In my opinion, “subject pronouns” is the most important concept I teach to my first-year, 7th grade Spanish students. I believe that without a solid foundation and understanding of these pronouns, students will struggle and not be able to correctly conjugate verbs. Because of my belief in the importance of subject pronouns, an idea came to me to create a resource that would enable students to make a “reference ring” in order to make easy references to the rules of when to use certain subject pronouns. So…that is what I created!!
Now let’s talk about how I teach subject pronouns. I begin by discussing what the role of subject pronouns is, along with what are the subject pronouns in English. Let’s be real…it’s very unlikely that your students know what subject pronouns are. Therefore, how can we expect them to learn them in Spanish, without even understanding what they are in English?! Because of this, I first display on the board, the subject pronouns in English: (I, you, he, she, we, you guys, they, it). With these pronouns on the board, I explain how subject pronouns are words we use to replace subjects in a sentence. I proceed to provide examples in ENGLISH for students to identify and correctly use subject pronouns in English. For example…
I would say: “If I say a sentence about Bobby…for example, ‘Bobby is athletic.’ Instead of me saying ‘Bobby,’ which subject pronoun could I use to replace ‘Bobby’ in the sentence? —I give students time to think about the answer, and then begin to see more and more hands raise. The hope is for students to respond with “he.” — I then do another example but with a plural subject. –I would say next: “What if I say: ‘Bobby and I are athletic.’ Which subject pronoun would I now use for ‘Bobby and I’? Students should be able to come up with “we.” I then discuss that this concept of subject pronouns in English, is exactly the same in Spanish. The only difference is that instead of English words, the pronouns are in Spanish.
Only after assessing students’ comprehension of subject pronouns in English, I then introduce the “six-pack chart of subject pronouns.” I refer to the chart as being a “six-pack of abs” and then make reference to my own six pack of abs being similar. (It’s always a bad joke that my 7th graders laugh at 🙂 ) Before translating the subject pronouns in the chart, I display and explain the chart as having a singular “salt” and plural “pepper” side. We review what a singular and plural side means in relation to the subject of the sentence. I further explain that the order of the subject pronouns in the chart NEVER changes!
After doing ALL of the above, I then translate all of the subject pronouns with my students. A resource that really helps them is my reference rings! You can simply print out the cards and leave them in the form of a worksheet/notes, or you can take the time and help your students create the rings. Don’t have enough binder rings for your students? That’s ok! You can use anything, I used rope with my students, but ribbon or string could work just as well! If you try these with your students, leave a comment below and let me know!