Teaching ELL at the University of Minnesota Today I found some photos from a Talking Suitcases project I taught at the University of Minnesota’s summer English program 5 years ago. I’ve probably taught a couple hundred more students since then, but I can still remember a lot of the stories these students told with their Talking Suitcases objects. For instance, a Japanese student shared her dream to work with the elderly so they wouldn’t be forced to stay inside their homes because of disability or health limitations, but could enjoy life outdoors in nature too. Here is the object she made:
These are presentations that I’d never remember without these prompts–it’s amazing how the 3-D visual object can really help keep the story alive in your mind. Another thing I remember from that class–we took a field trip to Washburn High’s summer school and my students presented some Talking Suitcases objects. Now these were two VERY different populations interacting! My university students were very apprehensive; sure that American H.S. students would be rude and make fun of them. But as you can see in this photo, when they told their stories and shared their objects the students were actually pretty interested. Though it was challenging, they managed to get some real interaction going and give pleasure too. The Talking Suitcases object gave structure to the interaction and added some fun too.