How to “ask” a story

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george-marks-woman-with-headache-while-readingI have received SO MANY emails in the last few weeks asking how to use a story script to ASK a story…and what does “asking” a story even mean??

All of the scripts that I write are modeled after the format developed by Anne Matava. Some portions of the story are required, and some portions are variables. The variables are meant to be determined by the class. It is so important to the storytelling (storyasking) process that you allow your classes to determine their own details, because the story will be infinitely more engaging because it is personalized!

I spent the better part of my day today writing a way-too-long tutorial on how to use Matava-style scripts to ask a story. I have tried to make it as comprehensive–and comprehensible–as possible, but if you have any further questions or need clarification, please post your concerns in the comments section here so that all of my readers can benefit from them!

Happy reading! Here it is: Matava scripts

9 comments

  1. Thank you times a million for this! I discovered your site earlier in the school year and have bought a few of your resources from TPT, but I have been hesitant to really jump into TPRS, even though it’s always in the back of my mind that I “should.” I’ve read books about it, bought demo DVDs, and tried it out a few isolated times over the years, but never consistently. After reading this, I scrapped my plans and tried a story on the fly. I definitely need to work on my circling technique (I’m impatient with it because I feel like it gets old fast — but then I’m not the one who needs all the reps) and my speed, but it was definitely more engaging than what I had previously planned. Thank you SO much for all of the thoughtful and well-planned resources! If I ever come up with something even remotely creative, I will be sure to return the favor and share. 🙂

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    1. What great news!! You go, girl! Every TPRS teacher has had the same of experience of saying, “Well, here goes nothing!” and just giving it out. The first step is the hardest…and there is always more work to be done and improvements to be made. I feel like that every time I observe one of Michele’s classes–I have so far to go!! I don’t think the oh.my.word.this.is.so.slow feeling ever leaves for circling, but you get used to it and learn to focus more on the students’ responses and their acquisition of the structures than on how many times you are saying it. Glad the tutorial was useful!! And keep me posted on your progress!

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  2. Martina: After reading this over and over, I am all of the sudden stuck. I started with one of my “know-it-all” classes today. I was using Camina y Corre. The first line says, “Charlotte es una muchacha muy inteligente. I know that Charlotte can be changed, but how do I start? Do I say it in English or Spanish??? ¿Es Charlotte una muchacha o un muchacho? or do I say, ¿Quién es la muchacha? I am so confused. In other words, how do I offer them the chance to change the places or the characters. For some reason, I cannot remember. I’ve read the tutorial many times and I’ve done this, but for some reason today, I am stumped. (Maybe that’s a sign it’s time to retire! ha!)

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    1. Say, “Clase, hay una persona. Es una persona inteligente. Pero también es una persona desobediente. ¿Cómo se llama la persona?” Then, for places, say, “Clase, ¿adónde camina (character)?”

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  3. Ms. Bex, Thank you for your demos, resources, and everything else. I am a new teacher, teaching two new grades at a new school, and your work is so valuable. This last week, I tried circling using the templates (fantastic!) with an activity from a textbook, and the students were so bored I had heads on desks. I’m totally new to TPRS/CI, and I think, from watching this, that the bit that I’m missing is the personalized story asking. So, having this as a resource that I can come back to is amazing. I have two “standard paced” classes that are both hyper and disinterested in Spanish, and I think that learning how to ask stories and stay in-bounds with vocabulary might just be they key. Thank you!

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