Bryce sent this today:
This is a story I told to a mixed class I teach on Tuesday evenings. The class consists of Spanish learners ranging in age from 15 to 70 and Spanish teachers that want to see and experience TPRS in a real classroom setting over an extended period of time. It is a great experience for all, especially me–I am learning a lot in this mixed format class due the challenge of teaching such a differentiated group and the pressure to show good TPRS technique clearly for the teachers.
The story is based on an old joke that I like. It took a good 45 minutes to set it up and tell the story. During that time I had students practice telling parts of it to one another. When the whole joke/story had been told, students told it to one another for another 5 minutes or so. Then we worked on changing it to the first person (now YOU are the man) for another 10 minutes. I had them re-tell the original story to me as I wrote the original verbs on the board; we then changed the verbs or other parts of speech to the first person.
The changes to point of view from 3rd person to first person for this story were minor, and everyone, including the newbie Spanish students, got it. All together it took about an hour to get it told to my satisfaction, although we could have gone on and on with it.
During the entire time I kept a close eye on three barometer students to make sure they were getting it. I asked them frequently what phrases meant, and I listened in while they were retelling certain parts of the story as we went through the lesson.
I only wrote the bold print words on the board—those were the most important ones for the story/joke, and the students seemed to be getting the other ones.
doler to hurt—this is a verb that is used like gustar
le dolía it hurt him/her/it/you
le duele it hurts him/her/it/you
me duele it hurts me te duele it hurts you
parecía que it seemed like parece que it seems like
el dedo finger brazo arm
el hombro shoulder el ombligo belly button
la pierna leg el pie foot
The most important words were le duele, me duele, dedo and roto, and I spent the most time repeating those in various fun ways.
We gestured the words le dolía, le duele, parecía que, and roto for a very short time; only about two minutes, if that.
We set up a repetition chant for the expression …roto that was fun. After I modeled a few times, they got the hang of it and started saying the whole line when I just pointed to a body part and made a bit of a grimace. The first one or two went like this:
Una nariz rota… ¡me duele!
I put my hand to my ear to encourage them to say it.
Una cabeza rota…¡me duele!
By this time they were getting it and some were repeating the “me duele” part.
Un hombro roto… ¡me duele!
Now almost everyone was saying ¡me duele! Before I could get to it.
¿Un brazo roto? ¡Un brazo roto me duele!
¿Un dedo roto? ¡Un dedo roto me duele!
(This dedo roto expression is used in the punch line and I wanted to be sure everyone really knew it so that they could instantly react to the humor at the end of the story, and we could all get a good laugh. I emphasized it by acting, making faces, repetition and chatting about how terrible a dedo roto is.
(Just for fun) Un ombligo roto…
And on, and on with various other body parts
Other key elements that in retrospect helped to make it work were:
* During this process, a couple of students indicated by their overdone gestures that they could feel the pain of that broken body part, so I would stop and ask them about it and get a few more repetitions just chatting with a student and then “reporting” back to the class.
Clase, ¡Kathy tenía un brazo roto hace dos años!
* The students already recognized and could say many of the key words in the story like:
fue, tenía, no sabía por qué, habló and le dijo, which are major vocabulary so the joke was a good fit for this class at this time.
* I told the story sloooooowwwwly, particularly the first part. Telling and chatting about the first short paragraph took a good 10 minutes.
* No one anticipated the ending! It is amazing to me that nobody saw the punch line coming. The whole class was focused on the story and I think they sensed it was coming to an end, but there were no knowing nods or side comments that indicated they got the joke beforehand.
Here is the joke/story:
Short version: A guy that goes to the doctor because every time he touches a part of his body it hurts him and he doesn’t know why. The doctor says he has a broken finger.
Un día un hombre fue al doctor. Fue al doctor porque tenía un problema. Parecía que le dolía todo el cuerpo y él no sabía por qué. El hombre habló con el doctor y le dijo:
—Doctor, tengo un problema. Es un problema muy grande. Parece que todo el cuerpo me duele.
—¿Dónde te duele? —le preguntó el doctor.
—¡Todo el cuerpo me duele! —el hombre le dijo.
—¿Cuándo te duele? —le preguntó el doctor.
—Pues, no me duele todo el tiempo, pero a veces me duele mucho —le respondió el hombre.
—Dime específicamente cuándo te duele —le pidió el doctor.
—Bien, cuando me toco la cabeza, me duele. Cuando me toco el brazo, me duele. Cuando me toco la pierna, me duele. Cuando me toco el pie, me duele. ¿Qué pasa? ¿Qué es el problema? ¿Por qué todo el cuerpo me duele? ¡Ayúdame, doctor! ¡Ayuda, ayúdame, doctor!
El doctor le escuchó y lo examinó. Por fin, le dijo:
—Yo sé qué es tu problema, señor. Sé por qué te duele cuando te tocas diferentes partes del cuerpo.
—¿De veras? ¡Fantástico! ¡Entonces dime por qué me duele tanto, necesito saber! —gritó el hombre.
Así que el doctor le dijo:
—Tienes un dedo roto.