First-year free write (10-4 write)

In-class writing. I call this a 10-4 write, because we start with a list of 10 phrases, either ones I give them or ones we brainstorm, like today.

First we brainstormed 10 “new things” (new structures or vocabulary) from the first three chapters of “Susan you mafan”:

Student-chosen New Structures

Then, through a complex and convoluted process of numerology I made up pretty much on the spot (“Write down your birthday. Write your mother’s birthday. Write a friend’s birthday. If any of the numbers are over 10, add their digits until you get a number that’s 10 or less. You should have four numbers — write a 100-word story containing the phrases with those numbers.”) they chose four out of the 10 structures to include in their stories.

Here are the results. (Students of Terry Waltz.)


Writing sample: Day 10 of intensive experience

Student: zero previous Chinese

Day 10 of intensive Chinese camp. 2 hrs TPRS-based instruction daily (1 hr oral, 1 hr reading) plus 1 hr writing. Students were allowed to refer to reading materials when writing, but did not copy more than single characters from those stories. Students received no instruction in handwriting or how to form characters.

Assignment: Write a response to the question “Is it wrong to text at a movie?” (carrying over language into non-fiction writing task, when previous reading input was all fictional stories.)


Comprehensible Input in the Chinese classroom

Are you teaching Chinese with TPRS or Comprehensible Input?


Thinking about making the leap to a more brain-friendly, student-centered way of teaching?

Here you’ll find actual samples of real students showing what is possible using the TPRS® method of teaching Mandarin. By providing students with large amounts of input that they can truly understand — 100% — teachers who use Comprehensible Input and TPRS® achieve results that look quite different from traditional “book-taught” students.

1st year student speaking: April 9

Student: 10th grader, no previous Chinese experience or background

Class: 100% TPRS 1st year Chinese class, 21 students, 10-11 graders

Task: Draw a multi-panel cartoon without any language on the page, and tell the story to the teacher. Total preparation time, including drawing: 10 minutes. No notes allowed during test. (Student of Terry Waltz.)

Students could use a drawing to organize their thoughts to tell their story.

Students could use a drawing to organize their