There is/There are

Indonesian has the same high frequency word for ‘there is’ & ‘there are’ and is also a tricky language concept to teach. I love this teaching suggestion and would rename it, “Ada apa dibawah topi?” Would be great for all ages and the question in itself lends itself to a variety of topics.

The Comprehensible Classroom

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Hay–the word for “there is” or “there are” in Spanish–is one of the highest frequency structures in any language. However…it’s not one of the easiest to teach because it is difficult for students to form a mental picture with which to associate it. As with any new structure, give your students the translation (ideally, in written form; for pre-literate kids, tell them what it means verbally and remind them several times) and establish a gesture for it. It is important to give them the translation in addition to the gesture so that they do not misinterpret the gesture. My gesture for “hay” is to stand with my hands in front of me, open-palmed and beside each other, and then to dramatically pull them out to the sides, as if presenting something, like, “Here you go! Here it is!” (I keep promising one reader that I’ll film all of my gestures…one day…).


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