FLES is popular!
I’ve recently gotten a lot of views on my post about using CI in the fles classroom. I’m so glad that everyone likes it! I’ve just started using CI in all of my classes this year and it has been pretty great. Some things I still have to work on, especially keeping middle school kids interested, but the elementary school kids LOVE IT! I highly recommend using some CI methods in your elementary class if you haven’t already.
One of the most popular things I do with the kids is Getting it Wrong. In the lower grades, this never ever seems to get old. I’ve found that with the upper grades, I get a lot of rolled eyes and big sighs, but the little ones can’t seem to get enough of it.
Another thing that has worked really well is creating a class story together. This activity is described in the Sixth Edition of Fluency Through TPR Storytelling by Blaine Ray and Contee Seely. If you don’t have this book, I highly recommend* it! It is a great resource for how to do everything in TPRS.
I use the general circling questions that I would use in a story to ask the story. I get several answers (3 or 4) and we vote. I use the voting process to get in lots of repetitions of the phrase “vamos a …” (“Let’s…” Or “We’re going to …”).
Here are some examples of huge kinds of questions that guide the stories:
- Quién estaba en _(place that class decides s/he goes)_?
- Adónde fue _(name)__?
- Cómo estaba _(name)__?
- Por qué quería _(the thing)__?
- __(name)_ tenía _(the thing that the class decides that s/he wanted)__?
- Qué quería _(name)__?
- Cuántos años tenía __(name)__?
- Cómo se llamaba ___?
- Había un chico o una chica?
- _(name of person 2)__ tenía _(thing person one is looking for)__?
- Qué tenía _(person 2)__?
- (_[Person 2]_ tenía _[something other than what Person 1 wants]__, pero no tenía _[the thing that carácter is looking for]_)
- Cómo estaba _[person 1]__?
- Adónde fue __[person 1]__?
- Quién estaba en _-place 2]_?
- _[person 3]_ tenía _[the thing that person 1 is looking for]__?
If answer is yes
- __(person 3)_ le dio _(the thing)__ a carácter?
- _(person 1)__ tenía _(the thing s/he is looking for)__?
- Cómo estaba _(person 1)__?
If answer is no
- Adónde fue _[person 1 to search for the thing s/he wants)__? Then, Story goes back to #8 and repeats again until the character finds what s/he wants.
I make sure to do the story creation at the same time with more than one class and I let them know that both home rooms (we have 2 home rooms per grade from k-8) will be doing the activity. I use this as motivation because after we create the story, I use the story that the other class created as the next story-asking activity. The verbs are all the high frequency verbs that we have been using in our stories up to the point of the story creating activity.
Here is an example of a story that the 4th grade created with me:
Había un chico. El chico se llamaba Michael J. Cloudy Singalongbottom. MJCSB tenía 2 años. Él estaba en Pluto. Él quería un Stormtrooper-amigo. MJCSB no tenía un stormtrooper-amigo y Michael estaba enojado.
MJCSB fue a Cloud Cukoo Land. Había una chica en Cloud Cukoo land. La chica se llamaba Unikitty. MJCSB le dijo a Unikitty, “Tienes un Stormtrooper-amigo?”
Unikitty le dijo, “No, no tengo un Stormtrooper-amigo. Tengo Cloud-fluff-tickles, pero no tengo Stormtrooper-Amigos.”
MJCSB tenía frío.
MJCSB fue a la basura. Había un chico en la basura. Se llamaba Banana Peel. MJCSB le dijo: “Tienes stormtrooper-amigos? Necesito Stormtrooper-amigos.”
BP le dijo: Sí, tengo muchos Stormtrooper-amigos.”
BP le dio 1 googol Stormtrooper-amigos a MJCSB.
MJCSB estaba feliz.
There was a boy. His name was Michael J. Cloudy Singalongbottom. He was 2 years old. He was on Pluto. He wanted a Stormtrooper-friend. MJCSB didn’t have a Stormtrooper-friend and Michael was sad.
MJCSB went to Cloud Cukoo Lando. There was a girl in Cloud Cukoo Land. The girl was named Unikitty. MJCSB said to Unikitty, “Do you have a Stormtooper-friend?” “No, I don’t have a Stormtooper-friend. I have cloud-fluff tickles, but I don’t have Stormtrooper-friends.”
MJCSB was cold.
MJCSB went to the trash. There was a boy in the Trash. His name was Banana Peel. MJCSB said to him, “Do you have any Stormtooper-friends?” BP said to him, “Yes, I have many Stormtrooper-amigos.
BP gave him 1 googol Stormtrooper-amigos.
MJCSB was happy.
Class-created stories are not a new idea. To be honest, there haven’t been many original ideas posted to this blog (see this post about how I feel about borrowing things and adapting them–link to help from my friends). There isn’t always a need to reinvent the wheel, especially since I’ve only been using CI methods like TPRS since this past August (2014)! The most important thing for teachers who are new or new to a new method is a willingness to experiment (and a willingness to go back to the drawing board when something fails). I have had many things fail. I don’t really write about them here, although I have written reflections on what I need to change.
Being willing to throw away the rulebook and/or to find a whole new rulebook to play by is scary, but can be incredibly rewarding.
I have just written my first class story which was such a great feeling. My next quandary, is what can we do with it? I tried popcorn reading it which was awesome as it gave students opportunities to read and reread their story however our first story was very basic to ensure 100% comprehension! Not sure if a more detailed story may suit this activity better? What have you tried successfully to capitalise on your class stories?
I just tell the story to the other group or groups. I definitely add a lot more details about the character we create-to give the students a visual of what s/he looks like and the world s/he lives in. Another idea is that you could have students read the story and then write their own comprehension questions or answer questions that you write; they could illustrate the story; or they could extend the story and/or write a new ending.
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