29 March 2011

Activity 1: Cuento poco a poco

Telling a story by categories

photo by flamingoo

This idea came from a session at CSC on theater that was generally so awful that I left halfway through. Really, it was so bad it was painful. But, I came away with this activity that I thought I could make work in my classroom.
In "Cuento poco a poco," I use the fruit machine chooser to randomly choose a student to start. Then, the student has to begin a story with something from the first category. So, if it is 'things that are blue,' the student may say, 'En un planeta azul vivía un mónstruo' or something else according to his/her ability. Then the next student picks up the story by adding a detail from the next category. Make sense? These are the categories I started with:
• Cosas que son verdes
• Un sonido extraño
• Cosas que son cuadrados
• Cosas que son altos
• Una acción inesperada
• Un pariente
• Un hábito curioso
• Una persona en un show de televisión
• Un fin triste

The first time we did this, I found an unexpected benefit: the first time around, some students added a random detail that seemed disjointed and didn't actually further the story, like "the monkey had a grandfather who was a giraffe." So I explained that students should incorporate all the details together to make a coherent story. It made them listen to each other more and use other students' details to come up with a logical continuity. Sounds like subtle AP practice to me. :) We changed random words to whatever they wanted (green to red, tall to fat, sad to tragic, etc.) and began again, with a different student starting.



Sra. Spanglish said...

This is out loud? How do you frontload this? I foresee my kiddos having trouble starting, so do you have a list of story starters? All I know is érase una vez and había una vez. What kind of vocabulary comes beforehand? Mine would not think of planet or monster & would freeze.

I would really like to try this, but I think I need to prepare them (& myself!) more first.

Sra Cottrell said...

It is out loud... require vocab? Do it right after a vocab review to put it in context? Kids with more vocabulary try things like "monster" and "planet." Even my Spanish 3's started with things like "A man lived in a green house." (I require past tense from them but I wouldn't in lower levels.)

Tati said...

I love your ideas!

I was wondering if you know of a good salsa song? I am teaching a group of elementary school aged children a little about Latin culture and how to salsa dance. The only salsa music I have is from 1990's and I would love to use something more popular right now! Thanks for your help!

Sra Cottrell said...

Hi Tati! How about starting with the people listed under 'mejor album salsa' nominated for last year's Latin Grammy?