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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices

View & Analyze the Video

As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.

Before You Watch
Respond to the following questions:

  • How do you encourage students’ individual expression of ideas, such as voicing their preferences, when dealing with limited content?
  • What role does storytelling or extended narrative play in beginning classrooms?
  • What kinds of writing activities are appropriate for beginning students in middle/high school?

Watch the Video

As you watch “Sports in Action,” take notes on Ms. Tanner’s instructional strategies, particularly how she provides students with multiple opportunities to practice vocabulary and to interact. Write down what you find interesting, surprising, or especially important about the teaching and learning in this lesson.

Reflect on the Video
Review your notes, and then respond to the following questions:

  • What kinds of interactions do students have with Ms. Tanner and with each other? Do they talk about their actual interests? Do they listen to each other’s responses?
  • During the taped listening activity, how does Ms. Tanner keep the focus on understanding?
  • Why do you think the TPR story appeals to this age group?
  • What is the value of introducing a current event, such as the Olympics, into the lesson?

Look Closer

Take a second look at Ms. Tanner’s class to focus on specific teaching strategies. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.

Video Segment: TPR Storytelling

You’ll find this segment approximately 18 minutes after the video starts. Watch for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Ms. Tanner presents new vocabulary and narrates a story for students to perform.

  • What is the sequence of steps for the TPRS activity?
  • How is interest maintained among the seated students?
  • What elements of the storytelling activity aid student learning and retention?
  • What evidence do you see that students are learning?

Video Segment: Retelling the Story

You’ll find this segment approximately 22 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 2 minutes.

Jason retells the story while fellow students act it out.

  • What is Ms. Tanner’s role as Jason retells the story?
  • How do the student actors facilitate Jason’s retelling?
  • Observe Jason’s narrative. (You might take a few moments to script what he says.) How many sentences does Jason string together without prompting? How often does he give just one sentence or a fragment? What general observations can you make about Jason’s oral skills?


Video Segment: Writing the Story

You’ll find this segment approximately 24 minutes and 30 seconds after the video starts. Watch for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Each student attempts to retell the story in writing, and then contributes a portion to a class version.

  • By asking all students to rewrite the story in their own words, what might Ms. Tanner learn about the effectiveness of the lesson? About students’ writing abilities?
  • How does the shared writing activity develop students’ written accuracy?
  • How do the individual and shared writing activities link to the homework assignment?

Series Directory

Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. 2003. 2016.
  • Closed Captioning
  • ISBN: 1-57680-731-2