Implementation of ‘“Who Are You?” – A Pen Pal From the Past’ (SOI-PL-114)

The learning scenario “Who are you?”- a pen pal from the past was created by Jean-Christophe Jost from France and implemented by Małgorzata Filip with a group of students aged 13/14 during English as a Foreign Language class.

Practical and to the point

Searching for a scenario, I did my best to find one that integrated all my requirements and I was fortunate to come across one that perfectly did. It is about describing people, in this case – children. It also involves letter writing, which is an element that we focused on a lot this semester and finally, it requires speaking, in particular talking about the past which was also one of the factors that influenced my decision. To sum up, the LS was a perfect match.

Summary

First of all, I decided to add a short introductory Kahoot-based warm up. It includes just two questions and is to make kids familiar with Europeana Collections and raise interest in what is going to happen during the lesson. I wanted the kids just to vote so they do not lose the time to go online, etc. This is definitely an optional activity.

Additionally, I decided to use QR codes to make finding the Europeana Children board on Pinterest easier for my students. Then kids searched through the paintings on Children -Pinterest Europeana board selected one that attracted their attention most.

We spent some time describing the paintings and children in the paintings; what they were probably like, etc., trying to raise interest in what the life of the children was like. We also brainstormed a list of questions that my students wanted to ask the children from the paintings.

You can find the list of suggested questions enclosed in the link.

Afterwards, the students were asked to write letters to the kid from the painting they chose. My students had already had some experience with penfriends so the concept of what such a letter should look like was familiar to them. This time, however, I asked them to include much more questions than usual. That was an easy task as they could use the ones suggested in the list prepared at the previous stage.

I considered that a very crucial element of the lesson because the questions they put in their letters were supposed to be guidelines for the speech presentation they were to prepare at home.

In the following lesson, we listened to the students’ presentations and spent more time discussing what life was at that time. The students voted for the most convincing presentations and commented on the lesson with Europeana. The teacher collected the letters for assessment.

Students’ feedback

The students admitted that although the lessons made them work really hard, they were also involving and fun. They commented also that they learned a lot not only about the language but also about the lives the children from the past could have.

Recommendation

I found the scenario work really well. I have a feeling that it could also be adapted in different age groups. It is clear, creative, easy to adapt and it skilfully builds students’ involvement.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?

Who Are You?” – A Pen Pal From the Past‘ by Jean-Christophe Jost

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CC BY-SA 3.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and has been provided by the Deventer Musea.

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