Here is a nice field report from a newer member of the group, Mike Rooney:
I wanted to tell you about an awesome and validating moment I had last week in my Spanish 4 class. We have been working on our first full story together, based on Bryce’s suggestion for how to introduce the subjunctive through a story. The structure was “quiere que vaya,” or wants him/her to go, and the story was about two girls who each want a guy to go somewhere different. A simple but brilliant premise. The asking of the story was a ton of fun, and they got really into the textivate too. I did a retell based on some drawings that students had made, and told them it was completely optional, and that you could tell as much or as little of the story as you wanted. The makeup of the class happens to be about 2/3 native Spanish speakers, so even though the culture is very supportive, non-native speakers have been really hesitant to try to speak in any extended way, even the superstars. After the native speakers began the retell, one non-native speaker, Kayla, volunteered. She started, speaking slowly, but just kept going, and going. She threw in “quiere que vayan” even though I hadn’t explicitly talked about third person plural, and by the time she was done, students were erupting into applause, and I was beaming. One thing I love about this approach is that we not only give students the tools to contribute to the class, but when they do contribute it is because they want to. I definitely felt that when Kayla spoke, and that I think is why it felt like such a gift. Thanks again for all the thought and dedication you put into this group.
My response is that this sentence right here is music to my ears:
…we not only give students the tools to contribute to the class, but when they do contribute it is because they want to….