Sunday, October 5, 2014

4 - Part Guided Storytelling Activity

Last week I used Bryan Kandel's story about Viernes Negro (found here and other story scripts by Bryan found HERE), even though I took Black Friday out of the equation and made it more general: someone wanted to buy a present for someone else.  The class helped to create a story, we reviewed it, and then I distributed Bryan's version and we read that together.  We also watched an online story I made a few years ago on the website UtellStory (mentioned on this post), followed by reading the script for the story that was also on the previous handout.

After the class story, the two readings, and the online story, I was tempted to move on with new words, but I decided to give the students yet more exposure to the structures with some small changes.  Plus I wanted to experiment with a new idea I had for a 4-part guided storyasking activity.

Part 1. The target structures that the students copied were:
estaba desilusionado/a = s/he was disappointed
le dio = s/he gave to him/to her
lo compró = s/he bought it
la compró = s/he bought it

Then I projected the chart below onto the white board.

 For this story, I wanted both characters to be students in the class.  The first character, (the one that wanted to buy a gift) was permitted to decide to whom s/he wanted to give a gift and, when students gave suggestions for the other answers, s/he had the right to overrule them and not accept their suggestion.

The story in the guided storyasking format was successful in engaging the students since THEY provided the compelling information.  I think the fact that they could see the entire storyline from the beginning, made it easier for them to organize their suggestions and save their best suggestions for last.

As the students created the story, I wrote their answers directly on the whiteboard creating a reading at the same time. This format also helped remind me to pause for short grammar pop-ups such as asking about the LO or LA answers and the O ending in "desilusionado". When we finished, I read the story to them and added small additional phrases in the TL (such as before the "le dio" sentence I added, Alica fue a la casa de Manuel y....le dio el libro a Manuel). 

Part 2. When I was ready to review the story with the students, I tried a different technique that came to me at that moment. I left the completed grid projected on the board with the information, and I retold the story, but with some misinformation.  I told the students to CLAP their hands ONE TIME if I said something that was not correct information. It worked beautifully.  The unison ONE CLAP when I gave wrong information told me they were listening intently for meaning. Plus...there were receiving more input, more repetitions of the structures.  :-)

Part 3.  Students formed groups of 3 and I gave each group a copy of the blank document that I had projected on the board, as shown above.  (Click HERE to access the document.) Their job was to "write" a story by filling in the information as we had done as a class.  In the bottom right square of the chart, they had to decided how the person felt about the last gift and why.
Example of a completed story grid

I gave them 5 minutes to fill in the information on the chart.  Then I gave each group 4 sheets of paper and they had to decide which four parts of their story they wanted to illustrate on the paper.  They actually could have easily made several more illustrations for their story, but I wanted to limit the time spent sketching. When the students finished they paper-clipped their story grid on top of their illustrations and gave them to me until the next class.

Part 4. The following day, I distributed typed copies of the class story from yesterday for additional reading and to help students become reacquainted with the guided storyasking format grid. Then I randomly chose one of the student stories.  I used their story grid to tell the story verbally, (making on the spot corrections if needed). While I read/told the story, the students revealed their illustrations at the appropriate time to match what I was saying.

I have done something similar to this in the past. I'm convinced that projecting the actual grid onto the board so the students can see it when they help create the class story plays a key role in making parts 3 and parts 4 go smoother.


  1. This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this. I'm going to make one right now using our target structures for this week.

  2. This is wonderful. I'm using this idea from now on with my Spanish 2 classes. The concepts are more difficult for them, and I'm sure this is going to help. I just used your format to make one for the story we were going to tell today. I'm going to follow your steps and tell it tomorrow. So much more successful!