Skeleton Story

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Here’s a way to make the language of a story memorable by using physical activity.

All you have to do is find a story that lends itself to being mimed. Get the students to stand up and then slowly read the story acting it out at the same time and encouraging the class to join in. Repeat the story but this time at a faster pace, again with actions.

In pairs the students then try and retell  as much of the story as they can remember.

Whilst this is going on you can write the skeleton version of the story, first letters only, on the board. This will act as a memory trigger.

Go through the story together, pointing to the letters on the board and asking the class to come up with the appropriate words. You could do this two or three times, speeding up each time.

Finally, in pairs one person tells the story while the other performs it (with or without the aid of the skeleton story on the board).

This is a poetic story that we use with younger elementary level students. First the story and then the skeleton version.

I travelled to the jungle.
I walked through the trees.
I stopped, I waited,
I watched a chimpanzee.
I looked at him and smiled.
I wanted him to stay.
He picked up my banana
And then he walked away. 

I T T T J I W T T T
I S I W
I W A C
I L A H A S
I W H T S
H P U M B
A T H W A

We got this idea from Nick Bilbrough and his excellent book ‘Memory Activities for Language Learning’ published by Cambridge University Press.

 

About The Henry Brothers

We are English teachers involved in ELT publishing in Turkey, currently working for Cambridge University Press and also touring the country giving workshops and presentations to English teachers, mainly on the use of poetry, storytelling and other lively activities in the classroom. We can be contacted by e-mail to istanbul@cambridge.org, @istanbuljm on twitter or Henry Brothers on Facebook.
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8 Responses to Skeleton Story

  1. aysel durmus says:

    The skeleton story is going to be impressive in the class.

    • Hi Aysel – good to see you here and thanks for taking the time to comment – we’ve used this activity a lot in classes and the story skeleton really does help students remember.

  2. neslihan sarayköylü says:

    This technique is really useful and enjoyable.
    I liked it :) Will you share the new ones?

  3. NADİRE OKSUZ says:

    I attended The Henry Brothers workshop in Antalya on June 1 st. We had great fun.’We are going on a bear hunt’ is very attractive again. Thanks a lot.This was another nice experience given by Cambridge.Best wishes….

  4. “…….. first letters only, on the board. This will act as a memory trigger.”
    Adding the second letter for some of the words might act as a better memory trigger. Thus,
    I Tr T Th Ju

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