Chain Reaction Variation

Chain ReactionToday, I had the great pleasure of escorting Cindy Hitz around Anchorage to observe some of our CI teachers. We visited Michele Whaley and Betsy Paskvan, but I will write about those visits later. We were also able to observe Cara O’Brien Holen, a French teacher at West High School here in Anchorage. Cara had an awesome variation of the Chain Reaction activity! Instead of writing questions and answers in the third person form about the story, she created an interview with one of the characters! The questions were in second person, and the answers were in first person, told from the perspective of the main character. Here is how she went about it–ingenius!

  1. She paired up students with their shoulder partners and gave each pair a set of completed Chain Reaction cards. The cards were in envelopes, and the envelopes were junk mail envelopes–hello! How clever is that?!
  2. The students worked together to line up the Chain Reaction cards in a diagonal/staircase. Again, this was so clever. The kids just place the answer portion of each card (the top half) to the right of the question to which it corresponds. This creates a natural staircase that looks neat! Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 9.32.30 PM
  3. She had the students read through the questions as if they were the interviewer/interviewee (student A was the interviewer and read the questions aloud and Student B was the interviewee and read the answers aloud.) This was a speaking activity but still provided Comprehensible Input because they were READING, not creating the language on their own.
  4. Cara led a class conversation as if she were the interviewer and the class was the collective interviewee. She targeted her questions at individual students, and they would respond by reading the corresponding answer to the question that she asked (everything was on the cards). So, it was as though all of the students were the main character from the story, but she just spoke to one of them at a time. After she asked the question printed on the card, she asked clarifying and circling questions and did comprehension checks after they read the response to the question that she asked.

Cara was able to get tons of repetitions of the first and second person verb forms this way! I love this idea!

7 comments

  1. Sounds like an awesome idea to work with other persons besides he/she, I and you. Being new to CI I don’t have too much to work with in the we and they forms and it looks like this can lead to that. This is a great from what I was able to understand of the steps in the activity. I wasn’t clear on how the answer/questions were done…steps 3 and 4?? Do the students do this in groups and then the teacher interviews as a class and circles? ¡Estoy perdida! I want to get this right because it looks like a great activity. I wish we had more teachers here in Georgia that I could go visit and do as you all did in Alaska. I have learned so much from you and the others in the blogs. Thanks again for sharing your great work!

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  2. I agree with you, Martina. It was a great activity and I plan to use it with one of my readers. Why didn’t one of us think to take a photo of the cards in the activity? That would have made it very clear. Next time, right?
    Cindy

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  3. […] Chain Reaction Interview – You can play the standard version of this game, but I especially love the interview twist that I observed from Cara O’Brien-Holen a few years ago. The stages of the activity will fill an entire class period, and little energy is required from the teacher. I have created Chain Reaction activities for class stories and Movie Talks, and I especially love using them for content (as I did when teaching about Carrie the Dancing Merengue Dog, the origins of the word Gringo, and Biblioburro, to name a few). […]

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