Directions for Re-tells and group stories

Susie Gross taught me to assign re-tells relatively painlessly. She suggested that I use re-tells as sub plans. They work really well, if you’ve trained the kids in advance, for about a day’s absence.

There’s a post here describing the system already, but I have read Fred Jones Tools for Teaching in the interim, and have learned how good it is to have written instructions for students on a multi-step task.

Today I wrote the task on the board so that I could speak Russian and point at the directions in English. I’d love it if you have ideas to tweak and improve these instructions.

1. Tell the original (class) story in Russian in your group.

-use current vocabulary

-share the telling (no writing!)

2. Re-tell it with some new details.

-use vocabulary you know

3. Group artist uses a mini-whiteboard.

-fill in a storyboard with quick sketches that will remind the group of their story

4. Practice, sharing the speaking load.

-as you practice, you may add details


I can give an advanced group just three structures that they have to use. This system works well to keep kids from going too far out of bounds. Today, I found that kids used only one of the new structures, so after they all presented for the first time, I had them retell in their groups, trying to add some of the other new structures we have used. That sounded good. Next time I would probably follow that up with a fast write. Instead, we had done the fast write two days ago.



3 responses to “Directions for Re-tells and group stories

  1. Why have i never heard this idea about writing the instructions in English and then explaining them in TL!! (Oh, and I like the re-tell idea, too. Thank you for sharing!)


    • I think a bunch of other people have been doing the write-in-English and explain-in-TL with their class rules. I’m not sure that they get a whole lot out of the Russian, especially given that it’s not familiar words, but at least I’m not speaking English. Probably I should have circled it some.


  2. Thanks. Perfect timing! I will try this next week!!


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