5 Activities to spice up any novel - Mis Clases Locas

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Teaching with Novels

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5 Activities to spice up any novel

Here are 5 different activities that we did through chapter 7-8 of Tumba by Mira CanionPrevious posts include introducing the novelChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5 & Chapter 6. These activities could be used with any story or novel. 

5 Activities to spice up any novel

¿Quien lo dijo? (who said it) - Ch 7

After reading the chapter together, students were given a list of quotes and picked from the book character to decide "who said it?" (You could also add quote that the character might possibly say). 
As a twist, I asked for character actors to stand up front. When I said a quote, the class told which character to step forward. Adding a wig, always spices things up, since it is the freshman boys who ALWAYS want to perform. 
Who said it?

5 Big Ideas (Ch7)

  • Each table was give a piece of paper and each person a different colored marker, where they wrote the most important events from chapter 7 to them. As a table they then voted on the key event, which a volunteer added to the board. As a class, we then voted on which event they thought was most important to the plot. 

Categories (Pre Ch 8)

I originally got the idea from Martina Bex here for this activity. Basically you type up words from a chapter, cut them apart and have students sort them into whatever creative categories they would like. I asked that they have at least 5 categories, 3 words minimum, and no "other/random" category. The most common was actions, emotions, things, places, people,  but there were some creative options such as things you can not see (a spirit, a solution). It is a great way to have students figure out and use words from a chapter either as an introduction, or a review. 
Students worked with partner to complete the following tasks at their own pace:
  • Sort words into catagories
  • Write sentences using some of the words in context
  • Challenge: Longest Sentence Competition (if time) - Use the words to make the longest sentence possible, that also makes sense :) Some of my fast workers love a competition and chance to beat each other. I even had one group stay after to beat the current champion!
Longest Sentence Challenge

Audio Book with silent actors (Ch 8)

After reading the chapter I asked for actors to portray the dialogue along with the audio book. This class loves having actors show what is going on while reading. This twist lead to surprising focus, with everyone's eyes glued on the entertainment. 
Looking at their "map" while acting out the chapter

Musical Chair Retell (Review Ch1-8)

I took the great idea from Carrie Toth here to review what has happened in the book so far with a language class version of musical chairs. 

  • Set chairs in a circle, each with a blank piece of lined paper. 
  • Students start writing to retell the story. (about 1-2 minutes depending on the group)
  • When the music starts they walk/dance around in a circle inside the chairs. 
  • When the music stops they read what is on this paper, and continue where the last person left off. 
  • This continues a couple times for a total of about 15 minutes. 
dancing during musical chair retell
What are your favorite activities to do with a novel?


  1. Great!!!! It is amazing. Thanks a lot

  2. Great ideas Allison. Thanks for sharing :-)

  3. Bonuses and prizes for top performers might result in competitive atmosphere around the office. Another approach is to utilize fun team building activities for work in order to inspire everyone in the office.

  4. Thank you for these tips. I will try the musical chair with my Spanish 3 and 4. At the end of each novel, we make a "fiesta" with the typical food and drink from the country the novel takes place, we also work on current events and other activities to enrich their knowledge of the country.

  5. How did you choose which words to use for "Categories" before reading Chapter 8?

    1. It is pretty much every main word in the chapter!

  6. Allison your blog posts were so helpful in my first year teaching Tumba. Thank you!

    Today we did 2 truths and a lie as a review of Chapter 7 with Martina's form that I've used before. With a class novel, I love having students come in, grab the novel, and complete an activity at the start of class that makes them reread (parts of) the chapter before we move on to a new one. And that way students who were absent can just read the chapter they missed!

    We played 2 truths and a lie with teams of 3 people and white boards. I read out the 3 statements students had written multiple times and in their groups students had to write the letter (A, B, C) of the lie, and then correct it in Spanish. They couldn't simply negate the sentence; they had to create! I encouraged them to provide lots of details in their corrections. It went beautifully.


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