I am getting observed tomorrow, and elsewhere a post has gone up about starting a good story the day before your observation so that kids are ready for it.
I started the story based on the video that Nathan recommended.
I started this story in every class: There is a boy. The boy is in Germany. He hears a sound in the house. He opens the window and enters the house. He sees bread and tea. He hears a sound in the closet. He opens the closet. He sees a girl. The girl has a unicorn. She gives the boy the unicorn. The boy likes the unicorn. A soldier breaks the door and enters the house. He sees the tea and the bread. He hears a sound in the closet. He opens the closet. He sees the boy. He takes the unicorn. He breaks the unicorn. The boy cries.
Oops. Now that I’m done typing it, I realize I did it in past tense in every class. We didn’t get too far in Russian 1 or the intermediate class, but we finished it in the advanced class (with a few additions like the fact that this was in 1943, at the time of WWII.) In the intermediate class, we added the idea that he was a German “Pioneer.” I wasn’t ready with pictures of the Hitler Youth. We’ll get to that tomorrow, when I am being observed.
It doesn’t matter that the video is in German; the story is the thing. It also doesn’t matter that I have three levels, because it’s easy to ratchet it up or down, depending on the kids in the class.
Probably I’ll show the first minute (from the part with the window opening) to my Russian 1 students so that they get the picture in their head. We acted it out, but they didn’t really get that it’s a story.
The other thing I did today was follow someone else’s idea for a timer counting how long we are able to stay in Russian. In the intermediate class, we got to ten minutes once, and five minutes several other times, but I’ve really forgotten that rule myself lately, and I haven’t been making the kids stick to it enough. It’s critical to stay in the language.
By the way, the kids really liked the video. Thank you very much, Nathan!