This is an online implementation of the learning scenario “Do you like fruit and vegetables?“ (LS- PL- 256) which was carried out in a small class in a primary school in Greece. An online lesson was organised where the students did the first entertaining activity of the scenario and they discussed the topic of fruit and vegetables. Then the scenario was enriched with more creative activities that were carried out as homework. The students developed digital literacy skills, their creativity as well as a new interest in art.
The implementation context
The learning scenario “Do you like fruit and vegetables?“ (LS- PL- 256) was implemented in an English language lesson I taught online to the 6th grade students of the Primary School of Nea Roda in Greece. There are only 6 students in the 6th grade of our school and they are 12 years old. Our school is a small one, located in a seaside village in northern Greece. After March 11, due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Greece, our school was closed and my English language classes had to be delivered online. Both me and my students slowly adapted to a new distance learning situation. I set up an online class in a digital platform where I uploaded material and my students sent me their work, and I also started having online lessons with them.The students‘ level in the English language is A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for languages. My students were not familiar with digital cultural heritage and in general they were not familiar with using a lot of digital material and digital technologies in their lessons.
The aim of the lesson was to teach vocabulary about fruit and vegetables in English. Using the Learning Apps application I recreated the Vertumnus game that is played in the original scenario and I added English names of fruit and vegetables. https://learningapps.org/watch?v=pipiwpez320. During my online lesson I played the game with my students, asking them in turns to tell me an English vegetable or fruit they saw, until the Vertumnus painting was revealed. The students recognized the painting because, as I already knew, the teacher of Art had sent them an image of this painting a few days before and he had asked them to use any vegetable or fruit they had at home to create a handicraft in the form of a face like this. I had seen some of the beautiful work my students had created with real fruit and vegetables, that’s why I was all the more inspired to teach them about fruit and vegetables. After the painting was revealed, we talked about the food we could see in the painting. The students also told me their favourite fruits. They all said they loved fruits.
I adapted the rest of the scenario as it would not be easy to organize the Kahoot game in an online class, and I also wanted to expand the scenario to include more Europeana resources about fruit and vegetables and more creative activities. In the rest of the lesson I explained the activities I had prepared for my students. They would create a wordcloud with words of all their favourite fruit, they would choose their favourite painting out of 10 paintings I gave them from Europeana and they would make a digital poster about fruit and vegetables and post them to a common Padlet wall I had created for our English class.
The students loved the Vertumnus game we played as they always like playing vocabulary games. The painting they recognized increased their interest in the lesson. Then they had the possibility to express their preferences about fruit and vegetables in English and they practised the English language.
They also found the new activities I gave them very interesting. They filled the Padlet with their beautiful work. They developed their digital skills and their creativity. The task of choosing a favourite painting among 10 beautiful paintings of past artists enabled them to get interested in art. It was remarkable what a student wrote in his post about the painting he chose: “This is the most wonderful painting I have ever seen“.
I believe it is worth trying this scenario in class because the activities are simple and interesting at the same time. The scenario can also be implemented vitually. I would advise other teachers to be flexible when adapting the scenario to their teaching context and I would encourage them to include more activities that will help unleash students’ creativity…
As I implemented this scenario I realised how well and easily digital cultural material can be integrated into a lesson. Wonderful digital material can be found for every topic you wish to search for on the Europeana platform. I also realised the importance of using digital art in our lessons, I realised how approaching a topic through art can make the topic easier to understand and more appealing and interesting to discuss. It was a great idea to add these new resources, the paintings about fruit and vegetables, to the original scenario.
I was careful to choose paintings that were free to use when I searched on the Europeana platform, so that there wouldn’t be any copyright issues to deal with. That is what I recommend other teachers to do, look for free to use material on the platform, especially when teaching younger students, to whom it is not easy to explain the different copyright licenses.
This Story of Implementation has been created by Areti Sidiropoulou, finalist of the Europeana Education Competition 2020 in the following category: ‘Teaching with digital cultural heritage in primary schools’.