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I love to teach writing! But it took me a few years to become an effective writing teacher, and for a long time, I hated it. Now that I have figured out ways to make writing engaging for my students, it has become one of the best parts of our day. As a dual language teacher, I am always looking for an engaging Spanish writing activity. About two years ago, I came up with the idea of having my students write a puppet show in Spanish. I was worried it would be too much for my fourth graders, but they loved it! They were so excited to get to work on our Spanish writing activity each day. So in this blog post, I want to share with you all the details of this incredibly engaging Spanish writing activity. I know you and your students will love it!
Puppet show Spanish writing activity
For this activity, my students have to write a script for their puppet show. They also have to create the puppets and the setting(s) for their show. When they are done, they perform it for the class. All in Spanish!!!
You can have your students work in groups, with partners, or independently. Whichever way works best for you and your students. Personally, I like to have them work in groups of 3 because I have a lot of students who are just learning Spanish. Having them try to create an entire play in Spanish on their own would be too overwhelming.
This Spanish writing activity takes about two weeks to complete, sometimes more. It depends on how much time your students get to work on it each day. I had my students work on their projects during our literacy stations. I like using this activity for our literacy center’s time because we can still work on other types of writing during our writing block.
Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how I use this activity in my classroom:
Step 1: Brainstorming
We start this activity by talking about what a play is. I usually give my students this activity when we are learning about drama in reading, so they have already been exposed to plays.
After that, start brainstorming ideas for our plays. We use a circle map graphic organizer to come up with different possible ideas.
We then move on to our four-square graphic organizer. Students use this graphic organizer to finish fleshing out the specific ideas for their play.
By now, my students know:
🧡 Who the characters will be;
🧡 What the setting(s) will be;
🧡 The main conflict of their story;
🧡 How this conflict will be solved.
Step 2: Character development
Once my students have the basic plot of their stories outlined, it is time to work on character development. I want my students to really think about how their characters feel, act, and think. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they relate to others? Do they have a catchphrase?
I give my students a character map graphic organizer that helps them plan out their characters in detail. Because my students work in groups, I have each student work on developing their own character. If your students are working independently, you can have them focus on just the main character of the story.
Step 3: Setting development
We then move on to the setting. With the setting, I want my students to focus on visualizing each aspect of it. What does it look like? Are there any distinct smells? Sounds? Tastes? They use a setting map graphic organizer to record their ideas.
Step 4: Developing the plot
Although my students have already used our four-square graphic organizer to come up with the story elements for their story, now it is time to focus on the plot a little more closely. My students use a graphic organizer to develop each part of the plot more thoroughly (exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.)
Step 5: Write the script
At this point, I want my students to take the story they developed using the last graphic organizer and convert it into a script. This is the hardest part for them. We talk a lot about how plays are written as a dialogue. Everything the audience needs to know about the story must be part of the characters’ conversations. Anything that cannot be communicated through dialogue needs to be added as a stage direction.
I give my students a very detailed graphic organizer where they write their characters’ lines, the number of the scene, and any stage directions.
Step 6: Revising and editing
Once my students finish writing their scripts, I give them revising and editing checklists. They use the checklists to make sure their scripts are ready.
Step 7: Create the puppets and the setting
This is my students’ favorite part! I give my students some templates to help them create their puppets. Some of my students create their own puppets without using the templates. We glue popsicle sticks to our puppets.
I also give my students time to work on their settings. I have some premade settings that they can just color, or they can design their own. Depending on how they are presenting their shows (more on that later) they use regular-size paper or bulletin board paper to design their settings.
Step 8: Practice and perform
Once my students are done creating everything they need for their puppet shows, they get ready for their performances. There are many ways you can have students present their puppet shows:
🧡 You can place desks in front of your classroom, cover them with a black sheet, and have students hide behind them while they perform using the puppets. If that is how you are planning to do this in your classroom, I would suggest giving students a large piece of bulletin board paper to design their settings. When it is their turn to present, they can hang their settings on the wall/board behind the desks.
🧡 My favorite way to do this is to have students make a video of their presentation. For this, my students create their settings on regular-sized paper. You can even let students make a stop motion video using the app Stop Motion Studio. Although there is a free version of this app, I opted to purchase the app. The free version has recording time limits, and I wanted my students to be thorough. The app is super easy to use and so much fun! If you are interested in learning more about it, you can watch this video on YouTube that explains how to use the app.
I like to pair this writing activity with a project-based learning activity in Spanish. In this PBL activity, my students step into the role of theater producers. They must manage the budget for their production and make sure they sell enough tickets to cover all of their costs. If you are interested in this activity, you can read more about it here.
This is it…
My favorite Spanish writing activity! This activity is an amazing way to get students to practice writing in Spanish without feeling overwhelmed.
If you would like to try this activity in your own classroom but don’t want to spend time creating ALL THE THINGS… I got you covered! This Spanish writing activity is available on my TPT shop. You can click here to check it out!