New Versions

This is an activity that you can use after you’ve finished telling a story that came up at our group on Friday night as well, and I have had a lot of fun using it in the past. It’s great because there are many different ways that you can modify the same basic idea to come up with different activities in order to maintain novelty in your classroom.

You will begin with a typed version of the story that you have finished creating with your class. For example:

  • Naomi is a smart student. She loves bananas but she hates apples. She has lots of apples, but she doesn’t have any bananas. She asks her friend Monkey for bananas. He doesn’t have any bananas, so she asks her friend Giraffe. He has lots of bananas but won’t give them to her because he thinks Naomi is bossy. Finally, she asks her friend Elephant for bananas and he gives her two. She says thank you and eats the bananas.

First, underline all details in the story that you solicited from students. (If it is a script that came from me, these parts are already underlined, as in Jorge el curioso.)

  • Naomi is a smart student. She loves bananas but she hates apples. She has lots of apples, but she doesn’t have any bananas. She asks her friend Monkey for bananas. He doesn’t have any bananas, so she asks her friend Giraffe. He has lots of bananas but won’t give them to her because he thinks Naomi is bossy. Finally, she asks her friend Elephant for bananas and he gives her two. She says thank you and eats the bananas.

Next, give a copy of the script to each student (or to pairs of students, if you so desire). Students will need to write a new version of the story by replacing all of the underlined components.

  • Billy is a super nerd. He loves computers but he hates iPhones. He has lots of iPhones, but he doesn’t have any computers. He asks his friend George for a computer. He doesn’t have a computer, so he asks his friend Marcel. He has lots of computers but won’t give them to him because Billy didn’t say please. Finally, he asks his friend Laura for a computer and she gives him a new iMac. He takes it home and drinks Mountain Dew and plays World of Warcraft all night.

There are many ways that you can extend the activity from here. Here are some things that I have used in the past:

  • Students make a storyboard or mural for their new version.
  • Students share their story with others using the Simultaneous Presentation format, with or without a storyboard as a prop.
  • Use one of the new versions (or pieces of one of the new versions) as a listening assessment or dictation.
  • Students write a compare/contrast essay comparing their version with the version from another pair.
  • Students share their story with you as a speaking assessment
  • You can make an embedded reading based on their versions, choosing components from different versions and combining them into one.
I like this activity because it gives students an opportunity to create with the language while forcing them to read and write the target structures correctly.

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