OWI – One word images

Arco, el buho triste   Arco el búho triste, sniff, sniff

OWI - El sol que tiene frio El sol que tiene frío

One word images, an idea of Ben Slavic and Tina Hargaden. These two people are brilliant at guiding both teachers and students to create wonderful, off the beaten path, compelling and incredibly interesting stories. These stories are the venue to “teach” the target language.  Ben and Tina, gracias por todo y por liberarme de tanto agobio :-

The beauty of the OWI is the freedom you have to talk about whatever you want, in the most natural sense of the language. It gives students an opportunity to listen to the target language with all its bells and whistles; nothing left to wonder, thru the use of VERY SILLY stories. This is most definitely a student centered activity gently guided by the teacher. The students provide all the details, ideas, starting with the main character, which is represented in the OWI.

After watching several videos and master teachers, here is how it went down in classroom 308:

Step 1: OWI workshop – Day 1: all students were given a piece of computer paper [big] to create an OWI. Students were told to make their images bold, colorful, and oddly interesting.

Step 2: OWI workshop – part b: Day 2– students wrote a rough draft of the character’s story, in English. Yes, in English. The reason is for students to be able to give interesting details that would otherwise not come up due to language restrictions.

Step 3: OWI Live – Day 3: My students and I worked to co-create the same written story, but in the target language, orally. In the process, I made sure students received lots of comprehensible input, lots of repetitions of various structures, and when allowed stretched the “true part of the story” as far as we could.

Step 4: Day 4: My students and I worked on creating a written version of the story, in Spanish.  We then read the story aloud.

This type of instructional activity provides LOTS and LOTS of input and opportunities for formative assessments. I am not going to give summative assessments to my students on OWIs because I believe it would loose its spark. But, If I wanted to, I could do a quick oral assessment on the characters and its traits and even a “grammar structures” quiz to comply with the curriculum I teach. However, for now, it is all about letting our imaginations guide our paths.

Feliz jueves 🙂





One thought on “OWI – One word images

  1. Hey!!! I love the imagery in those OWI’s!!! And the cleverness of having a son that’s cold! haha. I wanted to share my blog with you since it’s brand new! http://www.comprehensiblerva.wordpress.com. I’ve got all my Invisibles stories up there for the year. I’d love to hear what you think.

    Despite having 87 pages of Invisibles from this past year, I completely underutilized OWI’s! I can’t wait to give them a proper run out next year! Thanks for your word doc setting the process up!


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