Having dolls and other toys act out a story is another way to provide your students with novel and comprehensible input. In the following story the roll of the mamá was played by a Barbie and the roll of the bebé was played by a small plastic baby. During the story I had the students duck under a table and hold the dolls above the table (like a puppet show). I told this story to my first graders, but more complex details and dialogue could easily be added for older students. Even with the simple text this story provided my students with compelling and comprehensible input. What more could you ask for!?
The story below focuses on the following structures:
El bebé tiene sed. El bebé quiere café. La mamá tiene café. El bebé bebe el café de la mamá. La mamá está muy enojada. La mamá se vuelve loca. El bebé está feliz. La mamá llora y dice "Mi bebé es mala".
Last summer at NTPRS Von Ray presented an improv workshop based on the book Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation. In the presentation Von spoke of the importance of avoiding preconceived ideas during the storytelling process and instead listening for surprise answers. When I asked my students what the baby drank and someone suggested coffee I immediately knew I had found my story. I found the surprise answer. On a side note, the fact that the coffee cup is larger than the baby helped make this story even more absurd.
While my actors were dramatizing the story with the dolls I had one student drawing the story on my iPad using an app called Educreations. The app itself is free, but there is a version that you can pay for that provides you with more options. Educreations has a lot of great features, but I mostly use the whiteboard screen. I ask for a volunteer to be our classroom artist and have him/her sit to the side of the room and draw the story as I am telling it. I tell the artist to draw each event in the story on a different page (you can easily add pages by clicking the over arrow in the bottom right corner). When the story is done I project the drawings on my iPad using an AppleTV (if you don't have this you could use a document camera) and retell the story. I go through page by page and verify the details with the artist. There is a lot of laughter during this process because the artist has inevitably drawn the main character without eyes, hands, or some other important body part. Retelling the story with the drawings provides you with a novel way to provide even more comprehensible input to your students. They are hearing the story again, but it is novel and exciting to them because they want to see their classmate's drawings.