This week I started my new 7th graders on storytelling. We did about three weeks of straight TPR and it went really well. When I told the students that we were going to do stories now there were actually grumbles because they liked it so much. I will say, though, that TPR is most effective when it is personalized, otherwise it is just actions. The students need to be apart of it and be seen doing it. They need to be seen buying into what the class is doing. It creates this amazing positive environment.
I started out with a story that I got from the Fluency Fast series. It is a good introductory story that I did last quarter. Well, I have been able to see the fruits of my labor. I have been more loose with the stories and it has been way more believable. Then, today I had a breakthrough!
We were going in the story and the girl needed elephants because Matthew McConaughey likes elephants and of course the girl likes elephants, too. Well she was looking for the elephants and she found a gorilla. At this point she was very excited and I picked up on the fact that she likes gorillas in real life. So, I asked her [in Spanish of course] which one she liked better gorillas or elephants and she said gorillas. I was not expecting this, but hey, this is what it is all about. So, I went home that day thinking of where I could take the story for tomorrows class to finish it.
I had a plan to make everything work out. Do you think it happened. Of course not. The kids had something better. We were going through the story today and I hit another glitch. In the town that she was in, Bliss [A total Blainism], there were three people: [as planned] the girl, Matthew M., and then someone said, Ryan. I don’t even remember Ryan’s last name, but all I know is that she liked him. So I went through the same process that I did with the gorillas. I came to find out that she actually liked Ryan more than Matthew M. Crazy, isn’t it? So, the wheels started turning in my head.
Basically, I took the story off the tracks and it forged new tracks. It was so liberating for me and the students. I kept it about them and took their ideas. I was finally at a point in storytelling where I could go offroading with the acquisition train and keep it going. I feel growth and I hope that it continues.