When it comes to writing your own classroom stories the possibilities are endless. Stories from a T/CI curriculum such as ¡Cuéntame! are time saving when the school year starts to get hectic, but there is something great about tailoring a story to the interests and humor of your students. I often write stories around a list of new high frequency structures that I want my students to acquire. Other times I see a picture or a prop that inspires me to write a story. When I saw the image below stories instantly started brewing in my mind!
Since it is the beginning of the year I wanted to have a story that used structures that my students would be hearing frequently in class. This list included: se sienta, se levanta, prende, apaga, camina, corre, abre, cierra. I started this lesson by using TPR to review/reinforce the above commands. During the TPR I broke my class up into two groups and gave each group the name of a different Spanish speaking country. Then I addressed each group separately using their country name. I saw Jason Fritze use this technique and I was amazed at how engaged the students stayed during the TPR. Not only did they have to listen to the commands, but they also had to pay attention to which group I was asking to do the command. It was a great way to keep TPR novel!
After reviewing the main structures for this story through TPR (none of these structures were new for my students) we started acting out the story. Here is the basic script:
Hay un chico. El chico se llama Billy. Un día Billy camina a su casa. Abre la puerta y se sienta en el sofá. Billy prende la tele y mira su programa favorito __________. (Here the students came up with different ideas for Billy's favorite TV show and voted on their favorite suggestion. I then gave our classroom artista 3 minutes to draw a scene from the show and we taped it to the TV. Describing the drawing offered great comprehensible input for the students--plus the drawings were hilarious!).
The ending came from reading Mike Peto's blog post about his favorite bailout moves. Mike uses what he calls the "unexpected ending" where the opposite of what the students thinks is going to happen is what happens. In this story I was building up the suspense for the dinosaur to eat Billy, but in the end it was Billy who ate the dinosaur.
What inspires you when you write a story for your students? I'd love to hear about home run stories that you use during the beginning of the year.