedstrom– PQA activity  “La Persona Especial”