Reading “Cajas de cartón” Without “Reading”


In Spanish 4 we are working our way through Francisco Jimenez’s “Cajas de cartón”.  It’s been great fun and the students are doing wonderful working through the text but I could tell yesterday that they were a bit burnt out after we worked through the first few pages of chapter 2, Soledad.  I had to find some other way to work with the text that didn’t involve so much traditional reading.

I recently saw this post by Martina Bex (@MartinaBex) on her blog, The Comprehensible Classroom (which you should check out if you haven’t!) and was inspired.  I photocopied page 11 of the book and cut it into six smaller chunks.  I then drew a picture for each chunk of the page.  I only had 4 students in class so it was easy to give each student a copy.  I had them work on their own to 1) pair the picture to the text and 2) put them in what they thought was a logical order picking up where we left off yesterday in the story.  I emphasized that they didn’t need to read and understand the entire chunk of text but rather just find key words to help them match things up.  In my pictures I intentionally included images of key words we knew such as “gato”, “dormir” and “difícil”.  Students didn’t know the whole passage but they could figure out enough to match things up.

Next, students walked around and looked at how others had matched up the items and what order they had put them in.  They all had the first 3 events the same but differed on the last 3.  Then we went through as a class and checked the pairing and order.  The students talked it out on their own and came to a unanimous, correct decision for the last 3 events.

Then I paired them up to use the pictures and text to come up with an English version of what happened, encouraging them to look for details in the text and pictures.  I then switched the pairs and they told their stories.

Finally we went over the pictures and text in detail as a class and I pointed out key words and ideas to them.

As a wrap up activity and a nice state change, we played pictionary.  I displayed three excerpts from the text we had just worked with that contained key words and phrases we had narrowed in on and the person drawing chose one to draw and their partner guessed which one.

With a few minutes left, I had them write a quick prediction of what they thought would happen next in the story and we shared them to build anticipation for next time.

The students did great, had fun and were creative.  It was a great way to progress in the story and use the text but in a less daunting way. I think I will continue to do a section each chapter this way and even adapt it in the future to have the students create the pictures for a piece of the literature and set up stations.  I think it would be a great way to review the chapter.  Check out the materials page if you’d like to see what I used for this lesson.

Until Next Time,

Maestra McH.


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