In my school the Language Assistants (within the Project “Sharing to Learn”) and I have used a technique called “Lotus Blossom” with our students of grade 4 and grade 6.
The purpose of Lotus Blossom is to generate ideas that are connected to other ideas to stir speaking up. I use it in my classes as a way to present specific structures of language, practice fluency and for students to generate content to fit into a structured conversation.
This is a basic step by step for using Lotus Blossom:
1. Draw a circle on a cardboard. Write the context, idea or question that will generate conversation for the lotus blossom. For example: Where do you want to go in summer?
2. Elicit one or two answers for the first stage of the idea generation on the board. For example: Explain that students can think of many different places to go. Pass out post it notes and have Ss use post it notes to put the words around the circle (as they continue to be added will give this the look of a real flower).
3. Circulate as Ss write information to the first idea. When finished draw Ss attention to the cardboard. Review previously elicited ideas. Now ask the second question. For example: Who do you want to go with?
4. Allow time for the Ss to write the second tier.
6. When finished draw Ss attention to the cardboard. Elicit the third tier. For example: What are you going to do there? Model with three additional answers. Have Ss write on a post it and complete the third tier.
7. Once finished introduce the structure using presentation techniques. Then have Ss use the language generated to have a conversation. It is also a good technique for assessing speaking.
Point to one of the places on the cardboard. Write the question on the board. “Where do you want to go in summer?” Say the question. Point to a place. Have Ss answer with the place you point to. Write the question. “Who do you want to go with?” Point to the post it. Have Ss answer. Write the final question “What do you want to do there?”
B: I want to go to ______________. (I’m going to...)
A: Who do you want to go with? (Who are you going with?)
B: I want __________ with _________. (I’m going with ______)
A: What do you want to do there? (What are you going to do there?)
B: I want to ______________. (I’m going to _____________)
The Language Assistants model this conversation with the students. They take the role of A and the student the role of B. Point to the answer on the cardboard for student to use. Exchange roles and have students take the role of A, while Language Assistants take the role of B.
I have found this Prezi called "Let's your ideas flower like a lotus blossom" that clearly explains how it works.
Thanks a lot to Sara Davila for her examples and models of how to apply this technique to the ESL to improve communication while developing creative thinking.