Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sketches with High Frequency Words in the Past Tense

Storytelling doesn't always have to encompass the full story. In fact, today in class, the students and I created a lot of stories, but it was only the first part of the story.  The beauty in telling only the first part of the story is that it allows a large number of repetitions of the same verbs and there is no time for the story to become boring.

I wanted to recycle the new words (había-there was, quería-s/he wanted, fue-s/he went, and estaba-s/he was) from last week, and introduce a few new words: se llamaba - his/her name was; no tenía=s/he didn't have; and, (no) encontró = s/he found/didn't find.

1. I greeted the students at the door and gave them a quarter slip of paper.  The instructions on the board told them to number the paper 1-4 and write the following:  
                1- the name of a person
                2- what someone wanted
                3- a place
                4- an emotion
When finished, the students put the papers in a basket.

2. We read the story we created last week about the person in the movie theater, (see this post), to review.  Then I distributed several short stories from previous years with the above words and we read them together.  We also watched a short story that I had made into a video with Educreations using the same words.

3. I projected a paper with 9 squares onto the board. Then I randomly pulled a paper out of the basket to find a name of the person.  (There was a boy whose names was Elmo) and I sketched a person in the first square.  Then I pulled another paper to find what the person wanted. (Elmo wanted a dog. He had a cat and two rabbits but he didn't have a dog.) The extra information about the animals that Elmo did have are another opportunity for more comprehensible input and reps.

4. I continued the above to find TO WHERE the person went.  Students told me if the person found or didn't find the item (if the person found it I circled it and if the person didn't find it I put an X over the sketch). The final frame shows how the person felt.  To find the emotion, I pulled another paper and used the emotion that was listed.

This was an easy way to provide repetitions and model the activity.  It kept the students' attention because they didn't know if I would pick their paper, and they wanted to see if I could somewhat sketch something that resembled the information on the slips of paper.

5. To change the pace, I then gave each student a half sheet of paper with 3 boxes.  They had to sketch a person, what the person wanted, to where the person went, indicate with a circle or X if the person found the item, and sketch the person's emotion in the last square.

6. Students put their sketches in a basket and then I assigned a student to randomly choose the sketches. We put them under a document camera and created the story together.  I said most of the story but paused and pointed to the sketch for them to supply the necessary word(s).

Example - the underlined words are what I pointed to and students gave the answers:
1st square: Había un chico que se llamaba Antonio.  Antonio quería unas hamburguesas.  No tenía hamburguesas en su casa.  Tenía helado y tenía avocados pero no tenía hamburguesas.  
2nd square: Antonio fue al supermercado. Pero no había hamburguesas en el supermercado.  Había pescado y había chicle, pero no había hamburguesas.  Antonio no encontró hamburguesas en el supermercado. 
3rd square: Antonio estaba triste porque quería unas hamburguesas pero no las encontró en el supermercado 

Tomorrow we'll continue with more of the student sketches.  When we find a sketch that all the students seem particularly interested in, I'll use that one to create a full story.  

With only a few words, there are a lot of stories that are waiting to be created .


  1. Good morning, I like this post. I was wondering when you put instructions like 1-4 on the board, do you do them in the TL?


    1. If I remember correctly, I think I did write 1-4 of the things they needed to write on their paper in Spanish. They don't know the word "lugar" so I wrote the English translation of it in parentheses.