Second story and preloading vocabulary

Well, as great as my intentions were this week, I failed. And I’ll have to do better in the future.

I think that the first problem was that I picked structures that I couldn’t convey well. We’re starting a unit on relationships in my French III class, so I wanted to talk about people who get along and people who are best friends. Best friends was an okay structure (and I thought they learned it with their previous teacher, my mistake) and about half of the students understood it. But how do you convey to get along? I tried to talk around it, modeling circumlocution, smiling, doing a handshake, but it was to no avail. I clearly need to do a better job with making input comprehensible.

The other problem? I love my French III students with all of my heart and soul. They have great intentions and great hearts, but they need to know every word. When I read Amy Lenord’s newest two posts on perfection, I imagine that she’s been teaching my students Spanish when I’m not around. Here are the two wonderful posts she wrote about perfection in the classroom: One and two 

Even today, I incorporated tweets from French people about their best friends and relationships (now that we’ve talked about the vocab I couldn’t pinpoint during my story) and there was just tons of confusion. “What does that word mean?” “What does that say?” and lots of translating for everyone else.

So count that twice that I failed to pre-load vocabulary and scaffold for my students. Well, good thing that next week is a weeklong break for me to rest, relax, and up my game on pre-loading vocabulary.

What about you? What are your favorite strategies for pre-loading vocabulary? Do you do it with synonyms? Pictures? Gestures? How do you scaffold for student comprehension? I would love feedback!

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