TPRS group

Our little group got together for coffee and talk yesterday. At this time of the year, everyone needs ideas for keeping things fresh. (I’m about to do Nathan’s “most wonderful” March madness idea, if I can find it…it was really fun last year.)

The first one came from Diana, who said she got it from Laurel. Here’s a link to the post with the documents. It’s another way to go with Jason’s “chain reaction.” Diana said that she and Martina have been trying to get ways to rehearse the basic questions: what’s your name, how old are you, where do you live, what’s your favorite class. (These are, of course, the basis for the conversation for our state competition.)

Diana made up a page with eight cards. Each one had an answer and a question, but they didn’t go together. The card with “What’s your name?” had an asterisk by it to show that was where to start. Every kid in a group had at least one card, so you could have three or four groups of eight playing with these. The kids have to listen for the question that asks for the information on their card and follow with the next question. Diana said it took her ten minutes to make and print the cards, and the kids played it, then switched cards and played it again for five rounds. Then Diana asked them to turn the cards over and write everything they knew about this person.

I’ve always wanted to do Jason’s chain reaction, but my class sizes vary, and I’ve not been able to get myself to do the whole-class class reaction. I like this one a lot! It uses reading and listening of familiar material.

The second idea came from Deb, thanks to Cara. Deb makes what she calls “domino cards.” She writes two current vocabulary words, one on each end of an index card. Kids draw the cards from a pile and try to put two ends together. They must “justify” their pairs by creating a sentence that logically uses both words. “Fire” and “store” was an example pair. The kid who got that pair said, “There was a fire at the school, so the boy went to the store.” Diana said that when she watched Deb’s class, the (middle school) kids were in groups on their bellies playing this game, some explaining grammar points to others (“You can’t put those together because the endings don’t make sense”). I like that idea for this time of the year. Kids are getting ready to use the language they’ve been hearing and reading all year, and we need ways to change up our brain breaks.

The third idea is from Victoria. I asked her what she’s been doing lately with songs, because she’s always got something new. Victoria said she took Betsy’s idea of making PowerPoints for songs (they teach Japanese, so these things are not already made for them!) and started telling stories with the song information, but she used as photos the pictures of our kids that are available through our grading program. What a notion! I always wait until I have pictures of the kids, and that takes really way too long. I didn’t realize I had an on-line source.

Oh…there’s another idea from Victoria. She uses Laurie’s idea of cloze exercise for songs (in words, not in pictures), but she numbers the letters and recombines them at the bottom of the page for another message for the kids. It’s a spin on those jumbles that re-combine words. Change it up!

I know there were other ideas floating around, but then I had to leave. Somewhere on Facebook there are some clips of our group playing, because people just couldn’t believe their eyes when the crumhorns came out!


9 responses to “TPRS group

  1. I FORGOT IT WAS YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!! I am so mad!!!!


    • Oh Martina! We missed you! Every time someone came in with a baby, I was thinking it was going to be you. We had two adorable babies at the table…yours would have been gravy!

      At least your ideas were there…


  2. Thanks Michele for sharing great ideas with us! Can you or Diana clarify a little more detail about the chain reaction? I’m confused about what is on the cards. The names of famous people or…? I’m sorry if I seem dense but I am trying to understand exactly how this works so that I can use it. I know my kids could use practice with these because since they know each other so well (for the most part) it’s hard to come up with something where they are actually looking for new information. In the past I’ve had them make up fake identities for a project we do. It’s a mock train trip where they have to meet other people and tell them where they’ve been, where they are going, etc. Everyone has to meet everyone else, find out how old they are, if they are married, have kids, live in Dijon or whatever. They enjoy it but it does take a bit of time to do.
    Thanks for the clarification and inspiration! ❤


  3. This particular version was not so much learning about others as a chance to practice the social niceties that we often don’t get to in a TPRS classroom. (Some of my first-years had to learn “My name is…” because we do “His name/her name is…” so much.) So the first question was “What is your name?” and the answer, on a different card was “My name is Carlos.” The question on that card is, “How old are you?” and the next card is “I am 15.” The person who had that answer gets to ask “Where do you live?” and so on. When I get a picture of this, I will post it because it’s way simpler than I’m getting at.

    You could do a set of cards that dealt with famous people, or even places…

    Ruth, I just realized you were sitting next to me in Jason’s workshop when he told us about the chain reaction game. He had it set up differently: each card said something like, “When someone screams, jump up and down three times.” The next card would be, “When someone jumps up and down three times, clap your hands and shout Hurrah!” and so on.

    I did the same thing a long time ago with a clothing unit. I’d have a picture on the top of the card and a word on the bottom. The kid would say the word on the bottom, and the student who heard someone say what he/she had a picture of would then read the word on the bottom of that card. It was totally vocabulary drill, even if we did something like, “Because I’m going to Mexico, I’m wearing a ___.”

    Anyway, I’ve explained not clearly enough the first time, and I fear I’m making it worse!

    Let me know if it’s now clearer than mud at least.


    • Thanks Michele. I appreciate the reminder about Jason’s chain reaction! I didn’t realize that this game worked the same way. I had imagined that kids were circulating around the room looking for the answer to their question and was stumped about how that looked. So many good ideas that I haven’t tried! Your explanation was helpful! Your time is always appreciated!


  4. Pingback: Sentence Dominoes | Lesson Plans for CI/TPRS Classrooms

  5. I had been looking at notes from Jason’s class for almost two years now and not been able to figure out this tweak. He offered it as a literacy idea…I can’t wait to try it! It amazes me how often other people can adapt an idea in a way I just never would have thought of.


  6. You guys are making me wish I lived in Alaska! …. if only the weather would be more accommodating…..☺
    That’s wonderful that you have planned meetings to share your ideas with other and with your readers. Thanks for sharing.


    • We wish you lived here, too! We have an immersion Spanish program…keep it in mind! Somewhere there is always a spot waiting for a Spanish teacher.

      We will finish our fourth year of meeting once monthly during the school year this April. We don’t meet in May unless someone demands it. Too much stuff happening. I love our group.


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