Tuesday Tricks: Choric Storytelling

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April 24, 2012 by k. liz

I have been learning a lot recently about how it is best to not have students simply listen and repeat. It saps the meaning out of conversation and makes learning rote and boring. However, can I tell you one little area in which I have found that to be not true? It could still be true, however, it is possible to create an activity that will utilize listen and repeat strategies while still maintaining meaning and enjoyment.

We have been studying the Three Little Pigs in Ana-A. Once we got the story down, and I made sure that the students knew what was going on, we began doing choric storytelling. As I’ve said before, my little guys can’t read yet, so I cannot have them read aloud. But, they are pretty good at repeating (sometimes when I don’t even want them to!)

So, I created my own version of the Three Little Pigs for them to learn to tell. This story is especially great because it makes use of repetitive phrases and parallel pieces. My version of the Three Little Pigs is below. Now, a couple of reasons why I liked this.

1. It is giving my students training in connected speech and intonation. They copy me pretty well, so they are practicing more than their one word sentences that they create.

2. It is giving them models of phrases rather than just words. My students have now started noticing things like “once upon a time” in other stories.

3. It is filling in pieces of grammar and vocabulary for them.

4. It is raising questions. I mentioned this last week, but activities like this that we spend a long time on and do over and over again force my students to really think about the language and they start asking questions about things that they don’t understand. I have really enjoyed this!

Now, for my version of The Three Little Pigs: (remember, students repeat at every line break.)

Once upon time, 
There were three little pigs,
And they left their mommy
to build their house.
The first little pig
made a house of straw.
The second little pig
made a house of wood.
And the third little pig
made a house of brick.
Then the big, bad wolf came,
and he said,
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”
And the pig said,
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”
So he huffed,
and he puffed,
and he blew the house in.
Then the wolf came,
to the wood house
and he said,
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”
And the pig said,
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”
So he huffed,
and he puffed,
and he blew the house in.
Then the wolf came,
to the brick house,
and he said,
“Little pig, little pig, let me come in!”
And the pig said,
“Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”
So he huffed,
and he puffed,
and he huffed!
and he puffed!
But that house did not fall!
So the wolf thought,
“I will climb this house,
I will go down the chimney.”
And he fell in the soup!
The end.

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