Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tip: Use Stories

We recorded a webex training session on our QTalk Conversation Pack DLS for Smart Board, and one of the components, the QTalk® Story Practice, is also available as a card-base activity we call "Story Cards." (If you are interested you can check them out at our website.)

Anyone can use this technique, just make up a story, or pick a story you think your students will enjoy.

Draw a series of "cartoon" scenes to illustrate the story, or take a series of snapshots with your camera. It can be very simple. Maybe a few sentences about a pet, or a child, or a neighbor doing something or going somewhere. Around holiday time there are ways to make a story that ties in with the holiday celebrations of the target language. Food always seems to be a popular topic, especially if your class period is just before lunch!

So, you have these scenes, and you may need to teach vocabulary the class is not already familiar with: Just point to the character or object in the scene, repeat the word or phrase, and have the class repeat several times.

Now - have fun! You can narrate the story, pointing at each scene as you describe the action. You can ask students to recap the story in their own words (target language only). You can ask them to tell the story using different tenses or different persons. After the storytelling, you can lead question and answer, or ask the students to pose questions to one another or take turns asking the class questions. You can divide students into groups and ask them to stage dialogues based on the story.

The great thing about stories is that you can use the same ones over and over during the year. As the students master more vocabulary and sentence patterns, their confidence and creativity will grow. And best of all - the communication is interactive and meaningful.

Please share: How are you using stories in your classroom? Which topics seem to work best?

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