We have another story for you!

While at a conference I asked my students to email me some Spanglish story scripts. They had to state a problem, suggest three ways to solve it, and create an interesting ending. All stories needed editing in order to meet my students’ language needs, but it saves a lot of teacher time, and their stories are mucho más interesting than mine.

This story was written by Shelby of 7th hour: This traveler has been backpacking around the world for months, and has finally grown tired and misses her bed. She decides to return home, but she discovers that she has lost the key to her house somewhere along the way. In order to find her key, she must first complete three missions, which are actually just entertaining tasks that are chosen by the class. After every mission she finds something useful, but only after the last mission does she receive the key.

Some likely TPRS (Blaine Ray) steps:

  • Before class I edited the story, deleted out some elements to allow for student input, taped the main lines to the back wall as my cue cards, wrote some new vocabulary on the board, and gathered a couple of props.
  • Before we started storytelling I taught some key vocabulary via translation, gestures, and personalized questions.
  • We reviewed how to participate during a story.
  • We selected a student actress.
  • We told the story together. I made sure to do a lot of repetition, circling, and comprehension checks, although a lot has been cut to make the video watchable.
  • I answered pop-up grammar questions.
  • We wrote the story on the board.
  • We did a choral reading of the story in Spanish.
  • I asked questions about the story while they could still read it on the board. I highlighted key points with a laser.
  • We read the story together in English.
  • Students completed a timed writing and wrote down every single detail they could remember in Spanish.

Storytelling is so powerful for language learning, so have fun and stay-tuned!


Tell me something! Ask me anything!

  • Thanks for this idea! I love that you can gather props ahead since you know the story. I am new to TPRS and such a beginner at the storytelling. I remember seeing one of your videos where you wrote the choices for the variable story parts on the board and pre-filled them out with the students before telling. I like this approach. Thanks for modeling that. My classes are small and so far the toughest=worst part of doing a story for me is that it seems like certain types of students always seem to drive the variable story parts which I do NOT like. Because we are a small school, it’s clear to see that it’s not just in my classes that these personalities dominate (for various reasons.) Any other recommendations for steering around this yucky dynamic? Also – what percentage of your class time (per level?) do you estimate you spend on storytelling? Thanks so much!

  • Thanks for these great questions!
    How to get unique students participating: A. Pass out whiteboards/papers and make all students share their ideas. Pick the ideas from the students who are less likely to talk or collect the papers and have a class vote on the best ideas without telling who wrote them until after the vote B. While kids are entering the class before the bell rings – tell the quiet kids that you want them to begin to think about an interesting location for your skit today because you are going to ask them for it in 5 minutes without surprise.
    Storytime: We probably tell about two stories a week (20-30mins a story with circling/PQA beforehand), and then we do many different kinds of activities (reading, matching, comparing, reworking, games, drawing, role-changing, singing) using similar structures, vocabulary or themes.