Interactive stories handout 2014

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Handout produced for my presentation at the 11th Anglo Congress in Montevideo on 'Interactive Storytelling Activities and Games' - see http://blog-efl.blogspot.com/2014/07/interactive-stories.html

Handout produced for my presentation at the 11th Anglo Congress in Montevideo on 'Interactive Storytelling Activities and Games' - see http://blog-efl.blogspot.com/2014/07/interactive-stories.html

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  • 1. Interactive Stories Graham Stanley August 9th 2014 graham.stanley@britishcouncil.org
  • 2. Interactive Stories Graham Stanley, Barcelona October 2014 Introduction The idea for the ‘Interactive Stories’ workshop came to me in 2005 after listening to a podcast interview with teachers Aaron Campbell and Mark White (see http://englishconversations.org/interactive-stories). Mark’s idea for using stories appealed to me and I immediately saw it as an activity that would work well in class with many different levels and age groups. As well as Mark’s original idea for interactive stories, I have also added some storytelling games that can be adapted for the classroom. What is an interactive story? Mark White’s original idea for an interactive story is a story which has regular breaks where the storyteller asks for input. In other words, it’s a text that includes questions, so that the listener has to periodically take over the storytelling by answering and providing his/her own information. Designed to stimulate student conversation and imagination, interactive stories can be used with all different levels and age groups of students. Original interactive stories: Mark’s idea consists of :- • Preparing a short story in text form, with questions at various stages • Students, working in pairs take turns to tell and listen to a story • One student has a handout of the story (see Appendix II for an example) and reads from this, asking questions at various points. • The other student listens and responds with ‘hmm-hmm’ or ‘OK’ to indicate he/she understands, and answers the questions to keep the story going An example interactive story: The Big Dream part 1 : The Graveyard (see Appendix I for link) as read by 2 students For the text of this story, see Appendix II Trying it out yourself Try another section of the Big Dream (Appendix III) to see how it works in practice. What type of language is this text designed to practise? “The Big Dream roughly follows the plot of the Charles Dickens story Great Expectations. It adapts it to a Japanese setting and tells the story of a young Japanese orphan who grows up and leaves his country home for the city and later New York City, where he finally meets the mysterious benefactor who has influenced his life so much. “ See Appendix I for details of how to download the whole story (13 chapters)
  • 3. Creating your own interactive stories Obviously, interactive stories can be adapted to different levels by changing the types of story and support available for students. Can you think of types of story that would appeal to your students? What would you do to adapt interactive stories to…low level learners? …advanced students? Other ways of using interactive stories • Whole class activity. The teacher tells a story and asks the class questions related to the details of the story. An example: The small town photographer (Appendix IV) uses a combination of student information and guesses to help tell a story. The story is told in parts, and the students can be encouraged to:- i) continue telling the story, guessing what happened next ii) write the next part of the story iii) role-play parts of the story in pairs / groups • Student writing activity. Students write their own interactive stories to use in class. These can then be swapped • Urban myths. Learners are given cards with basic outlines of urban myths on them (See Appendix V). They are given time to expand the stories, adding questions for the listeners to answer. • Jokes. A similar idea to urban myths. A basic joke is expanded by the storyteller asking questions. This works well if ample time is given to preparation too. • Reading Mazes. An older idea, but these ‘Choose your own path’ adventures can also be adapted for similar speaking activities. • Web-based action mazes. For examples, see Appendix I • Using Visuals. For example, using a story prepared for an interactive whiteboard flipchart / Power Point presentation, etc. Can you think of any more ideas for adapting interactive stories?
  • 4. APPENDIX I: THE BIG DREAM 1. THE GRAVEYARD by Mark White, 2005 studyenglishwithmark@yahoo.com.au This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. It is a Sunday afternoon in the countryside. Is it hot? A small boy is in a rice field. He is ten years old. When is his birthday? He walks up a hill. Is it a big hill? He goes into a graveyard. Is it an old graveyard? He sees his father’s gravestone. What colour is it? He sits down in front of the gravestone. Is he sad? Suddenly the small boy hears a sound. Is it loud? The boy turns around. He sees a man. Is he tall? The man has very short hair. He has handcuffs on his wrists. The man grabs the boy. Is the boy afraid? The man turns the boy upside down. He shakes him. There is a rice ball in the boy’s pocket. Is it round or triangular? Is it very big? The rice ball falls out. The man picks up the rice ball. He eats it. Is it tasty? He eats very quickly because he is very, very hungry. The boy feels sorry for the hungry man. The man asks for food. He asks for some tools too. He wants to take the handcuffs off. The boy goes to get food. The man sleeps on the hill behind a tree near the graveyard. Is he very tired? Is he afraid of ghosts? Two hours later the boy comes back. He has some bread. Is it fresh? He also has some cooked rice. Is it hot? Is it in a bag? He has some fruit too. What kind of fruit is it? He has a bottle of sake too. Is it expensive sake? He has some tools too. What tools are they? The man is very grateful. He eats the food. He takes the handcuffs off. He runs away. Two days later the boy is in the rice fields again. Is it a warm day? The boy hears a sound. It is a police siren. A police car comes. What colour is it? Four policemen get out. Are they young or old? They run up the hill. They catch the man. They put handcuffs on him. They put him in the car. The car drives away. Is it fast? The small boy watches the car. He thinks about the man. He feels sorry for the man. The man is an escaped prisoner. The police take him back to prison. Are the police nice to him? The man is from a poor family. He lives in prison now. Where is the prison? Is it a big prison? The boy lives with his aunt and his uncle. His father is dead and his mother is dead too. Is he lonely? He lives in an old house in a village. Is it a big house? Is it a traditional Japanese farmhouse? The boy likes school. Is his school far from his house? What is the name of his favourite teacher? The boy wants to go to university. Is university expensive? The boy wants to go to university but he cannot go to university because his family is poor. Is his uncle a farmer? At night the boy thinks about his father and his mother and he thinks about school and he thinks about the escaped prisoner and he thinks about his dream. He wants to go to university. Is he happy?
  • 5. APPENDIX II: THE BIG DREAM 11. THE Old Man by Mark White, 2005 studyenglishwithmark@yahoo.com.au This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. An old man is in a big house in New York. He is from Japan originally. He is a criminal. He is sitting in front of the TV. He is thinking about the past. He has broken many laws. He has committed many crimes. Has he ever killed anybody? Has he ever robbed a bank? He has been in prison many times. In Japan the police are looking for him. He is not happy because he wants to go back to Japan. Should he go back to Japan? Should he turn himself in to the police? Would you turn yourself in, if you were him? In another part of New York City, there is a young engineer. He is working for a Japanese computer company in New York. He knows the old man. The old man has helped him with his education. Should he turn the old man in? Would you turn him in? The engineer goes to work. His boss is angry. His boss shouts at him. Should he shout back? His boss hits him. Should he hit back? Should he go to the police? He argues with his boss. His boss fires him. He leaves the office. He goes to a bar. He thinks about his life. He thinks about his boss and his job. Should he go back to the office? Would you? He thinks about the waitress from his village. Should he go to the restaurant and see her? Would you? He thinks about the bad man from the restaurant. Should he go to see him? Would you? Suddenly the engineer’s mobile phone rings. It is the old man. He wants to see the engineer. He says, “You are like my son.” Should the engineer go to see him? Would you? The engineer goes to see the old man. He meets him at his house. It is a very big old house in New Jersey. The two men talk about life. The old man tells the young man the story of his life. His mother is Korean. Can he speak Korean? His father is half Korean and half Japanese. Is discrimination a problem in Japan? Should all people be equal? The young man talks about the beautiful waitress. He talks about the bad man at the restaurant. The old man knows about the bad man and he knows about the beautiful waitress. He says, “The waitress is married to the bad man!” The young engineer is shocked. Should he believe the old man? Would you believe him? The old man says the waitress is selfish. He says she is a bad woman. He says she wants to trick the young engineer. Should the engineer believe the old man? Would you believe him? The young engineer leaves the old man’s house. He goes back to Manhattan. He has no job and he has no girlfriend. He has no parents and a criminal has paid for his education. Should he feel bad? He has to move out of his apartment in one week. What should he do? He has to get a new job. How should he find a new job? Should he go back to Japan?
  • 6. APPENDIX III: THE SMALL TOWN PHOTOGRAPHER 1. The Wedding Photograph by Graham Stanley, 2005 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. A photographer (What is his name?) lives in a small town (Where is it?) where he has successfully made a good living for many years. In the window of his shop he proudly displays some of the wedding photographs he has taken of happy couples over the years. He is very fond of one photograph in particular (What does it show?) It’s of a couple posing next to a ruined tower with a brilliant red sunset in the background of the picture. (Why is he proud of it?) It’s a particularly good photograph and ever since displaying this photo in his shop window, he has noticed an increase in the number of customers his studio has received, especially for weddings. And people enquiring about wedding photographic services always comment upon it. (What do they say?) He’s convinced that the photo is a one-off, and he has often tried to recreate the photo again with different couples – in fact they often ask for it – but it never turns out the same way (Why not? What’s wrong with them?) (What is his explanation?) There must have been something special about that day, something magical. He was just starting out as a wedding photographer, the couple in question were so in love, plus an extra, unknown factor. One October morning (what is he doing?) he is surprised by a special visitor (Who is it?) It is the woman featured in his special wedding photo. Quite a bit older, but still recognisable. She waits until he isn’t busy and introduces herself. (What does she want?) She explains that she has recently moved back to the town after living elsewhere. (Where was she living? With who?) She is living with her mother now. ‘I’m sorry’ says the photographer (What does he think has happened?) He believes the woman has divorced her husband. The woman does not explain, but she does ask the photographer a big favour. (What is it?) She asks him to remove the photograph from his window as she now passes the photographer’s studio every day on her way to work and the photograph disturbs her (Why?) The photographer is surprised by the woman’s request and agrees to it, telling her that he will remove it at the end of the day. The woman thanks him and leaves the shop. The man works hard for the rest of the day, and starts to wonder if he has made the right decision agreeing to remove his lucky photograph from his window. (What does he do?) He does, however, remove the photograph from the window, and places it carefully in storage at the back of the shop. But the next day, he regrets his decision because of three incidents. Talk to your partner and say why the photographer wishes he hadn’t taken the photograph from the window, explaining the three things that happen to justify his superstition.
  • 7. APPENDIX III: THE SMALL TOWN PHOTOGRAPHER 1. The Wedding Photograph by Graham Stanley, 2005 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. A photographer (What is his name?) lives in a small town (Where is it?) where he has successfully made a good living for many years. In the window of his shop he proudly displays some of the wedding photographs he has taken of happy couples over the years. He is very fond of one photograph in particular (What does it show?) It’s of a couple posing next to a ruined tower with a brilliant red sunset in the background of the picture. (Why is he proud of it?) It’s a particularly good photograph and ever since displaying this photo in his shop window, he has noticed an increase in the number of customers his studio has received, especially for weddings. And people enquiring about wedding photographic services always comment upon it. (What do they say?) He’s convinced that the photo is a one-off, and he has often tried to recreate the photo again with different couples – in fact they often ask for it – but it never turns out the same way (Why not? What’s wrong with them?) (What is his explanation?) There must have been something special about that day, something magical. He was just starting out as a wedding photographer, the couple in question were so in love, plus an extra, unknown factor. One October morning (what is he doing?) he is surprised by a special visitor (Who is it?) It is the woman featured in his special wedding photo. Quite a bit older, but still recognisable. She waits until he isn’t busy and introduces herself. (What does she want?) She explains that she has recently moved back to the town after living elsewhere. (Where was she living? With who?) She is living with her mother now. ‘I’m sorry’ says the photographer (What does he think has happened?) He believes the woman has divorced her husband. The woman does not explain, but she does ask the photographer a big favour. (What is it?) She asks him to remove the photograph from his window as she now passes the photographer’s studio every day on her way to work and the photograph disturbs her (Why?) The photographer is surprised by the woman’s request and agrees to it, telling her that he will remove it at the end of the day. The woman thanks him and leaves the shop. The man works hard for the rest of the day, and starts to wonder if he has made the right decision agreeing to remove his lucky photograph from his window. (What does he do?) He does, however, remove the photograph from the window, and places it carefully in storage at the back of the shop. But the next day, he regrets his decision because of three incidents. Talk to your partner and say why the photographer wishes he hadn’t taken the photograph from the window, explaining the three things that happen to justify his superstition.