On a high after my first lessons exploring TPRS pedagogy, I was really motivated to take it one step further and explore the skill of storytelling. A google search quickly confirmed that I would need to write my own story (Mainly Spanish and European Language stories available) so that it contained the exact language I wanted to target as well as incorporating already familiar vocabulary and sentence structures from previous unit of work.
After much thought, the story came to me one evening while walking the dogs! This is always the perfect time for me when thinking about any aspect of my writing, I work through blog posts, student dialogues, film scripts, in fact, just about anything and everything – and the best thing is that because it is just me with the dogs, once the idea has gelled, I can then say it aloud and hear how it sounds.
I wanted my story to ;
1. incorporate some language from terms 1 & 2 (myself & school),
2. incorporate some of the language we had circled the previous week (kenalkan),
3. be succinct
4. incorporate students
5. have a twist at the end
6. be easily performed
When it came together, I was so excited. I quickly returned home so that I could write it down while it was still fresh in my mind.
Here it is:
Before the first lesson, I identified the vocabulary that would be unfamiliar yet vital for comprehension:
and wrote them up on the board before students arrived for class.
We then began the first lesson by focusing on the pronunciation of these new words. I next wrote the meaning for each word alongside it and asked the class to suggest a gesture for each. This was lots of fun and students were very creative. The gesture I particularly liked was for ‘piket’ (yard duty) which was the enactment of putting the duty vest on. Simple yet effective. Once the gestures were each firmed in our minds, I began circling with, “Saya bermain hoki.” Colby bermain kriket? Tayla bermain apa? Once students had relaxed with this familiar line of questioning, I invited a student to become my first actor, with, “Mari!” I then asked him, “Oscar bermain apa?” to which he replied, “Saya bermain futball.” As a class we then repeated this using gestures for each word. I then began the story and asked Oscar to mime each sentence. The first sentence included the word, “aspel” (asphalt) – vocabulary from 2nd term – and at that point in time I was surprised that not one student remembered this word which to my ears, even sounds like asphalt!! However later it became clear that as they knew it was against the rules to play football on the basketball court, they had automatically disregarded that option!! Funny really as this was the basis of my story!! (i.e. A student doing the wrong thing!)
Next, a second actor was invited to the ‘stage’ and we began the 2nd line of the story. As a class we agreed on which teacher the actor was portraying and then she mimed the gestures as I spoke the next aspect of the story.
The third line, being an action word, also hadn’t been added to the initial list of vocabulary because it was oenapapatic and I had correctly assumed that students would easily work out its meaning.
At this point in the story, I stopped and repeated these 3 lines of the story with a fresh couple of actors. Once the first actors had demonstrated the action, others became keener to volunteer which was pleasing. For the next actors, we changed the sport, the teacher on duty (pop-up for Pak & Bu with this point) and the location.
This repetition was valuable, however as our lessons are 50 minutes, I started to run out of time. So unfortunately the latter half of the story was not circled anywhere near enough for my satisfaction and consequently we didn’t even cover the final stage of the story where the twist was! Oh well….
For the second lesson (and final lesson for term 3), I instructed students to form groups of 2-3, and then gave each a cloze of the first part of the story.
Even though I only had this one lesson of 50 minutes to achieve quite a lot, I have discovered that having a tight timeline when working with iPads, actually motivates most students to stay on task.
Their task for the lesson was:
complete the cloze
use the app puppet pals to create an enactment of the dialogue.
use themselves as the characters (not the clipart looking characters provided by the app)
upload to camera roll when finished.
Overall, I was extremely satisfied with this extension activity with the story – mainly because of the enormous amount of oral language each student was uttering. While most groups did not finish the task, I wasn’t too disappointed with that aspect. For me, the main aim of this lesson, was to provide students with an engaging way of manipulating and repeating the sentence structures we had worked on till it became firmly entrenched in their minds. Walking around and listening to groups recording their voices reinforced just how successful iPads can help in achieving this. Some groups edited and edited and edited, each time having to repeat their lines over and over and over again until each group member was satisfied with not only the pronunciation and expression but also importantly that the actions matched the words! Even now, 3 weeks on, students still remember lines from the story. Yesterday Jamie, clutched his leg and claimed, “Saya dikena Oscar!”. How awesome is that! (linguistically not the fact that Oscar had actually deliberately bumped his leg!)
Now enjoy a few of the finished projects: