Are you wrapping up a particular reading in your language class? My middle-grades class has just finished El Ekeko by Katie Baker. This book is perhaps my favorite Fluency Matters reader yet! This week, as we look to end our semester, I’ll be going back to something I tried last year. It was a great segue from the reading into the semester assessment. Let me share with you how I combined a couple of ideas from other teachers into a high-energy novel review.
Idea 1: Interpersonal Blitz
A year ago a teacher friend in Texas shared with me her Powerpoint slides for something she called “Interpersonal Blitz.” Both were related to the Fluency Matters novel Robo en la noche by Kristy Placido. One was generically about Costa Rican geography and animals. The other was more specific to the book. Each slide contained a simple topic or question, such as:
- Where is Costa Rica?
- Weather and seasons?
- Character I like/dislike
- Character I am similar to
The instructions were for students to take turns starting the conversation and say as much as they could until the time was up.
As soon as I saw the slides, I was reminded of a popular activity called Gallery Walk. It’s often used in CI classrooms as a way to inspire speaking as a follow-up to input. Sometimes, with classes already showing some speaking proficiency, it’s used as a preview for input.
To learn more, I’ll invite you to:
- check out Martina Bex’s summary of the activity
- see how Carrie Toth describes incorporating it into a novel timeline
- read how Kristy Placido uses it with lyrics to a song in her El Salvador Civil War unit or
- get her free download for a packet including a Gallery Walk related to microfinance and Kiva.
And now… Gallery Blitz!
Essentially, I took Kim’s idea of using slides and a timer but instead of displaying the slides, I printed them, posted them on the wall, and timed students in pairs at each page as they moved around the room. We did it for about 6 minutes (2 minutes at 3 different “stations”) twice in the class period. I let my (small) class choose where they wanted to go, which increased engagement, but if you have a large class you may want to control this more.
Here are my slides that I printed. Many of them you can take as-is for any novel, and you’ll see how you can change a few things to make the others apply to your own novel or other reading. They’re in Spanish, but they say:
- Where is Costa Rica?
- The animals of Costa Rica
- I (don’t) want to go to Costa Rica because…
- the culture of Costa Rica
- I identify with (character) because…
- my favorite part of the book
- a character I don’t like
I’ll be tweaking these a bit to use with El Ekeko.
What do you think – does Gallery Blitz fit into your post-reading plan?
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