Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Felt Board and TPRS

With all the great technology that is available for digital storytelling, I want to know if there are any teachers (language teachers in particular) that use felt boards to tell stories.

Last Monday I started telling my students the story from "Cuentos de Ensalada: A Soap Opera in Spanish 1 & 2". It was written by Stephanie Campbell and was sold through Teacher's Discovery.

When I decided to go full-out TPRS with my Spanish 1 class this semester, I dug through a stack of books that the previous teacher left, found "Ensalada" and started reading through the soap opera. The characters in the story are vegetables and the plot involves a crime, an investigation into the crime, and concludes with a jury trial. I asked my fellow moreTPRS friends about the story and they had favorable comments about using it. (Green light!) I bought the materials and made the felt characters and props. The prod. tech. teacher at my school was kind enough to make the felt board for me (thank you Scott!).

I used TPRS to tell episode 4 yesterday with the felt board, a felt school bus, and the vegetables to help teach sube al, baja del, and maneja el bus. My students already knew the other words for the episode or they where cognates such as la estatua, el museo, los dinosaurios. The book suggests starting the story 2 weeks into the school year, but I think it is better to start it later because you can keep the new structures to 3 an episode.

I'm looking forward to next week because I can't wait to teach episode 7; that's when an event takes place that will surprise them and the props include yellow ribbon to mark off the crime scene!

I'm looking for other ways I can use the felt board in my other classes. Have you ever used felt boards in the language classroom? I'd love to hear from you on how you have utilized a felt board to tell stories and to make the story come alive, or ideas on how I can use it in my upper levels.


  1. First off, I love your blog! You have such great ideas and I have found some VERY useful resources from your website (Like SMILE and Brainshark)! Thanks so much! I have not used a felt board, but this is just adorable. I think I'd like to make one just to build more "characters" for my class. That can be a Christmas break project for myself! It's perfect for your Cuentos de Ensalada book, but you could also use it to do side-stories and get more into each characters personality!
    Brainshark looks cool. Is is similar to VoiceThread? I have found VoiceThread a bit difficult to use not only for me, but also for students.
    I also use edmodo regularly. It is such a nice tool to connect with students and it is so user friendly.
    Thanks again for your awesome ideas and resources!

  2. HOLA Sra. Hoopes, Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your KIND comments.
    Yes, I should use the felt board for more than the Cuentos de Ensalada story. I think I may use it w/ the upper levels too. I'm working on a few ideas.
    I've used VoiceThread in the past but I think Brainshark may be more useful to me. I really like how you can go back into the Brainshark recording and make changes. I love Edmodo too. I'll check to see if I can connect with you, but does that mean you can e-mail your connections? There's so much to learn when it comes to technology, right? :)

  3. Thanks for posting this, I was brainstorming different ways to do TPRS the other day and I remembered the flannel board from Sunday school many years ago. I wonder how the students responded to this method? I will have to check out brainshark.

  4. Hi! I know this is a very old thread, but I have been on the hunt for a copy of Cuentos de Ensalada and was wondering if you might know how to get my hands on one! I've tried the publisher and author but no luck. I had a copy years ago but got rid of it when I stopped teaching Spanish. :( I am thinking of getting back in the classroom and would love to use this again. My students loved it so much. Thanks so much for any leads!

  5. I have used Cuentos de Ensalada for over 25 years in my Spanish classes. I tell it over a three year period (6-8) to the same group of rising kids. They LOVE it. Thanks, Stephanie.

  6. I have used Stephanie Campbell's "Cuentos de Ensalada" in my classes (Spanish and French) for over 25 years. I run the curriculum over three years so that it remain middle school paced (6-8) with the same group of rising kids each year. They LOVE it!! Do any of you know other series to use besides Blaine Rayes' workbook series which is also excellent. I think it's the "Look, I can Talk" series. But....others?