A Mermaid, a Crab and a Prince


The Little Mermaid is a classic tale that has been loved by generations of children. With its exciting plot, timeless characters and beautiful visuals, it is no surprise that it remains one of the most popular stories for children of all ages. For ESL teachers, The Little Mermaid provides a great opportunity to teach English in an engaging and entertaining way. In this blog post, we will explore some ideas for teaching the story in the ESL classroom.

The Little Mermaid is a classic tale that many ESL students are familiar with. It's perfect for teaching vocabulary, grammar, and cultural concepts. 
From activities to help with comprehension to games to practice the language, there is something here for all levels and ages of students. So let’s dive in and explore some ideas to teach The Little Mermaid story in the ESL classroom.

Here are some ideas for teaching The Little Mermaid in the ESL classroom:

Make predictions. Kids look at the cover of the book and tell what they think the story would be about.

Go on a picture walk through the book. They don´t read the text, just look at each picture and tell what they think is happening in each picture.

Talked about things they already know about the ocean. Have students research facts related to the story, such as life in the ocean. Teach a lesson on oceanography and discuss the different features of the ocean that are shown in the book or movie.

Learn that K is for kingdom, M is for mermaid. Kids cut and paste pictures from magazines and sort them. M /K 

Sort new vocabulary words by beginning sounds, syllables, short or long words. 

Use interactive write the room cards to listen and learn new words

Make a baggie ocean scene using a ziplock bag and squirt some gel toothpaste inside. Move the toothpaste around inside the bag to coat the inside after that glued ocean shapes and stickers to the bag.

Teach vocabulary related to the sea and ocean life. Use vocabulary cards to review and practice vocabulary. Practice new words using wordsearches and charts.

Have a discussion about what it means to be a mermaid.

Do some creative writing and have students come up with their own mermaid character.

Have a story telling session where students take turns making up their own mermaid tales.

Read or watch different versions of the story. Compare them. Vote favourites.

Learn about sea animals. Talk about food, shape, movements, parts of the body. Sort  animals by shape, size and color. 

Use interactive presentations to learn parts of the sea animals.

Learn about the life cycle of sea animals.

Play and learn vocabulary words using playdough and playdough cards

Look for some information about Hans Christian Andersen. Write a short biography.

Place some plastic fish in a bag and estimated how many there were there.

Read the story together as a class.

Listen to sea animals sounds. Guess the animal.

Make puppets with craft sticks to sequence events.

Finish the sentences The Mermaid is _____/ can _____ /has_____

Have a dress up day with students dressing up as characters and acting out the story. Roleplay the different characters.

Read the story and have students write a creative story with a different ending.

Learn a fingerplay:

Five Little Mermaids
Five Little Mermaids, five Little Mermaids, 
(hold up five fingers)
Five Little Mermaids sitting on a rock.

One jumps off! (fold one finger down)

Four Little Mermaids, four Little Mermaids… (hold up four fingers)
Three Little Mermaids, three Little Mermaids
Two Little Mermaids, two Little Mermaids
One Little Mermaid, one Little Mermaid

No Little Mermaid, no Little Mermaid
No Little Mermaid sitting on a rock. 

Organize an art project where students create their own version of Ariel.

Have students create a music video or a podcast discussing the importance of the story.

Create a timeline of the events in the story. Create a storyboard of the plot of the movie.

Discuss themes of loyalty, love and family.

Write a letter from one of the characters in the story.

Create a scavenger hunt using clues and objects related to the story.

Have a matching activity where students match up characters and their quotes

Read and translate the lyrics from the Disney songs.

Have a debate about what the characters should have done in certain situations.

Create a map of the Under The Sea world.

With older students create a quiz to test comprehension of the story and its characters.

Read and discuss poems related to the story:

Take me out to the ocean

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out to the sea,
There goes a starfish and sand dollar,
I'm having such fun,
I've just got to holler
Oh, it's swim, swim, swim, underwater
Catch a ride on a whale,
Don't fear, for the sea animals are our friends
Let's give a great big cheer!
Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out there right now.
Show me the sand and some sea shells, too.
I hear a seagull and boat that goes toot.
There are surfers riding the big waves.
And, I'm glad that I came.
Oh, it's one, two, three; build a castle
At the ocean today.
Take me out to the ocean
Take me out to the sea

Have students write a story from Medusa or the Crab perspective.

Compare parts of the body in humans and mermaids. Graph them.

Have students create a collage of Ariel and her friends.

Move as different animals in the ocean.

Have students create a mermaid character of their own.

Create a guessing game using pictures of different characters.

Have students draw pictures of their favourite scene.

Through the use of these activities, students will be able to explore the story of The Little Mermaid, experience an array of communicative activities, and practice the English language in creative ways. Furthermore, by introducing the characters and plot of this classic fairy tale, students can go beyond the classroom and apply the lessons they learned to their daily lives. Finally, I believe that this storyline has touched the hearts of many people and can continue to do so through memorable educational activities in the ESL classroom.

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