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December 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 6

ISSN 1755-9715

Plurilingual Storytelling

Rosmarie de Monte-Frick is a teacher, CLIL specialist and teacher trainer. She has taught English students from high-school to post-graduate level for 36 years. As a Teacher Trainer for the Free University of Bolzano/Bozen, Pädagogische HochschuleTirol, Innsbruck, the Department of Education of Bolzano, and others she has trained teachers especially in CLIL and EFL. Email:



In the trilingual region of South Tyrol, Italy, plurilingualism is seen as a great chance for individuals and society, and especially for young people. Languages can be linked in our learners’ brains, synergies can be created, code-switching can become natural. Being plurilingual improves our learners’ career prospects, their working memory and overall attention span. Plurilingualism is being fostered in our region and teachers are creating plurilingual teaching material.

What our learners appreciate about this plurilingual approach is that it differs from what they usually do in language classes; choice is given; their translingual lexical range is widened; tasks are collaborative; and it prepares them for multilingual work places in the world and real life in a region where more languages are spoken.

What we language teachers appreciate about this plurilingual approach is that the didactic culture of language teaching is being changed, plurilingual education is being fostered in a novel way, and collaboration and creativity is being furthered.

The following lesson plan is based on a story from Africa taken from a Canadian webpage. It is suitable for any other story retrievable in English and another language.


Lesson plan 

Theme: Divorce

Level: B1

Age: 12-15

Time: 2 lessons (approx. 100 mins)



  1. Divide the story (English and Italian/any other language version) into 4 parts.
  2. Scaffold difficult words if necessary.
  3. Learners listen to the story in these 4 parts (Italian (or any other language available)/English/Italian/English). After listening to the first part (in Italian), they retell the story ping-pong style (A/B, one sentence per partner) in English. Then they listen to part 2 in English; they retell part 2 (A/B) in Italian (other language).
  4. Repeat step one for parts 3 and 4 of the story. 
  5. Learners write a summary of the story: half in English and half in Italian (order of their choice). Time limit: 15 mins.
  6. Learners edit the first version of their stories with CASSIE.
    1. C  olour
    2. A  dverbs and adjectives
    3. S  senses      (e.g. add what the character saw, heard, smelled)
    4. S  entence structure      (make one sentence more complex, by adding a subclause)
    5. I  mages    (blue…+ like the ocean)
    6. E  motions    (e.g. add what the character felt)
  7. Learners (A/B) swap stories and edit their partner’s text by adding one item for each CASSIE element, e.g. 1 adverb, 1 colour, etc.           
  8. When learners (A/B) get their text back from their partners, they decide which changes to accept and which to refute.     Time limit for steps 4-6: 20 mins
  9. Learners choose either the English or Italian print version of the story and read it. They choose 5 chunks of language (sentence/expression/word) which they particularly like to transfer to their own text to IMPROVE their own text. Time limit: 10 mins
  10. Learners now work with a new partner (C/D). Learner C reads the final version of  learner D’s story and writes a short comment against a set of criteria (and vice versa). Time limit: 10 mins
  11. Learners write a Haiku (5 – 7 – 5 syllables) individually or in pairs on the topic of the story. Time limit: 15 mins
  12. All the Haikus are exhibited on the walls for a Gallery Walk.  Time limit: 10 mins




1. Webpage  Sembigue  level 5 (or any other story)

2. Sample criteria for step 10

2.1. Easy Life (writing frame for peer-evaluation)

1. Is the story structured (paragraphs)? Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution?

Start like this: “Your story is /mostly/ well structured. What you could improve is…”

2. List 3 English and 3 Italian expressions/chunks in the story that you particularly like.

Start like this:  “What I particularly like about your use of language is…”

3. Did you like reading your partner’s story? Yes/No? Why?

2.2. Challenge (more sophisticated evaluation model)

Self-evaluation (for step 6)


  • Have you divided your story into paragraphs? Does each paragraph deal with ONE part of the story?


  • Have you included a range of grammatical structures (e.g. past simple, past continuous, past perfect)?
  • Is there a good range of vocabulary (e.g. adverbs to bring the story to life: He stopped suddenly, absolutely horrified.)?
  • Is your vocab specific, not general (e.g. a hot, sunny day   NOT a nice day)?
  • Have you used a range of appropriate linking expressions (e.g. but, so, after; Finally,)?
  • Have you used time expressions appropriately (e.g.when, as soon as, after)?
  • And are your spelling and punctuation correct?



Peer-evaluation (for step 10)

Now use the above checklist and give FEEDBACK TO A PARTNER. Fill in the grid below.


Name of peer evaluator:


Give examples of good language use

… a range of grammatical structures





… a good range of vocabulary




… specific vocabulary




… a range of appropriate linking expressions




… time expressions




...and what I wanted to add is:







Please check the Pilgrims courses at Pilgrims website.

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