Don't Skimp on the Props

I used a bird and not a turkey in my 5th grade class this morning. I thought they would be more likely to see the word bird next year in middle school. However, for some reason (Day before Thanksgiving Break maybe) I was lazy and I did not put the English translation next to the word pluma (feather) nor did I make a quick drawing to represent the word when some first suggested we use plumas (feathers). So, we had a story about a bird that had no feathers. The word plumas (feathers) came from a student as my main structure was "quiere comprar". However, ten minutes into the story, one boy asked if plumas were clothes. Not too bad as feathers ARE a bird's clothes. That was my hint to make a few yellow feathers as the bird ultimately steals some feathers from Big Bird. I didn't. At the end of class, another student asked (while we were drawing the target words) if plumas were leaves. Apparently he glanced at another boy's drawing and made that assumption. Oops! I had personalized many other parts of the story. The boy who had thought they were leaves had been engaged for much of the story because we used his UGGs as part of the story. That just isn't good enough. The input was not 100% comprehensible. This is just a reminder, for me, not to skip the many ways to establish meaning before (and during) acquiring a new structure. It's easy to draw a few feathers.