Some of our “European Day of Languages” activities

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Eighty-one per cent of adults regret not having learned another language and while of course it’s never too late, children do have the advantage in language learning.The European day of Languages, celebrated on 26 September, is a wonderful opportunity to inspire young people and get them excited about learning languages.

I always make sure we do several activities to celebrate that special day, with all my classes!

I am sharing, what we did, this year!

First, we played a really fun game to learn about 12 European languages in just one teaching hour!!

Our multilingual game!

I gave students a handout with 12 names of European countries, their flags, and four different phrases typed next to each country, in 12 different languages:

How are you?

Well.

So and so.

Bad.

I had them work in small groups of 5-6 students This  is a game  where a number of chairs  one less than the number of players are arranged facing outward with the players standing in a circle just outside of that. The first player,who’s standing,  asks the person sitting next to him ” How are you” in one of the languages on the handout. He has to reply by using any of the three phrases above, in the same language!

Students playing and having fun, while learning new languages!

Students playing and having fun, while learning new languages!

If he decides to reply  ” Well”, nothing happens and the standing player asks the same question to the very next student. If he answers ” So and so”, he changes chairs with the student sitting on his left. If he replies “Bad” , all players run around the chairs!  Usually, music  is played while the players in the circle run in unison around the chairs. When the music stops, each player attempts to sit down in one of the chairs. The player who is left without a chair is the next player to ask ” How are you ” and start the game again.

My students had so much fun playing this game and asked me to play it again and again! The result was that, they finally managed to remember most of the phrases on the handout and use them with confidence during the breaks, as well….

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Whole school languages survey

I carried out a survey of languages spoken amongst school community – included staff, pupils and family members. I collected, displayed and interpreted data. I created a display for a prominent location in the school.

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An exchange of students’ photos for the European day of languages.

We arranged that exchange , with colleagues from several  European countries . We all  belong in the same facebook group “Celebrate the European Day of Languages (EDL) 26th of September”
We had two choices:
1.- to send a postcard (homemade) by mail with the  greeting “Happy European Day of Languages “ (in our language) from (name of our school) to (name of a school we are sending to)
2. – to  prepare a big poster in our mother tongue: “GREETINGS FROM STUDENTS OF (MY SCHOOL’S NAME) TO STUDENTS OF (YOUR SCHOOL’S NAME AND PLACE WHERE IT IS)”. You  can add the logo of European Day of Languages if you want.

We took a photo of our students holding the poster and sent the photo by email. My students were thrilled to see the name of our school in all the photos-cards we received, in return !!

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Creating a poster : ” Write Good morning in another language “

A number of students in our school, speak a foreign language. I thought it would be good to make the poster below,  and display it in school!I decided to display it in a long , busy corridor  . Students loved adding new words on it, during the breaks!

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And…don’t forget: WE ALL SMILE IN THE SAME LANGUAGE!

School Sports Day activities-Teaching kids about the Olympic values.

Creative writing

We love creative writing in my class!

Every year, we spend one day in Greek schools, to teach students the Olympic values and principles !There is a different topic every year…This time, we dealt with with the meanings of the Olympic values.

To start with , I  decided to have a discussion about all the Olympic values in class , before I used certain activities to help kids put theory into practice!

Those meanings we talked about were:

-Friendship

. sympathy

. empathy

. honesty

.mutual understanding

. compassion

. trust

. positive reciprocity

Proud medal holders!

Proud medal holders!

We also mentioned the Meanings of the Paralympic values

-Determination

Believing in yourself to continue to do the best you can even if things are difficult.Making or arriving at a decision with purpose.

-Equality

Everyone can be equal and receive the same treatment. This is the quality of being the same in quantity or measure, value or status. Ensuring fairness, equal treatment, opportunities, regardless of religion or race. This should be without:

. discrimination

. prejudice

. bias

. inequality

.unfairness.

This is the link to the printables I used for some of the activities we did, later  : http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/themes/olympics/

First, we did some brainstorming about the Olympic ideals.

Brainstorming about the Olympic ideals

Brainstorming about the Olympic ideals

Later, we made medals with our favourite Olympic values words written  on them  , and had to wear them ,all day at school….!

Our medals!

Our medals!

With my older students, I decided to deal with storytelling and classroom theatre.

I used the ” Hare and the Tortoise”  Aesop  story, to investigate all serious issues: Justice, inequality, power, discrimination, censorship.

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We finally acted the story out in class and had much fun doing so!!

Time for a story!

Time for a story!

Sharing here, some more ideas about how to deal with the story with older students…..This is the list of tasks , I asked my 6th graders to choose from.

-Can you read / retell the original story of the Tortoise and the Hare?

-Retell the story from Hare’s point of view. Ask a friend to retell the story from Tortoise’s point of view. How are your

stories similar / different?

-Rewrite parts of the story in the form of a playscript (with stage directions).

-Think of captions for some of the illustrations in the book.

-Can you write your own retelling of the ‘Hare and the Tortoise’… or write an alternative version?

Writing stories , using our imagination ...

Writing stories , using our imagination …

I also thought, it would be nice to have my students do some creative writing , using their imagination and all the ideas and vocabulary,  we had talked about in class…Therefore, I handed them this worksheet as homework . Here are some awesome samples of their work !

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Some extra inspiring ideas  for this special day, I have found  on line:

-Read various books on the Olympics

-Have students write a poem about the Olympics

-Have students write a speech about winning the gold medal.

-If I were Olympic Athlete…

-Brainstorm ideas of what it takes to be an Olympic Athlete. Students list and illustrate the ideas.

-Put the sports names in ABC order.

-Write a news report.

-Take a picture of each students head. Have the student cut out their head and then draw the body of what sport they would like to compete in. Make sure they include an Olympic background behind their drawing. Below the drawing you could have student write about their time at the Olympics.

The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

This is also, our goal as educators , isn’t it ?

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