Drawing my teacher – or how students see us

What happens when you pick up a pencil? A whole world seems to be waiting just behind the tip, ready to unfold on that small (or not so small sometimes) piece of paper. And what if it’s a coloured pencil you’re holding? And what if you’re already set on a particular purpose? Too many questions perhaps, for such a small paragraph. Yet, they were circling around inside my head and I had to let them flow out somehow. A picture goes a long way into showing how your students feel about the lesson and their teacher, what catches their eye and what interests them the most. Afterwards, it’s up to the teacher to decide if changes are necessary and how to test if they have been effective. The simplest but most meaningful project I’ve ever put together.


 

The very first time I got a drawing of myself from a student, happily accepting the portrait came automatically.  I didn’t stop to think whether there was any specific reason of her offering that piece of work, nor did it cross my mind to try and deduce anything from what I was holding: a rough pencil sketch with a huge yellow smile, stretching across my face. I’ve kept that drawing because it brought up, straight from my stomach I think or maybe from my heart, a flowering bouquet of joy and pride, bound together by laughter. We used to laugh a lot together, it was our mark on an interesting lesson.

MyTeacher -by Lily

”Drawing my Teacher” is a project unlike others I do with young learners. I’m more interested in them feeling and showing their feelings than speaking or writing. It’s more than enough for me that the instructions are given in English and that students are able to understand them. Instructions? No, more like explanations or invitations to learn creatively.

This year, five students aged 9 and 10 took part in this two-stage project; both stages involved the scattering of pencils, the distribution of blank sheets and the request to draw their teacher, only stage one took place at the beginning of the course while stage two towards its end.

I’m not going to explain their drawings. They really speak louder than any words. What matters is that those five students showed me the way to get closer to them and help them learn.

 

 Penelope, 9

Antigone, 10

Despina, 10

Irene, 9

Jim, 9

You can also view the second stage on SlideShare.
Feedback and further ideas are welcome, as always!

Student Challenge – Video Introductions

Inspired by 30 Goals Challenge for Educators and the first goal of Cycle 5, I asked students from various parts of Athens, to create their own presentations to introduce themselves to each other . I thought, be proactive , create tutorials and FAQs for them , anticipate their worries – as it turned out , the only one in need of tutorials and soothing words was … me .

A proud and somewhat painful moment in teaching is the realisation my students don’t really need my help ; I’ve had several of those moments since the beginning of this challenge ! ( Come to think of it , I should have written PROUD …)

Here are the videos :

DJ_Cose

 

 

Μικροφωνημένου

 

Kostask

 

NancyK

 

MariaS

 

 

 

 

#Gamers in my class – Teaching through games Vol.2

My previous post on teaching through games was focused more on introducing games as an alternative homework assignment or quick activity for the end of class. A Vol.2 is necessary and is dedicated to my wonderful gamers who come to class fully equipped and enthusiastic!
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Some students just adore games – I daresay more than I do (!). They send me links to every game they try out so I can have a turn, they are surprisingly resourceful with ideas for activities and they make me proud every step of the way with knowing much more than I did when I was their age – keep forgetting, we’ve got digital natives to work with, so we’d better shape up!

Ok, game design isn’t exactly language teaching, but to me it’s definitely one of the greatest, most fun ways to practise what we’ve learned and take it a step further (not to mention digital skills practice!). We work together on lots of different projects and I thought I’d share some in this post.

My young ones have been working in our group on GameStar Mechanic.
Those #ClassicChampions (as my four A2 students have decided to call themselves!) have been doing really well on this platform and keep coming up with new ideas for more difficult games and levels. Safety comes first, so for the time being all projects on the Gamestar platform are posted onto my personal account (Kryftina).

Our first game:

#ClassicChampions first ever attempt on Gamestar Mechanic!

#ClassicChampions first ever attempt on Gamestar Mechanic!

Our current project:

 

Teens though are always up for more challenging work, so Jim, Alex and Antonis (levels B1 to C1) have been testing their skills on Morrowind construction set and mod creation. Not everybody’s cup of tea and truly difficult to get your head around, but they love it and the results are really impressive. Can’t wait for them to publish their finalized projects! Here’s a little taste: