“PuppETs-European Travelers”: an amazing ETwinning project!

This old time classic pen pals project, gave a real purpose and meaning to learning a foreign language and helped the students experience education in a different country through European citizenship ,using Arts and crafts and a new tool: twinspace!

The project lasted  a school year and we had to complete many individual items . We had to create common projects about: ourselves, our school, our country , our town ,our favourite sports and hobbies, our customs and special traditions, our most favourite place in our countries , our daily routine and habits and also ,create our pen pals as PUPPETS , reading their appearance descriptions and looking at their self-portraits ! We lived in another country, as our school and country ambassadors, and experienced life in another class, far away from home, for one school year! Puppet-students, wrote on their twinspace diaries about their adventures and collaboratively wrote and put on stage, a puppet play about their experience! Our projects and letters were both sent to our friends by snail mail and uploaded on twinspace, to share and compare, in a different class.

Pedagogical Innovation and Creativity 

This was a new and innovative partnership for my school; It was the first time the students participated in such an innovative ETwinning project.

Both, group work and independent research was used  by pupils.

The innovation and creativity of the project is based on the following factors:

1.The willingness of the teachers involved to communicate easily – via phone, email, sms

2.All partner  schools being inclusive of each other, working as one unit on each common project

3.That the children felt able to be creative with their audience in the partner school in mind and dare to share and compare.They also used their imagination and creativity as well as their artistic skills, in order to create their puppet pals and write/stage their puppet plays.

4.That the learning from the project was so significant that it will not be lost from children’s minds

5.The student-Puppet-Ambassadors, created by and for the students ,served as a  meaningful pathway towards understanding and learning more about our friends.

6.Our student-Puppets project, provided the opportunity to break down classroom walls. It gave our students a chance, to see a world outside of their walls.Students,  became fully aware of the other European partner countries and their ways of life. Citizenship became a practical ,rather than theoretical, part of the curriculum.

7.Our ETwinning project, encouraged cooperation between teachers and unified learning. It also offered us the chance to collaborate with the local Puppet Theatre and museum,which was highly beneficial for all of us.

The scope of learning widened from English skills to several other subjects. The idea of being   partners in a European project, encouraged the pupils to find out more about different European countries, their nature, art, food and ways  of living. In the context of European partnerships,our work  provided in the shared learning environment were not only learning material, but were a meaningful pathway towards understanding and learning more about our partners.

  1. In this sense, the true revelation has been that apart from climate and language, people in Europe are essentially very similar with shared values and interests. Surely, this  helped us to overcome our prejudices and made us more open to intercultural cooperation.

Curricular integration 

The theme was chosen deliberately to ensure that the project and its work was as cross-curricular as possible. The areas of ,EFL,  social studies, expressive arts, citizenship,and basic IT , have all been integrated into the sharing of  our common  project activities .

The main focus was to improve the learning of English.

This fitted well into the Curriculum and all my  pupils  benefited.  Our  project involved MFL, language, social studies, expressive arts and basic technology.

We held a European Day of Languages to get the rest of the school know our European friends better. We also had “Puppet Theatre” days, when our student-puppet-guests, presented their projects about their country and way of life, to us! It was exciting to lend them our voices and have them “talk” to us-we could also ask them questions! We later,uploaded all the photos  on our Twinspace “Puppet Diaries”, where everyone could make comments or just read, share and compare ideas, thoughts and feelings.Finally, we were invited to take part in a local Puppet Theatre Festival, where we had the chance to present our play to the local community!

A second focus was citizenship. By exchanging information about each other’s towns, lives  and heritage, the pupils  learned a great deal about each other’s environment, way of life and culture. As far as my school is concerned, I made sure that almost all our project activities were connected  to each of our English coursebook units. Luckily, our coursebooks , are based on both cross curricular and cross cultural topics quite relevant to our Etwinning project theme! Also, they are based on both creative  project work and group  collaboration which  was  highly helpful in our Etwinning project!

I  made sure that, ALL my 85  students, in different age and  language level, took part in our  Etwinning project, a fact  that  proved to be a real challenge!

Finally, our student-puppet-guests, are going to spend their Summer holidays  in our partner countries, write a Summer Diary entry about their Summer adventures and come back home in Autumn, to share it with us.

Communication and exchange between partner schools 

From the beginning, there was a strong plan which gave the teachers guidelines, responsibilities and timescale for each element of the project.

What we practically did  ,was  that, we sent our pen friends all our group projects, on a topic we had already worked on in class and we asked them to reply ,by sending us the same topic based project! The projects we sent, were  in the form of posters, flyers, brochures, magazines, PP presentations, albums , videos, etc….In class, we talked about the similarities and differences of cultures and ways of life !

The students’ very first project was their self-portraits and appearance descriptions, which were used to help their  pals create their puppet-selves!

Arts and craft played an important role in n our project work !

If the kids felt  the need to personalize their work  even more, they were  free to include little gifts having to do with themselves or the project topic, … I always printed  lots of pictures and displayed  them on our school  notice boards.Students were also encouraged to interact on  twinspace ,both at the school ICT lab and from home. This all gave a real purpose and meaning to learning a foreign language.

In these difficult times of financial crisis , our students were able to live abroad, as puppets and experience life in a different country and class for a whole school year ,sharing and comparing our ways of life and making new friends.

The most important tool of the project , was our Twinspace Forums Puppet Diaries: by visiting the Puppet Diaries on a regular basis,  the children via their puppets, became ambassadors of our school and country! The pupils shared information and experiences, and thus learned from each other and strengthened their communication skills. They were also encouraged to interact on twinspace Discussion Forums, where they had to answer simple questions about themselves and our projects, as well as to read and make comments on their partners’ replies.

Collaboration between partner schools. 

In collaboration the teachers in all countries, decided on the range of topics that we would cover and the optimum time for sending/receiving the correspondence items.

We tried together  to do some pre-matching of pupils and classes , based on their known interests.

By all means we  ‘recycled’ language that pupils have previously learnt in their English class .

We created a teachers’  e-mail exchange, too and a frequent collaboration on the Teachers’ bulletin.

We all had to make our partner’s Puppet-Self! In other words, create a puppet-pal ,with similar characteristics with our pen pal, to host in our class and country,for the whole school year!

Our puppets, would travel, play and learn, with their pen pals, in another country and class,experiencing a different way of life.

We created  our Puppet-Ambassadors Diaries on Forums , which we often updated, with the help of our puppets.

We uploaded   videos about our area ,as well as videos about our schools and puppet plays.

We also agreed on the letters and projects which would be implemented by our pupils and agreed on  wall display of correspondence received from partner schools .

We made  questionnaires, and quizzes about our common projects to see how much we had learned, about each other.

We finally, decided to have our students host our guest Puppets during the summer and write on the Puppets’ Summer Diaries which would later be sent , along with the puppets, back home!

We all agreed that, all  students’  final products -our projects,  would be achieved through group work ! No group  project was sent abroad, before it was presented in class ,with the help of our student-puppet-friends and was later displayed on the classroom walls and ,finally, uploaded on Twinspace Pages.

Use of technology 

Some of the partner schools ,had not  used most of the  web tools we had to use for this project,  before .

I had small  groups of my students, use Photoshop to enhance and crop photos and then put them into Movie Maker to produce a school video  to be posted on Twinspace for other schools to view and had them to create  a Quiz about our town. We also used Kizoa to make short videos, padlet to work on our Puppet play script, collaboratively, and a Word Cloud Generator,for feedback.

I have consulted and collaborated with partner teachers using Skype and a webcam. Outcomes and project work were saved on Twinspace ,allowing uploaded materials and presentations to be compared and contrasted easily across all partner  countries.My students, were asked to interact with their pen friends on twinspace ,using their home computers, too !   Video-conferencing, using new webcams, were all new experiences for us .Our project brought a new and exciting dimension to our work.

Actually, the ability to use ICT is becoming more and more vital in today’s modern information society. However, ICT skills are still acquired mainly outside public educational institutes, in my country.

Actually, communicating with real people from other countries appeared to motivate the learners in a very special way, also in the use of basic ICT tools, mainly with our ICT teacher’s guidance.

Through ETwinning pupils learn to use ICT tools in a pedagogically meaningful way.

They wrote letters in the forums, chatted, did interactive exercises, took and uploaded digital photos and videos, searched for information, etc. And all this took place in the pedagogical context of studying English communication

Results, impact and documentation

The pupils were inspired and motivated. They had a great deal of fun working collaboratively .

Students had an opportunity to develop a sense of pride and respect toward other traditions. Our Puppet-Ambassadors, made Europe a more real concept, especially for those students who have never traveled abroad.

The organisation and commitment of the students has been very impressive.

The children showed a great interest in exploring another country and its way of life, as well as demonstrating increased motivation in learning a foreign language. They were always eager to participate, found information themselves, drew pictures, made posters, presented the project to other classes and last, but not least, create their own puppets and write their own Puppet play!

The group  work of my students was collected, and ultimately, shared with our partners. Writing and illustrating personal responses gave students the opportunity to boost their art and creative writing skills. Reading the personal responses of their European  partners, gave students greater insight into their partners’ context and worldview.

The project also brought the class together, as the pupils were working as a team. Through these activities the children also became ambassadors for the school and country .

The pupils  learnt from each other and strengthened  their communication skills.

All in all, we achieved   :

  • to promote group activities  for tolerance and cultural understanding;
  • to strengthen my students’ intercultural competences in order to be ready for responsible understanding of Europe’s identity and common values;
  • to develop the European dimension through arts education (puppets) and creativity with the aim to promote multiculturalism and tolerance between students;
  • To develop “Out-of-the-box” activities that would encourage mutual support, team building and group cohesion ;
  • Encourage personalized learning approaches by acquiring new artistic and pedagogical skills with the aim of developing new ideas and creativity of the students involved in the project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teachers4Europe 2017: “The young tourist” (in Greek )

                                                                                 

                                                                                       

 

“Ο ΜΙΚΡΟΣ ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΑΣ”

Α TEACHERS4EUROPE 2017 PROJECT

21o ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΟ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ ΛΑΡΙΣΑΣ

Υπεύθυνη εκπαιδευτικός: Γκιούρη Αφροδίτη (ΠΕ 06)

Η δράση  Teachers4Europe ,στην οποία συμμετείχε φέτος το τμήμα Γ 2 του 21ου Δ.Σ. Λάρισας, στα πλαίσια του μαθήματος της Ευέλικτης Ζώνης, με υπεύθυνη εκπαιδευτικό την κ Γκιούρη Αφροδίτη, αποτελεί εκπαιδευτική δράση του Υπουργείου Παιδείας & Θρησκευμάτων , με την υποστήριξη του Γραφείου του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου στην Ελλάδα, και αφορά εκπαιδευτικούς και μαθητές  της Πρωτοβάθμιας και Δευτεροβάθμιας  Εκπαίδευσης.

Το πρόγραμμα που η τάξη μας υλοποίησε, ονομάζεται “ Ο μικρός τουρίστας”.

Οι στόχοι της δράσης, αφορούν τη γνωριμία των μικρών μαθητών με τη χώρα τους αλλά και  το Ευρωπαικό τους σπίτι και τη γνωριμία διαφορετικών πολιτισμών μέσα από το παιχνίδι .

 

Έμπνευση για το συγκεκριμένο έργο αποτέλεσαν οι οι εκπαιδεύτριες Ευαγγελία Γκρίμπα (υπότροφος του Ιδρύματος Ωνάση ) και Ελευθερία Γκρίμπα (υπότροφος του ΙΚΥ) από  τη Στέγη Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών, οι οποίες και αρχικά υλοποίησαν το  καινοτόμο βιωματικό πρόγραμμα «Μια βαλίτσα ταξιδεύει », μέρος της ευρύτερης εθελοντικής δράσης “ΕΛΑ ΜΑΖΙ ΜΑΣ” του Συνδέσμου Υποτρόφων Ιδρύματος Ωνάση.

ACTIVITIES

  1. ANTI-STRESS BALL:

 

Λίγα λόγια για μένα, τα μέρη που έχω έως τώρα ταξιδέψει και τα μέρη που θα ήθελα να ταξιδέψω στο μέλλον.

2.ΥΔΡΟΓΕΙΟΣ

Τι είναι η Υδρόγειος? Τι δείχνει?

Κλείνουμε τα μάτια και με το δάχτυλό μας ακουμπάμε ένα σημείο της Υδρογείου.

Βλέπουμε ποιο είναι και συζητάμε γι αυτό. Ψάχνουμε στο σπίτι πληροφορίες για τον πρώτο μας φανταστικό ταξιδιωτικό προορισμό στον πλανήτη μας και τις μοιραζόμαστε στο επόμενο μάθημα με τους συμμαθητές μας στην τάξη.

3.ΧΑΡΤΗΣ ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ

α)Γνωριμία με το Ευρωπαικό μας σπίτι!

Αναζητούμε χώρες και προορισμούς.

β)Παίζουμε σκυταλοδρομία σε ομάδες: ένα μέλος από κάθε ομάδα, ακούγοντας το όνομα μιας Ευρωπαικής χώρας, τρέχει στο χάρτη να το ακουμπήσει πρώτος-η, και να κερδίσει βαθμό για την ομάδα του-της.

γ) Γνωριζόμαστε με το βιβλίο μας TRAVEL BOOK! Επιλέγουμε μια χώρα-προορισμό και συμπληρώνουμε την καρτέλα της στο σπίτι, αφού ερευνήσουμε γι αυτή.

Μοιραζόμαστε όσα μάθαμε κι από αυτό μας το ταξίδι,με τους συμμαθητές μας, στην τάξη!

 

 

4.ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΙΚΑ ΑΛΜΠΟΥΜ-ΦΥΛΛΑΔΙΑ-ΓΑΣΤΡΟΝΟΜΙΚΟΙ ΟΔΗΓΟΙ

Oι μαθητές καλούνται να φέρουν από το σπίτι τους, οτιδήποτε βρούνε σε σχέση με ταξίδια και άλλες χώρες : ταξιδιωτικά φυλλάδια, postcards, γαστρονομικούς οδηγούς, souvenirs….

Ενθαρρύνονται να συζητήσουν σχετικά με αυτά με την οικογένειά τους, πριν τα συζητήσουμε στην τάξη.

Στο μάθημα, μοιραζόμαστε όλο το υλικό και εργαζόμενοι σε ομάδες, κάνουμε σχόλια και συζητάμε τις εντυπώσεις μας ή θέτουμε ερωτήσεις και νοερά ταξιδεύουμε στον κόσμο!

Συγκρίνουμε τον τόπο μας,τη ζωή μας,  την κουζίνα μας, με αυτά άλλων λαών και κάνουμε όνειρα για μελλοντικά ταξίδια κι εμπειρίες!

5.POSTCARDS

Δίνεται σε κάθε μαθητή μία σελίδα με πληροφορίες και εικόνες από μία τουλάχιστο Ευρωπαική χώρα.

Αυτή είναι ο επόμενος ταξιδιωτικός του προορισμός!

‘Οπως όλοι οι τουρίστες, καλείται να έχει στις “αποσκευές “ του, μία postcard από το ταξίδι του εκεί. Την οποία όμως, θα φτιάξει ο ίδιος, με απλά υλικά και εικόνες και πληροφορίες της επιλογής του από το φυλλάδιο πληροφοριών που του έχει δοθεί.

Παρουσίαση των καρτών στην τάξη.

Οι μαθητές μοιράζονται όσα έμαθαν από το ταξίδι τους σ αυτή τη χώρα, με τους συμμαθητές τους!

Η κάρτα κατόπι, τοποθετείται στο ταξιδιωτικό μας lapbook.

 

  1. LAPBOOKS-PASSPORTS

Δημιουργούμε τα ταξιδιωτικά μας lapbooks!

Κάθε ταξιδιώτης, παίρνει μαζί του στα ταξίδια του, μία βαλίτσα, ένα ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΟ , ένα χάρτη, και φυσικά, το…laptop του!!

Mέσα στο δικό μας Lapbook, τοποθετούμε επίσης την postcard από τα ταξίδια μας, και πληροφορίες για αγαπημένους Ευρωπαικούς προορισμούς, χώρες και πρωτεύουσες!

7.ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΙΚΗ ΑΦΙΣΑ

 

Κατασκευάζουμε μία αφίσα για μία Ευρωπαική χώρα στην οποία, νοερά “ταξιδεύουμε”,  γράφουμε και μιλάμε γι αυτή. Τοποθετούμε την αφίσα μας, μέσα στο Ευρωπαικό μας Lapbook!

 

8.ICT LAB

 

Σε συνεργασία με τον καθηγητή πληροφορικής, ,παρακολουθούμε videos στο youtube , σχετικά με την Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη.

Συζητάμε:

Ποιο θέμα δείχνει?

Για ποιο σκοπό έγινε?

Τι σας έκανε εντύπωση?

Τι μαθαίνουμε από αυτό?

Επίσης, χρησιμοποιούμε τα Google Maps, Street view για να ταξιδέψουμε στις χώρες που γνωρίσαμε στη διάρκεια του προγράμματος! Περπατάμε στους δρόμους των μεγαλύτερων πόλεων της Ευρώπης! Ουσιαστικά, βγαίνουμε από τους τοίχους της τάξης μας και του εργαστηρίου και με τη βοήθεια της τεχνολογίας, γινόμαστε πραγματικοί τουρίστες της Ευρώπης!

Σημαντικό:  Εναλλακτικά, θα μπορούσαμε να δημιουργήσουμε το δικό μας μικρό βίντεο για τη χώρα μας, με τα κατάλληλα web εργαλεία.

  1. PUPPETS

 

Κατασκευάζουμε τον εαυτό μας σε…κούκλα! Σε συνεργασία με τον Δημοτικό κουκλοθίασο “Τιριτόμπα”.

Εμείς ως…puppets, γράφουμε το μικρό μας κουκλοθεατρικό σκετσάκι και παρουσιάζουμε με κουκλοθέατρο την εμπειρία μας από το πρόγραμμα!

 

 

PUPPET SCRIPT: Ο ΜΙΚΡΟΣ ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΑΣ ΤΑΞΙΔΕΥΕΙ

ΟΛΟΙ:

ΓΕΙΑ ΣΑΣ ! ΕΙΜΑΣΤΕ ΟΙ ΜΙΚΡΟΙ ΤΟΥΡΙΣΤΕΣ ΤΟΥ 21ΟΥ Δ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟΥ ΛΑΡΙΣΑΣ!

ΒΡΙΣΚΟΜΑΣΤΕ ΕΔΩ, ΓΙΑ ΝΑ ΜΟΙΡΑΣΤΟΥΜΕ ΜΑΖΙ ΣΑΣ ΤΗΝ ΕΜΠΕΙΡΙΑ ΜΑΣ ΣΤΗΝ ΤΑΞΗ ΑΛΛΑ ΚΑΙ ΣΕ ΟΟΟΟΛΟ ΤΟΝ ΚΟΣΜΟ!

 

1-2 : ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΠΑΑΡΑ ΠΟΛΥ ΤΑ ΤΑΞΙΔΙΑ!

 

3-4: Η ΑΙΘΟΥΣΑ ΜΑΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΠΑΡΑ ΠΟΛΥ ΜΙΚΡΗ ΑΛΛΑ ΕΜΕΙΣ ΚΑΤΑΦΕΡΑΜΕ ΝΑ ΤΗΝ ΚΑΝΟΥΜΕ ΠΑΑΑΡΑ ΠΟΛΥ ΜΕΓΑΛΗ! ΟΣΟ ΟΛΟΚΛΗΡΗ Η ΓΗ ΜΑΣ!!

 

5-6 : Η ΑΙΘΟΥΣΑ ΜΑΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΓΕΜΑΤΗ ΧΑΡΤΕΣ: ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΟ, ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ, ΚΑΙ ΕΛΛΑΔΑΣ

 

ΟΛΟΙ:

ΘΕΛΕΤΕ ΝΑ ΜΑΘΕΤΕ ΤΙ ΚΑΝΑΜΕ? ΕΚΤΟΟΟΟΣ…ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΠΑΙΞΟΥΜΕ ΠΟΛΛΑ ΠΑΙΧΝΙΔΙΑ ??

 

7-8 : ΠΡΩΤΑ ΞΕΚΙΝΗΣΑΜΕ ΤΟ ΤΑΞΙΔΙ ΜΑΣ ΑΠΟ ΜΙΑ ΥΔΡΟΓΕΙΟ ΣΦΑΙΡΑ. ΤΑΞΙΔΕΨΑΜΕ ΣΕ ΜΙΑ ΠΕΡΙΟΧΗ ΤΟΥ ΠΛΑΝΗΤΗ ΚΑΙ ΜΑΘΑΜΕ ΤΑ ΠΑΝΤΑ ΓΙ ΑΥΤΗ!

 

9-10 : ΚΑΤΟΠΙ, ΤΑΞΙΔΕΨΑΜΕ ΣΤΗΝ ΕΥΡΩΠΗ. ΠΗΡΑΜΕ ΜΑΖΙ ΜΑΣ, ΒΑΛΙΤΣΑ, ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΟ, ΧΑΡΤΗ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΜΟΝΑΔΙΚΟ ΜΑΣ LAPBOOK!

 

11-12 ΕΠΕΙΤΑ, Η ΤΑΞΗ ΜΑΣ ΓΕΜΙΣΕ, ΑΝΤΙΚΕΙΜΕΝΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΤΑΞΙΔΙΑ ΜΑΣ : ΣΟΥΒΕΝΙΡ, ΒΙΒΛΙΑ, ΟΔΗΓΟΥΣ ΜΑΓΕΙΡΙΚΗΣ, ΚΑΡΤΕΣ !

 

13-14 : ΑΥΤΟ ΠΟΥ ΜΑΣ ΑΡΕΣΕ ΠΙΟ ΠΟΛΥ ΟΜΩΣ, ΗΤΑΝ ΠΟΥ ΠΗΡΑΜΕ ΜΑΖΙ ΜΑΣ ΤΟ ΚΑΤΑΠΛΗΚΤΙΚΟ ΜΑΣ LAPBOOK

 

-ΕΝΑ ΔΙΑΦΟΡΕΤΙΚΟ LAPTOP ΔΗΛΑΔΗ, ΜΕ ΟΛΕΣ ΤΙΣ ΠΛΗΡΟΦΟΡΙΕΣ ΠΟΥ ΧΡΕΙΑΖΕΤΑΙ ΝΑ ΕΧΕΙ ΜΑΖΙ ΤΟΥ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ, ΕΝΑΣ ΣΥΓΧΡΟΝΟΣ ΤΑΞΙΔΙΩΤΗΣ!

 

ΟΛA TA ΚΟΡΙΤΣΙΑ:

ΤΟ ΦΕΡΑΜΕ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ ΜΑΖΙ ΜΑΣ, ΝΑ ΣΑΣ ΤΟ ΔΕΙΞΟΥΜΕ!

 

15-16 : ΜΑΣ ΑΡΕΣΕ ΟΜΩΣ ΚΑΙ ΟΤΑΝ, Η κ. ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗ ΚΑΛΟΥΔΗ, ΜΑΣ ΒΟΗΘΗΣΕ ΚΑΙ ΚΑΤΑΣΚΕΥΑΣΑΜΕ ΕΜΑΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΙΔΙΟΥΣ ΣΑΝ… ..ΚΟΥΚΛΕΣ, ΓΙΑ ΝΑ ΣΑΣ ΜΙΛΗΣΟΥΜΕ ΣΗΜΕΡΑ ΕΔΩ!

 

ΟΛΑ ΤΑ ΑΓΟΡΙΑ:

ΤΗΝ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΟΥΜΕ ΠΟΛΥ! ΗΤΑΝ ΤΕΛΕΙΑ ΕΜΠΕΙΡΙΑ !

 

ΟΛΟΙ:

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΤΑ ΤΑΞΙΔΙΑ!

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΤΗ ΓΗ ΜΑΣ!

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΤΟ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΟ ΜΑΣ ΣΠΙΤΙ!

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΤΗ ΧΩΡΑ ΜΑΣ!

 

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΝΑ ΜΑΘΑΙΝΟΥΜΕ ΚΑΙ ΝΑ ΔΙΑΣΚΕΔΑΖΟΥΜΕ !

 

ΑΓΑΠΑΜΕ ΤΟΥΣ TEACHERS4EUROPE!

 

(MUSIC/Choir : ωδη στη χαρα-μπετοβεν)

EASTER Hopscotch

I can assure you that,   students remember and correctly spell about the same number of EASTER  words after learning with HOPSCOTCH, as they do after a teacher-centered lesson.

Importantly however, they enjoy playing this  game very much and they report better attitudes towards studying English after learning vocabulary with HOPSCOTCH and games in general, compared to traditional teaching.

All that is required for this fun game is a few Easter sight words  and sidewalk chalk or masking tape.

On rainy days, consider using masking tape on a floor and write each Easter word on a piece of tape or index card – just make sure kids do not slip on the index card while playing the game.

You can also use the “portable” Hopscotch, like the one in the photo below…You can carry it with you to a different classroom each time, in case you don’t have your own classroom!

 

  1. You can play with Easter pictures to help aid recognition or practice new words.
  1. Add numbers to aid in number recognition and  practice plurals. eg ” Seven eggs”
  2. Add colors to help with color recognition, too.” Seven red eggs”
  3. Play with spelling words.  Have child read word, then look away and practice orally spelling the word.

  1. With older students, play with vocabulary words –child tells you definition of word they land on.
  1. Play with English words and mother tongue .For example, write an Easter word like “Church” and child has to tell me word in mother tongue..
  1. Spell hopscotch:Give each student an Easter word to spell as she jumps through the boxes. If she spells the word wrong, she must repeat that word on her next turn. The first person to get through the entire board wins a point for her team.

      8.Word hopscotch:Method: – Draw a simple hopscotch outline on the floor with chalk , use tape or use the “Portable” version of it.

– Children take turns to hop (walk or jump) from square to square – On each square they say an Easter word that they know. These may be words in general, or words    associated with a particular Easter topic or theme, eg Spring, Food, Traditions etc. – When they run out of words they must ‘give up’ .

Variation: – Teacher puts pictures /flashcards of familiar Easter objects on each square -Children must name the objects as they hop onto the square…… More difficult:  -Children must say something about the object in the picture.

Christmas fun in class- and few post-holiday class activities

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I have been the class Christmas lessons  planner for many-many years. We have games, crafts, fun language activities, and an absolute blast with my students. I also always have printable games on hand, just in case I need to fill some time. Usually, though, we end up with way more fun than there is time for.

This year, I used most of the activities I have already written about, in older posts, and added few new ones…

In this post,I just wish to share some pictures, which prove how much fun we had, while learning new things about Christmas and practicing our English , at the same time!

For more details about most of them, please, feel free to read my earlier relevant blog posts, here , here or here.

This year, we made beautiful 3D crafts with my little ones, learning the Christmas vocabulary a, at the same time.

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We played lots of fun games, with all classes!

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We sang Christmas songs!

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We even sang old-time-classic songs  such as “The rainbow song”, using Christmas ornaments!!

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We made Advent calendars!

 

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We decorated our special Christmas trees!

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We wrote Santa letters and met one of his best friends!

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Here  are some cool post-holiday classroom activities I have come across online and I have decided to use in my class next week!

I hope, they’ll work!

POST-HOLIDAY CLASS ACTIVITIES

We  should try to avoid diving right into the schoolwork after break. Instead, I think we should make the adjustment a little bit easier by welcoming students back with fun activities that incorporate what they did over their holiday vacations.

Let’s get our students back on track and motivated to learn once again.

Create a Holiday Memory Book

Have students capture their best holiday moments in a memory book. Students will have more than enough to share, and a memory book is a great way to do that. Ask students to draw or bring in a picture of their favorite holiday outing or gift. Then ask students to write a few sentences about it. Once students have completed their memory book page, have them share it with the class or bind them all together to make a class book.

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 Make New Year Resolutions

Returning from holiday break is the perfect time to teach students how to reflect upon the past year and to make positive changes for the new year. Tell students that the new year means a fresh start and they can make promises to themselves that are positive and realistic. As a class, brainstorm a few resolutions together. Give them the following prompts to get started.

  • In 2015 I want to learn …
  • In 2015 I want to get better at …
  • My goal(s) for 2017 are …

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Have a Show and Tell

As soon as students enter the classroom after winter break, they inundate you (and each other) with stories about what every student received from Santa, or all of the fun places that they went while on break. What’s a better way to share all of their experiences and new toys then to bring something in for a little old show and tell? For a different spin on the traditional activity, try having students guess who brought what item in.

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Creative Writing Prompts

A creative and calm activity to get your energetic students back into the grind is to have them write about what they did and received over break. Students can get the opportunity to discuss their adventures in a fun writing piece. For instance, ask students to write about the best gift they gave and what made it so special, or describe their family’s holiday traditions in detail. Here are a few more creative writing prompts.

  • What are you most grateful for this holiday season?
  • What was your favorite holiday food that you had over break?
  • Who was the person you spent the most time with and why? What did you do with them?
  • Write about a place that you went over the Christmas break.
  • Write about something you did with your family over Christmas break.

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Play a Fun Game

Welcome your students back to school with a few fun games! Try to avoid piling on the schoolwork right away and instead try playing a few fun games to ease students back into the routine. Review games are a great choice for easing students back in. Try games like the “Hot Seat” where one student faces away from the board and chooses three people to give them clues about what is written on the board behind them. Another fun game is “Ping Pong,” where students are divided into teams of two and the team that gets the answer correct gets to throw a ping pong ball into a one of three cups to get a prize for their team. Prizes are things like a homework free pass or lunch in the classroom.

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Host a Party?

Before you must get back to all the school chaos and your crazy school day routine, kick off the first day or two back to school with a party! Invite the classroom next to yours over for some cookies and hot chocolate. Allow students to share their holiday break stories over a warm cup of cocoa! Students will love the ease and flow of a relaxing day back to school.

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Christmas break was a time for rest and relaxation, so it’s important to remember to ease students back into the school routine slowly and carefully. This will ensure that everyone will be motivated and ready to learn in no time.

“Hippo and friends”-a guest blog post by Margarita Kosior

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Margarita Kosior is an amazing educator from Thessaloniki! I truly admire her work on storytelling !

I am so grateful that she accepted my invitation, to share one of her stories, on my Blog! Actually, she has been my inspiration to try similar activities with my junior classes and I wholeheartedly thank her, for that!

Enjoy!

MARGARITA’S POST:

Every storyteller has their own style. Some use music to convey the mood and the emotions, some use puppets, others rely mainly on their own voice, gestures and mimicry. I want my storytelling sessions to stimulate all the senses and engage all types of learners; a song for musical learners, a game for the kinesthetic type, flashcards for visual learners and so it goes. My storytelling session can start with sounds, involve arts and crafts, and end with baking bread. Variety is one of the main ingredients and each session needs plenty of it.

With a touch of imagination, any story, a classic or a reader, can turn into a fascinating journey.

Each one of my storytelling sessions has a variety of goals including improving linguistic competence, artistic and creative expression, involving participants in group tasks, but also allowing time for personal reflection. All these contribute to increased levels of self-confidence of young learners as English language users.

One of the stories I often use in my storytelling sessions is Henry Hippo by Jenny Dooley and Virginia Evans (Express Publishing).

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Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

Together with Henry Hippo and his friends I have visited libraries and schools, I have travelled to other cities and even countries and wherever we went, Henry was a great success.

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Storytelling with Margarita at Sztuklandia, Lublin, Poland

Photo credits: Kinga Łaszcz

As a guest of the English Teachers’ Association of Larissa, Greece, I had the pleasure to entertain groups of children between the ages of 4 and 9 at a local library and a bookstore.

Storytelling with Margarita at the Central Library of Larissa, Greece

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Photo credits: Vassiliki Mandalou

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Storytelling with Margarita at Bookstore “Παιδεία”, Larissa, Greece

Photo credits: Aphro Gkiouris

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Storytelling with Margarita at Bookstore “Παιδεία”, Larissa, Greece

Photo credits: Aphro Gkiouris

The storyline is engaging and fun. Henry Hippo gets stuck in mud. Peter Panda, Millie Monkey and Zara Zebra take turns and try to pull him out; in vain. Finally, Zara Zebra has a brilliant idea. The three animals pull together and manage to get Henry out of the mud. A joint effort brings results and the four friends understand that they are more successful if they work hand in hand.

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Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

Before the students arrive, I set the scene for the story. I use a long piece of blue fabric for the river, a piece of brown fabric for the mud and a piece of yellow fabric for the sun.

Every storytelling session starts with a “Hello” song (it can be any “hello” song, the choice of the instructor). It is good to develop routines. They make the learners feel more comfortable and more self-confident right from the start.

Another routine is opening the Magic Box which hides different treasures every time, usually flashcards or realia which appear later in the story.

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Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

In case of “Henry Hippo”, I create head bands with the four protagonists in advance and I place them in the Magic Box. With the use of a magic star and on the sound of the magic words, the Magic Box opens.

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Photo by Margarita Kosior

Every time the group shout: “Magic Box, open!”, one head band is taken out.m-henryHenry Hippo

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Peter Panda

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Millie Monkey

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Zara Zebra

After ample repetition, the participants know the names of the protagonists and are ready for the story. But the truth is that, especially in case of Henry Hippo, the students participate throughout the story. They take turns to wear the headbands, repeat the lines and play out the content of the story as I am reading the lines out. Depending on the age and level of the student, I ask them to repeat either complete sentences, phrases or single words. At turning points in the story (right after Henry Hippo asks for help), I ask the students to anticipate in what way each animal is going to try to help Henry Hippo. This practice creates suspense and builds the atmosphere of anticipation. Curiosity plays an important role in preschoolers’ lives. Young children ask many “why” questions and all the “why’s” have a purpose of getting to the bottom of things.

If the time is enough, I encourage my students to make their own sequel to the story by adding more jungle animals willing to help Henry Hippo get out of mud.

No good storytelling session goes without a song or a chant. I like simple songs; simple enough for the little ones to learn it in five minutes and sing it so loud that people up on the next floor and out in the street can hear them A good song or chant is a good way of revising target vocabulary. The repetitive rhyme and rhythm make it possible for even the youngest learners to join in.

My follow-up activities usually include arts and crafts projects. For Henry Hippo, I would recommend making a hippo magnet.

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Photos by Margarita Kosior

I finish my storytelling sessions with a simple goodbye song, easy for even the youngest participants to join in and sing along.

Storytelling provides plenty of benefits to (very) young learners and there is plenty of research to prove it.

The benefits can be divided into three groups: mental, social, and educational. In terms of mental benefits, storytelling boosts thinking capacity; it is an activity for the brain. It provides opportunities for sharing thoughts and ideas as a group. Also, through enjoyable experiences while listening to a story, children will develop their individual reading tastes.

Stories from different cultures help children develop an awareness of the similarities between ourselves and others as well as highlight differences, which can then be explored and discussed in the classroom. Thus, children develop empathy and concern for others in order to understand the concept of social equality and justice. This will motivate them to become active citizens and take on social action in the future. Storytelling also conveys important values: bravery, respect, tolerance, teamwork, patience, generosity, fair play, forgiveness, peace, and other values which, when cultivated systematically, will make your students better people.

Also, through active participation in a storytelling session children internalize the language in a natural way within the scope of the thematic units discussed in class. Analyzing questions, retrieving details and associations triggered by the story, and deciding on answers – all these engage children in active learning.

Overall, storytelling has been shown to build intrinsic motivation and self-esteem.

Personally, I know one thing for sure: an engaging storytelling session creates magic, cultivates a love of reading at an early age and adds variety to your lesson. And these make it worth the effort!

 

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MY COMMENT:

Well, I tried this amazing story telling activity with two different classes of 1st graders, in a small state school with basic facilities, in a timy  classroom and… it really worked!! My kids just loved both the story and Hippo!

This school year, our class mascot is actually a… Hippo hand puppet  therefore,I just told them that Hippo would like to share one of his adventures in a London park, with them!

They ALL wanted to take part in the story!

Our special friends!

Our special headbands!

I followed Margarita’s suggestions and I had them participate throughout the story. They took turns to wear the headbands, repeat the lines and play out the content of the story as I was reading the lines out.

They actually found it really easy to remember specific lines and expressions!

Even today , a month later, they use them in class and.. surprise me!

They say:” Oh, dear!” when I tell them  there’s not enough time for a second game or ” What’s the matter?” when I look sad or angry..They also say ” Help” ,”Pull”, ” Hip-hip Hooray” and so many more, in unpredictable moments during our lessons!

Here are some photos from my class…..

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Thanks, Margarita for your creative work and all the inspiration on storytelling!Keep amazing us!

 

 

European Day of Languages fun activities,in a… Library!

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The European Day of Languages has been celebrated every year since 2001 on 26 September, as an initiative of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Throughout Europe, 800 million Europeans represented in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states are encouraged to learn more languages, at any age, in and out of school. Being convinced that linguistic diversity is a tool for achieving greater intercultural understanding and a key element in the rich cultural heritage of our continent, the Council of Europe promotes plurilingualism in the whole of Europe.

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The European Day of Languages celebrates plurilingualism and encourages the 800 million Europeans in the Council of Europe’s 47 member states to learn more languages.

 

 

For the day, a range of events is organised across Europe: activities for and with children, television and radio programmes, language classes and conferences.

Modern foreign language education aims to develop multilingualism and intercultural awareness. In this theoretical framework, the foreign language can be used as a bridge among the students’ languages and serve as a tool to develop translinguistic competence.

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This year, I’ve  decided to write, about  the activities our local “English Language Teachers Association” created, for the European Day of languages event, which was held in the local Public Library, on 26th September 2016!

Also, I  used most of those activities in my class, the very next day, with huge success!

Here we go…..

BRAINSTORMING TIME !!

Children aged 8-12 , had the chance to know a lot about the different languages spoken, not only in Europe but, all over the World, by watching several videos, singing and taking part in a discussion .

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They shared their experiences concerning their mother tongue and all the foreign languages they had been exposed to.

GAMES TIME !!

Later, they worked in teams and played a Quiz game. They answered questions about different Languages, testing their knowledge and having fun ! A bomb timer was used ,to add more excitement to the game!

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In the next game, a representative from each team , had to wear a special hat, with the name of a language written on it. His/her fellow players, had to help him/her  guess the name of that Language, using miming, key words, descriptions, movement and more…That was fun!!

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“BOOK TREASURE HUNT”!!

Then, it was time for our Book Treasure Hunt, in the Library!

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The teams, had to move around the room, and  look for  12 books, well hidden in the shelves, with titles written in many different Languages! There was a musical background during the Treasure Hunt and a time limit…..3 Songs ,with lyrics in 3 different European languages!

GIFTS!!

All the kids, were rewarded with the  “European Day of Languages” bracelet and special stickers !

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ARTS AND CRAFT!!

The next activity, enhanced the kids’ artistic expression!

The children had to create the Multilingualism Tree , full of cute Owls, speaking many different Languages.

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“Hello” IN ALL LANGUAGES!!

The final activity ,was to write  “Hello” in as many Languages as possible, on special mouth-masks!

And , of course, they greeted each other in all those Languages, holding their mouth-masks!

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I used most of these activities in my class, the very next day! My students loved them and had so much fun! Here are some photos…

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With my older students, we also played a favourite game I have written about, in a previous post: The multilingual game”  !

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With my very young learners, we played several circle games practicing “Hello” and “Goodbye” or “Goodmorning” and ” Goodnight” . But, the most fun thing we did, was to have our mascot Hippo, talk to us about his hometown London! We made beautiful drawings of Hippo’s most favourite places in London! We even asked Hippo lots of questions about his life there and learned so many things about life in a different country, in Europe ! It was a fun-fun day!

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And don’t forget: WE ALL SMILE IN THE SAME LANGUAGE!

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Interactive Grammar Notebooks -part b

 

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As I had already written in my first post on Interactive Grammar Notebooks, last year, was my first year to use interactive notebooks.  Before school began, I found myself  with the desire PLUS precious  direction, from my  amazing Greek colleague, Papadeli Sophia !

I have to thank her again so much, for all the inspiration and support!

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Overall, they were a success- Experimenting on them during this first school year with few students, among whom was my daughter, was great fun!…I’m sure, we’ll do much better this  year ,with all my afternoon classes, at school!

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This  notebook is built, by adding each grammar skill or concept as an insert gradually throughout the year as they are introduced to new material. By the end of year, they  have a complete notebook they can use as a reference and I can use as an assessment tool or portfolio piece.This is simple and can be done with any grammar curriculum we are using.

First, I used a common notebook,  school glue, scissors and markers/colored pencils. Since we are fully stocked on school supplies, I did not need to make any new purchases.

Then, ideally, we should reserve the first 1-2 pages for the table of contents. I admit that, I didn’t do that, this first year…Going forward, we add a new page for each skill.

The next step is to find some ideas or even printables and foldables for the Grammar notebooks …I asked Sophia Papadeli to help me get started and I also visited Pinterest and used my imagination and creativity, of course!

Here are just  few new pages for you to have a look at, get inspired and hopefully, start your own Grammar Notebooks, this school year!

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Stay tuned for a new post soon, full of  fresh inspiration!

Good luck with your own Fun Grammar Notebooks!

Here are some new pages in our notebooks! Hope, you’ll find them useful!

 

BE GOING TO

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LIKE/LOVE/HATE- WANT TO

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PAST PERFECT

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MUST/MUSTN’T

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FUNCTIONS OF MODAL VERBS-a

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SHALL I ?/MAY I ?-HAVE TO

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MUSTN’T/CAN’T/NEEDN’T(NEED)/DON’T NEED TO/DIDN’T NEED TO

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THERE WAS/WASN’T-THERE WERE/WEREN’T

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HAD/DIDN’T HAVE-COULD/COULDN’T

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MUST/MUSTN’T/CAN (OBLIGATION,PROHIBITION,PERMISSION)

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SIMPLE PAST ( IRREGULAR VERBS)

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QUESTION TAGS

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WILL for predictions ( a fortune teller game)

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FUNCTIONS OF MODAL VERBS-b

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QUESTION WORDS

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ENJOY! Grammar, can be FUN!

 

Project work in our English class

 

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Well, I have been teaching  through projects , since the beginning of my career as an English teacher,  in Greece! Even  when I had to work in a different school ,every single year or I had to work in 3 different schools on the same day, either by walking long distances carrying my heavy bag, or some years later, by driving to a different village school, during each break!!

When I started working on pen pals projects- via snail mail , nobody thought I was doing anything exceptional: only my students! Most headmasters used to refer to my extra working hours on those projects as ” useless, worthless and a waste of time”!

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A few years later, we were able to start working on collaborative projects , with our ETwinning partners!  A precious experience , for all of us! An opportunity, I am really thankful for! What an adventure for my students!

It has been HARD work all these years, but highly rewarding, at the same time-for both me and my students !

Arts and craft, play an important role in all our projects!

Arts and craft, play an important role in all our projects!

Few thoughts

I have come to the conclusion that, one way to get children doing what they like while still learning is through projects.  Children enjoy using their imagination – making up characters, stories; being creative – making things, drawing, colouring, cutting and gluing, using multimedia; finding out about interesting stuff; sharing, chatting, working together; talking about themselves, their friends and family, their interests; making choices, deciding for themselves, trying new things out; showing off!

I love it when my students become creative through project work! Their talents and interests, are revealed! Creativity is enhanced, too!

I love it when my students become creative through project work! Their talents and interests, are revealed! Creativity is enhanced, too!

What is a project?

In the primary school classroom, a project is usually the work leading to the production of a poster, letter, birthday card, booklet, magazine, play, sketch, puppet show, radio recording, video etc. It may be the work of one pupil, but more frequently is the collaborative work of a number of pupils working together in class.

One key element of all projects is the ‘theme’ – the basic idea. Whether the pupils are working individually or in groups they are all concerned with the same basic theme. This theme should be open enough to encourage creativity and provide a focus, but not so open as to confuse your pupils.

Some projects come in the form of a magazine or a booklet

Some projects come in the form of a magazine or a booklet

The characteristic of a project is that the learning comes from the ‘process’ – the work which leads to the result rather than the results itself. Most frequently the pupils will use a wide range of language, a variety of language skills and often knowledge which may have come from different parts of the curriculum.

Because the pupils are combining so many different skills and areas of knowledge, it is sometimes difficult to say exactly what the pupils are learning.

A flock of doves! Getting to know other children, by means of English!!

A flock of doves! Getting to know other children, by means of English!!

In any project they may be learning many different things at any one time:

• How to work with other people. • How to share work. • How to delegate work. • How to appreciate the work of others. • How to work alone. • How to take responsibility for a task.

Project-based learning prepares students for the real world.

Another english notice board in class.Here, we pin our class projects! Students are proud to show their parents and friends their work!

Another English notice board, in our classroom.We pin our class projects, on it ! Students are proud to show their work, to their parents and friends!

These are all social skills, but they may also be learning practical skills such as how to use scissors, to design a neat page, to speak clearly or how to operate a piece of simple machinery.

I do not ‘control’ every stage of the process in a project. I  suggest the original idea, assist in the planning process, and may provide advice or guidance in the actual work, but the project is essentially the work of the children – encouraging children to interact and develop independently of the teachers direct interference.

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Why I personally believe in project work…

It is all said in this article on EDUTOPIA:

“The old-school model of passively learning facts and reciting them out of context is no longer sufficient to prepare students to survive in today’s world. Solving highly complex problems requires that students have both fundamental skills (reading, writing, and math) and 21st century skills (teamwork, problem solving, research gathering, time management, information synthesizing, utilizing high tech tools). With this combination of skills, students become directors and managers of their learning process, guided and mentored by a skilled teacher.

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These 21st century skills include

  • personal and social responsibility
  • planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
  • strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
  • cross-cultural understanding
  • visualizing and decision making
  • knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task.

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PBL is not just a way of learning; it’s a way of working together. If students learn to take responsibility for their own learning, they will form the basis for the way they will work with others in their adult lives.”

“One of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life. It’s an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of children’s attention and effort.”-EDUCATION RESEARCHER SYLVIA CHARD

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What kind of end products can the children produce?

There are lots of ideas. Here are just a few I have used in my class.

a wall display e.g. posters or collages. Children all contribute a part to making a whole class end product.

a report or presentation e.g. on a survey conducted by the children, or research conducted via the Internet.

an invention  (depending on the target vocabulary)

a booklet or guide e.g. to their town or to an imaginary place

a model e.g. of an imaginary island

a photo story or video e.g. of a story made up by the children, or about a subject  researched by them

a magazine or newspaper

an event e.g. a show/pantomime, a fashion show, a party, an art exhibition –

the possibilities are endless.

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BUT

According to Scholastic, one of the biggest barriers to broad implementation of project-based learning, is fear. Some teachers and administrators are reluctant to scrap a teaching style they know to start over, especially when it means stepping into a new role as a facilitator rather than an expert in the classroom.

As Jane Krauss, coauthor of Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age, put it, “It’s hard to teach in a way we were never taught.”

Unfortunately, it’s the same with some parents, too: hard to accept as effective teaching ,a way of teaching they were never taught!

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In my school, I always make sure that,  almost all our project activities are connected  to each of our English coursebook units. Luckily, our coursebooks , are based on both cross curricular and cross cultural topics quite relevant to our  project themes ! Also, they are based on both creative  project work and group  collaboration which  was  highly helpful in my teaching with projects!

Some project ideas, for you to get started, can be found here….

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In good projects children benefit from the ‘process’ of preparing them, and they become a stimulus for better speaking and writing. They are also a record of individual work for display in class or at home. Children have a strong emotional investment in the best projects. They are personally interested in the topic and proud of what they have achieved.

 

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Apart from all the obstacles , there is  nothing more rewarding for a teacher than see how happy , engaged and enthusiastic her  students become when they work on something that makes sense and connects the class with the world! It’s priceless! Believe me! It’s worth any effort! It brings the class together, it helps the teacher connect with the students more and the students connect with their peers all over the globe ,by means of an international code of communication: English!

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All in all, PBL taps ones imagination, conception, subject knowledge, application of subject and generalized knowledge, creativity, dexterity, planning, doing, and completing, and when the project is completed, one will have learned much one will never forget!

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Because, ART matters!

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As an elementary school English teacher I’m always looking for new ideas for my students.  Pinterest, is always helpful for new ideas as well as sparking my own creativity!

Last school year, I was asked to teach Art to 1st and 2nd graders, for one hour a week…

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“What a challenge” I thought. By the way, in my school, there is no Art teacher!!! No ICT teacher! No Drama teacher! I love all these three subjects and have done my best to incorporate them in my English teaching , all these years! For my students sake…

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I have always believed that, using arts and crafts in the classroom can be an excellent way to facilitate language learning with young learners.

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Why I use arts and crafts in my English class?

  • I get students to work on projects in groups with a mixture of levels. For example, if students are creating a poster, then those with a lower level work on designing a ‘tag’ while higher levels write an accompanying text about the topic.

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  • Arts and crafts can be a great way to include cross-curricular activities in the English language classroom. Students can incorporate drama skills using masks they have made for role plays, for example.

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  • I find that teamwork, class cohesion and sharing are promoted if students have to work together to complete an art project.

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  • You can appeal to the competitive urge in many students by getting them to produce art work for competition, e.g., design a Christmas card or school magazine cover. I find that brightening up a classroom with students’ work is also great!

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  • Kinaesthetic learners who learn best by moving around and Visual / Spatial learners, who love making things will find arts and crafts activities motivating.

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  • I find arts and crafts useful for recycling language. You can use a wall display to revise vocabulary as a warmer.

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(This must be the topic of a future post, I guess…)

But, that case was different…Those young learners, had never been my students, before! They would start learning English in the 3rd grade! Therefore, my job was to be their…Art teacher, for about one school year- not their English teacher! How challenging was that! I am not an  Art teacher, but I can do Art in my English class, so….I thought, “Why not”?

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Things to keep in mind, before you start :

With very young learners, a teacher has to be patient…I sometimes break a project down into sections, over a number of classes.

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I have all materials ready before I begin. Students may lose interest while the teacher spends a few minutes searching for extra scissors! If the children need to bring in materials from home I always  ask them do so a couple of classes in advance and keep them somewhere safe.

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I usually go stage by stage and wait until everyone has completed a stage before moving on to the next one. Very young learners who finish first can help others so that they stay on task and don’t get bored.

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I have to make sure to leave plenty of time at the end of the session for tidying up and encourage monitors to make sure everything is put back in the right place.

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I always have an extra task for early finishers or ask them to work on the details or even help others with their work!

A crucial thing for me is, to ask them to learn to REUSE  ,when it comes to Craft work! Most of the crafts we did , were made by reusing things we could find in the recycling bins!

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It’s useful to show students an example of the end product. They will then have a clear idea of what they are going to make. I’ve learnt from experience that you should try the activity yourself first.
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You can use your imagination and creativity to come up with the right Art projects to work on but, in my case, Pinterest was my precious source of ideas! Highly recommended to all of you, as well…..
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One of the many projects we worked on, last school year was the “Pinwheels for Peace” project. Very proud of that!
Kids were often really proud of what they had made and liked to take things home to show their family. I had part of their work displayed on their classroom walls, of course. And I made sure that, they would keep all their work in a special Art folder , which they could take  home, in the end of the school year!

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What I  personally love about the Arts ,the most….

Well, the arts are a wonderful arena for fostering creativity, an important skill to have in a rapidly changing world, for our kids.

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Also,through the arts, children learn how to work together to achieve great things. As they work together, they learn to understand differences and diversity. They learn how teamwork contributes to great performance. By teaching students how to live and work together, the arts contribute to making schools safer and more peaceful learning environments.

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 One final thought…..
“When you think about the purposes of education, there are three,” Horne says. “We’re preparing kids for jobs. We’re preparing them to be citizens. And we’re teaching them to be human beings who can enjoy the deeper forms of beauty. The third is as important as the other two.”
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Interactive Grammar Notebooks -part a

Last year, was my first year to use interactive notebooks.  Before school began, I found myself  with the desire PLUS precious  direction, from my  amazing Greek colleague, Papadeli Sophia !

I have to thank her so much, for all the inspiration and support!

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Overall, they were a success- Experimenting on them during this first school year with few students, among whom was my daughter, was great fun!…I’m sure, we’ll do much better next  year ,with all my afternoon classes, at school!

As a girl-mom, I had to create some rationale for me to deal with the pain of teaching my “I-can’t-stand-grammar ” daughter. Yes, the pain is heartbreaking and real! Realizing this, I’ve come to the conclusion that my daughter and niece whom I both teach English at home, needed short, but potent grammar lessons where they’re able to explain, defend, and apply the skills.

I decided to use interactive notebooks to cater to and shape their learning experience a bit more.

Their  Interactive notebook,  helped keep their learning organized by having all concepts in the same place and in an sequence they could naturally follow.

This  notebook is built, by adding each grammar skill or concept as an insert gradually throughout the year as they are introduced to new material. By the end of year, they  have a complete notebook they can use as a reference and I can use as an assessment tool or portfolio piece.This is simple and can be done with any grammar curriculum we are using.

First, I used a common notebook,  school glue, scissors and markers/colored pencils. Since we are fully stocked on school supplies, I did not need to make any new purchases.

Then, ideally, we should reserve the first 1-2 pages for the table of contents. I admit that, I didn’t do that, this first year…Going forward, we add a new page for each skill.

The next step is to find some ideas or even printables and foldables for the Grammar notebooks …I asked Sophia Papadeli to help me get started and I also visited Pinterest and used my imagination and creativity, of course!

Here are just  few pages for you to have a look at, get inspired and hopefully, start your own Grammar Notebooks, next school year!

PAST SIMPLE
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WILL

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REFLEXIVE/EMPHATIC PRONOUNS

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PRESENT PERFECT

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ORDER OF ADVERBS

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ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY

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COMPARISON OF ADJECTIVES/ADVERBS

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PLURALS

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ARTICLES (A/AN)

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IRREGULAR PLURALS

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TO BE

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PERSONAL PRONOUNS

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THIS/THAT/THESE/THOSE

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THERE IS/ARE

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POSSESSIVES

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TOO/ENOUGH

 

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TYPES OF COMPARISON

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TOO MUCH/MANY

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ORDINAL NUMBERS

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IMPERATIVE

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HAVE/HAS GOT

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PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE/CONTINUOUS

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BE GOING TO

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PRESENT CONTINUOUS

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FUTURE CONTINUOUS

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PRESENT SIMPLE/CONTINUOUS

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PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE

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THE -ING FORM

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USED TO

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POSSESSIVES

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BOTH/NEITHER/NONE/ALL

 

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ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY

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PREPOSITIONS OF PLACE

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WORD ORDER

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BE GOING TO-hopscotch

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HOW MUCH/MANY

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SOME/ANY

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LIKE

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WORD ORDER-QUESTIONS

 

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PAST SIMPLE-IRREGULAR VERBS

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PRESENT CONTINUOUS

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PLURALS

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PRESENT PERFECT

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PRESENT CONTINOUS

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FORMATION OF ADVERBS

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ORDER OF ADJECTIVES

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ORDER OF ADVERBS

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PAST SIMPLE/CONTINUOUS

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Whether our  child or students, need the added application, more hands-on grammar, or just a splash of fun, interactive notebooks have the ability to enhance and advance their language arts skills. My daughter , still not all that intrigued about grammar, has found a way to accept it more with her notebook!