A Trip to Outer Space – Storytelling Activities: Leap by Campbell Manning, Illustrated by Nadia Ronquillo

Hello, my dear colleagues! This post is a short reflection that will share a simple storytelling lesson plan and show some activities for Leap by Campbell Manning, Illustrated by Nadia Ronquillo. This session was done online, but it can be conducted face-to-face without any changes. It is made for young learners (mixed group, the 1st and the 2nd grade), and the students had a low level of English.

Pre-teaching the vocabulary

The time was very limited, so we started with interactive vocabulary pre-teaching and setting the classroom atmosphere. Then, I played relaxing music in the background and focused on TPR to learn some action verbs and one interesting noun from the book.

Demonstrate the words and then translate them to your native language!

  1. float
  2. leap
  3. sail
  4. berserk
  5. grin

I expanded the TPR activity by having the students repeat chorally. At the same time, they did the activities and then connected them into one sentence so that the students demonstrate multiple activities one after another. (Let’s leap with a grin! Let’s sail and then float!)

Storytelling and space music

During the storytelling, I played relaxing music in the background and had children answer questions related to the pages, name things they see and demonstrate the verbs we learned as they listened.

After the storytelling was over, we discussed actual space music and the sounds present in space – real space sounds and then we described how we felt after hearing the actual space sounds.

The puppets for storytelling

Here are my paper puppets from the last storytelling session. They are made of vinyl reusable stickers (you can stick them all over again) with a bit of tape on a colored pencil. ✏️😂

No need to waste a stick when you can make detachable puppets.

I moved the puppets along with the book pages, and the students could not see my face during the storytelling to help them feel more focused and enjoy more.

Post-dramatization activities

  • What did the little boy in the book want to do?
  • How did his friends react to his wish?
  • What did he need to collect to go to outer space?
  • Would you like to go to space?
  • How did the story make you feel?
  • Now, let’s run and bring us something you would bring to space. Name it and tell us WHY you want to bring it. After discussing we played a game and the students brought so many funny and unusual items they would bring to space! 🤣

Crafting time

We had online, live interactive crafting to continue the session, and the children had so much fun making their own solar system model. The presentation below includes the picture that represents the sizes of the planets and another one showing their texture and color in more detail. You can read the instruction for the craft in the picture below.

Here’s one cute finished craft!

Explore the simple interactive lesson material

In many cases, less is more, and the children had a simple storytelling session with bits and pieces of art and science, which is one of my favorite combinations! Campbell Manning and Nadia Ronquillo are a great team, and Leap gave me many ideas about various activities – it was tough to choose which activity to cover in the lesson!

What do you think about storytelling in the ESL classroom? Do you have any activities that you would like to share? Please write in the comments or via the contact page. I would love to hear your opinion!

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About Alice Glass

Alice is a 29 years old English teacher with a B.Ed and M.Ed. with a double minor (English teaching methodology for young learners and Serbian language teaching methodology). She is also a young but published academic researcher, materials designer, and an online ESL teacher for children in her own school, ELLoquent. She is passionate about teaching young learners, environmental education, storytelling & drama, and distance learning. Last but not least, she is a mother of an autistic toddler with SPD.

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