Infomercials have sparked a new creativity and confidence in my students in Spanish I this semester! ¡Llame ya! is officially part of everyone's vocabulary after some class notes, some guided listening with an authentic infomercial, and then a little independent breakdown of some more authentic infomercials.
So first, I listened to a handful of infomercials and picked out a bunch of classic infomercial catch phrases. I found some of the most classic in the first Ceramicore video, so I made a list of those phrases and scrambled them up (alphabetical order works nice).
Students read over them, talking them out with their product pitch groups, and we talked about words they recognized then words they didn't recognize, like gratis, espere, basta, and sabía--a little infomercial context was all they needed to make them stick!
Then they sorted them into which ones they thought went at the beginning of an infomercial, and which went at the end, just to make some connections in the style of a sorting activity I got from Ruben Garza back when I was a baby Spanish teacher in my first Spanish teacher PD session ever. See, if they're sorting, it doesn't matter if they're "right" or "wrong," just that they made connections to what they knew and understood about it! Each kiddo had to sort his or her own slips, but again, they could talk them through with their groups.
Then I played the Ceramicore commercial at .75 speed (so much less drunk sounding than .5) and had them sort their slips to the best of their ability as they listened. I replayed a second time, showed them what they should have gotten, and congratulated them if they got through at least half (they pretty much all did).
But that's not all!
Then it was time to RE-SORT the slips AGAIN, but this time making decisions with their groups. So not only were they making connections, but they were making judgment calls, planning what actually fit their groups needs. On the surface, they were talking in English, but they were making immediate connections with the Spanish language phrases in front of them and applying them!
So in their notebooks, they had four sections: left/right = beginning/end, and top/bottom=use/don't use. No two groups had the same notes--or the same active vocabulary--by the end, but that's A-OK.
Now, two weeks later, as we're going into our final speaking assessment, there's a small--but very excited--group who decided not to just describe their own abilities or product pitch suggestions.
They want to make their OWN infomercials.