Here we are again, dear colleagues, in front of our computer screens for hours, trying to do our best to cope with technology issues, as well as provide the optimum learning benefits in 30-minute synchronous online sessions with our learners. Although most of us have been through the same procedure last spring and are familiar with a variety of webtools and lots of theories regarding distance teaching and learning, most of us seem to feel drained after having racked our brains on how to be creative, present engaging tasks and accomplish our teaching goals in different classes for 15-24 sessions per week.

Networking with colleagues that experience the same situation has been uplifting and encouraging last spring and it proves to be valuable this time, too! Thanks to some online groups, sharing work and experiences has been led to levels that have been unfamiliar to our department – or at least how I experienced it back then! Being a warm supporter of sharing, here is part of a teaching scenario for the 1st and/or 2nd graders that has been applied and supported with positive feedback from learners, parents and myself who actually enjoyed it very much!

Subject:

English as a Second Language with a cross-curricular approach by means of ICT.

Connection with the curriculum:

Topic C4/C5 for the 1st grade / Topic B1 for the 2nd grade

Teaching context:

This scenario has been designed for synchronous online teaching to a class of 24 learners (1st grade) and a class of 24 learners (2nd grade) who are 6-7 years old and attend a rural Greek Primary School that has been shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. Most of the learners are of Greek origin, come from mixed socio-economic backgrounds and there are no learners with diagnosed learning difficulties. None of the learners has any previous experience with online learning and parents have been advised to assist.

Level of Competence:

A1- level, according to the six-point scale of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Duration:

30 minutes of online learning and extra practice through asynchronous learning via e-class.

Transition:

This part of a teaching scenario has been designed for synchronous online learning by means of the webex platform. The particular learners have been taught in class the words “mummy” and “daddy” during the previous lesson and the activities of this part of the scenario have been designed for their first online session. All learners have no previous experience with webex online meetings; however, they have had sessions with their teacher the previous day. All learners have signed in the e-class of the Panhellenic School Network and have been using it since the beginning of the school year. They are not familiar with the web tools employed for this scenario (Thinglink, LearningApps, Video.link), but they are going to be guided into learning how to use them. Learners are supposed to own the necessary technological equipment for the session (internet connection, device, camera, microphone, speakers) and are invited to work as a group in order to complete the tasks.

Anticipated learning outcomes:

Learners are expected to achieve the following (based on the analytical indicators of communication competence):

A) Regarding English Language Competence

Listening skills:

  • To answer simple questions in the foreign language (or more complex questions in Greek) concerning the content of a short speech, such as e.g. questions and answers (“Who’s this?” “Mummy”, etc.). (A1/22)
  • To be able to understand very basic and standard expressions used in everyday interpersonal communication (eg greetings, such as “Hello, mummy!”, etc.). (A1/23)
  • To be able to understand specific information (personal data of the speaker or information related to their immediate family environment), formulated with simple vocabulary and standard sentence structures. (A1/24)

Speaking skills:

  • To be able to follow written or oral instructions in Greek to answer simple questions in the foreign language using standard expressions and simple vocabulary. (A1/39)

B) Regarding the use of technology

  • To develop information and digital literacy through the process of locating, analyzing and, finally, utilizing information found in digital environments.
  • To become familiar with the use of modules within the Electronic Classroom (e-class).
  • To become familiar with new digital environments.
  • To develop a responsible digital behavior through online collaboration with their peers (waiting for their turn, turning on and off their microphone when necessary, etc.).

C) Regarding the learning process and knowledge about the world

  • To achieve linguistic literacy while receiving and producing in the target language.
  • To develop visual literacy through digital visual stimuli.
  • To encourage digital literacy through the navigation in the modules of the Electronic Classroom (e-class) and further familiarization with the use of particular web tools.

Detailed description:

1st activity: Introduction to the topic

Type of activity: Listening comprehension, speaking by means of singing and moving

Duration: 5’

Classroom organization: Working online as a group through webex platform.

Teachers’ role: Supportive, encouraging and coordinating.

Learners’ role (according to the Four Resources Model that was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke): The learner is invited to work as a text decoder, deciphering the code in written and visual stimuli, and as a text participant, in the sense that s/he attempts to comprehend the input and relate it to his/her previous knowledge.

Teacher’s actions: The teacher welcomes the learners to the new digital environment and introduces a picture in Thinglink, saying that it is going to help them revise what they had done during the previous lesson. The teacher clicks on the first red button at the bottom and starts with a video, in an attempt to link what has been taught with everything that is going to be introduced throughout the session. The learners watch part of a video with the heroes of Disney that refers to “mummy” and “daddy”. Learners are encouraged to sing along and move their hands and body in the way that has been introduced in class (they dance, wave hello at “hello” and shape a heart with their fingers at “I love you”).

Learners’ actions: Learners are welcomed in the new digital environment, watch the video, revise the words “Mummy”, “Daddy”, “I love you” and sing along, while moving their hands and body to the rhythm.

Digital educational content, web tools, resources:

Thinglink

Video.Link (16:27 – 18:38)

2nd activity: Vocabulary development

Type of activity: Listening and repeating

Duration: 5’

Classroom organization: Working online as a group through webex platform.

Teachers’ role: Supportive, encouraging and coordinating.

Learners’ role (according to the Four Resources Model that was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke): The learner is invited to work as a text decoder, deciphering the code in audio and visual stimuli, and as a text participant, in the sense that s/he attempts to comprehend the input and relate it to his/her previous knowledge.

Teacher’s actions: The teacher introduces the main picture of Thinglink and explains the use of the plus buttons (they have to click on the plus buttons and listen to how we say in English the members of the family). The teacher clicks on the plus buttons and encourages learners to listen and repeat.

Learners’ actions: Learners watch the picture and understand the content. They are introduced to a new web tool and they try to comprehend how it works. In the meantime, they listen and repeat, developing thus their vocabulary.

Digital educational content, web tools, resources:

Thinglink

3rd activity: Vocabulary Consolidation

Type of activity: Listening and choosing the correct word

Duration: 6’

Classroom organization: Working online as a group through webex platform.

Teachers’ role: Supportive, encouraging and coordinating.

Learners’ role (according to the Four Resources Model that was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke): The learner is invited to work as a text decoder, deciphering the code in audio and visual stimuli, as a text participant, in the sense that s/he attempts to comprehend the input and relate it to his/her previous knowledge and as a text user, as s/he uses it to complete the task.

Teacher’s actions: The teacher introduces the main picture of Thinglink again and explains the use of the red buttons at the bottom. Clicking on the second button, the teacher explains that, in order to complete the activity, learners have to listen to the words and choose the correct one for each pin on the family members’ faces. Learners are informed that they are going to do the task in turns and are encouraged to repeat the words as they listen.

Learners’ actions: Learners watch the picture with the pins and understand the procedure and target of the activity. They are introduced to a new web tool and they try to understand how it works. In the meantime, they listen and repeat, developing thus their vocabulary.

Digital educational content, web tools, resources:

Thinglink

LearningApps

4th activity: Vocabulary Consolidation

Type of activity: Matching the sound with the correct picture

Duration: 6’

Classroom organization: Working online as a group through webex platform.

Teachers’ role: Supportive, encouraging and coordinating.

Learners’ role (according to the Four Resources Model that was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke): The learner is invited to work as a text decoder, deciphering the code in audio and visual stimuli, as a text participant, in the sense that s/he attempts to comprehend the input and relate it to his/her previous knowledge and as a text user, as s/he uses it to complete the task.

Teacher’s actions: The teacher introduces the main picture of Thinglink again and explains the use of the red buttons at the bottom. Clicking on the third button, the teacher explains that, in order to complete the activity, learners have to match the sounds with the correct picture (memory card game). Learners are informed that they are going to do the task in turns and are encouraged to repeat the words as they listen. The teacher uses the annotation in order to number the cards and make it easier for the learners to choose a card (numbers can be introduced in English).

Learners’ actions: Learners watch the game with the memory cards and comprehend the procedure and the aim of the activity. They are introduced to a new web tool and they try to understand how it works. In the meantime, they have fun while trying to remember the images, the sounds and while listening and repeating, developing thus their vocabulary.

Digital educational content, web tools, resources:

Thinglink

LearningApps

5th activity: Vocabulary Consolidation

Type of activity: Singing and doing

Duration: 8’

Classroom organization: Working online as a group through webex platform.

Teachers’ role: Supportive, encouraging and coordinating.

Learners’ role (according to the Four Resources Model that was originally developed in 1990 by Peter Freebody and Allan Luke): The learner is invited to work as a text decoder, deciphering the code in audio and visual stimuli, as a text participant, in the sense that s/he attempts to comprehend the input and relate it to his/her previous knowledge and as a text user, as s/he uses it to complete the task.

Teacher’s actions: The teacher introduces the main picture of Thinglink again and reminds the use of the red buttons at the bottom. Clicking on the fourth button, the teacher explains that it is time to sing and dance. The teacher introduces the shark family and the movements they do with their mouth. Learners are invited to watch the video, sing and imitate the movements. The teacher plays the video at least twice and reminds the learners that everything they have worked with will be uploaded to their e-class for further practice.

Learners’ actions: Learners learn about the shark family and rehearse the movements sharks do with their mouth. They eventually watch the video, sing and imitate the movements presented. Throughout this activity they have fun while trying to remember the sounds and moving their hands and body.

Digital educational content, web tools, resources:

Thinglink

Video.Link

Normally, scenarios are described in a way that presents all anticipated outcomes of each activity and the presentation of the activities is followed by the evaluation of the scenario and its impact. However, at this point, I wouldn’t like to tire you with the norm and would prefer to share with you my thoughts and feelings, as a teacher!

Prior to evaluating my role throughout the activities, I wish I could share with you the enthusiasm of everyone involved throughout the lesson, the level of participation and the excitement, especially with the song that was presented in the end! We had our lesson on Friday (16:50-17:20) with A class and we actually said our goodbyes and wishes for the weekend at 17:35, as we played the song again and again! As for me, the teacher, all I had to do during the session was to sound encouraging, pay attention to the way I deliver instructions and make sure that microphones were on and off at the right times! It was a lesson I tried with both A and B classes and enjoyed very much and receiving emails and messages through social media from content and satisfied parents was the unexpected feedback that literally made my day!

We, teachers, spend a lot of time designing, creating and delivering in front of a computer screen these days and having a great session with our learners makes it all so worth it! Sharing this part of my teaching scenario with you, I want to contribute to this energetic community of admirable colleagues out there that burn the midnight oil with me these days and express my gratitude for all the support I get from groups of people that share the same experiences with me! I hope this teaching suggestion will be as useful as your contributions and sharing have been to me! Keep it up, dear colleagues and friends, and remember that teaching is our superpower and sharing is our secret weapon!

Physical distancing and long distance teaching have brought forward the best of Greek teachers who seem to have become Web Tool experts in just a few days and struggle to do their best for their learners! In an attempt to create presentable, interactive, educational and entertaining Easter collections for all my classes this year, Thinglink was the web tool that came first to my mind, as it gives teachers the opportunity to integrate links of useful videos and tasks, as well as interactive activities they have probably created themselves using other Web Tools (like LearningApps in my case)! In this post you will find all my Easter Fun collections in one place and you are free to use them in you feel that they meet your learners’ needs!

Easter Fun for Greek 2nd Grade learners

Easter Fun for Greek 3rd Grade learners

Easter fun for Greek 4th Grade learners

Easter fun for Greek 5th Grade learners

Easter fun for Greek 6th Grade learners

Easter Fun for 2nd Graders

Physical distancing and long distance teaching have brought forward the best of Greek teachers who seem to have become Web Tool experts in just a few days and struggle to do their best for their learners! Here is my Easter Fun collection for my Second Graders! Feel free to use it if you think it meets your learners’ needs!

 

Most public-school English Language teachers in Greece come from the private sector prior to being substitute or appointed teachers, just like me. When I go back to these first days of change, the inevitable comparison between where I had been and where I eventually found myself in is still so vivid in my mind! By the first week, the mental list of pros and cons between the two sectors had been formed just to help me realize the restrictions to be considered and the adaptations to be employed in my new teaching context. Would you like to know about the drawback that was on top of the list of negative aspects, the one that kept flashing in my head like an old-fashioned neon sign? Well, you’ve probably guessed right: it was the sad fact that I did not have my own classroom anymore!

 

What does it really mean not to have your own English classroom in a Greek public primary school? That’s a question with a long answer actually, an answer sadly familiar to most of my Greek colleagues to a question that is normally never (even thought of being) asked to a European or American one.

 

First of all, if you work for a school that does not have a separate English classroom, carrying stuff becomes your … trademark! For an ordinary lesson that does not require a lot of teaching aids, you normally carry a CD player and a CD or a laptop with speakers for the necessary audio files (as this equipment is not always present in every classroom in most schools), the learners’ notebooks and/or worksheets, as well as your course book and activity book copies that you never leave in any classroom, because you need them to prepare the lesson and you do not want to tempt your learners with materials that contain all the answers to all the tasks, conveniently ‘served’ on a bookcase shelf! If you are the kind of teacher that uses a variety of instructional materials, however, you may find yourself needing extra hands (and extra strength!) for the flashcards, the projector, the class mascot, a ball, a big cardboard dice and the photocopied worksheets that you intend to use during the lesson. Your extra hands are normally very willing to help, are more than the ones you need and actually belong to your learners who are not supposed to be spending their break helping you carry the necessary materials for the lesson and are kindly asked to help as soon as the bell rings  – which usually occurs right after you have devoted your break to collect everything in one place at the teachers’ office! And that is, of course, only if you, the teacher, are not busy treating a wound, mediating a conflict, going to the bathroom, having something to eat, arranging a cross-curricular approach with a colleague, photocopying handouts or supervising the learners during the break! Because, if you are busy with any of these or other tasks, you inevitably limit your teaching to the main aids mentioned earlier, wrongfully feeling inadequate and guilty for not being able to offer your learners the best you can or would like to have offered.

 

Aside from being the teacher who always carries stuff, you often find yourself in a classroom where the learners’ seating arrangement is by no means convenient to the collaborative, communicative approach you mean to employ and exploit in your lessons. Most all-subject teachers in Greek public schools are usually fond of the Π-shaped seating arrangement, or the more traditional one, with the learners sitting in pairs in two or three rows of desks. So, what do you do in this case?

  • Do you move everything wasting some valuable teaching and learning time, making a lot of noise and arousing conflicts as to who is going to be with whom in the same group?

Yes, you do (at least I do), you rarely do, with a lot of preparation during the break, in cases you want to rock the boat, or when you really have to exploit the benefits of group work!

  • Do you settle for the pre-determined seating arrangement and adjust your teaching accordingly?

Yes, you do (at least I do), on an almost daily basis, in most of the classrooms you teach in, trying to compromise with pre-determined and sometimes inconvenient level-wise pairs of learners.

Having discussed this issue with many colleagues, the pre-determined by the all-subjects teacher seating arrangement is a considerable challenge for all of the foreign language teachers who subscribe to the benefits of group work, as group-seating arrangement appears to be the least preferred one in most schools. Based on these discussions, rearranging the furniture and moving it all back at the end of the lesson seems to rarely occur mainly in the ground-floor classrooms of Greek public schools.

 

One of the most daunting drawbacks of moving around the school rooms every teaching hour is the fact that, most of the times, language teachers appear to feel more like a guest, rather than a classroom-mate in each room. Being allowed to use supplies (the stapler, paper clips, whiteboard markers, etc.), a part of the notice board or the wall, a part of a bookcase shelf or even the teacher’s desk (!) are unfortunately not taken for granted in all teaching contexts! We have all heard of (or even experienced) instances where the teacher’s desk is uninvitingly full of coursebooks, students’ notebooks and photocopies, the drawers are occupied and so are the classroom notice boards and the sharing of supplies that are actually bought by the school triggers arguments and ice-cold smiles between colleagues. Although fortunately this is not always the case in the majority of the classrooms, public-school English-Language teachers in Greece normally carry the most sizeable, yet elegant (!) handbags or backpacks in an attempt to be prepared for any case! For years, my colleagues and I have carried or been carrying a pencil case full of pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners, a pencil case full of whiteboard markers, a stapler, a double-hole puncher, paper and scotch tape, paper tissues, wet wipes and stickers – among other non-school related items!

 

Bearing all these and maybe some extra, more trivial challenges in mind, not having your own classroom is quite demanding, especially if you are required to do this in more than one schools, as is normally the case with most Greek EFL teachers in public schools. This year I am one of the lucky ones to be able to use an English classroom, but, after many years of personal experience and exchanges of opinions with colleagues, it seems that working conditions can improve considerably with good communication with the colleagues, willingness from all sides to compromise and lots of planning! Challenges help us grow, make us strong and trigger creativity and motivation, therefore, not having our own classroom is just another hard challenge out there that keeps us on our toes!

MAGIC BOOK 2 – 1ST TERM REVISION TEST – UNIT 1 – LESSONS 1,2

 

It has been a long while since I’ve posted anything on my blog or facebook page, but I’ve been busy sharing my time among family, work and my personal needs (not sharing it equally, unfortunately, but still doing my best in all areas!). To be honest, I have really missed this communicative, social and creative aspect of my job!

So, have you finished with the 1st term tests at school, or are you taking advantage of the last days of the term, like I am? Last night I finished working on the 1st term test for my 3rd graders and, as it took me a while to organise and edit, I thought it would be nice to share it with all of you that are also burning the midnight oil preparing and correcting handouts and tests these days! We have currently finished Lessons 1 and 2 from Unit 1 in Magic Book 2, so, if you want to save this document and use it either as a test, or as a revision handout, please, leave a comment with your email address under the following blog post and I’ll send it to you as soon as possible!

Apart from the revision test, I have also prepared a task for early-finishers, as I have always had learners who complete the tests almost as soon as they get their copy! Therefore, you will aslo get a copy of that worksheet which can also be attached to the main test as an extra/bonus task – it is up to you, your learners’ competence level and the time you wish to spend on test writing!

I really hope you will find this useful and time-saving!

eTwinning Project, 2018-2019

This school year 6th graders at the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli have been working on an eTwinning project that focuses on sharing their national and local superstitions with their European peers and learning all about theirs. The teachers involved in this project have the opportunity to raise their learners’ awareness of their own and others’ customs and traditions by means of superstitions, to develop their global understanding as citizens of the world, to help them realize the emergence of English as an international language, and to assist them to learn how to work cooperatively while improving their ICT skills. The secondary objectives of the project aim at developring the learners’ reading and writing skills in English, promoting collaborative learning in the classroom as well as through WEB tools, introducing the use of technology in learning (video, email, search engine, word processor, PowerPoint presentation, etc) and providing room for the learners’ artistic expression.

Prior to working on the actual project, our learners have worked on a collaborative presentation in an attempt to present to their European peers their school and their classroom! Here is the completed schools presentation so far:

We have separated the superstitions into categories so as to be able to present them and compare and contrast them! The first category is related to animal superstitions. All European learners have been invited to present this category on a padlet wall, using text, drawings, pictures and/or videos. You can access their completed work here!

The next category invited learners to present the New Year Eve and Day superstitions in the form of a video. The learners have prepared their scripts in English and are the shining starts in the following video:

The following category presents the superstitions related to weddings and funerals. In order to be able to gather the necessary information to present the topic to their European peers, our 6th grade learners have invited father George Giannios from the local church to help them. Father George was kind enough to present the superstitions, explain the role that superstitions should have in our lives and discuss what the Greek Orthodox church believes about superstitions.

After that, our learners went to school computer lab and worked in groups in order to present the superstitions in English. All European learners have typed their national and local superstitions in a collaborative word processing document in order to create a book! This is what their book looks like so far!

 

eTwinning project, 2018-2019

So many teachers and so many pupils working on the eTwinning project that is related to “Superstitions Around Europe”! We have met each other through our Twinspace, but what do our schools look like? Learners have worked collaboratively on an online PowerPoint presentation with an eye to showing everyone their second home, their school! Here is the presentation they have created in the form of a video!

eTwinning project, 2018-2019

As part of the English lessons, the 5th grade learners of the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli are taking part in the European eTwinning project which is called “Green Magicians with Superpowers”. The schools we are currently working with are from Croatia, Spain, Romania and Turkey.

Prior to proceeding with our project which is related to the flora of our area, our 5th grade learners have worked in our school computer lab in order to co-edit with their European partners a cooperative online presentation that includes information regarding their school! This way they have managed to familiarize themselves with the cooperative webtool that allows them to create presentations, they have had the opportunity to present their school to a  real audience practicing their English productive skills and they have acquired information regarding the partner schools while reading English with a real-life purpose.

The end-product of this collaborative effort is demonstrated in the following video:

 

Η Αγγελική Λαδά  είναι εκπαιδευτικός Αγγλικής στην πρωτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση και μεταπτυχιακή φοιτήτρια στο ΠΜΣ Γλωσσολογίας του ΤΑΓΦ, ΕΚΠΑ. Η διατριβή της εστιάζει στην χρήση του Ψηφιακού Εκπαιδευτικού Περιεχομένου για τα Αγγλικά της Πρωτοβάθμιας και Δευτεροβάθμιας Εκπαίδευσης, διαθέσιμο στη διεύθυνση http://dschool.edu.gr και συγκεκριμένα στις υπηρεσίες Ανοικτών Εκπαιδευτικών Πόρων (Open Educational Resources-OERs) στο «Φωτόδεντρο» http://photodentro.edu.gr.

Το παρόν ερωτηματολόγιο απευθύνεται σε εκπαιδευτικούς Αγγλικής με σκοπό η ανταπόκρισή σας στην έρευνα να βοηθήσει σημαντικά τον ευρύτερο σχεδιασμό του παιδαγωγικού πλαισίου αξιοποίησης του Ψηφιακού Εκπαιδευτικού Περιεχομένου και των υπηρεσιών OERs για την ξενόγλωσση εκπαίδευση. Η συμμετοχή σας είναι ανώνυμη και εθελοντική και τα δεδομένα που θα συλλεγούν θα χρησιμοποιηθούν μόνο για τους σκοπούς της συγκεκριμένης έρευνας.

Γι’ αυτό το λόγο, παρακαλείστε θερμά να αφιερώσετε 10 λεπτά από τον πολύτιμο χρόνο σας για να απαντήσετε τις ερωτήσεις που ακολουθούν στον ακόλουθο σύνδεσμο:

https://photodentro.limequery.com/218614?lang=el

 

Primary School of Efxeinoupoli

English Breakfast at school has been a tradition at whichever Primary School I have ever been appointed to for years! When my 5th graders reach Unit 3 at the listening task that shows pictures of some children making pancakes as a surprise breakfast for their parents, that is when my learners are introduced to the fact that it is their turn this year to enjoy English Breakfast at school!

5th Greade Course Book

5th Greade Course Book

This school year, my 5th graders at the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli, Greece, had been completely unaware of this tradition I have been following, as I am their new English teacher! When we reached this page some time after the Christmas holidays and my learners were presented with the idea of having English breakfast at school, they were so excited and could not wait for the time to enjoy it to come! However, it was necessary to allow some time to inform their parents and get their consent for the learners’ participation, therefore we proceeded with the necessary official paperwork (please, feel free to request a copy of the consent form, should you need it! This is its online version and it has been slightly altered in the printed version for the parents to sign!)!

Before I start describing what a great and educational experience it has been, let me note that it is not very difficult (or expensive) to organize such an event at school, as most of the schools already have a room for learners to have lunch in. You only have to be prepared to do all the cooking! Our English breakfast normally includes tea, milk with cereals, chocolate chip muffins and pancakes – these last two delicacies will keep you busy in the kitchen, depending on the number of the learners you have to cook for! If you are lucky enough to have a cooker available in school, perhaps you can add eggs and bacon in the menu – unfortunately we could not! Learners are usually asked to bring a cup, a bowl and a tablespoon for the cereals, some fresh milk, honey and/or praline, whereas you, the teacher, (or the school) can provide for the cereals (regular corn flakes), the tea, plates, forks, paper tablecloths, muffins, pancakes and, of course, the pancakes recipe printed in Greek for two reasons: their mums are going to ask for it and/or you can use it as homework (ask them to write the recipe in English for the school blog, for an English-speaking friend, a padlet wall, etc)! Here is the recipe card we used this time:

English breakfast, this year, occured twice in our school, on two different dates, due to the fact that there are two 5th grade classes at the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli. I am not sure that words can describe the excitement and the satisfaction of everybody involved and the discussion we all had on the nutritional value of breakfast as a meal was interactive, educational and eye-opening to many of my learners – as they themselves have stated!  All learners have participated and it is really worth emphasizing how organized, helpful and disciplined they have been throughout the process! Here are some shots of this unique experience for all of us:

You can also check out our school blog post and our padlet wall where now my 5th grade learners are invited to post their thoughts on their experience of the  English breakfast at school, as well as the English version of the Pancakes Recipe I gave them in Greek!

https://padlet.com/vivi_hamilou/muwye83ehqbz

 

The course book we use at the 6th Grade in Greek Public Primary Schools invites learners to write a report on their country at the end of the first unit. My 6th graders and I proudly present our electronic (padlet) wall with our reports that have been written with a real-life purpose: to be published on our school blog!

Please, feel free to leave comments under our reports, click on the hearts if you like them and/or invite your learners to read and comment on them, too (if you are a teacher, of course!), so that we know that other people out there can actually access them and read them! Thank you in advance for your time and … enjoy!

https://padlet.com/vivi_hamilou/jo9bvk9n2fgy 

All of us, English Language teachers in public Primary Schools of Greece, are familiar with the Sports Song presented in our coursebook, in Unit 2.

English Coursebook - 4th Grade - Sports Song Lyrics

Last year this rather-indifferent-to-the-learners song was taken to a different level with a little bit of imagination and enthusiasm and it actually became their favourite! Therefore, this year, at the Primary School of Efxinoupoli, it was easy to follow the same steps:

Instead of just singing the lyrics, we simply added motions for every line of the song! And that is how we pursued learning sports in English and learning like + -ing structure while having fun!

Flashcards in the Greek public school third grade can be used in numerous ways and they can prove to be life-saviors with early-finishers! During the lesson, we normally use them to revise the letters of the alphabet that we have already learnt and introduce the new ones, along with the new vocabulary that accompanies them! Yesterday, however, we used them to revise letters and vocabulary in a fun way!

To be more precise, we divided the whiteboard in two parts. Each part had the same number of flashcards. The learners were supposed to match the picture with the word! The learner who was the first to finish correctly the matching task, won some stickers!

These flashcards were edited, printed and laminated about three years ago and were based on the alphabet vocabulary presented in the Greek public school third grade material Magic Book 1! We use them every year and, when we finish with the alphabet, we put them up on the wall for both educational and decorative reasons!

 

What is a day in the life of a Greek fifth-grader like? Here is what some of our fifth-graders at the Primary School of Efxinoupoli have stated (click on the link below):

https://padlet.com/vivi_hamilou/jgsemxkclt9w

It is worth noting that the learners themselves have used padlet as a tool to publish their work, either in the school computer lab or from home! They seemed really enthusiastic about the fact that they were doing the project addressing a real-life audience for a change and not just submitting it to get a mark by the teacher! Finally, they claimed that they love the fact that they can read each other’s project and get ideas!

Vocabulary learning is a significant part of language learning. The more words a student learns, the better s/he becomes at receptive (reading and listening) as well as productive (writing and speaking) skills in the target language!

Every learner has his/her own way of studying/learning/consolidating new vocabulary. If you travel back to the times when you were a learner, you will definitely find you or your fellow classmates writing words in notebooks, making your own dictionaries with new words and their definitions, repeating words in an attempt to memorize them, or grouping them based on their meaning. And, no matter which strategy you followed back then, almost all of them leave you with a sense of dullness, exhaustion and/or vainness.

Nowadays, learners have the opportunity to work with new vocabulary in many more interesting ways, provided that they are willing to devote some time, have access to a computer with internet connection and are introduced to the right sites to refer to in order to pursue vocabulary enrichment. This year, at the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli, Magnesia, Greece, we are trying to make vocabulary learning and revision a bit more fun, by exploiting the Digital School and Photodendro! Learners will be introduced to specific links suggested by the enriched version of the digital school book and found at the digital educational repository called Photodendro.

Having, for instance, introduced the very first pages of the Unit 1 in the 5th and 6th grades, learners now have the opportunity to visit the school blog and practice with different vocabulary tasks related to the lessons we had in the aforementioned classes. To be more precise, 5th graders are invited to practice email reading and writing, and vocabulary related to computer parts, whereas 6th graders have the opportunity to revise countries and nationalities, as well as flags and Geography!

All of my 5th and 6th grade learners promised to work on these tasks as they were intrigued when they were presented with their content today and they said they would have plenty of time to devote over the weekend! And, although it is too soon to tell how this whole effort goes, their wide open, sparkling eyes tell me that vocabulary learning and revision may become indeed more fascinating and effective!

Have a great weekend, everyone! 😉

1st graders

1st graders

Everybody knows it, 1st graders in Primary Schools are heart stealers! It is unavoidable, teachers, no one can resist bright eyes, smiley faces, lively creatures,cheerful attitude, positive aura and readiness to be part of a team!

This year, at the Primary School of Efxeinoupoli, Magnesia, Greece, after discussing with the 1st graders about what is the English language and why it is important to speak it well in the future, they realized that they already speak English without ever knowing or noticing it! Having recognized all of the words included in the following presentation, we started pronouncing them like English people do! And they did so well!