Festivals in March: Saint Patrick’s Day (LS-RO-66)

This learning scenario was created and implemented by Emilia Marina Alexe from Romania.

Festivals and cultural diversity

The topic of ‘festivals’ is included in the National Curriculum for EFL, for 6 grade (11-12 years old children). For this reason, we planned to talk about who Saint Patrick and who he was in Irish culture. To introduce the topic to my students, I created some materials using Europeana. It also helped to increase their interest, stimulate their curiosity to discover other European cultures, and promote cultural diversity. Additionally to Europeana resources, I have created a PowerPoint presentation that I used as a prediction for the new lesson. The lesson was planned as a project-based learning activity that lasted 4 hours. Students worked in pairs, the focus was on peer learning and peer support and on the individual research using Europeana as a resource for their final products: posters and brochures about Saint Patrick’s Day.

Subjects introduced during the lesson

  • English: students learned historical facts about St.Patrick. They also acquired new vocabulary such as ‘shamrock’, ‘leprechaun’, the read some Irish proverbs and used as grammatical structures (present tense simple and past tense simple).
  • Art: then pupils learned how to make a shamrock and a garland watching a video –craftwork
  • Music: they also learned about traditional Irish music and taught each other some steps of dance

Dancing with Europeana

Basket of shamrocks, Michael Flanagan,
Public Domain Mark 1.0
Irish Traditional Music Archive

To familiarize students with the traditional Irish music and the way Irish people celebrate that day I presented them some videos and audio resources from Europeana.

During these activities, students developed the following competences: digital, cultural, creativity and communication in a foreign language.

Students’ learning styles were also taken into account as I designed activities. Consequently, I chose for visual, musical/auditory, kinesthetic, verbal materials so that to stimulate students to take part actively in the lesson.

They had fun and explored by themselves other videos showing Irish traditional dances and they enjoyed hand-making shamrocks and garlands.

Assessment and feedback

For assessment, I used Rubrics to evaluate the final product –the posters. I also created a quiz checking comprehension and at the end of our PBL activities, I invited students to have a reflection time and had an open discussion.
Students said that they enjoyed the activities because the topic was new and they were motivated to learn more about it. Using the concept of “learning by doing” and “edutainment“-combining fun with learning activities worked well. As a result, slower and shy students could also take part in and found something they fitted in. The last activity students danced Irish dances, listened to traditional songs, wore something green and decorated their classroom.

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The featured image used to illustrate this article is free for commercial use and has no attribution required. The image belongs to Geraldine Dukes from Pixabay.

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