This year I have been doing a lot more backward planning from the novels and it has really boosted my stories. I have basically been picking out some of the important phrases from the novel and putting it into the story. This has freed me from using a script all the time and has really made the class a lot more focused. I used to [and sometimes still] put so much pressure on myself to think of a story or to come up with something interesting. Now I can sit back and just ask questions.
One thing that Krashen has mentioned is the need to acquire a language because of a need. The brain will acquire language a lot more easily when the L2 comes at a necessary time. Backward planning has really jump stared this for me. As I am going along in the story I have my backward plan template in front of me and I can insert words when a need arises and it is acquired a lot quicker because it makes sense in the story, rather than me trying to get something in that doesn’t fit into the story. The thing is, we have so little time in class that we need to be careful how we spend our time. We must make every part of the period as meaningful as possible. The backward plan helps to do that. It keeps the story moving with interesting details which the students can choose from.
The stories so far have been interesting and keep the pace moving. There is also more to the plot and it helps me to have more of a structure on the fly. Also I can still tell stories in the past with reading in the present because the novels will provide me with the reading that I need, as well as the extended dictation on the days following the story. I am curious to see where it will go this semester, but I have a good feeling about it.