Here are five things that illustrate the variety and mileage you can get out of just one story. Start with a story (e.g. embedded authentic text, class story, MovieTalk, Story Card Magic, OWATS product, etc.), then do these:
- Interactive Read Aloud
- Choral Translation & Ask
- Read & Draw
- Timed Write
- Edit Products
Interactive Read Aloud
YOU read the story aloud and act it out for students (or create groups, and THEY act it out). Also great here would be Sound Effects Reading where you assign a sound effect to a particular student (or a student in each group) when you say a particular phrase.
Input (listening interpretation, and negotiation of meaning if students ask for clarification).
Choral Translation & Ask
Point to each word as entire class gives English equivalent chorally, then ask comprehension questions in the target language. This easily becomes Personalized Questions & Answers (PQA).
Input (reading & listening interpretation, and negotiation of meaning during comprehension checks, and if students ask for clarification).
Read & Draw
Students Read & Draw the story using a simple 6-8 frame storyboard on a piece of blank paper (labels but no target language).
Input (reading interpretation, and negotiation of meaning if students ask for clarification).
Students use their Read & Draw products to retell the story over 5-10min. If/when finished, they continue and write what might happen next.
Output (reading interpretation, and expression of meaning).
Select, edit, and type up one or two “what happened next” parts to the story. You now have a new story for any other batch of activities.
PS – The cooler colors (blue, green) above reflect the process and modes of communication necessary for language acquisition, while red reflects the result of that acquisition. People often want to see more red activities than blue or green ones. Those people remain uninformed about how language acquisition works, and must be educated. Here, however, the benefit of a Timed Write is having evidence of student growth over time, as well as a new product to use.
Are you working with embedded readings? You could use different tiers for the different activities. Also, replace any of the five things above with alternative activities using similar processes, and you now have a new batch of five things to do with the nest story. You could then use all 10 activities as a rough 2-week outline to share with colleagues who think you MUST plan as much as they do in order to be successful, or share with administrators who want proof that you teach with some kind of intent. The alternate activities could include anything with the following purposes:
- Students hear the story again
- Students read the story, and are asked questions about it, which might include personal opinions
- Students prove understanding of the story
- Students write (retell, or compose something to do with the story)
- You do something with what the students wrote
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