I am preparing my students to test over the novel “Robo en la noche” this week. We have read it in the past tense in my level 2 classes and they will take a test that involves listening to passages of the audio book and reading passages and answering questions about them. I have many students who just do not get enough repetition to acquire the language JUST from reading the chapters of the book. They need discussion, reading new things with similar structures, more discussion, and many of them still study vocabulary with flashcards or Quizlet. I am certainly intrigued by the teachers who are having success with JUST free voluntary reading, but honestly my 8th and 9th graders seem to do better with a little more structure and accountability.
I really wanted to make sure my students had a ton of repetitions of the key structures, but the key is varying the way the input is delivered so that is feels novel and fun. During the reading of the novel, I really like to act out scenes, discuss lots of things, and personalize discussions. At the end of the novel I wanted to make sure the students had a really good handle on the plot and the characters in addition to the language structures. I also wanted to make sure they could process language IN CONTEXT!
I wanted to write about some of the activities we did that I thought were really helpful.
- Word Cloud Sharon Birch shared LOTS of activities she created for teaching Robo en la Noche. This year, I tried her word cloud activity. She made a word cloud of names of characters in the novel. She even included “criminales” and MINAE. The word cloud was shaped adorably like a bird also. The students got into groups of 2-3. The students took turns stating something they knew about any character they wanted and then colored in the name on the word cloud. They kept going until I stopped them. It was a fun and different way of getting them to recall information!
- Ahora…En el futuro Prediction activity After reading Chapter 10, I had students use a graphic organizer to show what happened and what they thought WOULD happen in the future.
- Students create the review I wrote some events from the book in a graphic organizer I made. I didn’t copy them from the book, but rather wrote them in comprehensible language in my own words. (Ok since I wrote the book they are all my own words, but I want kids to READ rather than just memorize.) On one side they see the description of the event and on the other side there is a space for them to draw what they read.
- Matching competition I used all of the drawings my students created in #3. I had a couple of early finishers on another assignment pair the best of each drawing with the appropriate passage. Then, I made several sets of matching “puzzles.” Students had to work in teams to match each picture with each passage and then put them all in order. I gave them a sheet to track their answers.
The sheet is shown below. Pink, yellow and green were all the same type of activity. I had 6 slips of paper with events from the book. Students had to put them in order. Each slip of paper had a colored dot and a letter on it. So, students copied the order of the letters onto their sheet.
The other colors had 2 parts. They had to match each drawing to a passage and then put them all in order. Each set ha a color. The drawings had letters and the text had numbers. They copied the number sequence and corresponding letter sequence onto their sheet.
I gave a prize to the winning team that got the most answers right. The prize? I had a bunch of those plastic “packing pillows” from a shipping box and the winning team got to pop them. It was VERY popular!
If you like the idea of using graphic organizers, I have a few that I sell on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is also really easy to make your own or just search online for them, there are lots of ideas!