Jim Tripp

This is a recent comment by Jim that I am making into a blog so that I can add it to a new category on the right of this page called “Beginning the Year”. There is a lot that could go in there, but those posts are just too hard to access now. One good thing – especially for level one classes – about starting the year, for people who are newer to all of this, can be found on this site on the resources/workshop handouts link. Here is Jim’s idea:
Ruth, I had great success with getting lots of stories in my Spanish 2 class this year. At the beginning of the year, I had the kids bring in a “summer prop”. Most of the kids brought something in. I would spend at least 2 days with each kid and their prop. As this was a 45 minute class, there wasn’t much time and we rarely “finished” the story.
We started out with some simple PQA about the student’s summer relating to their prop, and what it really was all about (Where did you go? When? With whom? Why? etc.). Usually it was a souvenir from a trip they took that summer. It was really low-stress PQA because it was THEIR prop, not something I picked out.
After some straight-up PQA, (usually with an abrupt change in tone, as I made it clear based on my facial expression that we were no longer talking real life), I would start asking a story. I didn’t have to arbitrarily target much if anything, because the nature of the prop and topic usually brought in enough new stuff on its own. (I started the year with a review of structures from the previous year, but soon realized that was unnecessary.)
Then, I typed up the story and we read it together. Now I have a whole book full of stories that the students illustrated, and that class’ stories are great because each one MUST include the student in some way. We ended up spending almost the entire semester of 45 min. classes in this way.
I will definitely do this again next year.



2 thoughts on “Jim Tripp”

  1. Jim you said:
    “…now I have a whole book full of stories that the students illustrated…”.
    Could you expand on how that happened? I get that the illustrations came from stories that came from summer props, but how exactly did that happen? Did the kids illustrate when the actual reading was done, so that the illustrating occurred at the end of the process, or exactly how did that happen?

  2. How I did it this year is below. Scroll down to the (**) at bottom to read how I will probably do it in the future.
    Once we have enough stories to be illustrated (I like 1 story per pair of students, unless the class is smaller, then 1:1 ration works), which is usually at the end of a semester for me, I print out the stories and give them to the students. They work on them in class, supplied with the paper and some colored pencils. I had my student aide put the books together, using a binder and plastic sleeves, complete with a class picture in the front.
    It’s important to show students some positive examples of the illustrations before they start, and have them kind of plan out their illustrations beforehand based on the paragraphs in the story. I usually recommend the four-frame illustration, but some kids get creative and do some different formats. The books are really good for showing off to parents also. And when the class knows that their stories are going in a book for all to read, I think it will be incentive to amp up the creativity.
    I may requisition for next year to have all of my classes’ stories made into individual books through a website like snapfish.com, maybe a little more inviting to read than a 3-ring binder.
    **This just came to me, and your questions above Ben made me think of it. Perhaps it would be much better and easier to assign each pair a story right after the story is read in class, that way they could be up on the wall for other classes to read almost instantaneously. Yeah, I think I may like this idea better.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

Jeffrey Sachs was asked what the difference between people in Norway and in the U.S. was. He responded that people in Norway are happy and

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



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