And your fortune is….

It’s been a long time since I last published, and for that, dear readers, I apologize.  Please don’t let me make you wait that long again!

It’s time, I decided, to share one of my favorite activities for ESL learners.  It’s easy, it’s fun, and it gets children of all ages speaking English with their classmates.  It’s the “origami fortune teller”.  I made a few examples of different kinds of dialogues that can be exercised with these.

Here’s one I’ve used with little people:

What's your favorite number?

One: What’s your favorite number?

IMG_20150427_175242

Two: What’s your favorite color?

fortune-teller-2.jpg

Three: Oh, I see you are feeling crazy!

Children have to learn how to follow directions… fold, open, corner, middle, carefully!

… and then get to practice their dialogues again and again and again.

Below is a sample dialogue that more advanced pupils can try out:

What day is it?  (spell the answer)

One: What day is it? (spell the answer)

Where do you want to go?

Two: Where do you want to go?

Here's how you get there...

Three: Here’s how you get there…

Of course, it’s fun to have children make up their own dialogues and write the words themselves.  But if you’re cramped for time or have specific things you want them to practice, you can always make a (black and white) model yourself and make copies:

All of the clues are on one side of the paper

All of the clues are on one side of the paper

When deciding on what to put on the fortune-teller, you can do different things, of course.  For the little ones, for instance, I simply used the words we would have been learning during the last few units.  For the older ones, I decided to create short dialogues that included the concepts we would have been learning during the unit.  Any combination of the above is also possible.  How about weather and clothes?  Counting by tens?  Family members?  Rooms in the house?  Any topic can be adapted for use with this conversation tool.

Of course, it’s always handy if children can work independently on making their own fortune-teller.  To give my students – future teachers – a help with this, I created instruction sheets, like this:

A step-by-step how to.  The students take turns giving each other directions.  Words they might need are provided.

A step-by-step instruction sheet. The students take turns giving each other directions. Words they might need are provided.

In this way, the students learn different things.  First of all, how to teach young children to build a fortune teller, and how to structure the information so that all children can join in the fun.  Secondly, they learn how to create different levels of conversations for their pupils.  Thirdly, they learn how to create a fun and simple speaking exercise that will encourage their pupils to step out of their “shy shoes” and put on their “conversation hats”.

In my book, that constitutes a win-win for everyone.

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For instructions on how to make your own fortune teller please follow this link:  http://www.origami-instructions.com/origami-fortune-teller.html

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