Sunday, January 6, 2013

25 Ideas for Extending the Learning With Each Story

Just received a question from a friend via email asking if I had  written a post about ideas to extend the learning/practice the language more with stories. Which made me think, well, I haven't written a specific post about strategies that would be used more than once with different stories,  but maybe I should.  Here was my response:  


To extend learning and language acquisition in general, I simply keep adding more vocab sets and telling more stories (of gradually increasing language complexity and sophistication.)  If you want to give students more practice with the same stories, here is the most complete list I can think of right now for what can be done with a single story:

1. Tell story with actors
2. Ask questions about the story with choral response
3. Ask individual students questions about the story
4. Do verbal fill-in-the blank with choral response
5. Do written fill-in-the-blank by making the story into a cloze exercise (blanking out some of the key words)
6. Have students tell the story to a partner
7.  Have students tell the story Round-Robin style in groups
8.  Have individual students tell part or all of the story
9.  Do Whole-Class Acting where class stands up and acts the story out as you re-read it aloud
10.  Have students put sentences of the story in order (you have to pre-make sentence strips for this) - they can either do this on their desks, with a partner or individually, or as a whole-class Line Up
11.  Have students arrange pics of the story and then tell story to a partner
12.  Have students arrange pics of the story and then write the story
13.  Have students think through and complete a graphic organizer about the story (I have a gazillion different graphic organizers copied in the file cabinet handy)
14.  Have students write a different version/different ending for the story
15.  Have students reenact their version or ending for class
16.  Send a translation (Spanish to English) version of the story home for homework (double-spaced, size 12-14 font, so they can write under each line)
17.  Have students translate a paragraph of the story (written) in five minutes
18.  Have students read the story with a partner, switching off after 1 minute intervals (translating out loud into English, usually, although I sometimes have them read out loud in Spanish and then ask them questions in Spanish to check comprehension)
19.  Have students make a video of the story and turn it in as a project for a film festival
20.  Have students write a new story using the same target vocab
21.  Have students write a children's book using the target vocab (this can also be a project)
22.  Have students fill in a Mad Lib version of the story
23.  Have students write T/F quizzes for each other about the story
24.  Daily matching vocab quizzes with the most recent target vocab
25.  "Vocab Bowl" game where students translate each vocab unit for points for their team

Some of these things work better with middle school classes, others with differing levels of high school Spanish; some of them depend on the size of your class and how much they can move around.  Almost all of them are included at some point in my lesson plan books along with a set of vocab and a story that I think they compliment well.

The activities above that I use pretty much daily in Spanish 3 and 4 are #1, 2, 6 or 11, 18, and 24.
The activities that I use frequently are #16, 17, and 22.  I would say that as a rule, you want to focus more class time on actual reading, writing, speaking, and listening than on things like the Vocab Bowl (which I mainly used in level 1 as a way to review for a test.)  Everything else for me is once in a while, although now that I've made this list, I'm inspired to shake up my routine a bit this Spring.

With Spring semester starting in a couple of days, it's a perfect time to sit down and generate some creative ideas, so I appreciated this prompting from my friend.  Wishing you all a fun, productive semester...