Friday, March 16, 2018

Sr. Wooly's La Casa de la Dentista: Reading with Students

With only 1 copy of La Casa de la Dentista last semester, I used a document camera and read the story to my students, along with sound effects and dramatic character voices.

This semester, I have a class set of the books and my plans for reading it went as follows.

1. I showed the video to Seis Veces al Día when it was released in February and they have seen it several times since.

2. I used the powerpoint slides of the story from the Teacher's Guide of La Casa de la Dentista to read the first part of the book with my students. I designated two students in each class to be the 'sound effects technicians'. After reading the text on each slide, or for the slides that didn't have text, I paused to allow the students create the sound effects. In one class I held auditions for the sound effects, which really made the students up their game to be chosen for that job.

3. We read to page 54 on one day, and the following day we re-read that but at a quicker pace - both days using the powerpoint slides.  

4. Today, students had to write 10 sentences to summarize what had happened thus far in the book. They said the sentences to me; I wrote them on the board; and the students copied what I wrote.  (This marking period, I'm making a deliberate effort to have students write each day - sometimes a few sentences, sometimes a paragraph or two.)

5. Then I distributed photocopies of teeth and students had to write two things on the teeth:
 - What question do they have about what has happened?
 - What do they think is going to happen.

6. I read the students' questions and predictions and we briefly commented on them.

7. Afterwards, each student picked up the novel La Casa de la Dentista and they could choose to read it alone or in a small group. If they chose to read it with a partner or in a small group, and to remember to include the sound effects when reading.

This is what ENGAGED reading looks like which is a reminder that is doesn't have to be SILENT reading. 

8. When the student below finished, I heard her reaction to the book and then I asked her if she would share that reaction/opinion on video.  Then I showed her the note from Sr. Wooly on the last page of the glossary because she hadn't seen the note. 
Make sure your students don't skip over that promising bit of information!

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the way we read the book this semester is different than before, and both ways were engaging and enjoyable for the students. However, I may tweak it a bit and implement a slightly different approach next time, PLUS I'll include the cookies again - something I did last time but forget this time. :(

Thank you Jim Wooldridge for writing a compelling story and for the sweet "promise" on the note in the glossary. 


  1. What sound effects did you use and how did they fit into the lesson? What methods did you use to incorporate them? Did you have a student help out??

    1. I used sound effects for anything that would make noise: rat scurrying across the floor, gasps, the floor boards moving, waves splashing as the girl looks out across the ocean, panting when running, footsteps, etc.
      I've read this to 4 classes, (2 last semester, 2 this semester). The first semester I did all of the sound effects as I was reading - whatever ideas came to my mind in the moment. The second semester, I chose two students per class to make the sound effects as I read (we only read the first half of the book together and students read the second half in small groups). If the students weren't coming up with good sound effects, I 'threatened' to "hire" new sound effects crew, which resulted in them brining their A game after that. :-).
      Have fun with it, the more you are into it the more the students will enjoy it and want to join in. :-)

  2. What level Spanish class did you use this with?

    1. At my school, each level of Spanish is less than 100 hours. Therefore, when someone asks what level I use it with, I prefer to respond to the question, "After how many hours of class instruction time did the students have?" - The answer to that question is around 320 hours. :-)