Thursday, October 15, 2020

Story Scripts & Preloading Vocabulary


I'm a few days away from starting the novel "El escape cubano" written by Mira Canion. In my classroom, it's all about front loading the vocabulary before opening the pages of a novel so students sail through the reading with ease, making the reading more enjoyable.

For several years I've been using the story "La novia se queda en el ascensor". This year, with the need to revamp the formats of my story scripts in order to make the material available to those four different groups that meet at the SAME TIME each day: (1) those that are in my class on A/B days, (2) those learning at home on A/B days, (3) the 100% synchronous students, and (4) for those students in the classroom every day. 

Here is an outline of how I presented the story and provided extension activities for the story "La novia se queda en el ascensor".

1. Using a document camera so students at home can see and projecting onto my board for students at school to see, students and I filled in the vocabulary sheet below. Students already KNOW most of the words. The new words are the ones I highlighted in yellow. This shows the students that they already know most of the word, plus they are introduced to the new ones in the upcoming story.

2. I told the story using illustrations on Google Slides for visual support for both students in class and at home.

3. After telling the story, we read the story script. (page one shown below)

4. Then I asked 10 True/False questions. They listened to the questions and to go over the questions I projected the questions on the board.

5. I projected six slides, (one is shown below), in which students read the sentences and had to say if the sentence described picture A, B, or X - neither A nor B.

6. I uploaded the student copy of the story. It included title page (where students wrote their names so in my google drive it was clear on page one who completed the work); slide 2 had the directions; slides 3-5 had the story (but it was a jpg image of the story so they couldn't copy and paste the sentences); and slides 6-24, BUT...the illustrations were not in the correct order. The students had to order the slides by reading the story, and then they had to type one sentence (only one per slide) from the story for each slide.

7. Somewhere in there, we had read the story script again.

8. We played FLIP THE SCRIPT explained HERE.

Those activities flowed well together and were a nice balance of listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing.

Next, I'm working on making a digital file for the riddle I usually use before reading "El escape cubano". I'll share that on a future post.

If you are interested in the google slide presentation you can email me at cynthiaunderscorehitzatyahoodotcom    OR leave a comment below with your email.


  1. Where do you find the characters/ people that you have used in your google slides?

  2. Hola! I love the idea of using slides to give a visual summary of the story beforehand. In my class, we have been working diligently to pre-load vocab (which is super important in an online setting), but we have been only doing short stories or short videos so far. We start our first novel this week and I love this idea of creating a Google Slides presentation with visuals. Excellent idea!

  3. Could I get the download of the La Novia se queda en el ascensor.

    1. I sent it to you. Let me know if you have questions.

  4. I just used "La novia se queda en el ascensor" with my Spanish 2s to start prepping for "El Escape Cubano" and I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing so much and helping me feel a little more confident in my plan! As a side note, I was wondering if you have had any success reworking your digital riddle and if you could possibly share a little bit how you introduce the riddle to your classes?

    Thanks in advance!! Hope all is well.

    1. Hi Alicia, I'm glad "La novia..." story was useful for you. I actually just used it with my students a little over a week ago to prepare my second semester students to read El escape cubano.

      I put the riddle on a google slide with icons of a dog (not sure why I used a dog instead of a fox), a sack of grain, a chicken, a raft and a person. It's ... ok... but I'm still not satisfied with it. I tried to use it hybrid with those at home using the computer and those at school using paper but that didn't go well. To introduce it I told them what the goal was in getting all across the river but the man can only take one at a time (and I said, why? because it is a riddle and that's how riddles work - LOL). This time I only gave them a few minutes to ponder it and then I talked them through it.