Using Paper People with ELLs

Recently, I released a new product, "Ancient Egypt Paper People and Props" in our store.

I have been asked now, several times, if I intend to create more of these paper dolls.  I do!  I am in the process of creating "Ancient Mayan Paper People" and am harboring secret plans to next create a packet of paper people from the Ancient Greek Civilization.  (At right is a sneak peek at my process on the Mayan female).  So, keep tabs on me here, because you folks will be the first to hear when a new one is up and available!

I have had some lovely comments and professional encouragement shared with me about continuing this series, but none more so than from Susan at The ESL Nexus.

Susan has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a Masters in Teaching AND International Administration, so you can imagine that I was thrilled to hear her positive comments about this project.

Since she has taught English as a second language to all age groups and all proficiency levels in both the US and Asia, you can bet I was all ears when she began to share an incredible array of activity ideas for ELL students with these Paper People.

Now, my teaching career, in spite of its variety, has never focused on ELL students, and yet I can see the value in these ideas, so I want to share them here with you verbatim.
 (Many thanks again, Susan, for these incredible activity ideas!)

For those of you who might work with ELL and ESL students on a regular basis, I would recommend checking over The ESL Nexus and the variety of products Susan offers there.  She is a goldmine of ideas!

 Activities for ELLs 
(and other students, but especially for ELLs):

* Students use the pieces to create a person and then orally describe it to a partner. (Speaking practice)

* Students use the pieces to create a person and then write a description of it, which they then read to a partner.  The partner does not see the paper person and has to recreate it based on what they hear.  (Writing, reading aloud, listening & speaking practice)

* Students write a description of one of the paper people using as many adjectives as possible. (Grammar practice)

* Building off the idea above, you could even make a game of it: The teacher creates a person and then all the students have
to write a description of the same person, using as many adjectives correctly as possible.  Whoever has the most adjectives, in a paragraph that makes sense, wins.  This could be done individually, with a partner, or in small groups, with students reading their paragraphs/sentences aloud and other students ticking off or raising their hand (or whatever) whenever an adjective is heard.  (Listening, writing, grammar and speaking practice)

* Students use the people and props to devise a story set in Ancient Egypt, then share their stories with partners or in small groups.  They could be instructed to use transition and/or sequencing words as well as content-specific words.  They could also write the story and read it to classmates.  When they share their stories, the other students could be told to write it down and/or to retell it, for additional skills practice.  (Speaking, listening, writing, reading aloud, grammar, vocab practice)

* Students create a scene with a person and props, or just a person; that is, they use the pieces to put together a complete picture of something.  Then they write sentences or a paragraph that gives instruction about what they did or how to make the scene. (Writing how-to instructions)
*Students orally and/or in writing, compare and contrast the clothing of the paper people with the clothing they wear themselves.  (Writing and/or speaking practice)

~Susan at The ESL Nexus

These are such wonderful ideas to implement, even if you don't work with English Language Learners, but are wanting to implement fun writing lessons into your history curriculum!  I can't wait to try them!

Speaking of which, our next few blog posts are going to focus a bit on some wonderful activities we have been working on over here that coincide with "Story of the World", Volume 1, but would also work with a variety of history curriculum programs.  AND, I get to offer my readers an exciting Give-Away from Dover Publications next month, related to this very thing.  Stay tuned!  We have fun stuff ahead!


The ESL Nexus said...

Thank you for featuring my ideas on how to use your Ancient Egypt Paper People resource with ELLs. I wish all teachers much success in teaching their English Language Learners! ~ Susan

Jenny Hudson said...

This is a fabulous idea that I will be using and recommending to our teachers who teach about ancient Egypt. I think I might modify it and use with my ELL kiddos at home.

Christina Morrison said...

Susan, I am so glad you were willing to share. Thanks for being so generous! :)

Christina Morrison said...

Thanks, Jenny! We've got more fun history stuff coming soon. I hope you come back for more. :)

Sarah Koves said...

These kinds of activities are why I miss teaching middle school geography so very much. I now teach high school English, and it is not the same. I did just buy a set of author paper dolls, but I don't know if I can bring myself to cut them out of the book.

Christina Morrison said...

Confession time: I have a Peck-Gandre Rapunzel Paper Doll set from Peck-Gandre that I have saved since the 1990's. Untouched. I can *definitely* relate with the reluctance to cut them out of the book. ;)

Daisy Designs said...

Wow! Very cool idea! Gotta remember this one.
Daisy Designs

Christina Morrison said...

Haha, thanks! I hope you do! ;)