Cute Ideas – 5

Cute Idea #5: The Retell Glove
Two kinds of retells* are possible. Most commonly, the instructor or a student simply repeats the events of the story. There is another, more complex, way to retell, one that is widely used in elementary school reading classes and is very adaptable to our work.
The instructor makes a fist, holding only her thumb up in the air. This indicates to the students that the discussion will be a restatement about the characters in the story – who they are, what they look like, their age, etc.
Next, with her thumb and first finger in the air, the setting of the story is discussed. Where and when did the story take place? What season was it? What was the weather like? If there was more than one location, give those details, etc.
With her third finger joining the index finger and the thumb, the instructor then discusses the problem, or plot of the story. What was the problem that needed to be solved?
Next, with the ring finger joining the others, the instructor discusses exactly what events occurred in the story in reaction to the problem. What happened that didn’t result in a solution?
Finally, with all five fingers in the air, the solution to the problem, with details, is restated.
Using the retell glove requires higher order thinking skills in the target language because the facts are rearranged as per above, and therefore must be kept simple in beginning classes. In more advanced classes, it offers the students excellent opportunities to speak at length in the target language with the instructor, providing excellent practice for the speaking portion of standardized exams.
*Retells occur at the end of stories. Recycling happens during a story, after an interruption.



2 thoughts on “Cute Ideas – 5”

  1. “*Retells occur at the end of stories. Recycling happens during a story, after an interruption.”
    This simple statement is an elucidation for me. I don’t think I recycle enough.

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