Implementation of “Then and Now – describing past habits” (SOI-RO-265)

Author: Ciripoiu Ioana

School/Organization: Podenii Noi Secondary School

Always being in the search of interesting materials for the English classes I discovered Europeana Collection which offers the opportunity to get in contact with quality materials. I used photos from real life London which I attributed a qr code which students had to check using their phones. They proved to be interested in the subject of the lesson, a comparison between life in the XIX th century and now. Thus, grammar structures such as  ,,used to“ could be practiced based on real situations. The implementation of this lesson took part in the classroom with a number of 12 students involved. My students found the lesson very interesting and compelling as they had to gather pieces of information from online sources, based on the pictures from Europeana collection, about one of the following aspects of the XIXth century life, such as: family, transport, work (1,2 ), fashion, children.

Photos taken during implementation

The implementation context

I used Then and Now – describing past habits  learning scenario in the classroom, during the English classes with students in the 6th grade L2, aged between 11-12 years old, during one 50 minutes lesson. The class consists of 12 students who worked in groups of 4 in order to get the full picture of the life in the XIXth century. According to the Romanian school curricula for L2, students in the VIth grade L2 have been studying English for 2 years and are familiar with the Past Tense Simple, so having this previous information, students are able to understand, in context, the grammatical structure with ,,used to“ to talk about past habits and events which are not true anymore. Students were introduced for the first time to the digital heritage of Europeana by scanning the qr codes which displayed pictures from the1800s.

The narrative

I used the projector to display a question “Do you like your school? Why/ Why not?“. After students gave examples I showed them a photo of a school from the past, from the Europeana collection, and I asked them to describe it orally. Students made assumptions about how school used to be in the last century and compare it to how it is now. After that I introduced the meaning and form of the used to structure and wrote down on the whiteboard some of the students` examples.

I chose to make my students work in 3 groups of 4, each one being responsible for the presentation of a section (transport, life, fashion) which they picked up at random. The final product of the lesson consisted in a poster made up of all the three presentations made by the students. Thus, students were invited to scan all the qr codes pinned on the whiteboard and then describe the pictures with used to, compared to life now. Students worked in groups, they selected the pictures appropriate to their theme and tried to describe them using the grammatical structure with used to in context.

Learning outcomes

Learners developed their use of the English languagemnto talk about past events, states and habits.

Students could use the new vocabulary in new contexts.

The collaboration in groups activated their use of the English language.

The 21st century skills could be developed through the critical thinking when students used their own thoughts to express opinions when comparing the life then and now, based on the pictures they had to analyse. Also, the collaborative learning was well determined during the lesson as students had to work in groups to decide on the topic. Communication was also achieved through the teamwork and during the oral presentation of their works and when justifying their interpretations.

The digital learning was explored in the stage of scanning the qr codes, enabling them to access Europeana collection platform, in order to see the photos.

Outcomes for the educator

I found the resources from the Europeana platform really useful in the lesson scenario. I appreciate the opportunity to use arts and science digital heritage during the English classes because offers the possibility to transform the lesson into a transdiciplinary one taking into account the fact that this learning scenario was based on historical facts. The quality resources represent a good way to make students familiar with the digital heritage available and particularly a perfect source for the teacher to develop memorable learning activities where students are involved in their own study.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?  Then and Now – Describing Past Habits created by Nina Pekic

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CC BY-SA 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Naval Museum.

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