A Cat-and-Mouse Story
An animated PowerPoint program teaches possessive vocabulary in Spanish and reviews English grammar.
Lesson description: The English posse Apostrophe S controls the streets of Possession City until a mysterious mouse arrives on his motorcycle. Unbeknown to its feline leader, the English posse’s reign is about to be challenged. The character, De — a leather-clad biker and head of the Spanish posse — is armed with a special wand and a mission to take over Possession City.
Acquiring the possessive vocabulary in Spanish is straightforward; the challenge is producing it naturally in speaking and writing. Syntax is the obstacle: research shows that at age 6, our brains have determined correct word order and are relatively closed to the syntax of other languages. Except for the possessive adjectives, possession in Spanish requires a complete reversal of word order, which can challenge even upper-level students. “Possession City” creates a story-based memory with virtual characters and setting to bolster the process.
Created in PowerPoint, the animation can be manipulated to suit the teacher’s needs. The lesson also includes high-frequency verbs and additional vocabulary to broaden options for instruction. Start with the story worksheet and presentation, then extend the activity with a class competition.
Subject area: This lesson is best suited to lower levels of Spanish, although it can be used as a review at any level. It also can be converted into French or English (as a second language) by translating the story worksheet.
Standards: The Languages Other Than English standards consist of communication and culture. Students should be able to communicate through listening, reading, writing and speaking on various topics in the target language.
This lesson encompasses reading, writing and grammar. To complete the skills, the teacher could include listening comprehension, questions and speaking.
Resources: The Internet; teachers may show the presentation on a projector or have students access it individually. Teachers may print the worksheets from the Web site.
Lesson Plan Materials:
- Fun Versus Content: Does trying to appeal to students lead to lower expectations?Teacher’s Guide to Posse Competition (PowerPoint)
- Possession City PowerPoint Lesson Plan (PowerPoint)
- Possession City Story Sheet (Word)
Preface the lesson with a brief discussion about the brain and syntax. During a competition, as the tasks increase in difficulty, students will be able to identify when they experience a “block” and how to work past it. Understanding this biological occurrence will pique the students’ curiosity. It also eases the natural timidity that teens feel when learning another language.
EXTRA: Storytelling fosters a whole-language understanding of the concepts, while the animation creates a strong memory connection. Use the PowerPoint clip art from the animation on worksheets and bulletin boards. Teachers can copy, paste, stretch and even modify the images.