Reviewing novels after a break

Many times, I try to wrap up a novel before a longer break; however, other times, it doesn’t happen. I have found a few fun activities to review a novel that ease students back after break. When you are reviewing, keep in mind some of the ideas of retrieval practice. If it is harder for students to remember the first time, it will stick with them longer. Also, it is better to have students remember what they can WITHOUT the novel first.

Therefore, first have students write down as much as they can without the book. Don’t go straight to the novel! You could start with a brain dump or you could have students complete a gallery walk. La Familia de Federico Rico has a ton of pictures. I had students write as many facts as they could with a partner for a picture from each chapter that we had read. Then, they walked around and added as many details as they could:

Reviewing La Familia de Federico Rico in photos

After this activity, students can look in the book to add even more details using the book. With my fourth and fifth grade classes, I turned this into stations. I had four stations, and each station ended up taking my students 6 minutes per station. I had 3-4 students per group, but if you have a larger class, you can do double groups. For the video and Quizizz activities, I bring up the links ahead of time to save my students time. (Looking for other station ideas? Check out my other post for general ideas about stations in the world language classroom.)

  • Quizziz game is a great way to play a game during stations because it can be played asynchronously on the homework setting. Also, this is a great game for my younger students because I can turn off the leaderboard to take away the competitive aspect. Plus, Quizizz has added power-ups too.
  • I haven’t used picture dictionary a lot, but it is a good way for my fourth and fifth graders to review vocabulary. I provided a list of words and encouraged them to include words that they didn’t know on their own list.
  • At one station, I left a copy of the books and had students add details to their original list by using the book to review even more. This helps with retrieval.
  • Since I like to have students complete a listening activity, I had one station with a video that was related to the culture of the book. In Isabela captura un congo, I used this video to show how to make ceviche. Students didn’t realize what it was until we did this! I had them write down the ingredients as they watched it.
  • Finally, if you like, you can have one station with you to have a conversation about the novel. You can have students discuss who they like and who they don’t like. They could discuss predictions, etc. I typically have done this the second round of stations because the first time, I normally have to be bouncing around to groups more often.

However, if you want something lower prep than stations, you can have students do a play-doh activity after the brain dump. Students can use the book to create a scene using the Play-doh. Then, I label the sculptures with numbers. The activity then turns into a gallery walk. Students predict what part the student was intending to sculpt. I will walk around and students will tell me in Spanish what part they think it was. Finally, the artist confirms what part it is.

I also have a few ideas that are better for older students. My students love to create memes for the book that they are studying. I have made a blank Google slides slideshow, and they put their selection of memes onto their own page, so they can see each other’s memes. This helps them discuss a variety of points, and they can create them quickly. Also, for older students, the game of quotes gets them re-reading the book from AnneMarie Chase. Check it out if you haven’t tried it already! Finally, booksnaps are fun! Students take a picture of a page or event that they like then annotate it with a sentence. They can do this on Google or on Snapchat. You can have students find and react to a few prompts like: I love, I like, I don’t like… etc. I always encourage them to use GIFs or emojis.

Booksnaps from People En Español

Remember the goal is to encourage students to re-read parts of the book, so they need an engaging activity to do so. How do you engage your students in reviewing novels after break? I would love to add more ideas to this list.


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