African Studies - Digital Writing Prompts about Sierra Leone Artifacts

The ESL Nexus
Grade Levels
5th - 8th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
  • Internet Activities
10 PDF pages & 49 GD slides
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If you teach about Africa in a world geography class, read African literature in a Language Arts class, or need an activity for Black History Month, these writing prompts are for you! This resource contains 2 types of writing tasks with different levels of difficulty so they can be used by English Language Learners as well as native English-speaking students.

✓ Please note:

* If you prefer the Print version of this product, you can find it HERE.

* To see examples of the writing prompts for Writing Task #2, please take a look at the free sampler HERE.

You can have your students work on the prompts individually, in pairs or small groups, or as a whole class if you display one prompt on a whiteboard. All the writing prompts are based on photographs of 12 artifacts that I bought when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone.

In the first writing task, students look at photos of all 12 artifacts and write a description of one of them. This is a great activator when starting a unit about Africa or when introducing a novel with an African theme. With this activity, you can have your students focus on using descriptive language in their writing. You can also have your students practice listening comprehension by having them read their descriptions aloud and asking the rest of the class to guess which artifact is being described.

In the second writing task, students respond to writing prompts about the individual artifacts. There are 27 prompts total and 2-3 writing prompts about each artifact. For each artifact, there is at least one prompt for students at a higher reading and writing level. These prompts ask students to write a persuasive, descriptive, or explanatory paragraph or write a list or do research. For students at lower levels of reading and writing proficiency, the other prompts for each artifact ask them to draw a picture and write a caption or short sentences about them. Since the prompts are already differentiated, you can easily select which ones you want your students to use based on their reading and writing skills.

Supporting materials that make it easy for you to use this resource are also included:

*A glossary of key terms is offered so you can use these prompts with English Language Learners at lower language proficiency levels and other students who need that kind of support.

* A graphic organizer asking students what they already know about Africa and what they want to learn about Africa is included so you can activate their background knowledge.

* Rubrics are provided so you can easily assess your students' writing.

* For reference, a map of Africa and a map of Sierra Leone are included, along with an image of the Sierra Leonean flag, so you can show students where Sierra Leone is located in Africa.

* A list of the ELA Common Core standards addressed in this product and sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators are also provided if you are working in a state that uses them.

* For students who need more space for their responses, a blank page with just the border is provided.

The 12 artifacts shown in this resource represent many aspects of African culture in general and Sierra Leonean culture in particular. I am pleased to share them with you and your students so they can learn more about Africa!

Benefits to Using Paperless Resources:

♥ Helps develop students' 21st century technology skills

♥ Increases students' motivation because most are digital natives and enjoy using technology

♥ Prevents students from losing their work because it's automatically saved and they can't accidentally forget it at home

♥ Helps students keep up with their class when they are absent because they can access materials wherever they are if they have an internet connection

♥ Helps students prepare for online standardized tests by practicing reading and typing online

♥ Saves time because teachers don't have to print out and photocopy materials for students

♥ Enables teachers to access materials wherever they have an internet connection and across digital platforms

♥ Helps preserve the environment by going paperless

✓ Please also note: To use this product, you must have a Google™ account--setting it up is free--and access to Google Drive™ for you and your students. Upon purchase of this product, you will receive a PDF document that includes instructions on how to use this resource and links to the online Google Slides™ materials for students.


What you get in this Google Drive™ product:

In the PDF document (9 pages, plus the cover):

★ List of materials in this product, categorized by PDF and Google Slide™ materials (1 page)

★ Notes to the Teacher (2 pages)

★ ELA Common Core standards addressed (1 page)

★ 3 Sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators (1 page)

★ Notes with details about each individual artifact, for teacher reference (2 pages)

★ Directions on how to access the Google Slide™ materials and how to make copies for your own use (1 page)

★ Terms of use, social media information and credits (1 page)

In the online Google Drive™ Materials (48 slides, plus the cover):

★ Maps of Africa and Sierra Leone (1 page)

★ Glossary of key terms used in the writing prompts (1 page)

★ Graphic organizer about what students already know and what they want to learn about Africa (1 page)

★ Photographs of 12 Sierra Leonean artifacts (1 page)

★ Prompts for Writing Task #1--describe an artifact (12 pages)

★ 2 versions of a rubric for assessing Writing Task #1 (2 pages)

★ 27 writing prompts for Writing Task #2--respond to prompts (27 pages)

★ Blank page if additional space is needed for typing Writing Activity #2 responses (1 page)

★ 2 versions of a rubric for assessing Writing Task #2 (2 pages)


You may also like these photo-based products:

African Studies: Clip Art Based on Photographs

(This product offers the images of the artifacts used for the writing prompts as stand-alone clip art images)

Presidential Election Discussion and Writing Topics

Photographic Writing Prompts: Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, Turkey

Chinese New Year: Writing and Reading Activities


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Thank you and happy teaching!

© 2015 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with Google, Inc.

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards or WIDA ELD standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS or WIDA standards.


Total Pages
10 PDF pages & 49 GD slides
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.


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