Quirky Scripts is a lesson requiring almost no prep that can be used repeatedly all year, at every level. It’s also a way for students to acquire “advanced” language really early on with minimal effort. Skim the how-to or scroll down for three scripts and a dozen reasons these Quirky Scripts are so useful.
Read this post’s predecessor, Quirky Scripts: An Easy Way to Teach “Hard” Language, for the first three sample scripts!
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Give students a super short story script, such as the three below, in their first language and have them fill in the blanks. This takes two minutes and can be done in class or at home. Collect the completed scripts.
Quirky Script 4:
___________ woke up in the middle of the night because _________________________.
This had never happened before.
They didn’t even know ______________ existed!
Now they wanted to _______________________________.
Quirky Script 5:
________ and ________ had always wanted to see a __________________.
Finally, on a trip to _____________, they saw one.
But they were terribly disappointed: It didn’t even ______________________!
Quirky Script 6a:
_______ and _______ decided to write a book about __________________.
They chose this because _________________________.
Unfortunately, they soon realized that _________________________,
so they decided it was better to _______________________ instead.
Quirky Script 6b:
_______ and _______ decided to make a movie about ________________.
They chose this because ________________________.
Unfortunately, they soon realized that _______________________.
Their hopes dashed, they decided to _____________________ instead.
Step 2: Between sets of the long daily workout you consistently do–or just during a commercial break–skim the completed scripts and pick the one that would be easiest for your students to understand in the target language.
Step 3: Translate the easiest completed script into the target language.
Step 4: Create a simple slideshow that adds the sentences from the translated script one at a time. Add some sweet pictures if you feel like it. I often start by projecting a pertinent picture and talking about with students before revealing the first line.
Step 5: In class, reveal the sentences one at a time, pausing to establish meaning when necessary, Circle, have the class invent extra details, ask the 6 questions, or do whatever else you like to do with stories. Follow up on the same day or another day with post-reading activities, retells, or timed writes.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 3-5 whenever you want (ideally pretty often) using the next-easiest script you collected, and so on.
Here’s why these Quirky Scripts are so amazing:
- They’re short. It’s pretty much impossible for students to lose attention.
- They’re short. Creating the target language version goes really fast.
- They’re short. You can do a lot with the day’s script or you can just use it as a warmup or transition once students have gotten really used to a particular script outline.
- Because students have seen the script outline in English, they pretty much know what it means when they see it in the TL. By the time they’ve seen the 10th version, they know really well.
- Because students made up the details themselves, they’re interested in what happens.
- Students look forward to their scripts being used. (You don’t have to reveal whose it is. I don’t, but students usually take credit.)
- You can make Quirky Scripts as short or as long as you want. I recommend no fewer than two lines and no more than five.
- You can make them as “easy” or as “hard” as you want. I find them a great way to incorporate language that textbooks consider “advanced” or that come up more often in writing than in speech. Quirky Scripts have helped students in Month 1 of Year 1 become comfortable with language that many traditional programs consider “3rd-year” or “4th-year” content.
- You can translate the same script different ways for different groups. For instance, your target language may have variations on “when they got there” (Sample 3), just as English has “after they had arrived,” “upon arriving,” etc.
- You can carefully plan when to use the completed Quirky Scripts in class, or you can simply keep the stack of completed scripts handy for when you’re especially busy or drained, or for when you have second thoughts about another plan.
- If you teach with TPRS® and a group of students isn’t taking to Storyasking, or has “too much energy” during Storyasking, this use of scripts can channel the energy, boost buy-in, and function as training in Storyasking for both you and your students.
- Once students have interacted with everyone’s version of a particular Quirky Script (this could take months–that’s fine), all the versions of that script can be combined into a booklet for students to read.
I love this idea! Besides the fact that these scripts are quirky and fun, due to their structure, they make it attainable for students to stay in the target language. When it comes to structured writing tasks and keeping students in the TL when writing, you might enjoy my post: http://teachinginthetargetlanguage.com/getting-our-students-to-write-in-the-target-language-without-the-temptation-of-those-dreaded-translator-sites/. If you read my post, you’ll notice my examples aren’t as fun as yours! I can definitely see myself using this idea of quirky scripts. My students will love this! Thank you for sharing this idea and I am looking forward to trying this out! 🙂
Thank you for sharing, Justin! This would be so fun to incorporate into my classes! I love that it allows you to give choice to the students but scaffold it enough to not make them feel too overwhelmed by having them write an entire script early on. I love the idea of using them as a sort of “warm-up” in class. You can really adapt this activity to fit your needs, too, which is wonderful! Looking forward to your future posts!
Hi, Neena, I’m glad these scripts give you some inspiration! All the best to you.