Booky’s Books for you
Project title: Booky’s Books for you
Project coordinator: Maite Elejalde
School: CEP Virgen de la Guía (Portugalete-Vizcaya)
Age category: 4 to 11 years.
Links to project material: Project TwinSpace
Booky’s Books for you is a project to motivate reading in students of 10 to 12 years in primary education. The project aims to develop linguistic competences and promote on-line collaborative work. To awake in the students an interest in their own learning process, in discovering the realities of life in the European area and in fully developing their creative capabilities, critical thinking and the use of digital media as a support for communication and the presentation of material. The project was chosen as outstanding project of the month in 2014, here is the link.
Project coordinator in the Spanish school, Maite Elejalde, describes how the project developed.
When we started to design the project, the main idea was that the students of the 5th and 6th years we were going to work with should write books for their schoolmates in the lower years. As English teachers (Anna my Polish project partner is also an English teacher) we thought that the activity would be interesting as normally there are no English reading books for the youngest students. So we decided to start from there, with books with a basic vocabulary for the students from the first and second years of primary education who were just learning to read. For the second cycle we would do comics and for the third narrations and a play. This way we would see different types of texts during the year, this time in English, and not just in Spanish, Basque or Polish which is what the students were accustomed to.
The first step was to begin work was to compare the curricula of the two schools to see what they had in common and to work on that. They could see that they were not very different. Once the topics were decided on they began to work on the basic topics taught in the 1st and 2nd years of primary school like colours, numbers the house, the school … These first activities were done using the Drawitlive tool which permits collaborative drawings.
The comics were done with ToonDoo and the narrations with Padlet. At the end the play was written withTitanpad. We recorded using Audacity, Voicethread, the videos were uploaded with Youtube, Vimeo and the books made with ISSUU and Calameo. All the activities were carried out by international groups as one of the main objectives of the project was to learn to work as a team, collaborating with others, and there is no better way to do that than working with children from a different country.
As well as improving their English the main objective was that the work they were going to do could be used by other students. There is no greater reward than seeing that the work you have done is being used. It is not something which stays in your folder or on the Twinspace. All the students at school were able to enjoy their work. The students from the 1st and 2nd years were delighted to receive the work from their schoolmates, as were those from the second cycle with the comics. There was the brother of one of the authors in the first year, and how proudly he was to announce “My brother did this”. The whole school community was able to enjoy the play, students, teachers and parents as it was put on in the cultural week.
For all these reasons I must say that the project objectives were completely fulfilled not just those already mentioned but also all the others (progress in using the computer, awareness of what they and the others are learning, development of critical thinking and autonomy, respect for others …) In fact the whole project went better than expected. When you begin an eTwinning project, even though it seems to you to be a good project, it may not catch on with the students. In this case that did not happen as they were the real designers of all the activities, they had freedom of action. The group that took part wasn’t new to eTwinning and that may have helped, as they knew how they had to work; although it is not always easy to do so and accept the opinions and the work of others. One day they were rather cross because the Polish students had deleted one of their drawings. But that is what collaborative work is all about, to learn to accept the opinions of others and not always impose our own views.
The best thing is that the project has not been forgotten. This year we are still using the material created last year. The project is still alive and the authors see that their work continues to be useful, which gives them encouragement to carry on working with enthusiasm which is not always easy.
We shouldn’t forget that as teachers we also learn a lot. Not only do we get up to date with the new ICT tools, practise English and learn about how they work in other countries, but we also learn to work as part of a team (something which is harder for us perhaps than for the students) as to do so in an attractive way, as the eTwinning projects are not a separate chapter of our curriculum but an integral part of it.
The results of the final surveys were very positive. Ninety-eight per cent would take part in another project. The students defined the project as “enjoyable, interesting and helping to learn to work in a team and improve creativity”.
Carmen thinks that: “I like eTwinning very much. It’s like playing but learning at the same time. It’s great fun. We learn to collaborate, to enjoy ourselves, to use the computer and about other cultures and English.”
In the words of Alejandro “eTwinning is to learn, to share and to have fun. It is better to learn with eTwinning than with a book. I recommend you to take part in a project”.
Shengkang agrees: “We learn more English. It is fun and we learn things about other countries and cultures”.
Being awarded the prize has been the crowning moment of all this exciting work. A great joy. It is a wonderful reward as it is always pleasant and reassuring to achieve the approval of your companions. When you are involved in a project, you do not know if you are doing it well or not, however much enthusiasm you put into it. The prize is the confirmation that you are going down the right road, although many others are too and they have not been so lucky. It really motivates you to continue and to try to do things better every day.
So we can say that the project has brought us a double prize: the prize itself and the good work and motivation of the students which should not be underestimated.
Other links to the project:
Source of the images: Booky’s Books project activities.