An idea from an old dog learning new tricks!

My Spanish teacher… yes… MY Spanish teacher…  (We used stone tablets and chisels!!) and I had lunch this week.  Although he was quite a grammarian, somehow he managed to get us really excited about speaking our new language.  He told me that as an ESL teacher at a university in Korea, he has discovered that his novices benefit the most from hearing and speaking the language in context and his teacher candidates from the explicit grammar rules.  It makes a lot of sense!  I feel the same!!  He also shared some activities he, as an old dog, has learned!  He wants to get his students communicating in the target language.  One was so good that I had to share!  “Storytelling Dominoes”

Chuck makes approximately 20 pictures that represent main events or characters of the story (now remember, this can be a TPRS story OR a retell/summary of an authentic text) into rectangles of equal size.  He makes one copy per team of 4-5. Students cut apart the “dominoes”, put them in the center of the table face down, and draw until the pile is gone.  Their hand will contain 4-5 dominoes.  These pictures should be familiar to students.  (He recommends using them in class as a review before asking them to complete this assessment.) The student with the first event in the story should lay down the first domino and tell the first part, the second event second, and so on until all the dominoes are laid side by side on the table and the story has been retold.  What a great (and interactive) way to have students revisit ANY type of story!! 

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

2 thoughts

Leave a Reply