Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Origami ESL Lesson Plan

This is really fun  ESL lesson plan using Origami to get the students speaking. I have just finished using it with my class and I now have an army of really cute Pikachus like the one above, 80 swords, lots of swans and some Mexican sombreros! The students really enjoyed teaching each other how to make things using origami.

To give the students plenty of practice in speaking and listening.
To learn words associated with origami.
To practice presenting in front of the class in English.

Before this class you must either buy lot's of origami paper(four for each student plus a few extras) or if you don't have the time to do that you could just give your students A4 paper and ask them to cut it into squares.
Some coloured pens for decoration.

Activity 1.
Explain the meaning of the following words/phrases:
Fold in half
Fold Diagonally
Mountain fold (this just means to fold the paper in half and have the crease pointing upwards, as if it is a mountain.)
Valley fold (Like a mountain fold except the crease is facing down like a valley.)

Activity 2
For this activity you need to choose one origami model for each group to make. This website has some great easy to follow descriptions. I chose the Pikachu, the sword, the swan and the sombrero. These all worked fell and were easy to follow. Each group in my class has access to a computer but if this is not possible print out the instructions before starting. 

Activity 3.
The group should then write out a set of instructions that they can use to explain to the rest of the class how to make their origami model. Whilst they are doing this I asked each group to explain it to me to check it was clear.

Activity 4.
Each group should then come to the front of the class and explain to everyone how to make their origami model. The rest of the class should follow their instructions to make their own model. Alternatively if your class is shy and you trust them not to use their native language you could make new groups made up of one person from each old group. Each person would then take turns explaining how to make their model to their new group.


  1. Love it! I usually use origami as a listening "test" to see how well they can follow directions, and then we use the end product as something http://eslcarissa.blogspot.mx/2013/06/opposites-origami-added-pictures.html (like a house) but I love this idea of having them teach one another!

  2. Nice, I may do something like with my lower level classes as I don't think they are at the level where they are able to teach each other. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Super! I also use origami when I cover process analysis writing. I ask my students to search for how to prepare a simple origami box, follow instructions, prepare one and bring it to class. I advise them to recycle paper. When they come to class, Students are eager and enthusiastic to show their work with their additional creative touch. I give floor to some to talk about their experience at the same time we write the key terms on the board. I ask them whether they can share some tips/ hints and warnings and how to expand on their final product. This is what one of my students prepared and decorated 2 boxes that she used as a potpourri! From this activity students seamlessly learned the essence of process analysis mode and wrote their paragraph on how to prepare an origami box (without nagging ;-))
    Fold and learn is my blog where I started reflecting on such activities!


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