Thank you to November’s winner, Kristin Duncan, for responding to my HELP! Tweet about ideas for the December giveaway. Thanks to her brilliant mind, I am very excited to announce that this month, one of my lucky readers will win a year-long subscription to I blogged about this awesome resource back in 2012, and since then the website has undergone several changes. It has become subscription-based, and it has added many new features–including the ability to design and print worksheets! I still hold to my assertion that it is the best Web 2.0 tool for comprehensible input classrooms!!

So to enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment in which you describe your current favorite reading activity–any activity that you use to get students to work with a text for the first time, for repeat reads to provide additional repetitions of structures, to dig deeper, or to support Common Core standards in your classroom (sigh). I will announce the winner early in January (we will be traveling home to NY for the holidays, so I’m not sure how timely the post will be).

I look forward to reading what you are using to get your students reading in your classrooms!

19 replies on “Announcing…the Christmas Giveaway!

  1. A favorite reading activity: explore a text after free reading. Here it is: during free reading (beginning of class each Thursday and Friday) I select a student to choose an interesting passage from his or her reading material. After free reading, I hold up the item and we discuss what it is (book, magazine), what it is about, and make predictions (mixture of English and Spanish) using the drawings/photos. Then we project the text on the document camera and decode it. If it is really easy, we simply read it together in English (with some grammar pop ups thrown in). When it is more difficult, students call out words they know, which I write on the board. Then we work through the text using all of our language abilities (context clues, illustrations, cognates, word endings, articles, previous knowledge of subject/story, etc.). For novels, I often call on the student (if I know the student will be able to handle this) to fill us in on previous details (“so is “Marta” her sister or a friend?”). I conclude by thanking the student who chose the passage and give a reason or two why it was such a good choice (I love it when they look for recent vocabulary structures, for example!). This can be a really fun activity and can take however long you want it to. In one small class, for example, they have decided to read a page introducing a section in the Ikea catalog each time. We’ve covered lighting, home office, kitchen, bedroom, etc. It has been really fun.

    1. One favorite post-reading activity is to have students mark the text with possible sound effects. I ask them to be very specific and mark exactly where the sound should go and what it should sound like, either with English or Spanish onamotapoeias. We then do a class read aloud with ALL of the sound effects. A good time is had by all (except maybe neighboring teachers…)

  2. I don’t necessarily have a “favorite” because there are many activities I like to use when reading with the students. One activity I do after reading the text:
    1. Teacher prepares before class: Choose 10 sentences from the text/chapter that can be depicted in a drawing on index cards. Underline the first 3, 4,5, or 6 words in the sentence.
    2. Put students in groups of 3 and give each group a mini white board, marker & eraser
    3. Choose 1 student to be the artist (or more than 1 if so desired)
    4. Show 1st index card to the artist. S/he draws it on the board – no words, no numbers permitted. Teacher also writes # on the board to show students how many of the first few words in the sentence they need to write.
    5. The groups of students look through the text/chapter to find the sentence that was depicted. They write the determined number of words from the sentence (see #1 & #4) on the mini white board. It must be perfectly written since they are copying it directly from the text.
    6. Students wait to show their answer until teacher directs them to hold up the white board.
    7. Groups receive 1 pt if it is correct.
    8. Repeat with remaining cards prepared beforehand by the teacher, rotating which students in the groups are doing the writing part
    BENEFITS: students need to re-read the text to find the sentence, they pay attention to spelling as they copy the sentence, teacher can ask additional comprehension questions about each sketch for more repetitions, all students are engaged!
    Note: I have them write only the first few words to keep the activity moving.

  3. One favorite post-reading activity is to have students mark the text with possible sound effects. I ask them to be very specific and mark exactly where the sound should go and what it should sound like, either with English or Spanish onamotapoeias. We then do a class read aloud with ALL of the sound effects. A good time is had by all (except maybe neighboring teachers…)

  4. 1. My somewhat rowdy classes this semester love “playing” Write, Draw, Pass, from your website. I use this activity for many of our stories, having the first sentence be from our current story.

    2. My classes also ask to create a class book for each story. I post the sentences on the board and randomly hand out numbered pages for them to read the sentence, then write and illustrate it on a blank page.

    3. Probably the most successful reading activity we do is to read the story that we have told the day before. I type it, adding many new and interesting details, the night that I have asked the story. We read together, as a class, then I pass out the story and they read it with their seat partners. Pretty plain and boring, but oh, so helpful.

  5. I like the “airplane” activity that I learned at a TPRS workshop over the summer. Students sit in rows two-by-two, student A reads the first sentence in the TL and student B translates that sentence into English. Then student B reads the next sentence in the TL, and student A translates it into English. So on and so forth until I call “time” and then all of the students in one of the rows stand up, and shift back a seat. The students repeat the activity with their new partners.

  6. Wow! These are such great ideas. I love to work with students through novels (just finished Casa en Mango Street with some of my heritage speakers) and poetry (I use “Cool Salsa” all the time. Since our school has moved away from literature and towards informational text, I find myself snipping and laminating things out of the local Spanish-language newspaper to use as part of centers, bulletin boards and do-nows.

  7. My new favorite reading activity is one that was shared by Laurie Clarq at a recent TPRS workshop that I attended. I use it mostly with student created stories, but it could be used with any text. After students have created a story with target structures, I type up the story and project it onto a screen at the front of a room. One student volunteers to stand with their back to the screen. I use my laser pointer to underline each sentence of the story (in order). As I highlight, the class acts out each sentence… sort of like sharades. The student who is standing with their back to the screen does their best to retell the story in the target language using their classmates’ clues and their own memory. It is great fun!

  8. I have collected and laminated a ton of authentic ads in Spanish. I have them sorted by topic and are great to pull out for many different activities. For a quick time filler, I pass them out and have students summarize them in the target language, and then present to others at their table.

  9. After reading a story of chapter, I’ll have students illustrate key events by giving them sentence strips or by playing Write Draw Pass (thank you Martina!). I print the sentences on one page and paste the sentences in a random order on another page. Then I copy both, one for each pair to save paper. The next day, the students translate the sentences, cut them up and create a timeline with them. Then they cut up the illustrations and match them to the sentences. After I have checked their accuracy, the students play two games. The first is “What’s Missing?” One partner closes their eyes and their partner removes a matching sentence and illustration. Their partner must guess which event is missing. Then they would switch roles. I have them do this 3-5 times, depending on the class. The second game they can play is “Scramble.” Instead of removing an event, one of the partner changes the position of one of the events and the other partner must identify which is out of order. An extension activity for students who finish early would be to have them retell the story/chapter by looking at the illustrations (while the partner looks at the sentence text). The kids enjoy it and all the activities can be done in the TL.

  10. One of my favorite activities to use when introducing the structure is Socrative. is a website where you can take iPads, smartphones, or anything where students can connect to the internet. On my Smartboard, I pose questions using the structure that I usually get from Martina’s stories like Cierra la puerta, etc. Students translate on their iPads and it shows up on the Smartboard. The website allows you to have games and quizzes with whatever you set up. We translate, circle and at the end of the class, I have a quiz set on Socrative and their results can be emailed to me. The students use it all semester and they never get tired of using it. Nancy

  11. One activity that I like to prepare for my students to practice rereading a story at home is creating a note card set using Quizlet and pictures. I type the sentences with fill in the blank words that get typed for the other side of the note card. Students can practice the reading at home online by playing the scatter game in Quizlet or by printing the note cards and having them match the pairs of sentences.

    Here is an example of one of the activities I prepared with the Wildebeest animated short.

  12. One of my most favorite post-reading activities is write, draw, pass. I only started using it about a month or two ago and it is amazing. My students absolutely love it. I use it the way you suggested in having them copy a sentence from the story itself. My students don’t even realize that they are having to read the text 5 times over. They think this is a GAME! One student who had been absent each time we did this, was finally present one day. Another student said to her while explaining “Oh my god! It’s this really fun game!”

    I absolutely love that they think of it as a game and not something they HAVE to do. I try not to do it more than once a week because I don’t want them to burn out on this amazing idea!

  13. It’s simple, but I had an aide tear up some recent ‘People en Espanol’ magazines and separate them into piles of a) pages with ads and b) single-page articles, and c) longer articles. Thus leveled, I went through and chose the best for comprehensibility or interest and had the aide place these into plastic page protectors, so that there is a reading on each side of the page. The ads are helpful for beginners and early intermediate students to search for cognates, and as they acquire more language, the single-page articles are good for reading in groups and writing a group 1-sentence synopsis of the gist of the story. The longer articles are useful for intermediate students to read, or to have on hand for more advanced students in a lower-level class who need a challenge.

  14. I stopped pre-teaching Chinese characters and now rely on acquisition of the language in the text to carry kids into reading lengthy stories all in characters they have never seen before. It works, too.

  15. Simplest of all — I stopped teaching at the word level. Bucked 5,000 glorious years of tradition and went cold turkey. No more pre-teaching of Chinese characters. The kids read long texts with characters they’ve never seen before and do it just fine — because they’ve acquired the language in the texts first.

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