In our SoW, we unusually have a unit simply called


My grammarian colleagues love it, but I've struggled to model TL use & build fluency in a unit based on grammar rather than vocab & comprehensible input.

This year, I think I made it work... 🧵 #mfltwitterati
1) First I introduced a 6-sentence 'story' of common language with reading aloud games, chorusing, etc.

Both avoir & être verbs right from the start to train fluency with correct auxiliaries. All regular patterns represented: -er, -ir and -re, but no explicit grammar yet.
2) Use sentence builder containing language from the story. Model language use using dictations, translations, basic speaking.

Still no explicit teaching of rules per se, but with some pop-up grammar e.g. agreements

Some students noticed patterns & asked about j'ai/je suis.
3) Narrow reading and listening to model the vocab again but also noticing patterns within the perfect tense. Reinforcement of more soft grammar to prep students for when we get on to the explicit grammar rules. Students do some short writing.
4) & now: explicit grammar - what I previously started with.

Explain rules. Practice. At this stage, students seemed to codify explicitly what they already knew anecdotally. When unsure, they fell back on the strong vocab knowledge they'd already developed. Within this.....
... I carried on modelling TL use with this activity.

I dictate sentences & students transcribe them into a table of metalinguistic categories. Sometimes jumble the sentence too & students rearrange. Ends up looking like this

Source:… h/t @gianfrancocont9
Then: 5) communicative tasks, again.

It's early days but I think students are more fluent & I'm optimistic that the time spent modelling use of the tense fostered sufficient automation to substitute for the interminable rule-stating & conjugation practice I previously did.
It was also far much more fun to teach.

Interested to know a) if anybody else has units this grammatically delineated?

b) if you have any other approaches for targeting fluency and grammar simultaneously,

c) any feedback & other ideas on teaching the perfect tense.


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