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Using Just A Blank Piece Of Paper
Sometime, "simple" is best. Here are some great activities using just a blank piece of paper.
Even now, this late in the day, a blank sheet of paper holds the greatest excitement there is for me — more promising than a silver cloud, and prettier than a red wagon.
– E.B. White
Today, I’d like to highlight a valuable and “old-style” lesson material - the blank piece of paper. Please read below, many ideas for instant lessons using only a blank piece of paper. Folding, drawing, brainstorming and more …
I’ve long been enamored with low-tech, simple teaching ideas that “take off”, succeed, and make teaching a joy. The kind of things in the teacher’s toolkit that can instantly become a lesson - either planned or used in an emergency.
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A blank piece of paper is always available and there are many ways to use it as the base of a language learning activity.
Here are my top 12! See the full 50 ways here. Please let us know if you’ve found one that works for you or one we haven’t listed!
1. Vocabulary discussion: brainstorm vocabulary or write it on the board. (ie. names of family members). Put up the target language structure (ie. Who is ______? ________ is my _______ ) Students ask / answer questions to the teacher and then the same in small groups with their own list on a blank piece of paper. Can be done with any vocabulary word bank and target language.
2. Vocabulary Guessing: brainstorm vocabulary or write it on the board. The teacher describes one and students guess which it is. Continue until all guessed. Students then brainstorm vocabulary set words on a blank piece of paper and play again in small groups. Works wonderful for celebrities!
3. Bookmaking. fold a piece of paper, make a book. Draw pictures and write sentences for any topic. Great for closing a unit and consolidation.
4. Grammar Poems. Do one first as a group, then students do their own. For any topic. Then get them presenting their poems.
5. Categories. Students use a blank piece of paper as a graphic organizer. Fold in columns or rows and then categorize brainstormed vocabulary. (ie. food. Cheap / Expensive / Healthy / Unhealthy)
6. Alphabet lists. Students are given a time limit and must fill in boxes for each letter of the alphabet. Most words got, wins! Fold the paper to make the alphabet organizer.
7. A Piece of paper as a slate / answering board. Make any game interactive and have all students answering by laminating blank pieces of paper and giving students markers. They write answers and everyone answers by raising their answer board.
8. Pass the Paper games. A game I adapted/invented. Students pass around a piece of paper and when the music stops, the others must tell the person with the piece of paper to do something or ask them a question which they must answer.
9. Drawing and labeling. Students draw an object (ie. car) and then label the object on the piece of paper.
10. Posters and projects. Students make posters with important information about a topic/theme.
11. Student made worksheets and word finds. Give students a blank piece of paper and let them make the exercises and worksheets! They are experts and have probably done many. They learn a lot through this method/approach.
12. Writing prompts. Give students a prompt. They write for “x” minutes on a blank piece of paper. Or prompt and have the students write only one sentence, fold over and pass on. Continue the writing chain and read the funny version at the end.
13. Snowball fights. Write 3 sentences about yourself. Crumple up and have a snowball fight. Pick up the snowballs, uncrumple and guess who it is!
14. Storyboards. Fold a blank piece of paper so you have 8 boxes. Students draw pictures and write sentences to make a storyboard.
15. Arts and Crafts. Try Origami or maybe making Talk’em Cootie Catchers.