An activity to celebrate Halloween

I attended the Mini Conference for eTwinning Ambassadors a couple of weeks ago and as usual came back home with my suitcase full not of souvenirs from beautiful Catania – definetely no time for shopping just a bit of sightseeing – but full of new ideas.

I have used a part of what I learned there to create an activity to celebrate Halloween with my students.

My aim was to make them improve their reading skills but also to make them have fun while doing it.

That’s when a workshop I attended in Catania and a Learning Event I took part in a month ago came to help.

What if I create a treasure hunt for my students, what if I ask them to look for a precise word, what if they have to use that word to reach a destination, what if at their destination they find something fun to create?

And I did it.

I decided to create a webquest about Halloween using http://www.history.com/topics/halloween as a reference site.

The students had to read carefully in order to find out some words whose definitions I had prepared for them.

After finding the right words, they had to choose some letters from the words i.e. Name of ancient festival from which Halloween originated (take the 3rd letter)

Putting all the letters together, they had the word monster, which I thought could be appropriate enough.

Then I created a padlet and, thanks to bit.ly could also create a proper link to it bit.ly/HLmonster. What the students had to do was find out the word, add it to part of the url bit.ly/HL … and then go.

Once they reached the padlet, they found their final task: create a video about Halloween using Animoto.

 

padlet halloween

They enjoyed the activity which they didn’t find too difficult, even though they spent some time to find out the fruit which is used in a popular Halloween game!

I really must thank Bart Verswijvel  for his inspirational work and his stimulating ideas.

 

 

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Three tools to introduce yourself

When you start working with a new class or on a new European project, the first steps are introductions. Students are eager to know who their partners are and also to tell them who they are, what they like and everything that helps create a relationship.

Sometimes this is quite boring, with students just repeating things, but with the right tools, this activity can turn into a joyful experience.

Let’s see how you can:

make students describe people using appropriate lexis and grammar

make students ask questions and make deductions

make students create a presentation with audio recording

 First of all the students  can create an avatar that represents themselves: this way you don’t need to use pictures of your students if you need to publish them on the web.

The avatar should show each of them and also give an idea of what they like.

Useful sites you can use to create avatars are:

http://www.southparkstudios.com/avatar

http://www.sp-studio.de/

http://www.bitstrips.com/create/avatar/

and here you can find further suggestions

http://mashable.com/2007/09/12/avatars/

Image

Instead of creating an avatar, students who are good at drawing can also draw a picture which represents themselves. You can then scan it or just take a picture of it in order to upload it on any site.

ImageOnce the avatar is ready, the students can create a word cloud which contains all words related to themselves. They can use wordle.net or tagxedo .com (web tools) or tagcloud-generator (tablets)

They exchange their avatars and wordclouds and must ask their partners questions to find out about them. You can also set a number of questions for each word:  

ex. Do you like cats? Have you got a cat? What’s its name …

In the end, each student is invited to prepare his/her partner’s presentation.

A tool which I really like for this type of activity is educreations  (both web and tablet tool).

Educreations is just like an interactive whiteboard where the students can upload the avatars and then describe their partners using the information they have got.

Students usually like this activity because they prepare funny avatars but they have also to think of appropriate words for the cloud, read what their partners write, make deductions, ask questions and speak in the presentation.

As a follow up activity, all the presentations could be shared (ex. uploaded on Edmodo) and the students could group them according to the likes or dislikes expressed in them in order to find out differences or similarities between themselves.

It is an activity which can easily be adapted to different levels of language knowledge.

 

 

My weather forecast

I have been working on a pilot project for some time now with one of my classes. The project is called Acer-European Schoolnet Educational Netbook Pilot and it ” is interested in exploring how the introduction of netbooks and one-to-one pedagogy in schools could change the processes involved in teaching and learning.” http://www.netbooks.eun.org
Students and some teachers have been provided with a netbook each and have been asked to prepare scenarios about topics they are free to choose. I have prepared two scenarios and both have been chosen as examples of good practice 🙂 I must admit I am very happy and proud of it! The scenarios have been translated in the six languages of the countries that are taking part in the project: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The first is about weather forecasts and you can see it below.