It seems that every month, I am finding something new to get excited about. In January it was suggested I try to give my lessons a little bit more of an international feel. Get the children to link learning in other schools all over Europe. I found this great website called https://live.etwinning.net which does exactly this.
I first thought of linking to others to try to develop a happiness project. Did you know, according to the latest research, Romanian children consider themselves to be the happiest children in the world? Where do the British come in? Rather close to the bottom. This is evidence that money can’t buy happiness. I thought it would hence be a great idea to promote cross nation ideas on happiness. I now have a British school ready to twin up with Genesis school and share ideas.
This is currently at the start of the process. When I joined the site, I discovered both a forum which lists all the great international projects on offer and it also helped to stimulate further discussions. I am now working on developing an Easter project between the two schools, another great way of building up vocabulary and conversation skills. The idea being they will create some small projects on what Easter is like in the UK and creates some nice Easter cards, we do the same here and send them to each other.
When you start to think about different ways the school could be linked, you discover the only thing preventing you is the limit of imagination. There are now ways of linking schools via Skype to promote learning between schools as they can then directly speak to each other in English. They can also take part in Email exchanges. This is something I have not tried yet as I don’t trust email systems and introducing our students to other children could lead to a lot of trouble if the other “children” turn out to be 35 year old single men…
This then opens up all sorts of other ways schools could use English to communicate. They could make private videos to share with the other class or they could use Vines (6 second videos) to create interesting ways of rapidly expressing themselves. Another nice teaching tool is www.voki.com/ where students can choose a character and a voice and create interesting presentations of their lives which they are then able to feely share with others.
Other schools have taken the Voki approach further and developed poetry competitions using their characters. The idea being students are more confident to speak English if they are able to hide behind a different character. Often it is the same case for students who are happy to read aloud to a puppet or a dog but not to a real person.
Over the coming months I will continue to browse the different twinning forums on the lookout for more ways to interact with other schools overseas. I think this is an excellent way of maintaining a student’s interest in a subject, while building on the holistic principles of Genesis school in general.