With the end of the year fast approaching (less than 2 1/2 weeks left for me!), I’m spending my afternoons trying to think of new ways to review old stories. Today, we’re working with one of the favorite stories from each class and doing an activity that I’m calling “Ninesquare”.

First, choose a story script that you want to review. I recommend using your original version of the story, and not the one that the class wrote. This means that they will need to work from textual clues, not their memory, when manipulating the script.

I began by cutting and pasting the story script into a 3×3 table. Each box has two or three sentences in it; however many you need to add so that the entire story fits in nine boxes. Or you could do twelve boxes, whatever, it doesn’t matter. Make sure that you paste in the text chunks out of order (NOT left to right and top to bottom).

My students are currently sitting at tables, with two students per table. One person from each table gets a kit that includes two-ninesquare worksheets, a pair of scissors, two pieces of felt, and four-six crayons (or markers or colored pencils or highlighters…). I made sure that each table had the same six colors, but if that doesn’t work out, it’s okay. If you don’t have felt, you could use paper or nothing at all.

Activity 1: Grammar Focus

  1. Choose four to six key structures (grammatical) that (1) appear in the text, (2) you have studied throughout the year, and that (3) are important for students to have mastered in order to be considered “proficient” at their level. For my Spanish A’s, this was (a) nouns precede adjectives in Spanish, (b) the preposition “de” for possession, (c) cognates, (d) identifying verbs.
  2. I began by saying (in Spanish) underline five cognates with the color red. I gave the students a few moments to do so, then asked for examples from volunteers. They gave me the “coordinates” of the square in which they found an example (ex: the left square at the bottom; the top square in the middle column, etc.), and I underlined their example. There were probably ten cognates in the reading, and we covered most of them before we moved on.
  3. Then, I asked them to underline two examples of where the preposition “de” is used to show possession in green. We repeated the steps to share answers from #2. Keep choosing a different color for each of your target structures.
Activity 2: Ordering
  1. Have students cut apart the nine squares and re-arrange them in the correct order on the piece of felt. I like this because it grips the paper better than the slippery table, and gives them a designated work space.
  2. After a minute or two, work through the thought process to find the first square with your students. This will help students that are stuck and don’t know where to begin.
  3. As students finish, walk through and check their work. If they have an error, set aside the square that is out of order and have them re-try.
  4. When most students are done, ask for volunteers to stand and read the squares in order. (One student stands and reads the first square, another stands and reads the second, etc.) Circle the information in each square before moving on, targeting key vocabulary and structures in each square.
  5. Ask students to read aloud the story to their hand or their partner.
Activity 3: Switching Places
  1. Ask students to switch two of their squares (swap places).
  2. Then, they slide their piece of felt over to their partner and take his/her piece of felt.
  3. Partners race to see who can identify and correct the switched pieces first.
  4. Continue switching squares and racing to fix them to see who wins two out of three or three out of five.
Activity 4: What’s missing?
  1. This time, instead of switching squares, students will remove one of the squares before passing the felt to their partner.
  2. Their partner must summarize the missing information in the target language without looking at his or her own storyboard.
  3. Repeat to see who wins 2/3 or 3/5
This has been a nice change of pace for the kids, as it allows them to work with lots of different materials and is very kinesthetic.

One thought on “Ninesquare

  1. Love this game, Martina–it gives kids a reason to re-read the text several times. That’s where we develop fluency, but it’s hard to figure out ways to make them do it.

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