Wednesday, February 20, 2013

have you considered? other types of stories (with example)

I am wondering what kind of stories your class reads.  Is it always a funny story with the bizarre thrown in?  I know that's very popular, but a recent conversation with a colleague started me thinking.  She was telling me that incoming students only knew how to write stories--they had no idea how to write a serious composition, article, or letter.  I realized that there was no way that they could, since they'd never been exposed to those types of readings!  So I decided to include serious stories, articles, and letters in their reading.  Although I teach Spanish, I will not concentrate solely on Hispanic culture.  Just as the funny stories concentrate on what they like, so will the articles.  For example, my first article  is about Psy, the Korean rapper who wrote Gangnam Style.  More accurately, it's about Gangnam style itself.  I also intend to start every new song with an article about the singer.  By the way, I meant to include the article, but I forgot it at school.  If anyone is interested, comment and I'll include it after break.

Besides the article itself, I also include activities.  For example, after the article about Psy and Gangnam style, I gave them a true or false activity, where they decided if the statement was true or false and changed the false statements to make them true.  I did this the next day and was surprised at how much of the article they remembered.

Last year, I wrote a story about Karen Carpenter, the singer who died from anorexia, with vocabulary from LICTM chapter 4.  Afterwards, the students wrote what they remembered about the story.  I used their work as an embedded reading.  In addition, I asked them to write what else they would like to know about the singer (in English), and I included that in a further reading.  We did this three times in all, with the final reading being quite long.  The students stayed interested because they were reading answers to the questions they themselves had asked.

I have also written science fiction, horror and other serious stories.  I think that my students enjoy reading them because they know that I enjoy writing them.  And of course, I write lots of the funny and bizarre, too, although I tend to go in more for irony than bizarre.

I hope that this post helps you start thinking about putting some variety in your writing--it can be a nice change of pace from the boys looking for girlfriends, the bears with problems getting on planes, and all the other things that we TPRSers enjoy writing.

Happy writing!

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