Saturday, October 20, 2012

Retelling with Our Bodies

This week we worked on retelling and our story in our Treasures reading series was Little Red Hen. We made a retelling strip for the Little Red Hen as an anchor so that students would learn the components of a retell. We started with a picture of the characters, the setting and then a picture of all the events and glued them on a long strip of paper. The students used their retelling strip to practice retelling the story to a partner. It was a great activity because it helped them use the vocabulary of a retell. I wish I had pics. I need to get used to taking pictures of everything. I find myself saying that would be a good post if I had taken pictures!!  Does that happen to anyone else?

Anyhoo...the next day we sequenced the story using the retell cards from the series.You cansee them in the pocketchart in the pic below. I then broke the students into groups and each group was responsible for creating a tableau ( frozen picture with bodies) about one event in the story. They planned their tableau and created it with their bodies in under 10 minutes. Then on the third day, each group came up in sequence so we could retell the story with our bodies. Here are the pics of their tableaus. FYI: the carpet was the "stage" and the audience is around the rug.
Little Red Hen planting seeds. See the child rolled into the ball... she's a seed! The others are the lazy animals!
Little Red Hen getting water from the well. See her pulling the "pail"!
Little Red Hen threshing the wheat.
Little Red Hen mixing and mixing. I wish one of their group members hadn't been absent because she was the bowl and it looked awesome!

Little Red Hen pulling bread from the oven surrounded by hungry animals!

                  Little Red Hen trying to be very firm by telling the animals they can't have any bread because they didn't help! Look at those cute begging animals.

If you want a little more info about using Tableau in your classroom, see my post about using tableau to retell Stellaluna here! Tableau is so great because it is so much faster than acting out and more powerful as students have to think about body position and facial expression. They begin to think about how their character would look and feel.I love this strategy.

Have a great week!!!


  1. I am going to have to look more into this!!!! Retellng can be so tricky...I'm all for anything that makes it's "easier"!

    Thanks for entering my giveaway...I'm so happy to have found you!!!!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

    1. Thanks for visiting me!!I hope I win :)

  2. Really glad you blogged about this because we are covering Little Red Hen in the Treasures series this coming week. Your students look so engaged! I will definitely try the tableau activity out. Thanks ma'am!

    Our Future is Bright

    1. I am so glad that this was good timing for you! My suggestion would be if this is your first time using this strategy to model ,of course, first and then give a short time to plan and create their tableau. Usually more time leads to misbehavior. I found this out the hard way! As you incorporate this more, students will get better at keeping their eyes locked like statues so it looks more like a frozen picture. Good luck! I'd love to hear how it goes!

  3. LOVE the idea of retelling with your body! I have to try that with my kids!
    Rowdy in First Grade