Our english- handwritten-magazine.

Need more than a month to collect all students' work

Need more than a month to collect all students’ work

Each issue of our handwritten magazine, for more than 10 years now,  offers new treasures for my students : stories, poems, book reviews, and artwork in a variety of styles and genres…….A great motivator for reading and writing…

One of our magazine covers...the picture was found in our old english books!our magazine is always sent to our pen pals abroad, as well!

One of our magazine covers…the picture was found in our old english books!our magazine is always sent to our pen pals abroad, as well!

It’s  is actually a motivator, for all language  skills!

In many ways a student magazine is the ideal project for language learning. There is a clearly-defined end product while there is also plenty of room for choice regarding content. The students can focus on individual interests such as sport, computers, the Environment, music, etc. – with obvious motivational benefits – while at the same time working within a clear structure to a common aim. The ‘four skills’ of reading, writing, listening and speaking are integrated naturally. For example in order to produce an article on music a student might:

a) Read articles in a music magazine to get ideas (reading)

b) Listen to songs and write down the lyrics (listening / writing)

c) Write survey questions and interview other students about their musical tastes / talents (writing / speaking / listening)

Contents vary...I give the students lots of ideas before they start writing.

Contents vary…I give the students lots of ideas before they start writing.

A great motivator for reading and writing...

A great motivator for reading and writing…

Benefits

It provides integrated skills practice

It provides integrated skills practice

Within the overall school context a magazine is useful in providing a focus for written work: students know that a particularly ‘good’ piece of writing might go into the magazine. This potential for communication with a real audience provides motivation and encourages attention to style and accuracy. Students have a chance to practice a variety of text types – articles, reviews, letters, crosswords, cartoons, graphs and tables. Decisions about content provide a forum for discussion and negotiation. Finally, in common with all project work, learner autonomy and co-operation are fostered as students try out different roles and learn to get on with their peers. To sum up, a student magazine:

  • provides integrated skills practice
  • allows students to contribute each according to their ability and interests
  • provides a focus for written work
  • encourages attention to style and accuracy
  • provides a discussion and negotiation forum
  • encourages learner autonomy, co-operation and motivation

    Drawbacks

It allows students to contribute each according to their ability and interests

It allows students to contribute each according to their ability and interests

  • With so many benefits it is a wonder that EFL classes do anything else! However there are disadvantages. First, the very fact that students are able to concentrate upon individual areas of interest means they might neglect other areas. For example, a student with artistic talent may spend some time illustrating the magazine, but not practicing much English. Motivated students may end up doing all the work while less motivated students do very little.
Handwritten comics: imagination is very important.

Handwritten comics: imagination is very important.

  • Because of the high cost, I have many times thought about   running  our magazine as a mini business some day in the future,  with students working out costs and selling it on the course .. the better the magazine, the more students would buy it; the fewer the pages, the higher the profit. For the time being, I have been… sponsoring our class magazine, myself using money earned from our school Bazaar! I distribute it to students -writers only, free of charge of course, to take it home…I also, keep a couple of copies in our school English bookcase and I make sure that I send a copy to our pen pals abroad, too!
For the time being, I have been... sponsoring our class magazine, myself using money earned from our school Bazaar!

For the time being, I have been… sponsoring our class magazine, myself using money earned from our school Bazaar!

  • Conclusion                                                                                  
  •   As a general comment, based on my experience so far, school  magazines are useful in many ways. They have a great educative value. They encourage the students to think and write. So they develop their writing skills and talent. They also develop their power of thinking and strengthen their imagination. In this way the general knowledge of the students increases and they acquire the habit of reading and writing. School  magazines also teach the students the value of co-operation and encourage healthy competition. They are a source of self-help and self-confidence for students. Students find real joy when they see their names published in the school  magazines, respectively. Besides, school magazines are interesting for the ex-students of the school. They read articles and their memory of the past days becomes fresh again. These magazines are a means of bringing the ex-students and all the members of the school in touch with one another.                                                                                                   .  P.S 
  • Our bookcase is also,  full of many english magazines which  are free  for students to borrow,such as the Scholastic ELT readers- http://maryglasgowplus.com/book_lists/4204. which I find fascinating!
  • Having read the amazing English newspaper  by Vivi Hamilou’s students, lately, at the Primary School of Pteleos , Greece ( http://blogs.sch.gr/vivihamilou/2011/04/17/english-school-newspaper-%E2%80%93-issue-3-%E2%80%93-primary-school-of-pteleos/ ) which   who has been involved in an eTwinning project that includes exchanging English school newspapers with other European Primary Schools, I have been thinking about taking a similar step with our magazine in the near future, too!
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2 thoughts on “Our english- handwritten-magazine.

  1. The benefits of an english school newspaper / magazine are numerous and you have mentioned them all! Thank you for including our newspaper in your post (here you can find all the english newspapers we have made in various schools I’ve worked at: http://blogs.sch.gr/vivihamilou/category/my-schools-english-newspapers/).

    The typewritten version of the newspaper eliminates actually the drawback related to over-engagement of a learner with illustrations, as we use either the internet or photos we have taken ourselves. Of course, typewriting requires a computer lab and, as you’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is not one in your school, so, if you decide to typewrite it, you’ll have loads of typewriting to do!!! However, I’m here for you in every step of the way if you actually decide to proceed with this!

    As far as the cost is concerned, (I don’t remember if I’ve told you before) we print it in A3 size paper (black and white), we use a stapler to bind it, we sell it and collect the money in order to buy something for our school or charity (it’s up to the learners, they decide at the end of the school year). The cost for the school is restricted to A3 size papers, photocopier ink and staples which is not extraordinary!!! It’s up to the Headmaster, of course, to either support this or not. The only money I spend is for the coloured version of the newspaper (we keep a copy in the library and we send some others to school advisors) and only if the school does not have a colour printer!

    My learners and I would really LOVE to read your english magazine, so, if you have a spare copy, could you please send it to us at: Primary School of Sourpi, Sourpi, 37008. However, if you intend to scan it and upload the whole thing on your blog at some point, we’ll read it via the internet!!! And we promise to send you ours as soon as it’s ready!!!

    Thanks again for the nice presentation of our newspaper and sorry for the loooooong comment!

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  2. Thank YOU, Vivi!! I appreciate all your support! I will see what I can do about that spare copy!To eliminate the cost, I scan their work and manage to have 4 pieces of written stuff in each page!

    Like

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