Anne Matava’s long-awaited third volume of story scripts is finally here. Those who use scripts may want to peruse below the first twelve pages of this new and excellent collection. It is divided into scripts for first and second year students and scripts for advanced students. Also included in this third volume is a kind of “greatest hits” list of the top ten ranked scripts from Volumes 1 and 2.
Table of Contents
Story Scripts for First and Second Year Students
You in the Corner! 7
The Long Distance Relationship 8
She Didn’t Want to Vacuum 9
The Famous Artist 10
The Soccer Player 11
Everyone is Making Fun of Me 12
I Don’t Speak the Language 13
I Can’t Concentrate 14
Time Travel 15
Mother May I? 17
How Do I Look? 18
The Handyman 19
Laundry Day 20
Not Now, Sorry! 21
Let Me Drive! 23
St. Nikolaus Day 24
The Boring Kiss 25
The Clumsy Guy 26
The Babysitter 27
What’s Happening in There? 28
Cleaning Day 29
The Collector 30
The Mall Cop 31
The Driving Test 32
Story Scripts for Advanced Students
Food Allergies 33
The Woman of His Dreams 34
The Fashion Police 35
Embarrassed in Public 36
The Joker 39
Tourist Attractions 40
The Builder 41
Top Ten Scripts of Volumes 1-2
#10 Who’s Paying? 42
#9 The Hotel Room (formerly: The Dirty Room 43
#8 We Warned Him (formerly: Don’t Drink the V-8!) 44
#7 The Baby Story 45
#6 He Brought a Girl Home 46
#5 The Neighbors Saw Everything 47
#4 The Refrigerator Story 48
#3 Lazy 49
#2 He Talks Too Much 50
#1 Afraid of the Package 51
Appendix A: Starting the Year 52
Appendix B: The Questionnaire 53
Appendix C: How to Script a Story 54
Appendix D: How to Use a Story Script to Create a Story 57
TPR Storytelling® is a trademark registered to Blaine Ray and is used by permission.
About ten years ago I met Anne Matava and we both quickly realized that when it came to TPRS, we thought the same way. We liked teaching our classes from story scripts. Not all the stories we created with our students were great, but many were.
From time to time over the years Anne would send me some of the scripts she had written. Every time she sent me one it crackled and sparkled in class and I slowly began to realize that the scripts she sent me were consistently really good.
Over time I began to understand that Anne had a kind of decoder switch into the workings of the teenage mind. Thus, for the past ten years or so I have primarily worked from her scripts as they have appeared in the two volumes of stories that appeared before this one. Anne’s scripts have been my safe haven in the TPRS storm of change. When I was going to be observed, I asked her for a script and it always worked.
Only recently have I discovered a new frontier in TPRS, the fun of working from no scripts or targets at all. Although this has opened up a whole new universe for me in TPRS, I will nonetheless never stop working from Anne’s scripts since I can count on them to bring high energy and genuine interest to my classes almost every single time I use them.
Thank you, Anne, for making my career with TPRS work. Had I not had all those great stories that you wrote, I would not have been able to do my job as well or enjoy it so much. And having now seen you use your own scripts in workshops, I am doubly impressed with how the scripts under your command translate into ease and grace and fluidity in your teaching of German and French.
And thank you not just for the stories in the current volume, but also for taking the time to share with us in this volume what you consider to be the top ten Matava scripts of all time. I can report that over the years I have done those ten particular stories many times with different classes over the years, and each time they worked like a charm.
– Ben Slavic
These story scripts will prove useful for teachers who would like to make up stories with their classes using a basic premise, but leaving room for student input on details. Although all scripts can be modified for use with all levels, the first 26 of these were written with first and maybe second year students in mind. The 9 that follow were written for more advanced students who have already attained decent proficiency in the language.
Finally, to celebrate 10 years of using scripts, I have included the “Top Ten” from the first two books. These are, in my opinion, the best scripts. I get e-mails from people telling me how much fun their students have with these stories. I use one of these when I know I’m going to be observed by an administrator. I’ve modified some of them over the years, so even if you are familiar with them, have a look at the new and improved versions!
Teachers are encouraged to change aspects of each story, including point of view, one or more of the key phrases, tense, or anything else about a script to make it better suit their purposes.
The scripting process used to create these stories is described in appendix C of this book. It involves choosing some phrases and sketching out a skeleton story with them, leaving blanks for details. In this book you will find the stories with details already filled in.
I have found that a story script works best when it contains 2 to 4 new phrases. I feel strongly that the rest of the language should already be familiar to the students, and thus already part of their repertoire. In order to build that repertoire, I do not start the year with stories per se. Rather, I focus on the students’ responses to the TPRS questionnaire. (See Appendix A: Starting the Year.) It should be noted, however, that several of the new scripts in this book grew out of student responses to the questionnaire, including “The Famous Artist” and “The Soccer Player.”
A lot has happened in the TPRS/CI world since my last script book came out. A number of teachers have dropped the PQA part of the storyasking process. I include it here for anyone who is new and might like to try it. I still use it if the words lend themselves to it. For example, the key phrases for “The Collector” have yielded rich discussions with my students about their collections and history of insect bites. I don’t push the PQA for its own sake, however.
Establishing Meaning and PQA: Step One
To use a story script, first we establish the meaning of the target phrases. I write the phrases and their English definitions on the board and read them to the students. (Some teachers like to establish gestures that go with the phrases. Again it is up to the individual teacher.) Then we have a period of Personalized Questions and Answers with each phrase, where applicable. For example, using the phrase “collects” from the script “The Collector”, I ask the students questions such as: Who has a collection? What do you collect? How many (baseball cards, old license plates) do you have? Where do you get them? Where do you keep your collection? The PQA questions, like the language in the story script, are carefully planned to include familiar or easily acquired language. The idea is to pique the students’ interest and prepare them mentally for the story, as well as to engage in interesting conversation with them.
Asking the Story: Step Two
Having completed the first portion of the lesson, I then start a story like the collector story above. I begin by addressing the class with a question: “Someone here has a collection. Who has a collection?” My students know that I am asking for a volunteer to act. Normally one of the more outgoing students will raise his hand and say, “I have a collection!” I get the volunteer up to the front of the room; then we move on to the story: “Class, Logan has a collection! Does Logan have a collection or a car? Who has a collection?”…and so on. “What does Logan collect?” I take suggestions until I get one that I like: “That’s right, he has a fingernail collection.”
Wherever a word in the script is underlined, I ask the class to provide that detail. The underlines indicate variables, and the teacher simply solicits an idea that is the same part of speech as the underlined word. You will notice that the last part of the story is often underlined. That is because I prefer a script with three locations or three incidents, the first two of which are very similar, and the third being somewhat open-ended. It reminds me of the three nights of the ball in Cinderella, or the joke in which three guys walk into a bar. The second scene echoes the first, the third scene starts out like the first two, but then the story takes an unexpected twist. Leaving the ending open keeps students interested and gives them an opportunity to steer the story in a direction of their own choosing.
There are as many different interpretations of the TPRS method as there are teachers using it. It is my hope that you will be able to use the ideas and story scripts in this book in a way that works for you, and that you will even be inspired to write your own scripts.
You in the Corner!
in the corner
John was in class. He was seated in the corner. He wasn’t paying attention to the teacher. He was painting his fingernails. The teacher scolded him: “You in the corner! Pay attention!” But John didn’t pay attention, he kept painting his fingernails. “Go to the principal!” the teacher said.
John went to the principal. He was seated in the corner. The principal scolded him, but John wasn’t paying attention. He was (here you can have him keep painting his nails or have him do something else, probably depending on how much new language this already is for your students.) The principal scolded him: “You in the corner! Pay attention!” But John didn’t pay attention, he kept whatever it is that he was doing. “Go to Chuck Norris!” the principal said.
John went to Chuck Norris. At Chuck’s house he was seated in the corner. Chuck scolded him, but John wasn’t paying attention. He was (see location #2). “You in the corner! Pay attention!” said Chuck, but John didn’t pay attention, he kept doing whatever it was that he was doing. Chuck gave John a roundhouse kick to the head. John paid attention.
Half the fun in this one is the phrase “toi dans le coin!” or “du da in der Ecke!” I don’t think it’s quite as funny in Spanish though. This is one of my favorites in this third book.
She Didn’t Want to Vacuum
has to vacuum/run the vacuum
I don’t know
Grace has to vacuum. She doesn’t want to vacuum. She wants to go to the mall. Her mother yells: “Grace! Run the vacuum!” “I don’t want to run the vacuum,” says Grace. “I want to go to the mall.” “Run the vacuum, Grace!” yells her mother. Grace doesn’t want to, but she vacuums. She’s mad and she vacuums up the cat. Her mother asks, “Where is the cat?” “I don’t know,” says Grace.
Two hours later Grace has to vacuum again. “Run the vacuum!” yells her mother. “I don’t want to,” says Grace. “I want to go to the mall.” “Run the vacuum, Grace!” yells her mother. Grace doesn’t want to, but she runs the vacuum. She’s mad, so she vacuums up the toilet.
(This can go on indefinitely and can go in any number of directions. Often the class has Grace vacuum up the mother, and the father comes home and asks where Mom is. Unless it is early on in first year, I like to talk with them about who/what is in the vacuum and how they are interacting with each other. By the end of it, unless Grace herself winds up in the vacuum, I like to make sure she finally gets to the mall.)
The Soccer Player
scores (a) goal(s)
all of a sudden
Avery plays soccer for the French national team. Today there is a game between the French national team and the American national team. Avery plays very well. He scores 15 goals.
All of a sudden he breaks a leg. “Are you all right?” the coach asks him. “Yes, I’m fine,” says Avery. He continues to play with a broken leg. He scores another 22 goals.
All of a sudden he breaks his back. “Are you all right?” the coach asks him. “Yes, I’m fine,” says Avery. He continues to play with a broken leg and back. He scores another 36 goals.
All of a sudden he breaks his neck. (repeat as before.)
All of a sudden he breaks a fingernail. “Owwwwwwwwwwwww!” he screams. “Are you all right?” asks the coach. “No!” screams Avery. “I want my Mommy!”
Note: it is fun to keep a running tab of goals scored on the board. It’s also good if you can pick an actor who will actually try to pretend to play soccer with all of those broken body parts.