Back to Folding – Back to Fun

Written by: Maria Ivanova –English teacher, “Hristo Botev” Primary school, Plovdiv

Teaching English is fun. Teaching English through origami is challenging and fun. Origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, can be used not only for teaching the four language skills – reading, writing, speaking and listening, but also for improving arts and & craft skills, communication and even imagination. Don’t you believe it? Come and see!

Here is an outline of a workshop presentation aimed at rediscovering the potential of the simple paper folding for making the ELT more vivid and effective.

Activity 1: Introducing the art of origami to the participants (Ps). Origami-the Japanese art of paper folding (ori-fold, kami-paper). The fascination of the art is making something beautiful from something as ordinary as everyday paper. I’m going to share my fascination of using origami in ELT for practicing the four language skills.

Activity 2: Sit back and relax. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are a bird  on a top of a hill.  You can fly. What can you see? You see another bird. You fly to each other and you meet. And you are happy. You have a friend. Now open your eyes. How does it feel like?

Activity 3: Would you like to be this bird? This is you. The origami big birds are given to the Ps. You want to meet each other and to be friends. What do you say? Simple conversations are practiced. (What’s your name? How old are you? Where are you from).Speaking skills are practiced.

Activity 4: They can make a family and they can have little birds, so that you can create stories. You can make your family as big as you want. For a big family it is very easy to get into any kind of adventures. Some examples of the family stories are suggested. Small members of the bird family are shown. The size of the paper determines the size of the bird.

Activity 5: A rhyme can also be practiced. The Ps practice it by making the origami birds flying.

Two little birds
Sitting on a hill.
One named Jack,
And one named Jill.
Fly away Jack,
Fly away Jill.
Come back Jack,
Come back Jill.

Activity 6: Now let me introduce to you another family. This time a frog family.

The frog family
(from OUP Resource books-Young Learners by Sarah Phillips,p.22)

This is a story about Daddy frog, Mummy frog, Sister frog, Brother frog and Baby frog.
It was hot- very, very hot and Daddy frog went jump, jump, jump and sat on a leaf in a pond. (The paper daddy frog jumps from the paper coast to the paper leaf in the paper pond).
Mummy frog was hot- very, very hot. (Show me it’s hot). So Daddy frog said: “Come here!”(with a gesture). Mummy frog went jump, jump, jump and sat on the leaf in the pond. (The paper mummy does it).
Sister frog was hot – very, very hot. So, mummy frog said: ”Come here!” (with a gesture). Sister frog went jump, jump, jump and sat on the leaf in the pond. (The paper sister does it).
Brother frog was hot-very, very hot. (with a gesture) So sister frog said: “Come here!” (with a gesture). Brother frog went jump, jump, jump and sat on a leaf in the pond. (The brother frog does it)
Baby frog was hot- very, very hot. (with a gesture). So brother frog said: “Come here!” (with a gesture )Baby frog went jump, jump, jump and sat on the leaf in the pond. (The baby frog does it)
And they –SPLASH –they all fell into the water. (All the family members fall from the paper leaf in the paper pond.)

Did you like the story? What do you think of this? How do you find using paper characters?
It’s good for tactile learners. Three-dimention things are fun.
A chart about Multiple Intelligences is shown and discussed.

Activity7:
This is what a brother frog and a sister frog do in their free time. A competition between them is shown. (Two plastic cups or plates are displayed. The aim is to try to get the frog into the cup/plate by repeating something, saying alphabet or counting. ).It can be used as a relaxing activity as well.
If it is a competition what language can be used?
(Competition language is revised-On your marks! Let’s set! Go! Your turn!)
We can give students a time limit. (3-5 mins). Now let’s see who is the winner?

Activity 8: Green square sheets of paper are given out. Paper frogs are made. (See handout 1)

Activity 9: These are the Frog family’s friends-The ten green frogs.(Ten paper frogs are presented.)
Let’s meet them and sing the song. (We sing the song. Every time a frog jumps-a paper frog does it.)(See handout 2)

Activity 10: After so much jumping with the frogs, let’s jump ourselves!
Stand up, please!
I would like to be sure that you know the names of the colors.
What colour is this? This is blue, right? (misleading).
The colour flashcards are displayed on the floor.
Swim to green. Fly to red. Jump to yellow-slowly, quickly, angrily…
Great! You can obey to instruction.

Activity 11: Let’s make an instruction machine!
Find yourself a partner. Here are two handouts and a set of felt tips. This is going to be the instruction mashine and these are the instructions for making the instruction machine.
Who wants to read the instructions? What do we teach? –colours, questions, giving and obeying to commands,…
(See the handout 3-Young Learners,OUP,p.30)

Activity 12: Fortune teller-Demonstration is made.
This is a version of the instruction mashine for practicing “going to” construction, colours and numbers.

Activity 13: Reading can also be combined with origami. There are the so-called pocket books or mini books. A demonstration is made. The children have to fold and cut it  in order to make a book and read it.
(See the handout 4 and 5)

Activity 14: The next step is that they can make their own books from a blank sheet of paper. It’s very useful when the children are on a green school. They can make their own dairies.
A competition with mini books can also be made-mini books on a topic- numbers, colours, spooky stories, real stories. “Make a mini book-win a big prize!”
(Students books are shown.)

Activity 15: Origami can also be used as a reward.
Samples of what I have given as a reward are shown.

Activity 16: The audience is rewarded with an origami story.

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