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How to use High Frequency Verb Units in Spanish class & French class - Super 7 & Sweet 16

Inside: How to use high frequency verb units (Super 7 & Sweet 16) in a comprehensible input based Spanish class. 

High Frequency Verb Units in Spanish class - Super 7 & Sweet 16



Last summer I posted about a Super 7 unit to start Spanish class. Then I shared my 1st week reflections with how I would tweak it. I used the present tense Super 7 unit this year to start Spanish 1, as well as all four sections of my exploratory Spanish, one each quarter. This means I just finished my fifth time this year doing special person interview based around es, tiene, le gusta, hay, está, va a & quiere (from Terry Waltz). Honestly, it never gets old because every interview I learn more about my students and we become more of a positive classroom family. 

After doing it so many times, here is the formula that I have found has worked best for my novice, non heritage speaking students and I. (To learn more about persona especial interviews, check out the blog of the creator Bryce Hedstrom)

Introduce focus vocabulary of the day, which is written on my side board to reference. 

I ask the special person personalized question using that target structure in a slideshow (idea from Kara Jacobs). I use my clicker, which prompts their first person answer. The the class chorally states the information back. We circle the information until we feel comfortable to move on. 

Students sit in a semi circle without anything on their laps. They do not take notes during and their job is to listen to understand and interact. I jot down notes on the whiteboard as we go. (Or you could have this as a student job).

Once we are done interviewing, we give the student a positive validation and do a brain break. For each target structure I have a song with many repetitions of that structure. Here are a couple ways we have used the song:
  • Students tally the number of times they hear the word
  • Students stand up and jump every time they hear the word
  • Students raise their hand every time they hear the word
  • Students stand up every time they hear the word
Then students grab their guided notes sheet and a clipboard and take down the notes over our special person that are written on the board. 

At that point depending on how much time is left, we may do another interview, or go on to do a different activity. My current 8th grade class has been working on nuggets of the Sr. Wooly song "Guapo" during this unit with extra time, as it ties in great with the vocabulary and mixes it up. I know some teachers have used this unit as a review or with heritage speakers, going quite quick through all questions, and interviewing many people in a day. 

We do a few days of interviews, and then break it up story asking using the same vocab in a new and fresh way. We do some activities with the story, and then return to do more interviews, ending with an assessment. Sometimes we do a mid way assessment, where I list the students who have gone and list a few interesting facts in Spanish that they need to match up. To review for the assessments, or to come back to the vocab later in the year, I have a Find Someone Who to interview many people or just a partner. At the end, we do a free write, where they write everything they can about a person of their choice. 

With the success of this unit, I decided to create more. I introduced the past tense to Spanish two last fall with a unit using the Super 7 unit using the imperfect. Then after a request, I made one for the Preterite as well. (Another teacher recently posted that she has students send her pictures of themselves as kids to project and add something extra special to the interviews). If you are wanting all 3 of the Super 7 units, along with the accompanying Find Someone Who activities, there is the Super 7 Bundle

Most recently I expanded the present tense with a Sweet 16 unit. It expands on the Super 7 and includes the verbs not in the Super 7 (le da, le dice, hace, puede, pone, sabe, sale, trae, ve, oye, viene as identified by Mike Peto).  There is also a Find Someone Who with the same vocabulary. My goal is come back to this unit later in Spanish 1, or to do one interview to start class per day, while working on other things too. 

Update! I now have the Super 7 Unit in French too!

What I have found is so great about these units is they have helped many teachers who are newer to CI techniques to feel more comfortable with doing special person interviews. The structure of having planned questions and not having to think as much on your feet is comforting to those starting out. For example this week my university practicum student watched me use it one day, and then confidently jumped in on day two leading a special person interview for the first time ever like a long time pro. For those with more experience, it provides a starting point, to which you can extemporaneously add more as needed. 

Have you used any of these units? What tips would you add?

High Frequency Verb Units in Spanish class - Super 7 & Sweet 16





1 comment

  1. Hi. I love your stuff and I tried using the super seven interviews this past September. It was not that successful, but I love the idea. Here is my question. How many verbs do you typically do in a day? I tried to add one per day last year by adding on each day to the verbs from previous days. It was strange in the beginning with only ser. Do you do it differently? Thank you in advance.

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