retell a story

Disappearing dialogues, colour-coded support

On the CELTA YL course I did a story retelling task. The students had watched a Shaun the Sheep video, and I’d pre-taught some of the tough vocab. After the video I wanted them to retell the story, but they needed a bit of scaffolding.

I gave them a set of sentence parts all chopped up. I modelled structuring one sentence, which showed them that the sentence order was colour coded (i.e. they knew each sentence would start with a blue part, have red in the middle and green at the end):

dialogues

This helped them construct the sentences – they had some picture prompts too. They had to make sure the sentences were in the correct order (following the story). Then…

  • I asked them to read through the sentences together to practise retelling the story
  • I asked them to do it again, but this time include sequencing language (First, next, then, etc) and try to connect shorter sentences with conjunctions
  • All the sentence parts are individual bits of paper, so I told them to remove 5 blue parts. They told the story again, remembering the info they’d removed
  • I told them to remove X amount of green parts…
  • Etc, until they could retell the story without support

What would make the activity better?

The segmentation of the sentence parts here is a bit random. You could get some better learning from it by colour coding with more purpose (noun phrases, verbs, etc). Mine’s a bit loose but I hope it gives some people an idea for scaffolding.

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.

Lesson idea: retelling a story in groups

Here’s a great group task for retelling a story. I came across it during the British Council summer school here in Bangkok. My teen group were doing activities based on the movie ‘Jumanji’, but this can work for any movie, fairytale, etc.

First, summarise your story in 100 words or so. You could use an existing plot summary from IMDB or even Wikipedia, and just cut it down as needed.

Once you’ve got the text, write it out into a table so that each word is in one of 4 columns, Here’s an example for the first sentence:

In 1869, two boys bury a mysterious and magical game – Jumanji.

In

1869 two boys
bury a mysterious and
magical game Jumanji

Etc…

Here’s the important part. Jumble each line of the text up so the words are in a different order. Then number each line to help learners keep track of where they are. Here’s the handout I gave them: (more…)