Rod Serling, the creator of the original Twilight Zone, is an exceptional storyteller. He creates compelling, suspenseful short stories with a deeper allegorical message. Logically, The Twilight Zone pairs well with TPRS methods.
While teaching Martina Bex’s Unit 9 El Cucuy, I incorporated my love of The Twilight Zone. Here are the adaptations I made.
Target Structures: looks (at), toward, is scared of, *bonus* hears
Storyasking: I used the target structures plus the words ‘la madre’, ‘el padrastro’ ‘la muñeca’ and ‘la niña’. This storyasking has the same plot as the Twilight Zone Season 5 Episode 6 “The Living Doll.”
The story skeleton was something like this.
There is a family. (Introduce family.) The girl is happy because she has a new doll. She says “Dad, look at my new doll.” The doll says “My name is Talky Tina (Ana Habladora) and I love you.” The mom asks the girl to help her with the dishes and they go into the kitchen. The stepdad looks at the doll. He hears “My name is Talky Tina and I hate you.” He gets up, looks at the doll. He looks at her head, looks at her back, looks at her feet. He hears “My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.” The stepdad is scared. He is scared of the doll. He throws the doll in the garbage.
At night, the mom and stepdad are sleeping. The stepdad is scared. In his head he hears, “My name is Talky Tina and I’m going to kill you.” Then, he hears the door open. He is scared. He tells his wife “Look. Look at the door.” The wife looks at the door. The door opens. The doll is not there. It is the girl. She says “Mom. I want water.” The mom and girl go to the kitchen. The doll walks in the room. She says “My name is Talky Tina and I am going to kill you.”
This story is great for the 8th grade crowd. They were scared and intrigued and loved playing the roles of creepy doll, stepdad and little girl.
MovieTalk: After the story, I MovieTalked that Twilight Zone episode from Netflix. The next class, I used the same target structures to MovieTalk another Twilight Zone episode: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, Season 5 Ep. 3. A classic Shatner role. (I added the words “to fly” “plane” and “sees something”.)
Dictation Relay: I used the dictation relay as a pre-reading activity. I selected just the base reading from my embedded reading so students will have a chance to internalize the important sentences in a group setting.
9 dictation relay document
Embedded Reading: This is the first embedded reading I’ve ever created. I original thought embedded just meant that the target structures were embedded within the reading. Now I know that embedded means that the BASE SENTENCES are embedded throughout increasingly challenging versions of the story. My next embedded reading will be in past tense. Here are the readings: 9 Talky Tina embedded pdf 9 Talky Tina embedded docx
Foto Carrera: I will project screenshots of the “Living Doll” episode and “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.” In groups of 3-4, students will have 40 seconds to write as many sentences as they can about the image. I will give them points based on whatever criteria I decide. For example:
2 points for a full sentence
3 points if you use the new vocab
4 points if it is a compound sentence
9 talky tina retell
Blind Retell: Students use the storyboard to complete the blind retell, as explained in Martina’s Unit 9 plans.
Students will use their storyboard to free write using the target structures.