I’m Ayrton Curmi, a Maltese primary school teacher, teaching students aged between 9-10 years old. I try to vary my lessons as much as possible to get my students engaged in their learning process, therefore, while planning an English creative writing lesson, I noticed that the Europeana Learning Scenario “Clothes Long Ago and Now” created by Anna Maria Gauci, was an effective way how I can link the history of fashion with culture and language. I chose to implement this learning scenario because I believe that it promotes 21st-century skills.
Introducing clothes from the past
As an introduction, the students were presented with an image from the Europeana Collections. They are familiar with Europeana so they were instantly engaged to guess the topic of this learning scenario. The students participated in a Think-Pair-Share activity, where they had to discuss this image while trying to notice different characteristics about their clothes. It was a very interesting activity as each student had a particular perspective about their clothes, some mentioned that they seem like a poor family while others mentioned that they seem like a noble family. Therefore, while using this particular image, there was an opportunity for a short debate regarding their clothing.
The use of technology
Our world revolves around technology. Digital resources are a very powerful tool to engage and motivate students in their learning process. In order to capture our students’ full range of abilities, we need to use a vast range of resources and strategies. Technology is a great pillar in this regard. Students were given several learning opportunities while using technology.
During the Think-Pair-Share activity, while being exposed to a particular Europeana image, the students had to share their ideas by using ‘Mentimeter’ app. They were free to express themselves by either a sentence or even a couple of words. In another activity, students were allotted some time to research images related to fashion on the Europeana platform. After choosing their respective images, they had to use ‘Mentimeter’ to give reasons why they chose their particular images.
After the activity where they had to design their creative outfit, the students had to write a short paragraph using ‘Author Premium’ about their outfit. This was a very effective activity since while writing their descriptive paragraph they were developing 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, media and technology skills, collaboration and communication.
Designing a creative outfit
The students were given the opportunity to design their own outfit. During this activity, they were shown another image from the Europeana Collections to inspire them in creating their outfit. We also played some background music while creating their outfit which aided students to get creative and artistic. Students were given a template and some coloured cardboard and were free to express themselves by designing an outfit. In these photos, one can notice that they had several innovative ideas.
After reflecting on this learning scenario, I was very satisfied that the students in my class managed to achieve the desired learning intentions and grasp new concepts. My main outcome was that they develop skills to write a descriptive paragraph while being aware that fashion changes along the years and above all having fun. This learning scenario was very interesting to implement since it adopted a student-centred approach. I’m also quite satisfied that I implemented this learning scenario while using several digital resources to motivate and engage my students while giving them a significant educational experience.
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?
Clothes Long Ago and Now by Anna Maria Gauci
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The featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and belongs to the public domain.