TPRS with a textbook is really easy.

That is a bold statement, I know.

This is coming from someone who had monthly common assessments. But I think this could work for even those who have weekly common assessments!

The first two years when I was just a baby teacher working with CI I was department of one. I did whatever I wanted with the blessing of my administrator. Then this past year I started teaching in a department. With a textbook. I was overwhelmed because I did NOT want to lose what I gained as a person by using CI. I turned to the internet and the wonderful iFLT/NTPRS/CI Teaching Facebook page to ask what to do. I was turned to Terry Waltz’s blog post about using TPRS from a Textbook. This was a god-send. I immediately got to inputting all of the vocabulary words from my textbook into a spreadsheet to start organizing what was important (or at least perceived important by me).

But then I started altering my approach. I decided to go chapter by chapter and focus on the grammatical aspects. I know (now, anyway) that the research says we cannot alter the natural order, just because we focus on a grammatical aspect it doesn’t mean students are ready to acquire it. However, I’m just trying to find the best balance so someone else can stay sane AND keep their job if they are in a tight situation.

So here is what I suggest as a ‘chapter outline’.

  1. What is the focus of the chapter? First, you gotta look at what the goals of the chapter are. For example let’s say that it’s present tense stem changing verbs, and verbs like gustar all enveloped in the vocabulary theme of ALL OF THE SPORTS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE BALLS.
  2. What can I PQA (personalized questions and answers)? Sports are really easy to PQA, so PART of the sports vocabulary was really easy to PQA “What sport do you play?” But then I had to look at the other grammar stuff, thankfully it was pretty easy to PQA these structures as well “Does football bore you, interest you, do sports movies interest you, bore you etc. and I branched off into “what else interests/bores you?”
  3. What kind of stories can I write? This is the trickier part. You DO NOT need include ALL of the grammar points in one story. I spent a few weeks on each type of present stem changing verbs (in Spanish e-ie, i-e, and o-ue). And continued to PQA the gustar verbs. I did a couple stories with each type of verb but one story might have only had one occurrence of a stem changing verb, and I tried to use some of the target vocabulary in each story.
  4. What if I can’t use all of the vocabulary I’m supposed to cover? For each chapter I made a textivate match set. (Textivate is my preferred tech tool click HERE to see how else I use textivate in my class). Or you can of course use whatever else you may use to have students practice vocabulary. It’s my suggestion that the vocabulary is available for students at the beginning of the chapter. I often have a textivate challenge throughout the entire chapter and the winner might get some candy or something (because sometimes they are LONG challenges).


Anyway I hope this may help someone else 🙂 Hope everyone is having a great summer!

4 thoughts on “TPRS with a textbook is really easy.

  1. yes, I front-load chapter vocab also. I give them Quizlet, and we play Gimkit and Quizlet Live throughout that “chapter.” So, I may not use it all during stories and PQA, but they ARE exposed to it and expected to keep exposing it to themselves via out-of-class work. The grammar points are taught as stand-alone lessons after we have been using it a while. I do the stand-alone grammar lessons, because my DH does expect “mastery”; anything less, and I am accused of not “teaching the curriculum.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same! I do a quick overview of grammar points, and then for a while, I use bell ringers as a time for students to practice (3-5 minutes) and then focus the rest of the time on communicative activities.


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