Monday, March 21, 2016

Five Reasons for Making Crafts with ELLs

For six weeks I filled in for the ELL teacher who was on a maternity leave.  During that time we had a visit from the Mariner Moose--the mascot from our local baseball team.  One of the paraprofessionals created a bulletin board to celebrate our local team and my small groups wanted to participate.  It was an excellent use of our time.

Here are five reasons why I would  take a break from the adopted curriculum to make crafts with my ELL students.

1. While having students follow the directions to make the craft, I can use vocabulary that they will need in their general education classes.  For the very new to English, just using colors and shapes in context was good practice.

2.  Crafts can easily be created for a variety of content.  When teaching about a particular habitat, creating a model together and discussing it requires more involvement than simply looking at pictures.

3.  I wanted my students to practice navigating social situations like asking appropriately for materials and sharing.  Practicing in a small group gives them confidence in the larger classroom.

4.  I found myself assessing students other skills besides language.  I discovered one of my students struggled with cutting paper as well as writing with a pencil.  Not all of his learning difficulties seem to be ELL.

5.  Creating stuff is often more engaging than the highly scripted materials we have adopted.  I truly believe art is an underutilized study skill.

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