TPRS FAQs for the classroom (Laurie Clarcq)

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This information is adapted from Laurie Clarcq and is what I used on my Desert Vista High school website.  I want students, parents, and adminstrators to have an understanding of TPRS in the classroom.  I should mention that I do not 100% agree with the grading percentages posted here but like many, I have the responsibility to follow the policies and regulations of the school district as best I can. 

Laurie Clarcq is the co-creator of and has a wonderful teaching website that touches the heart, check it out at

This class is taught by optimizing immersion using the TPRS® method. Our class activities are designed to provide students with many opportunities to be involved in the Spanish language at or just above their level of understanding.  Each language-building activity is designed to introduce or strengthen the understanding of high frequency words and phrases in Spanish.

Frequently asked questions!!!

1.  What is TPRS®?

TPRS® stands for Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling.  It began as a teaching strategy created by several teachers who wanted a more effective way to teach languages.  Over the last decade, it has been developed through research and practice by thousands of dedicated teachers world-wide.  It is based on the idea that the brain needs an enormous amount of “comprehensible input” in the language.  We choose the most commonly-used words and phrases and use them in stories, conversations and other activities so that everything we talk about in the language is understood by the students.

2.  What does a TPRS® class “look” like?

It sounds like a lot of Spanish!!  Some typical activities are:

  • Storytelling.   The teacher starts with the outline of a story and asks the class large numbers of questions that 1) ensure that the class understands the language and 2) add personalized, interesting (and sometimes very funny!) details to the story.
  • Story writing.  Students will write retells and original stories from outlines, templates, songs or partially-written stories.  This may be a class, group, pair or individual activity.
  • Reading.  We read stories created in class, stories created by other classes, summaries and stories written by the teacher, stories written by individual students, ads and articles from magazines/newspapers, children’s books and short novels written for TPRS® classrooms.
  • Songs.  The students will be learning between 10 and 20 new songs in Spanish this year.
  • Games.  We have a number of games based on comprehensible input that help students to acquire language and create strong, positive relationships within the classroom environment.
  • Projects. There are opportunities each marking period for students to use art and technology to learn and share information about language and culture.
  • Video viewing.  We will be watching several video clips, along with video series this year.  Some will be in Spanish, others in English.  There are always activities in Spanish for each movie.


3.  How are students graded?

Tests are given with notice and preparation and study guides and notes.  These test are unit exams that follow the curriculum of all level 1 classes at DVHS.  There are summative tests given at the end of each quarter and formative tests given each month.  There are a total of 10 textbook tests and account for 40% of student grade per DVHS Foreign Language policy.

Quizzes/projects are given every with and without notice.  The students may be required to demonstrate their ability to read, speak, write, or listen in Spanish.  They may also be required to identify vocabulary or explain cultural/historical information. Quizzes will vary in frequency and form based on the learning standards of each class.  Quizzes will account for 30% of student overall grade per DVHS Foreign Language policy.

Paperwork/homework is collected on a regular basis.  It may take the form of translation, answering questions, illustrations, flash cards or story writing.  Any assignments completed in class or for homework may be collected, graded and recorded.  Homework may be assigned infrequently due to the nature and importance of in class work.  Homework will account for 20% of student overall grade per DVHS Foreign Language policy.

Participation is necessary in Spanish class and the single most important factor for student success.  Students will be required to pay attention on a daily basis and should come to class ready to be active participants.  Participation will account for 10% of student overall grade per DVHS Foreign Language policy.  This grade is determined through in-class assignments and student behavior.

4.  How can parents help?

Any time you show interest in and support for your child’s school work, you help.  Ask your child to share the stories that we have done in class or to teach someone in the family a song!!  Encourage students to tell the teacher whenever there is confusion or stress about the class or the work. Be willing to listen and ask questions when students share stories and have to take a “selfie” with you.

5.  How can parents contact the teacher?


UPDATE: August 2015

I changed schools this year and I am able to make some some changes to grading percentages.  I thought I would experiment by altering they way I weight grades.  Here is the word document of my course overview.

Seventh grade version or Spanish 1 syllabus version

Spanish 7

8th grade version or Spanish 2 syllabus version

Spanish 8


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