2 Sample Lesson Plans to Incorporate Storytelling in the EFL Class
In the next year, I’ll be working as an English Teaching Assistant in Zadar, Croatia on a Fulbright grant where I’ll be working with university level students as well as with middle school students. I’ll be hosting workshops for middle school students on life and culture in America. I hope to utilize storytelling activities to both engage the class and provide an opportunity for language acquisition.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Gabrielle K. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Here I’ll give an example of a straight arrow ESA lesson that would incorporate storytelling.
For the engage phase, I might ask students to tell the class, in English, about their favorite Croatian holiday, having them include descriptions such as food, decorations, or themes. This would get them thinking and speaking in English while introducing the topic of holidays.
For the study phase, I could read students a story about the origins of Thanksgiving or another American holiday. For the second part, I might have them do a word search for language associated with the holiday such as turkey, Native Americans, and George Washington. This two-part study phase would both introduce them to a new language as well as elicit language from them to practice.
Finally, for the activate phase I would ask them to get into groups and discuss which Croatian holiday is most similar to the American holiday and then present to the class an explanation of why it’s the most similar.
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Another area of American culture that I know Croatian children are interested in is superheroes.
I’d like to give an example of a Boomerang lesson involving superheroes that incorporates storytelling.
For the engage phase, I’d ask the students to write a list on the board of different qualities they think superheroes should have: flight, strength, invisibility, etc.
For the activate phase, I’d introduce a game of jeopardy for the students to gauge how many American superheroes they already know. I’d do this by separating them into groups where each group has one person playing at a time with a buzzer in front of them; I’d then write/project on the board various descriptions of American superheroes and see who can answer first.
For the study phase, I’d put students into pairs and give each pair a note card with an American superhero on it. Each pair would role-play a story of their superhero (given on the note card) for the students to guess their superpowers. Finally, for the last activate phase I’d put the class into small groups and have each group come up with their own superhero. They’d draw a picture, write a description, name it, and then put it at the front of the classroom for their peers to look at.
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These are just a few examples of the ways in which storytelling can be included in the classroom. There is room for storytelling in each of the three parts of an ESA lesson, and it is an effective way to keep students involved and the teachers creative with their lesson planning. Storytelling is fun for the students, utilizes a broad range of language, can be modified for various activities or skills levels and can include all students in the making or telling of stories.
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