Friday, October 9, 2015

Pictees and Retells

So this year I am trying to improve on my storytelling skills by encouraging more spoken retells to a partner and also writing retells (timed write 10 minutes).  I know that a lot of input precedes output. But unfortunately, my department still wants our kids to "speak" and "write" Spanish.  So I need to get the kids ready for other classes. And this is a pretty great way to build their confidence (hopefully).
Había una chica. La chica estaba en New York.
Tenía un perro feo. Quería un elefate pequeño...

The last retell we did over our first story went fairly well.  Some of the retells kids can do blow my mind.  Others leave a lot to be desired.  I find it fascinating how two kids in the same class can absorb at such staggeringly different rates!

Today I wanted to give my students a bit of reinforcement after working for a few days on our story.

I passed out a half sheet of paper with 6 squares.  Then, I pre-wrote out descriptions from their story in chunks (thanks to their class scribe!).  I heard this called a Pictee (Pictation) instead of Dictee (Dictation) somewhere.

Since all I have is Spanish 1, I told them in Spanglish my expectations of how they were to draw.  They were to draw as much as they could without writing words. So if a character wanted an animal, show that in a drawing. If they said, "I want an animal", draw the animal in the speech bubble, etc.

Había un chico. El chico era Pequeño Juan. Pequeño Juan quería
un búfalo gordo, grande, feo y fuerte...
I read the sections of the story to them and they had to draw a description in each square. After saying each description 3 times, I turned on the timer for 1 minute.

I walked around while they were working and encourage them and bragged about how they were so artistic and how jealous I am (in Spanish).  And then after we finished, I put them into groups of two (that they normally wouldn't have chosen) and had them retell for 1-2 minutes each.

Afterwards, I asked for 2 volunteers to retell the story to us in Spanish (the story structures were projected). And the volunteers typically do phenomenally. Even if they don't though, we applaud them and the class gets a bonus PAT for how brave their classmates are. I never correct what they say.  I let them do their best to express themselves.

Había un chico. El chico era Spencer. Spencer estaba en
BackPackistan. Spencer tenía un gato feo.
Quería el pelo de Donald Trump...
Since they just reviewed the story for me, I had the kids do a 10 minute timed re-write of the story. Given the fact that this was their second story of the year, I told them to write 35 words or more. Almost everyone wrote 50-100 words. Some wrote more than 100!

Reflection: I liked this activity. It broke up the monotony of class and helped us have something to look at while talking to a friend. I will definitely reuse this.

*They could write name of place but I encouraged them to draw something that represented the place if possible.

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