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Storyasking made simple

July 24, 2019

Storyasking à la TPRS is one of my very favorite methods for facilitating language acquisition, and it is also one of the most complicated to learn. In this week's #summerSOMOSfunCLUB, Elicia Cárdenas and I shared some steps and strategies for maximizing its success in your classroom. Scroll to the end of the post to watch the video!

Storyasking made simple - get tips from pro TPRS storyaskers Elicia Cárdenas and Martina Bex to set yourself up for storyasking success this year!

Storyasking with pictures!

In preparation for our LIVE session on Storyasking, I did a little Storyasking Demo on Instagram using images. In the same way that this story unfolds by adding one small, suggested detail at a time, so does a TPRS story in class.

Build the story image by image

We begin with a character... a dinosaur!

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And our dinosaur needs a name!

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Okay... so his name is Dani... but what is he like? I pulled two adjectives from the comments to describe our dear T-Rex:

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Like every good character, Dani has a problem– a very serious problem! Dani's problem is that he can't....

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That's right!! Dani can't go to school. Dear old Dani! But why?? What is keeping him from getting an education?

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Of course, you probably guessed it... Dinos aren't allowed in school.

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And so Dani does what any good dinosaur would do: he dresses up as the principal and fakes his way in!

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Once he is in, he finds himself in a dreaded faculty meeting. SO. MUCH. TALKING!

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Unlike you or I, when Dani gets the munchies in the middle of a faculty doesn't end well.

Co-create the story one detail at a time

If you take some time to read through the posts and the comments, you will see that the story progressed through questions and suggested answers. Each time that I asked a simple question to advance the story, I took a very simple answer from the comments and incorporated it into the next 'scene' of the story. While there were tons of very creative and detailed ideas shared, I wanted to keep the story simple and to build it slowly. When you ask a story in class, you will want to do the same!

Storyasking WITHOUT a script

The Dani the Dino story was developed without a script; it was a "free-form" collaborative story. I started with a character, but I had no plot in mind. Together, my Instagram followers and I chose a problem and found a solution.

Many teachers ask stories without a script in class; just as we did on Instagram, they introduce a character to their students (or co-create a character!), choose a problem, and help the character find a solution. This free-form storyasking is very fun, and it can be intimidating to a teacher that is still learning how to communicate with their students such that the students understand.

Storyasking WITH a script

To give a little more structure and to make it easier to shelter vocabulary, many teachers (myself included!) like to co-create class stories by following a script. The script serves as a story outline, so the basic plot is pre-determined. However, the details are decided by the class. All TPRS stories that are included in the SOMOS Curriculum are created using Matava-Style scripts.

TPRS Storyasking Success Tips

Watch this Storyasking Success Tips video from #summerSOMOSfunCLUB to set yourself up for success this school year!

In this video, we cover

  • What a script looks like
  • How to use a script
  • What expectations and procedures to establish

Additional resources for TPRS storyasking

To learn more about storyasking, please visit this posts:

To learn more, join the SOMOS Curriculum Collaboration group on facebook!

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