Super Mini Stories For Classroom Use

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16 thoughts on “Super Mini Stories For Classroom Use”

  1. Credits: I thought more and checked over some notes I have so can give credit.

    I saw Tom Harkins in NH do a version of the scarf story in Spanish with kindergarteners he sees for 15 minutes 3 times a week. Now that was cute!

    I’m pretty sure someone on the blog here had some version of the 100 hamburger idea. I don’t know who, though.

  2. I appreciate it when we at least try to identify where we get ideas from. I was on another site and saw a complete description of the pitch counters idea to count reps during PQA, along with a photo, and yet David Sceggel was given no credit whatsoever, even though he brought it to the TPRS community. Sabrina has said to me a few times that we all just are sharing ideas and it’s a big share fest but I don’t see it that way. I think that whenever we talk about an idea, if we know where it came from, we need to credit that person so thanks for doing that Ruth. It’s the way we need to roll here.

    1. I agree. Otherwise, when someone else shares the idea without at least letting people know they didn’t originate it (even if they aren’t able to attribute to the correct person), it makes it seem like the person presenting came up with everything. Or, even if they make plain it’s not the presenter’s own idea, if we can credit specifically, we should credit. I think it’s like giving citation in a paper; it’s professional. It also promotes goodwill among teachers, doesn’t it? It’s been pointed out to me that it also helps establish the presenter as one in a like-minded community instead of a single person acting without reference to others’ ideas. I think that’s good, too. Builds credibility and connects the reader/audience to the bigger set of CI teachers.

  3. I once attended a session at NTPRS which had significant information from one of my books so I just walked out. I felt bad that the person was acting like it was their work. I think others have had similar experiences. Two and a half pages from one of the editions of another book were from me, but not recognized as such. I would have missed it, but a bunch of people alerted me to it. So I don’t at all agree with the “free share” mentality. If anyone sees anything that needs our attention in this arena, please write the comment to clarify who should be credited with the idea. It’s the right thing to do.

  4. Alisa Shapiro

    Here’s the first T/CI story I ever told/asked -with my gold lamé T-Rex puppet – it was for 1st & 2nd graders, and I still tell it – even to older kids (jazzed up). I have lots of plastic food (cognates) and a set of fake sushi (really pencil erasers). The Ss love to hold the food and offer it to the dinosaur puppet, who sniffs and rejects everything except sushi. Sometimes he grabs the food from them in his big red mouth with sharp teeth, then dramatically spits it out, “¡Qué asco!” [How disgusting!] “I LIKE SUSHI!”

    There’s a dinosaur.
    He’s hungry.
    He only likes sushi.
    He goes to (Local eatery #1).
    Is there sushi at #1?
    Of course not! There are hamburgers at #1!
    Dino is hungry. Dino only likes Sushi.
    He goes to (local eatery #2).
    Is there sushi at #2?
    Of course not! There are bananas/tacos/pasta/ other cognate foods at #2.
    Dino is hungry. Dino only likes Sushi.
    He goes to COSTCO. There are hamburgers at Costco, there are bananas/tacos/pasta other cognate foods at Costco…[BUT] Dino only likes sushi.
    There’s sushi at Costco! Lots of sushi! Dino is happy!
    Dino eats and eats and eats and eats sushi at Costco.
    [NOW] Dino has a different problem.
    Dino is thirsty!

    1. Martha Nojima

      Love this! This is my kind of story. Alisa is so right about not needing to reinvent the wheel, just adjust for what interests them, and what they can understand.

      I am using the Thirsty Boy script right now from Anne Matava, with students from elementary 2nd grade all through upper elementary and even new to me University students. Just tweak it and change it to adjust to their level. The 2nd graders are drawing it in four panels, The university kids who are art students had a blast acting it out and this week will draw it. Can’t wait to see what they will do with it.

    2. Thanks Alisa. Each of these gems I get, and please everybody keep sending them in here as comments or directly to me at, I add to the growing list of super mini stories, a.k.a. micro stories. They all go into the category “Super Mini Stories for Classroom Use” which I expect will get a lot of use next year. (Who was it that gave us that term “micro stories”, here a few weeks ago, by the way?)

  5. …can’t wait to see what they will do with it….

    This is one of the big points I always try to make on this blog. There is a growing dependence and discussion in the TPRS community about planning classes. But the more we plan, and the more we try to control the class, the more restricted and uncomfortable our classes will be. Conversely, the more we are open to seeing what our students will do with the story, or as Joe Neilson says, “seeing what they feed me”, the more comfortable and spontaneous (and therefore interesting) our classes will be. We absolutely must learn how to control the flow of the class and at the same time make the students think that they are the ones controlling it. That is done through the art of asking questions, and through trying against all odds to do what must be done more and more and more in schools right now, teach from our hearts, in spite of the data devils lurking in all the corners of the building.

  6. I did one that my primary school kids liked. We did lots of TPR first with ‘lari’ (run), ‘jatuh’ (fall). They already knew ‘nangis’ (cried) They are used to me saying ‘Jangan lari!’ (Don’t run!) Berjalan! (Walk)

    So I made up a story that went:
    There was a girl. Her name was Susie. Susie ran. Susie fell. Susie cried.
    There was a boy. His name was Peter. Peter ran. Peter fell. Peter cried.
    (I went through this with about 5 kids or until they got bored)
    Then I added:
    Class 3A ran. Class 3A fell. Class 3A cried.
    Ibu Anne said, “Don’t run! Walk!”

    They also loved a story about naughty students that do not obey teacher’s instructions. We had been learning (TPR) sit down, stand up, write, draw, open your book etc.
    So we did a story:

    There was a class. The name of the class was 2B.
    2B was good.
    Ibu Anne said “Sit down”. All the class sat down.
    Julia did not sit down. Julia was naughty.
    “Sit down Julia!” said Ibu Anne.
    Julia did not sit down. Julia was naughty.
    Ibu Anne said “Open your books”.
    All the class opened their books.
    Julia did not open her book. Julia was naughty.
    “Open your book, Julia!” said Ibu Anne.
    Julia did not open her book. Julia was naughty.
    (Keep adding instructions until class gets bored)
    “Come here, Julia” said Ibu Anne.
    Ibu Anne smacked Julia.
    (This sounds extremely politically incorrect, but the kids absolutely loved this part and demanded the story over and over again!)

    1. You can hold a hand beside a child’s cheek and clap it with your other hand, so it kind of looks like you are smacking the child. If you smile and wink at the child the first time, they won’t be frightened and it will surprise everyone and get a big laugh. Once you have shown them how to do it, your actors can have a lot of fun.

    2. “Come here, Julia” said Ibu Anne.

      – (Right then) “Celebrity/ Cartoon character..” opened the door.
      Ibu Anne said: “Close the door!” but “celebrity” did not close the door !!!!! etc

      Maybe the celebrity could misbehave, and the student have an exemplar behavior.

  7. Ah, the primary school world. A mystery to all but the initiated. Great stuff Anne! I think we all should take page out of the above my thinking for me at least is that I never do enough TPR. I could do 50 times more TPR than I do in a year and it still wouldn’t be enough. And talk about compelling: “Ibu Anne smacked Julia.” The heck with it being politically correct. I can just see the kids! Great! Making it fun is what it’s all about!

  8. I had completely forgotten about the Coat story! And now I remember how much fun we had with it. I did it with primary students that I saw for 20 minutes twice a week. I could see doing it with older kids too. Too bad that it’s getting too warm for coats now. Thank you, Catherine and Ben, for jogging my memory.

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