Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sue And The - Er, Several Paper Cranes

Try teaching ESL to a bunch of kids fresh out of the language centre, making it up as you go! Oh, I'd found all those suggestions, which usually began with, "Divide them into groups of six and get them to brainstorm..." Well, I barely have six in each group, some of whom are absent a lot, and trying to explain brainstorming is not easy. I thought they might be a bit fed up, too, with stories about refugees, because as far as I know, only one of them actually IS a refugee and he, understandably, doesn't like to talk about it.

So I got out some copies of SADAKO AND THE THOUSAND PAPER CRANES and we read it together - short, not hard reading, but not an insult to their intelligence. And then I got the idea of actually making paper cranes, which would give them the chance to follow instructions in English.

It worked beyong my wildest dreams - too well, actually,they would keep making paper cranes, even when I was trying to do something else with them! One of them looked up Japan on the Encarta. Another one got so good at it, she did a microscopic crane, no more than a few millimetres, perfect, with its tiny wings outspread. And it is addictive, I've been "craning" every spare bit of paper I got hold of - newspapers, advertising brochures, everything. Wonder if I'll get to 1000?

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