Getting Texts: Companion Post to Input-Based Strategies & Activities

**Updated 5.16.22 with AMSAP Stories**
**Here’s the list of older ones I haven’t used in a while**

See this post for all the input-based activities you can do with a text. But how do we end up with a text in the first place?! Here are all the ways I’ve been collecting:

**N.B. Many interactive ways to get texts require you to write something down during the school day, else you might forget details! If you can’t create the text during a planning period within an hour or two of the events, jot down notes right after class (as the next group of students line up for the Class Password?), or consider integrating a student job.**

No-Prep Writing

  • What WASN’T In The Story…? EZ (me)
    This works particularly well alongside pre-written texts like embedded MovieTalk stories. There are far more details in the animated clips than appear in the texts, however small, so this is another way to wrap up the MovieTalk sequence: watch, read, write more. It’s a guided Write & Discuss (Type ‘N Talk).
  • Summary & Write EZ (me)
    Students have 10 minutes to write an English summary of what was read the day before, then *in the target language* continue, or write a new ending. Select 1 or 2 of these, type/edit, then read later.
  • Write & Discuss (Type ‘N Talk) EZ (shared by Mike Peto)
    Towards the end of class, the teacher discusses & writes/types out what happened that day as students copy into notebooks. This is crucial, and can replace ANY writing/typing you would otherwise do during planning period.
  • Timed Writes (Retell & Free) EZ (source unknown)
    Any written output is just one step away from becoming input. Edit, type student story retells/free writing, then use in an input-based activity.

No-Prep Talks

  • Picture Talk (source unknown)
    Project an image, and talk about it.
  • Memory Game Picture Talk (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    Students look at an image for a few minutes, and you do a quick Picture Talk. Then, the image is removed and students use their memory to write down responses to a set of questions (e.g., “how many…?”). Reveal image again, then discuss.
  • Calendar Talk (shared by David Maust)
    Talk about the day in history, what’s going on in school, whether students have birthdays…any event during the week, really.

No-Prep Other

  • Card Talk Stories EZ (Sr. Sedge)
    Instead of typing up statements of students, use Card Talk details to ask a story in which the student is always awesome, is better than famous people, and always wins. Type these up for more input!
  • One Word Image (OWI) (Ben Slavic, structure shared by Tina Hargaten)
    Begin with one word, ask questions, and then draw the scene/character, etc. For some structure, establish context in L1, then ask questions to get details of Who, What, With whom?, Problem, Resolution (new character, new place, or both).
  • Story Cube Brainstorm & Timed Writes (me?)
    Roll a cube, project w/ document camera, then brainstorm known target language words. Ask PQA, and write known words on the board. Roll another, and continue. Stop when loses steam, then students write using a) any, or b) none of the brainstormed words. Any written output is just one step away from becoming input. Edit, type student writing, then use in another input-based activity.
  • Special Person/Discipulus Illustris EZ (Jody Noble, structure shared by Bryce Hedstrom)
    Interview a student in front of the class using pre-determined questions, then type up their answers.
  • Discipulī et Magistrī Illustrēs (me)
    Teacher colleagues and students choose and answer questions put into Google Slides to play “guess the teacher/student” with classes.

Lower-Prep Writing/Texts

  • AMSAP Stories (me, inspired by Mike Peto & Karen Rowan)
    instructions & index cards
    On index cards, students write their name, something they like/like to do, and a role they’d like to have in a multiverse where anything’s possible. Collect cards. Put students into groups. Shuffle and redistribute cards to groups. Groups brainstorm possible connections and story elements based on card info. Pose a question (e.g., “Where were they?”). Give students time to discuss in their groups. Accept one group’s suggestion, and/or have class vote (if working together). Repeat.
  • Scaffolded Story Cube Storyasking (shared by Matthew Mangino)
    – these templates
    Project the sheet, roll a cube, then brainstorm what words come to mind that would fit the current question. Students copy as you add details to the story. Snap pic of the cubes. Type up, edit, and add details/dialogue, cognates, etc.
  • One Word At a Time Stories (OWATS) EZ (Bob Patrick)
    – new words w/ English meaning, preferably cut & printed
    – use these instructions for sub plans, or for more structure
    In groups, students write a story after getting 1 new word at a time to use in sentence(s) while the teacher goes around checking stories, and asking PQA). Collect student products, interpret, the edit/type up. See this post for COWAS & VOWATS variations.
  • MovieTalk (adaptation of Hastings’ method, shared by Michele Whaley, et al.)
    – Preview video, and write a story
    Play a video clip, pause, narrate & ask PQA. For an awesome variation, try what Adriana Ramirez does. 
  • MovieTalk Add-on (Henshaw & Hawkins, 2022)
    Instead of the screenshot Picture Talk method of previewing an video clip, slap all those screenshots out of order and as smaller thumbnail views onto one page/slide. Read aloud descriptions as students match them to numbered thumbnails. 
  • Read & Discuss VideoTalk (This is way easier than MovieTalk!)
    – Preview video, and write a story
    Instead of narrating during a video clip on the spot, just choose a video, write a text/embedded readings, and read & discuss (perhaps the final embedded reading). After reading & discussing a sentence or section, play that part of the video. Pause, read & discuss, then repeat.
  • Parallel Readings (source unknown)
    – Existing text
    – Perhaps use this story template

    Rewrite a parallel version of an existing text by changing details, but keeping most of the structure & verbs.
  • Embedded Readings (Laurie Clarcq & Michelle Whaley)
    – Parallel Text
    – Withholding New/Tantilizing Information (not just more words)
    Versions of parallel texts in which content is embedded within subsequent versions. Increasing in complexity ONLY would be Tiered Readings, not Embedded Readings.

Higher-Prep Texts

  • Adapting Existing Texts
    – Time, and skill
    The most obvious, and highest-leverage practice is adapting an existing text by making it more comprehensible for your students. This requires a bit of skill, and definitely some time, but you’ll find that your skills quickly develop with practice. 
  • Tiered Readings (Lindsay Sears)
    – Time, and skill
    – Perhaps use this story template

    Extension of adapting an existing text just once.
  • Writing Your Own Original Texts
    – Time, and skill
    – Perhaps use this story template
    Slightly harder than MovieTalk because you lack an existing story.

9 thoughts on “Getting Texts: Companion Post to Input-Based Strategies & Activities

  1. Pingback: Input-Based Strategies & Activities | Magister P.

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  5. “write an English summary of what was read the day before, then continue, or write a new ending” Just to be clear about continuing/writing a new ending, Is that done in Latin?

  6. Pingback: WOWATS & Other Collaborative Storytelling Options | Magister P.

  7. Pingback: The Daily Lesson Plan: Talk & Read | Magister P.

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