The first Card

The first Card

What we saw and thought

What we saw and thought

Students collaborating on the description and one sentence stories

Students collaborating on the description and one sentence stories

story card form.png

Helping a student develop her story

The same student practicing her story.

Same student presenting her story

Another short story

Advanced student presenting story

two card story

Storytelling Cards

one sentence stories

I love storytelling.  I love storytelling cards. They work in every single classroom setting I have ever been in.  Beginners, advanced language learners.  Mainstream drama students.  Adult writers. 

I want to share one way to use them with my beginning to intermediate level students.  The cards I use are from Oh cards.  I’ve tried many of them, but by far my favorite are the ones based on the tales from the Arabian Nights:

 I travel with these cards and have used them with students from all cultures and with young students as well as adults.  It is my rainy day, go to activity that students enjoy.  I even leave it for substitute teachers and find it is one of the most successful activity they can do.

 The first thing I do is display one of the cards on a document reader so all the students can see it (photo 1).   First, we share our ideas about what we see.  The second step is to share a bit of a deeper look, allowing students imagination to take flight.  I ask: “What actions do you see?  What is happening?”  You can see (photo 2) what our class saw and thought with the first card.

 The next step is to break the students into groups of three or four.  I provide them with a random sampling of five cards.  For the first activity students are to collaborate and simply write what they see on each card and a sentence or two on what is happening and help each other prepare for their presentation.  For the first presentation each student chooses one of the cards that they have worked with and share their observations to the whole class, which in a sense, constitutes a very short story. As you can see in the first video there is some work that I had to do as a teacher to help a beginning student as she was coming up with ideas.  The second video shows the same student practicing her story, and the third video is her presentation. The next videos are of other students presentations of their one or two sentence stories. The final video is a lead in to the next activity: one student asked if he could create a short story combining two cards. Why not? It provided a good introduction to the next step.

In my next posting I will demonstrate how to move from a simple, one or two sentence description story based on one card, to a much more complex story involving five different cards.