October 19, 2016

Student Videos – A Good Excuse to Retell

In this video you will  student actors (with their faces blurred) reënacting the story of Chairlie, a blue chair who sings the blues.  I am really enjoying using the Videographer each day, not only to record videos for YouTube, but also to record the student actors for the class end-of-the-year video.  Kids really like the professionalism that the videos bring to the class, and I realized that kids these days really love video, being surrounded by it everywhere in their social media and life in general.  Usually these videos go straight to the hard drive in the classroom, but the Archivist must have sent these to YouTube by mistake.  Here is a rare view of what student actors look like.  This tale is a re-tell of the story we had just created together so you can see that the kids are able to listen to a faster rate of speech, having just created the story together.  I like the excuse to retell the story like this so that the kids can just hear it at a more normal pace without any interruptions.  The new jobs that Ben invented last year to support the stories with the Invisibles are really upping the game in my classes this year.  It is, as Ben says, like we are all on the same team, facing the same direction.

New Idea for Stories

So, I had the pleasure of having Dr. Beniko Mason out to my room last week for a visit and demonstration of her Story Listening technique.  I was very eager to try it out with my students.  So, I decided to try it in French Two yesterday.  Beniko uses folk tales and traditional tales and fairy tales extensively, so I was planning to use the Three Little Pigs.  But yesterday I happened to decide on using one of their stories today.

And then today, a late start Equity Wednesday, I had another idea.  I wrote about it on the Facebook page CI Liftoff, a page devoted to working with Ben’s new inventions of student-created images and characters (aka the Invisibles) to drive your instruction.  Here is the post:

New Fuel.

I am writing here in the library surrounded by happy kids. They are making comic panels to fuel future input.

So, about a week or so ago, I was out unexpectedly so I really punted on the old sub plans. I had them read in the kindergarten books and then make a list of five new words they read and then use those words in a story that they wrote with their partner. They also drew an illustration. I know, it was kinda lame.

So then came the exciting part. The stories were just sitting there, not getting graded, not being read, just sitting there in the turn-in baskets. And kids would ask me from time to time, “When are we going to read my story?” And I was like, “Well, we have One Word Images to make and stories to create and birthdays to celebrate and suchlike!”

Beniko Mason Nanki. She was in my room last week and she demonstrated her story listening technique. She speaks considerably faster than I do, she draws on the board (quick, quick sketches) to establish meaning, she will sometimes write a little bit in English to establish meaning, she sometimes narrates partially in L1 (for her, Japanese…for me, English) to move the story forward (she says that she takes this away little by little throughout the year), and she just tells the already-made story. She does not create it with the class. it is more like Story Hour at the library. The story is already written, and students simply enjoy listening. She does not expect them to get every word. She wants them to soak up the language naturally, not worrying if there is noise in the input (words they do not understand) as long as they are following the story.

She uses folktakes and other published material. But yesterday in French Two I wanted to try this and I was casting my eyes about for a story to read, and I happened to light upon the stack of their writing from last week. I thought, “why not use one of their stories?” So I did. I used Beniko’s techniques. The story was hilarious! It was so fun that we did another one.

Today I thought of another idea based on a technique I learned from Claire Ensor. Claire uses wordless graphic novels with her students. First she narrates the story in her own words. Then the students go back into the book and add post-it notes, working with Claire to write and discuss the story.

So, what I decided to try is having students make wordless comics of their stories. Then I will use the written story to tell the story to the class à la Beniko and then afterwards to write in the wordless comics they are making.

One of my seventh period students just bounced over to tell me that his partner (who was absent) and he are making a new story – A talking eraser that gets bullied and then snaps and starts erasing people!

Kids are so endlessly creative that basing our input on their startling ideas cannot help but provide high-quality fuel for the input. Can’t wait to try these stories…after winter break when we need a boost!

By the way Ben Slavic I finally got my talking toast!   



2 thoughts on “October 19, 2016

  1. agarcita

    Salut, mon amie! This was a great post! Wish I could’ve seen Dr. Beniko Mason doing her thing in your class.

    So, I have a question: do the kids, when writing their own stories, write them in English or L2? I assumed it would be in English but thinking about it again, I wasn’t sure. L1 would allow them to be REALLY creative and natural with the story while not requiring any output. (I have a handful of kids in most classes who only want to write in L2 ‘cuz they’re so excited about being able to do it! I would, of course, let them do that if they wanted.) Just wanted to know what you did. I am definitely going to give this a shot. And thanks for reminding me to get the Videographer up and running. We’ve been in the middle of Día de los Muertos altars and the room is in shambles so we’ve not had any acting going on for three weeks. But that comes to an end on Tuesday. Shawna suggested having some CI at the start of each altar-building period so that’s what I’ve done and we’ve created some pretty cute Invisibles with some Day of the Dead vocab for fun. Hurray! I’m really looking forward to trying this out come Wednesday! Gracias y Merci!!

    1. lannyball

      I have a video of Dr. Mason but it is set to “private”. Email me and I will try to figure out a way for us to watch it together! 😀
      Day of the Dead Invisibles, so cute!
      Also, the stories I had them write in L2, because I wanted them to embed the new vocab. But L1 would word fine too and just have them list the new vocab off to the side (I have to admit I need the L2 vocab sometimes cause the heck would I know what “fire hydrant” is in Spanish! Hey people, non-native speaker here. AND PROUD OF IT TOO.


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