Definition of a Retelling Task

"Sometimes all you're asking of students is to absorb some information and then demonstrate that they've understood it. Research reports like these are bread-and-butter activities that don't break much new ground in educational practice, but they can provide an easy introduction to the use of the Web as an information source.

"Students can report on what they've learned by way of PowerPoint or HyperStudio presentations, posters, or short reports. These are the most commonly found WebQuests, and the least challenging (or interesting), but they can serve a purpose." [1]

Tips about Retelling Tasks

"Are activities based on retelling really WebQuests? It's not a matter of black and white, and it depends on the degree of transformation required of the learner. If the task requires looking for simple, sure answers to pre-determined questions, then the activity is clearly not a WebQuest even if the answers are found on the Web. These are just worksheets with URLs.
"A modest WebQuest could be based on retelling if:
  • the format and wording of their report is significantly different than what they read (i.e., the report wasn't produced by cutting and pasting);
  • students are given latitude about what to report and how to organize their findings;
  • skills of summarizing, distilling, and elaborating are required and supported.
"More importantly, a retelling task could be used as an interim step to develop background understanding of a topic in combination with one of the other task types." [1]


Examples of WebQuests with a Retelling Role

1) Living History: Through United States Government
I found this WebQuest to be a great retelling task because it asks students to retell that information about whatever historical character they researched in a variety of ways. They create a video, a PowerPoint, a brochure, or a commercial. They must have pictures. So it is a retelling but they make the retelling diverse enough that everyone gets the picture about the person

2) Frogs This WebQuest is an example of a retelling task where students have to retell what they learn about frogs. They have to read through a variety of resources provided then retell the life cycle and other aspects of a frog's life that they have learned. Although the grade level is elementary, it is still a good example of what a retelling WebQuest looks like.

3) Story Telling
This WebQuest is an English/History based WebQuest set up as a story in which the students retell. They are to pick a tale from their past, particularly one in a different culture than their own and create a children's book (bound and all) with their retelling interpretations of the main themes, concepts, etc.

4) A Tale To Be Told
This WebQuest tells a tale of adventure to engage students in their learning about Folk Tales. Their job is to help the children in the tale to magically transform a mysterious building into its natural state. Students must chose a folktale and then write their own that has the same components as the folk tale they read. This enables student to learn about the structures of Folk Tales.

5)A New Twist On An Old Tale
This WebQuest is all about learning about Ancient Greek culture and then retelling it as the fairy tale Cinderella. This shows that they have learned the knowledge and understand it enough to put it into their own words.

6) Montana: Stories and Legends of Native Tribe
This WebQuest has students assume the role of a person living in Montana in the year 1800. From the perspective of characters such as a tribal chief, young child, etc, they must tell a story through a journal based on their daily experiences.

7) All men are created...equal?
This WebQuest asks students to explore the resources provided about Cherokee, Japanese, and African-American people during their times of struggle. The task is to research, provide journal entries, write a letter to the President, a letter to the editor, and write a poem all appropriate to these groups of people.