SSOLV – A storybook story
I don't know if any of you have seen the movie, The Princess Bride, and if you haven't you seriously seriously should, but there is a funny scene in the movie where monsters are given the name ROUS's (rodents of unusual size http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0pjh3zggxs) and I was thinking of that when thinking of how to differentiate a type of post I was thinking of proposing we all start using, from the normal posts. I think it will add a lot of fun to the Duolingo experience. I think it would be very beneficial to all, both to the poster and to the reader to write stories only using the words which we've learned in the tree thus far. That way the poster can go through the exercise of putting to action the words they've learned and then because there aren't that many words to use the resulting story will probably be very funny (sort of like mad libs – Bonjour mon cheval bleu mange du riz!) for the reader along with allowing them to actually use and reinforce the words they've learned, so they feel their making some head way.
We can post these stories on the lesson block discussion boards. So I doubt with only the words you've learned in lesson block one, you can create any type of story, but if you could, that lesson block is where you would post it. And if you've advanced ten lesson blocks, in that tenth lesson block you could post a story using all the words from that lesson block plus the nine behind it. And heres where the Princess Bride come into play. To allow those who don't want to read the stories and just want to look for questions or suggestions along with allowing those who do want to read them, we differentiate these story posts (which can be a paragraph in length) by naming, in the title SSOLV (Short Stories Of Low Vocabulary), followed by a dash and a story title. Then the body is just the story.
Then the readers can further benefit by, if need be, correcting any mistakes in the story and/or adding to the story! And we can vote per lesson block for the best story!
Edit: I wrote the above before actually trying it out and its funny I mentioned Mad Libs because since I'm having to construct a story without a real understanding of the words I can use, I end up having to adopt what someone would call the Mad Libs method. For each sentence I can usually think of a subject on my own, but then I scan for a verb and adjectives to propel the story further. So I'm not really in control of the story it just forms by accident. It's kind of interesting. If you learn a new phrase in a language you find odd, inject it into your story and create context around it. Now the main reason I wanted to post an edit is to say, even if you don't want to post stories, you should give it a try and keep it for yourself because even in my meager beginnings I'm finding it can be very beneficial. You no longer have to go over a list of words or use flash cards and write definitions. Simply reading the story because of all the context around every word you understand without having to read or look up a definition. The story becomes your notes! Plus your exercising your ability to write and then obviously you practice your reading and speaking ability when you read it over to yourself. You miss out though on people correcting your mistakes, so post away!
I think you found your first main character. But remember if you do write something post it at your level not the earlier levels. The idea is not only for the writer to practice, but the readers also. And to allow readers at different levels to actually be able to read something in there level someone from a higher level can't be posting stories with vocab they haven't yet encountered. Wouldn't it be nice to finish a lesson block and be able to actually use what you just learned to read a silly story.