These new kids need more public speaking skills than us. They will work on projects in teams, they will present their projects and they will need to be more confident in front of an audience. Thus, as teachers we can encourage our students to speak in front of an audience by assigning weekly projects. Friday afternoons can be a great time for doing this as on the last day of the week they feel tired and demotivated. You can find a lovely box, or a jar and put the project ideas in and ask them to choose the one for the next week.
Here are some suggestions but we can add more,
Every week students choose a song which tell a story and prepare a 3-minute presentation about the song. They have to mention the band, singer, genre and the story of the song.
Students scan through the week’s newspapers, online news channels and prepare their 3-minute presentation on current affairs.
Students find out about the movies or the plays on and choose one that they’ve watched or want to watch and prepare a presentation.
Students choose a quote that they like. Tell the class who said that and why they have chosen it and what it means.
Students choose a colour and research how that colour effects people.
Students choose two places they want to compare. they can be two cities, two cafes, two bookshops, two clothes shops, etc and prepare a 3-minute talk.
The fifth mobility in our Comenius Project was to Calabria, a beautiful small town in the Southern Italy.
Our main task was to perform the plays our students wrote based on their short stories written from the same story beginning.
We watched the plays on Wednesday, 12th 2012. It was amazing to see how creative each school could go with the same story beginning we all had different plays, stressing the values we had chosen previously.
We also discussed the questionnaire results on how the project helped us and we were not surprised at all to have almost the same results.
Of course we worked hard but we also enjoyed the great hospitality and kindness of the Italian people, delicious food, fresh fruits from the trees, the beautiful view of the Tiranian see, walking in the narrow streets of the picturesque little towns like Ajeta, Tortora, Cosenza, Calabria which were great opportunities for all of us to breathe the mystic smell of the history. Walking on the same paths where our ancient ancestors had lived was exciting and seeing we haven’t come further than they already achieved was amazing. The civilization existed in the ancient times. We, human beings, haven’t changed a lot since then. Same problems, same passions, same dangers still exist. We just managed to build new cities based on what they had built, we designed new tools inspired by what they had created and now in this techie age, we have our computers, our lonely lives and even the games we play in our virtual worlds pay tribute to the ancient days.
Our host school organized the trips in a very careful way that from the second day of our mobility to the last minute we enjoyed every moment we spent together. Visiting Pompei and the beautiful Salerno decorated for Christmas were fascinating.
On the last day of the meeting the students, teamed with their international friends took part in a treasure hunt in the old town of Scale. They discovered both the town and the books and poems read during the project, enjoying working together.
It was hard to say goodbye but we all know that every ending is a new beginning and every beginning is a new adventure.
I am glad we had the chance to meet our Italian friends and I am sure the next mobility in Poland will be as amazing as this one.
It all started with the reading text in our course book called ‘Boys R Us’, Going for Gold, Upper-int. (Longman)
The story was about a teenager who was a reluctant student but changed when a teacher assigned them to write a 20 page- story in 2 months. The teenager went home and wrote his 20 story and soon realised it was just the beginning of the actual story and in the end there was a novel on the teacher’s desk.
After reading and doing the comprehension exercises, we talked about the text, challenge and the result. They said they loved the idea. Then suddenly I realised I loved the idea very much too and told them they had a new challenge and two months to write a story of 20 pages.
The thing which made me write this post was not the challenge I described above. It was an attitude of a very special student I have in the class. He is very kind, eager and motivated. He has loads of problems with his English and no help at home: however, he tries his best to overcome all the obstacles.
OK now I’m telling why I decided to write this. On Friday he came next to me with a notebook in his hand and said he wanted to show me something as he needed some advice. He said he started writing the story and felt something was missing so he surfed on the net and found some ideas on how to write a story, develop ideas, etc. He showed me his plans, character definitions, setting, event and I just felt very proud. I was amazed at his motivation. I praised him and told him that the thing he had been doing was just the thing I wanted them to do. I told him I knew I didn’t guide them well and I would hand them a checklist the following handout tomorrow
I don’t know what I’ll end up with but I’m planning to have a story compilation book of my students.
For almost 16 years I haven’t had young learners. This year I have a group of 10 year olds. I just see them once a week and our idea was to give them a chance to chat in English.
Their level of English is so basic, as you can guess .However, their enthusiasm is enormous.
Attending the 2 day-e-twinning-workshops for beginners in Istanbul, we decided to start a project with the kids.
Now my grade 5 students have an e-twinning project called my e-friend where they will e-mail, skype or publish stories of their own.
Yesterday we were in the computer room and they sent their first e-mails to their Polish friends. It was great fun to see their willingness. It was wonderful to see how much they cared about it. It was actually very touching when they shared their fears and concerns about their level of English. When they learned that their friends’ level would almost be the same with them, they felt relieved.
What will they gain from this experience?
Well, at least they know where Poland is now. They learned Chopin was Polish and they are sure that they are not the only ones who are learning English and need practise.
Now I want more partners for my classes. I know it is time consuming but the satisfaction is great!