We all have pictures with unforgettable stories behind them. We recall not just the names of the persons in the photos, but also every small detail of the event along with extensive information on every object in the picture. Sometimes those photos are associated with happy memories. Sometimes, not. However, every picture tells a unique story to anyone who sees it.
Wordless essays have the same effect. A series of photos together convey a message equal to a paragraph or more but without words. The words would come as students discuss with peers what their pictures say. For ELLs, this type of approach with "writing" offers them an opportunity to verbally share their images through often times their strongest skills-speaking and listening. In analyzing photos, ELLs have time to build vocabulary to make their story one that every classmate will want to read. In their small groups, discussions, access to word walls, student writing samples, journals (where ideas are stored without any focus on mechanics), personal dictionaries, etc., ELLs have time and support to eventually elaborate on an otherwise simplistic description to create a piece of grade level quality writing. Here they use their strongest language skills to develop their weakest ones-reading and writing.
WORDLESS ESSAY 1 Here is a simple one on making a chocolate topping for ice cream. This should be a crowd pleaser for the younger ones.
WORDLESS ESSAY 2 This one might fascinate older students especially those from that section of the world. Imagine how much language could be generated when students have much to say:)
Why not have your students use their cell phones to take pictures of things that are important to them and then bring the shots to school for an activity like this? Your students will be impressed with their results and will be motivated to find "just the right words" to tell their story.
ELL TEACHER PROS