The Dirty Dozen - Twelve tips on Teaching Homeschool Teens (Part two of three)

TEACHING TEENS TIP #8: It must be useful IMMEDIATELY. When you're a teenager being taught something, the first question you ask, is, "When am I ever going to use this?" So! Give them the ability to use their new knowledge RIGHT NOW. What do they love to do? (What do we all love to do?) We LOVE to give an opinion. I like, I don't like, I love, I hate... ALLLL those sentence starters are like GOLD when they are learning any new verb, noun, or adjective. Give them the ability to create an opinion, and it is useful to them.
(No) me gusta = I (don't) like...
(No) me encanta = I (don't) love...
(No) Odio = I (don't) hate...
....  en absoluto = at all.
TEACHING TEENS TIP #7: Use the Series Method. I've already taught you about X + 1 in the first part of this series.  This tip will help you to actually accomplish it. Begin a sentence, and choose one part of speech to change. Just one. Let's use la hamburguesa (the hamburger) as the stagnant part. Then we get to practice the verbs:
Quiero la hamburguesa.
Puedo comer la hamburguesa.
Puedo cocinar  la hamburguesa.
Odio la hamburguesa.
Compro la hamburguesa.
Me encanta la hamburguesa.
Necesito la hamburguesa.
Knowing that ONE part of the sentence remains the same gives the teen permission to FREELY communicate about the other part. ANYTHING goes, and they're not overwhelmed. I just realized that was all in Spanish, and you may not  know what it means. Here you go:
I want the hamburger.
I can eat  the hamburger.
I can cook the hamburger.
I hate the hamburger.
I'm buying the hamburger.
I love the hamburger.
I need the hamburger.
TEACHING TEENS TIP #6: Silly = Success
I'll use number 7 to illustrate number 6. When we're silly, we remember the event. It elicits an emotional response, which stands out in our minds, since so much of life does not elicit an emotional response. 
~Quiero comer la hamburguesa grande. 
~Quiero comer la hamburguesa pequeña.
~Quiero comer la hamburguesa babosa.
...So. You probably knew GRANDE = big. I want to eat the big hamburger. And maybe you knew I want to eat the small hamburger (pequeña). But then the word babosa... hmmmm.
If I had the class repeat "I want to eat the slug burger." or "the slimy burger" they would likely throw the word NO in front of it! This silliness helps them to not only remember the new word, but word order, communication, and it BUILDS confidence and relationships with EVERYone in the classroom! Yeah!
Once, way before cell phones had cameras, I had a VERY difficult, serious class. There were six high school boys - all athletes, all too cool for school. It was REALLY hard to get them to speak. Mutter mutter, whisper grunt. They did the bare minimum. Nothing more. I had them standing on their chairs, sitting on the ground, doing skits, NOTHING worked. I mean, they were respectful. They read and answered. They completed the work. But that was it. I wasn't getting through. It was so so so boring. (For all of us.)
So I used Spanish only to try and teach a new word. El gusano (the worm) - They couldn't get it, and didn't try... until I, Señora Gose, mother of three at that point, degreed professional.... got down ON THE GROUND and DID THE WORM!
Yes. It's true. Es la verdad.
I think I injured myself and maybe peed a little. But those boys DIED laughing, YES AT ME, not with me... and they FINALLY loosened up enough. If I was willing to gyrate on the floor. They were willing to speak. (At the same time, I'm SO glad no one had cameras in their pockets back then!) 
TEACHING TEENS TIP #5: Only work when you have to.  Why so serious? ;-) 

So, this is sort of an extension of number 6. If you can be silly, please do. With language, so much depends on relationship. Any sort of stern face, furrowed brow, or hunched shoulders should be seen as an obstacle to absorption. Because it is. So - silly voices, sock puppets, charades, ridiculous games, funny poems... they are all WONDERFUL boons to learning! I am forever sharing cringy kid song videos with my students, since it removes this obstacle. They begin focusing on the silliness, which brings down a barrier, and adds to their absorption ability. The EASIEST thing to do here is to put a sock on your hand. You have a sock, right? Put it on your hand and let the teenager "Talk to the hand." SO much more Spanish comes out of the puppets mouth than will ever come out of the teens mouth that is anxious or nervous about speaking. Let the HAND do the talking. Add a silly high pitched voice, or an accent. Sit on the floor, sit backwards, put on a fun hat. ANYTHING will help.
So - let me know! Which one of these tips are you willing to try?
Maybe the worm?

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