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Didctica Especial II y Observacin y Prctica de la Enseanza II

TELLING STORIES TO YOUNG LEARNERS Observing the class

2013

After being assigned the place -Kent Institute- and the group- Older Kids 1 (8-9 year-old students), we observed a class and took notes of the most important characteristics of this group as well as the English level and their preferences. Besides, we were able to notice that these young learners were keen on naming different exotic animals such as lion, tiger and snake. In addition, we also realized that in this class the focus was on oral activities repetition (individually and chorally) - and the teacher (T) put great emphasis on repetition drills for those words with difficult pronunciation, e.g: curtain. Finding the correct story After observing the class, we got together and tried to find a suitable story for this group of students (SS). We spent a whole afternoon reading some books and searching the web but we could not find the correct story; some of them were classics and we thought that the SS already knew them; others were too simple or too complex. Finally, Susana lent us a story prepared by other classmates and we had a model to plan our own production. Preparing the story Once we had a model, we decided to prepare a similar story (the plot and the moral were the same) but we changed the characters and the setting. We took into account the SS likes as regards the exotic animals so we decided to include animals from the jungle (chameleon, leopard, snake, frogs, tiger, toucan and monkey). Our story was called: William, the Chameleon. We reached the decision that big posters with the text written on it was useful to tell the story in this context. We drew and coloured 11 posters. We really enjoyed this activity since we could use lots of coloring techniques and textures, which we thought were going to increase the SSs interest and motivation. In addition, we used rhymes with the different animals names, for example: Kate the snake, Leonard the leopard, etc in order to play with and practise different sound patterns. Pre- telling and post -telling activities Besides, we also prepared some pre- telling activities which were important for the SS to understand the main ideas in the story. We used images of different emotions and feelings to pre-teach key vocabulary and a hidden picture of William the Chameleon for students to find out which the main

Alaluf, Judith Gonzlez, R. Cecilia

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Didctica Especial II y Observacin y Prctica de la Enseanza II

2013

character was and, in that way, arouse the SSs interest in the story. We also considered 3 post- telling activities (five YES-NO sentences, listening and coloring, and drawing the SSs favorite character). Delivering the story The day we delivered the story we felt really comfortable with the group as well as with the teachers who were observing us. That day, there were two groups together listening to our story. After arranging the classroom and pre-teaching some vocabulary ( chameleon, feelings and emotions: sad, happy, scared, etc), we told the story twice; the first time we read it and the SS listened to us. The second time, we made the SS repeat the story. We considered that it was a good choice to practise pronunciation and intonation. Regarding this, as Irina pointed out, it would have been much linguistically productive to allow the SS to interact more with the story, for instance, by mentioning the different animals feeling at the time we were telling the story. In relation to the activities, we also consider that the first activity was rather difficult for the little ones. However, we think we could manage it since we could check it as a whole class. The second one was very nice too and the third one should have been given as part of homework since it took too long. Final Remarks We both consider that telling the story in pairs was a very productive activity for our teaching experience since we learnt a lot from each other and shared our different teaching styles. Besides, producing our own story was very interesting since we could incorporate some elements we had observed previously in this context (e.g. exotic animals). After we finished telling the story, we realized that it had been rather lengthy. It took longer than the allotted time. We consider that next time we have to be a little more careful with this issue. All in all, it has been a very positive and rewarding activity for both of us.

Alaluf, Judith Gonzlez, R. Cecilia

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