Start with a familiar story; one that you’ve already finished asking in class. Break down the story into basic plot points; between five and eight is ideal. Each of the chunks should consist of one short sentence; something that could easily be read, remembered, and repeated later on. For example:
- The boy goes to Walmart
- He buys a swimming pool
- He brings home the swimming pool
- He fills it with water
- His arch enemy comes to visit
- He slashes the side of the pool
- The water spills out
- The boy cries
If you have a complicated story with many important details, I recommend either using just a portion of the story OR using the most basic, main plot points and using the activity extension described later on.
- Write or type each of the plot points on strips of paper. The text should be easy to read (size 36 or larger if you type it)
- Tape them to a wall in your classroom or in the hallway, scattered and out of order. I like to use the hall, but only do this if you won’t be disrupting other classes with the inevitable noise that arises.
- Divide your class into groups of no more than four students. Three is best.
- Have each group choose a secretary. He or she needs paper and a writing utensil.
- The other team members will take turns running into the hall, reading one of the plot points, memorizing it, and running back to the secretary to recite it.
- The secretary records each plot point, asking for clarification on spelling. If the runner forgets what s/he read or isn’t sure of spelling, s/he must continue running back and forth between the wall and the secretary until it is correctly transcribed.
- When all plot points have been recorded, team members put them in the correct order and present them to the teacher for approval. The first team finished wins!
Have students add in details and/or missing plot points. So that they have some direction, you could tell them that #3, #6, and #8 are missing, for example, so that they know which parts of the story you want them to add.
Another more artistic extension is described here.