Using Authentic Resources

I’ve been fighting to not argue for or against Authentic Resources as a steady diet. Today I inadvertently came up with a way to use a recording.

I’m not sure why I decided to have all my classes read the Russian analogue to “Stone Soup.” (It’s “Porridge from an Ax,” should you want to know.) I think one of my kids might have pushed me that way in some discussion. We’ve been acting it out in classes lately for about five minutes a shot.

I took the original story and did a backwards-embedding process with it. The first version changed all the way to using soup instead of porridge. Then I added pictures to a powerpoint presentation of the text, which were easy to find because it is, after all, a Russian story.

For some reason, kids really like the characters in the story: a rude soldier and a grandmother who lies about her pantry. The pictures show the typical Russian stove, and the story lets me remind people about cultural aspects of Russian meals.

Tonight, I used the picture version with my adult class. (I often practice on my adults to figure out the kinks in a lesson before I use it with students.) They read the entire first version of the story while we MovieTalked the pictures, and then I shared a YouTube audio version (with picture slides) of the story. The audio took only two and a half minutes, and while it was really dense and way above their heads, they all recognized the vocabulary that we’d used in our version of the story. Their faces lit up every time they heard something they understood!

I think this is a great way for my students to get to hear authentic Russian. I’m not expecting them to acquire the language by listening to something they can’t really understand; I’m hoping that they can pick out the several words that they might catch. And it’s not taking up the entire class period, but giving them “real Russian” for a controlled time period.

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