Upper Level Script

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



8 thoughts on “Upper Level Script”

  1. Great script, Jeff. It made me chuckle out loud.
    This makes me think of Dr. Mason’s Story Listening and Stories First Project. I love telling stories. I love telling Anne Matava stories. Like Ben says, Anne has her ear tuned into what compels teenagers and creates stories that can light them up. Jeff, this story does the same. It would be great with adults too, of course, since interviews bring us lots of stress and anxiety.
    You know, I like the scripts in comparison to straight-stories, like fairy tales and such, because they are short, there’s some repetition, and there’s some room for student input. I believe these are all characteristics of Blaine Ray’s TPRS and now we are just telling them without worrying about targeting structures any more, which is great. We’re all rolling with the storytelling wave, but the thing is, it’s hard to find stories from fairy tales and or legends or myths or other classic stories, of the like that Dr. Mason and others sharing in the Stories First Foundation are doing, that are compelling enough for teenagers. Or rather, both short enough and capture a teenager’s attention right from the beginning. I find the need to hook students/ teenagers attention right away and not after a full paragraph involving some character development.
    That said, Jeff, how did you start this story with your students? Or how would you start it? I see that you have the character, Bob, underlined. Students came up with his name. Did you simply ask students “We need a character. What’s their name?” Get the name and go straight to “Bob realized he didn’t like living in ____________.” Any other prompts or set-up that you needed to do?

    1. I am with you Sean. I am so glad that I found Beniko and her work, and I was really excited about it at first, because I think the idea of straight up talking to the students and using pictures and words to support their comprehension is a powerful experience. I hesitate to advocate for folks adopting straight story telling though, because though I do think that it would be a totally effective program, and lead to language gains, I do not personally find stories day in and day out interesting enough…and it’s a lot of prep. If I do not think it is interesting to me then I cannot get the kids interested. Also, I would miss out on the community-building aspects of Ben’s work, which has always prioritized mental health for students and teacher.

      1. Hi Tina! I’ve been off Facebook for awhile because that thing is massive now with the groups and basically strangers trying to friend me (or whatever it is).
        Anyway, you said, “and it’s a lot of prep”. Yes, I agree. I told a spongebob episode that caught my attention. I like using synopsis style summaries instead of full blown stories for storytelling. My students are getting chatty since I was out sick (and going to a music convention!). If at anytime I want to prep stories, it would be in the summer and I would want to do about 1 a week at most. As I see it, having parallel systems in place is my ideal CI world. Here’s my prediction Tina: I think that someday you will meet someone who was taught with CI and will want to collab with you to create many CI systems.

        1. Maybe Beniko’s focus is better for really little kids. It’s not for secondary or college kids. It just doesn’t make the students the focus of the class – the already-made-up story is the focus. That is not what we do in non-targeted work, where the kids are creating, acting, laughing, making up the story, doing jobs, etc. I vastly prefer stories that we create with the class over stories that the students just listen to.

          1. The dynamic is different. I have many students with healthy homes but there are many who need healthy interactions with adults. And yet, many students are attached to the screen and this to me is why sometimes they just want to listen to a story. I strive to find a balance but my student population keeps changing from 7/8th graders in Spanish Native speakers and French classes to Spanish 2 (mainly 8th) and two levels of French. Next year Ill probably teach Level 1 Spanish (mainly 7th graders) and my two French Classes. That would be sweet.

  2. Sean,
    I tried to channel my inner Matava. Her scripts have been so good for me in my CI journey. Thanks for the kind words on the script.
    “Class who doesn’t have a job? Oh, Bob doesn’t have a job? Come up here Bob. Then class where does he live if he doesn’t have a job? That’s right, his parent’s basement. How old is Bob? Wow, he’s 78 and he still lives in their basement?”
    “One day Bob decided that he didn’t want to live there anymore. He decided to look for a job. Where did he search first? What job did he see that he liked? In what country/state was the job? Class, I have a secret. The pay was terrible. But…well then why did he want the job? What was really good about the job?”
    With a script this complicated, I can see it taking you way off-script. In my department, we are doing thematic units. So I put all the job searching vocabulary in there. If I don’t get to practice it because the kids take me somewhere else, oh well. We will have to do some quizlet or something later. Or I can type up a parallel version with all that “important” vocabulary later.
    The teacher I wrote it for will be using it in Spanish 3 Honors. I’m just happy that other teachers in my department are experimenting with stories now. 4 of them went to see Mike Coxon. They loved it.
    Even after the workshop they still want to use thematic units, and I’m okay with that. They are doing a great job at trying to incorporate CI methods, so much so that we have “toyed with” the idea of doing all stories and “la persona especial” in level 1.
    In the version above, Bob will be any student that the kids want to see today. Hope this helps.

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

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



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