Cute Ideas – 1

We all invent cute little things that reflect our own teaching personalities, little ways to reach the kids in the middle of a story, for example, that make the story more pleasant, that only take a minute or two to do and so can’t be categorized as part of a curriculum in the way that, for example, one word images or the invisibles can. In the next few posts I would like to share some of the ideas that I have developed in my own classes over the years. Some of these are from TPRS in a Year! Here is the first one:
Idea #1: The Whacky Transportation Scene
Whenever an actor needs to go to another location in a story, the potential for a humorous mode of travel exists. The conveyance can be merely described in words, or it can actually be put into action, which the kids love, because they get to act as one of these vehicles.
Thus, if a motorized spoon is the chosen method of travel, two or three students can become the spoon and the actor just sits or stands on the spoon as it scoots across the room to its destination. Rafts are fun but a little dangerous, as they are in real life, and tend to disintegrate into piles of laughing kids.
S0 safety is an issue, and the instructor must not let things get out of hand. Generally a few minutes suffice for these scenes, but they sometimes can be expanded into entire mini-stories themselves. Just remember to remind the kids to synchronize their actions with your words (Skill #6 on the Classroom Rules chart).
Examples of such conveyances besides the common car, boat, etc. are: by motorized utensil (spoon, knife, fork, plate, glass, or cup), by cow, camel, toad, monster, heffalump, or other bizarre creatures, by magic carpet, auto-toilet, etc.
The students never fail to make this an amusing and sometimes hilarious part of class, and often come up with amazing conveyances of their own. Adding in increasingly bizarre details can bring excellent repetition of benchmark vocabulary words like knife, fork and spoon, if you still are required to teach from lists.
One means of transport I use at least once every year because it is just funny (in French only) is by toad (crapaud). Sometimes I even have the student go to Crapo, Maryland (real town!) by crapaud.
The list below suggests just some of the transportation options available for any story. Each class tends to enjoy making their own favorite ones, and sometimes even argue with other classes about who has better transportation devices. I remember one class where every story included transportation via narwhal – that was not negotiable in that class:
à pied – by foot; en voiture, en auto – by car; à cheval – by horse; en train – by train; en avion – by plane; en autobus – by bus; en autocar – by tour bus; en bateau – by boat; dans le métro – in the metro; en taxi – by taxi; en camion – by truck; à bicylette, à vélo – by bicycle; en missile de croisière – by cruise missile; en vaisseau spatiale – by space ship; à navette – by space shuttle; à canard – by duck; à vache – by cow; à chameau – by camel; à crapaud – by toad; à grenouille – by frog; à couteau – by knife; à fourchette – by fork; en cuillère – by spoon; en assiette – by plate; en verre – by glass; en tasse – by cup; en auto-cuillère – by auto-spoon; à cuvette mobile – by mobile toilet; en auto-crapaud – by auto-toad; à tapis magique – by magic carpet

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