Monday, November 21, 2022

How do I entice thee to read, let me count the ways

 Whenever possible, I pack as much reading into my daily lessons as possible. This requires me to find different ways to present the readings, ways that entice the students to read a text and to understand what they are reading and not simply seeing the words on a document without attaching meaning.

Would you believe that students actually LIKE reading, in a second language, when you offer them different ways to read or different tasks that can only be completed successfully if they read the text? It's true, although you may drain your brain thinking of authentic, varied ways of doing this.

I use the Storybuilders from the Comprehensible Classroom in various ways with my students. I like adding the Storybuilders to my lessons because, first of all, the stories are interesting, unrealistically fun, and totally unpredictable. That alone creates interest for the students. Secondly, the students ARE READING!!!

Last school year I tried a new game with the students that was linked to the Storybuilder the Comprehensible Classroom from SOMOS 1 Unit 7, Canela y su abuela. The object is for students to read the story, following the story path that I have chosen, and then work together to answer questions about the story.

These are the steps:

1. Give your students access to the storybuilder. I link it to the class Schoology page so they can read it, but not make any changes to the google slide presentation.

2. Give students the Story Path that they need to follow. (If you're unfamiliar with Storybuilders, they are similar to choose your own adventure books. The students read the story and after a few slides they are presented with a choice. They continue to read and make choices to which direction the story goes until it comes to a logical, or illogical, end. Then the slide returns them to the beginning of the story and they create a new story by making different choices throughout the story.)

3. Put students in groups of 3 or 4 and have them read the story following the story path that you have designated.

4. After reading, students close their computer. Each student needs a mini-whiteboard, a marker, and an eraser.

5. Project the first question on the board that relates to the story and story path they just read. The students quietly discuss the answer in their groups and then EACH STUDENT has to write the answer on their mini-whiteboard. It is NOT a race, but rather you want the students to take the time to write their answer and check the answers of the other members of their group.

6. Students hold up their mini-whiteboards. Project the slide with the answer. The group earns 1 point if each member of their group answered the question correctly.

I mix up the questions so there are cierto/falso questions, short answer questions, translations, and fill in the blanks.

These are a few of the benefits of this activity:

Click on the link to see/access my google slide presentation for this Storybuilder

Please note: I have expressed written consent from Martina Bex at the Comprehensible Classroom to share this activity with information related to the story from the Storybuilder.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Scavenger Hunt - Get students up and moving!

May seemed like the perfect month to create an activity for my students that would require them to get up and moving in order to read and answer questions. I wrote a basic story, Marcos se quejó mucho and then created the scavenger hunt based on the story. 

The overarching purpose was to familiarize the students with the verb QUEJARSE before watching the Sr. Wooly video, La Dentista. The previous day I had used PQA (personalized questions and answers) based  on what students, teachers, and others complain about and then asked students if they complained about various things the previous day. That class conversation paved the way for this activity.

The story is about a boy that goes to school on Friday and complained about quizzes, a teacher not being in the room to get help, an overdue library fine, and other reasons. Each place that Marcos went in the story and complained are the locations that I posted questions that students had to answer. Some questions were directly related to the story and others could be answered without the story.

Below are the instructions I handed out to the students.

Scavenger hunt


a. to answer the 8 questions correctly in order to...

b. ...get the words for the secret questions, and

c. to unscramble the words to make a question

It should take you 15 minutes or less to find the 8 questions throughout the school, answer the questions, and return to the room to get the last WORD for the question.

1. Read the story Marcos se quejó mucho. (The locations that Marcos goes to in the story is where you will find the questions!)

He complains about 8 different things in the school. In order to know where to find the 8 posted questions, read the story and go to the 8 different places mentioned in the story.

2. Answer the questions posted throughout the school. Write the words that are written in CAPITAL LETTERS after the correct answer to the question. (Remember: you need to answer the questions correctly in order to have the correct 8 words/phrases to unscramble and form a question!)

3. After you have the 8 different words/phrases, return to Profe Hitz's class to get the 9th word.

4. With your partner/group, unscramble the question and hand it to Profe Hitz.

The two screenshots below are from the activity. The first one has a question NOT based directly on the story. The second screenshot is a question based directly on the story about Marcos.

One of the questions NOT directly based on the story

Ideas to make this activity run smoothly:

1. Tell the students the expectations for their behavior in the hall. Email your colleagues and let them know your students will be in the halls and at what time they will be moving throughout the school.

2. Before class, I highlighted one of the 8 places on 8 different papers so students didn't all have the same starting point.

3. I put students in pairs or groups of 3.

4. I distributed the paper to group 1, which had "biblioteca" highlighted because it is the first location that Marcos visits. I told them to leave the classroom and go to the location highlighted on the paper and then continue with the story in that order.

I gave group 2 their paper, with "la clase de Inglés" highlighted and told them to start there.

For my class of 29, after I had given papers to the first 8 groups, I then gave group 9 a paper that started them at the library. It helped keep groups from all going to the same place to start. If I had extended the story to 2 or 3 more locations, that would have been even better!

5. I wrote the last word "PREFIERES" on the board after all groups had left my room. When they returned to my classroom, I directed them to look at the board and start unscrambling the words to make a question.

The story is pictured below. The directions and accompanying questions are  available HERE.  (Hopefully the link works for you!)