Retelling and Research

Some of you may already know this, but I have been working on finishing up my Masters Degree for some time now.  Almost 2 years being "some time".  I am ready to be finished, and thankfully, I almost am!  But I have been BUSY finishing up assignments for my classes, closing down my classroom for the summer, doing report cards, awards, and a whole plethora of other things that have kept me away from blogging and pretty much anything else that is fun.  I've been stressed out to the point that I have had this nagging stomachache for like 2 weeks now, and I know that's what it is from.  I also managed to hurt my wrist doing so much typing!  Crazy, huh?

One of the assignments for a class I was taking was to do some "action research" in my classroom.  Then I have to write a huge research paper on it.  Ugh.  However, doing the research itself was interesting and kind of fun.  :-)

I have a small group of students I have been working on with fluency, mostly because they were struggling with comprehension.  They were word callers- they didn't even pay attention to punctuation, they just read the words.  I knew this was an area I could help with.  So for another class, I did some lessons on fluency and presented those findings to my class.  But for this class, I wanted to switch gears and work on something else.  So I chose comprehension strategies.  Specifically, retelling.

I have been interested in using retelling gloves in my classroom for awhile.  Long enough that I stocked up on clearance winter gloves from Target last winter and stashed them in my closet.  :-)  So I dug them out and created a retelling glove.  On my retelling glove, I have the character, setting, problem, events and solution.  I found it kind of difficult to decide on a picture for the problem, events, and solution, but I was able to come up with something I think works.  The picture for the problem is a thundercloud, and the solution is a sun.  The events picture is a clock.  The kids didn't seem to pay any attention to my little pictures anyway.

Many of the retelling gloves I've seen also have something in the middle, like a heart for self to text connections.  You may notice that I didn't include this in my retelling glove.  This is because 1.  I wanted to focus on the retelling strategy, and 2.  I didn't want to mess up my gloves by drawing crooked hearts all over them.  I will most likely go back and add something to the middle of my gloves later.  Most likely when I make my class set.  

So now you may be wondering how I used these retelling gloves.  Well, first, I did a pre-test, to determine a baseline score for their retelling ability.  Then I modeled doing a retelling.  I read a book out loud to the students, then I modeled retelling using the glove.  I even showed them how I could go back and look in the book if I forgot something.  Then I let them try with the book I had read.  In the next few sessions, we just read books and practiced retelling.  I noticed improvement right away. By the third sessions, one of my students said, "The first event was..., The second event was..." when retelling his story!  I was so excited to hear him use that language and use the glove to help him!  One of my students was still really struggling, so I worked with her to remember to use the text when she needed to.  By the end of our sessions, even she had made some progress!

So then it was the moment of truth.  I had to assess their use of the retelling gloves.  I had them individually read a story, then they used the glove to retell the story.  And guess what?  They did GREAT!  Two of my students hit every part on the rubric.  Even the girl who was struggling made significant progress.  The last student in the group moved in the middle of the lessons, so I didn't get a specific measure of his progress, but  I know from my field notes that he made progress as well.  I gave one of my students a retelling glove to practice with over the summer- I hope that she will!

And the best part?  When I was doing a CRI on one of the students (my little struggling girl) after completing these lessons, there was a retelling piece.  I asked her to retell the story, and she started giving me this very vague retelling- until I told her "Remember the glove."  She immediately began telling me the basic story elements!  Though she required a little prompting to use this strategy outside of our lessons, when she was prompted, she began to use it!  

Now that I'm finished with these lessons, I think it would be important to help the students remember to use the glove outside of just our group.  For example, when doing a DRA assessment, the student has to retell the events of the story.  I would like to see them use what they learned during the DRA.  Or when they read a story on their own, they can practice retelling it to a friend using the glove.  Eventually, I would like for them to not need the glove anymore, of course!  But I will definitely be using these again next year, maybe even with my whole class!

Sorry this post was very text heavy!  I hope to be back sometime (probably next week) with more picture friendly posts of our Derby fun and a really fun activity we did with one of our big books.  


  1. Wow! Such a thoughtful approach to retelling. This is my first time seeing the retelling glove, and I love it. Thanks for sharing, Erica! :)

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

  2. I love this idea! However, the trouble I see with having difficulty with retelling is that they are unable to give any kind of answer. They are unable to recall any information and just stare at me when I ask them about characters, setting, etc.

  3. I like this. Is there a link for the cut outs by any chance?? Thanks.

  4. I would also be curious about your cut outs if you have a link for them!

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