What to do With “I Don’t Get It”: Stage 4

In this blog series, I’ll be breaking down each stage in the Spanish Curriculum Stages of Teaching and Learning by introducing what it is, outlining teaching strategies for each stage, describing what the students are doing at each stage, and telling you how to determine when students need to review or are ready to move  on.  Our last blog discussed Stage 3: to Recall.  Today, we move on to the 4th and final stage: to Generate.


Stage 4: To Generate

  • At this stage of learning, students need little to no visual anchors and can produce answers independently.  They understand the vocabulary in your questions and can access their own vocabulary to give an answer in a complete sentence.

What the teacher is doing:

  • Most of the speech of the class is student-driven.
    • This is a challenge for most of us! Remember: the less you speak, the more your students will have an opportunity to speak!
  • The teacher uses advanced questions that require an even wider range of vocabulary.  Students still have access to visual anchors but understand how to navigate them independently.
    • Ex: ¿Qué comes después de la escuela?
      • This question at stage 3 would be “¿Qué prefieres comer después de la escuela? ¿fruta, galletas, un sándwich, cereal, helado, o dulces?
      • This question at stage 2 would be “¿Te gusta comer fruta después de la escuela? ¿sí o no?

What the students are doing:

  • Students are now using a wider range of words and phrases independently without pictures or prompts
  • Students can create their own questions and engage in conversation independently with their classmates.

How you know students are ready to generate:

  • They are participating confidently.
  • They are consistently answering questions correctly.
  • They are able to independently ask and answer questions both with the teacher and their peers.
  • They are extending answers to include details like “¿dónde? ¿con quién? ¿por qué? ¿cuándo?”

How you know students need to go back down to the recall level:

  • They sound unsure when they are answering questions or consistently answer questions wrong.
  • They need a list of choices or a category in order to answer.
  • They don’t answer at all or simply answer with “I don’t know.”

Use the stages to recognize when some of your students may just need some support with prompts and more time to recall, recognize, and comprehend!

I always say that teaching is a dance; we learn to move forward and backward, side to side, and move gracefully to the tempo of the music.  Not all of our students will be ready for every stage at the same time!  The beauty of recognizing the stages of teaching and learning is that you can know more accurately what your students know and work with them to keep growing.  There’s no longer a “they know it” vs. “they don’t”!  Our questions now should be “what do they know?” and “what do I want them to know?”

Remember that all of my blog posts are at “Ruth’s Blog” on spanishcurriculum.com and you can find the entire What to do With “I Don’t Get It” series!