Implementation of “Parallel Histories” (SOI-IT-315)

Author: Emanuela Leto ,Teacher

School/Organization: I C Laura Lanza B di Carini 

I chose to implement this learning scenario comparing US and Spain cultures, adapting it to students  of English level A2 and of Spanish level A1 attending the last year of low secondary school in Italy, as the topic is included in the National Curriculum of foreign languages .

USA and Spain .

(students involved in the SOI in the Intercultural lab of my school )

As a teacher of English in an Italian low secondary school, every year , I choose to develop together with my students of the 3rd grade    different paths based on CLIL methodology on some aspects of the culture of  English Speaking countries. This year we started to focus our attention on USA culture , its birth due to colonizations and following  migrations by British  and Spanish  people. Therefore   this scenario is a good tool to implement  the work done with my students to deepen the connections between US , Britain and Spain ,countries of which they  study the language.

In this path I involved a class of 21 students aged 12-13 ,  including Special needs  and disadvantaged ones and I was supported by the collaboration of the Spanish Teacher as well. 

Introduction of the topic 

I  started with a geographical introduction to the American continent , both North , Central and Southern   on GOOGLE Maps and SETERRA

 and I followed the steps included in the LEARNING SCENARIO presenting the Europeana page and the blog on Native Americans as coders 

focusing the attention on some of the images depicting the population  included in the LS  referring to Europeana platform

This activity was carried on in one hour of lesson ( 60 minutes) 


I decided not to split the participants into groups but to carry on the activities described  in the LS reading the texts provided ,   following the maps available on  SETERRA website in particular– 

Moreover in collaboration with the Spanish teacher we showed some items form the Europeana  collections related to Spanish colonizations

providing an oral  context . 

These activities took two hours of lesson ( 120 minutes ) one of which in cooperation with the Spanish teacher –

At the end of these activities the students were invited to create an interactive map of the USA with the main features , geographical landmarks pointing out if the names of the locations which referred  to British or/and  to Spanish  colonization using this source .  

( IN PROGRESS about 60 minutes ) 

Moreover the assessment was made through two online quizzes on Kahoot and Quizizz platform

 as more suitable with students of a lower level of competence in Foreign languages compared to the target of the original LS.

The main aim of using this LS was to intermingle in a  transdisciplinary vision two subjects the students commonly face in the curriculum of foreign language in low secondary school, connecting together History ,Geography and Foreign Languages in order to implement critical thinking , learning by doing and digital skills .

The use of Europeana resources as well as others provided by the web or the textbooks is a factual way to connect mere knowledge to competence and skills , to link reality to curriculum in an optic of style of learning through research. Moreover, the acquisition of Foreign language competences through a CLIL methodology , using real materials, is the most effective way to increase motivation in learning foreign languages for  students , in particular the ones  living in disadvantaged areas. Finally  the use of digital tools is a way to convey the contents in the most inclusive manner for any  student with different learning needs.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Parallel Histories created by Oscar Javier Capilla Barreda

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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