Bring Facts from PQA into the Story

In R and D we get facts from the kids after reading the text and we compare them to the facts about the chapter books – Robert’s term of chapter books is correct, by the way, they are not novels – and we keep the kids involved in the reading in that way. It’s the third step in this R and D template:

We can also do that with stories. If we learn during PQA that our student Monica has a sister named Lily (these are really just two good friends in one of my classes) that they are “sisters” (they aren’t really but the play of PQA made it that way during the questioning to set up the story) then we have created two potentially great characters that we can work into the story if we want.

We just bring the “fact” that they are sisters into the story. Names are a great example. We find a place to insert the name or fact from the PQA into the story. In other words, we keep anything that had energy, was alive, contained humor in the PQA and we find a way to bring it into the fun of the story.

I did a script by Anne yesterday called “Don’t Drink the V-8” and these sisters, who were created during PQA, had gotten the names of Monica and Lily Lonely. It just was funny. Everytime we said it we all kind of laughed.

So then in the story what we created from the variables Anne offered in the original script was that the hero of the story turned out to have been warned by his friends to not drink the lemonade at a party (location one of the script):

  • Class, WHAT FRIENDS had warned him not to drink the lemonade at the party? (flat responses from class)
  • No, class, the Lonely sisters had warned him not to drink the lemonade at the party! (humor happens as the group thinks about those two students getting into the story from the PQA.

We can learn to always connect things that happen in class to other things. CI has the potential to become in our classrooms a constant outflowing of unexpected and happy and funny things. We don’t have to limit our imaginations in this work. It is designed, in scripts by Matava and Tripp especially, to allow us to imagine funny things. I don’t know how Anne and Jim do it, they just do. They know how those weird things called teenagers think.

So if we can connect chapter books to our students’ lives, we can also connect facts from PQA into stories. If a fact has energy, is fun, carries lightheartedness into the class, we can find ways to use that fact anywhere we can, over and over as the CI develops, unfettered by our constant destructive need to control everything that happens in class.

Such information can then appear in the form of letimotifs in the class throughout the year. As we have seen here, names carry special power to do that. We want to populate our classrooms with as many “characters” as we can. We want to keep our minds and hearts open for the unexpected little funny things/names that happen in class. They carry power to completely transform our teaching.



2 thoughts on “Bring Facts from PQA into the Story”

  1. Because I am PQAing structures from Anne Matava’s stories, and they are not familiar to me yet, my PQA and PMS is not what it has been in years past.

    At any rate, it is almost as if I can only handle two tasks at a time. This year, one task is getting back into stories after a long absence. The other is trying to get my students to pass the French AP after less than 3 years of French, learning French along side them.

    Does anybody have a list of PQA questions for any of Anne’s material?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from

The Research

We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes,



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben