Our next guest cancelled so we continued on our own. We talked a bit more about drama, its history and its significance in relation to the development of societies.
Then we started comparing holidays and festivals in different countries. Students worked in groups, looked for information related to the festival assigned to them and then presented a summary of their findings to the rest of the class. We learned more about Halloween, Christmas festivities in Britain and Guy Fawkes Day, to name but a few.
“I learned so much about different feasts. It was also very funny to look for information about Valentine’s day :)”
Our lovely guest Mariam Moghaddan from Iran told us about the culture in her home country. There were some quite surprising facts that we hadn’t realized before. In the Middle East, Iran seems to be unique in many ways.
This is what a couple of my students wrote in their journals:
“I learned about Iran’s religious conflicts. I feel smarter again.”
“…why are they fighting there. That got me think about news in new way.”
This lesson was a bit different. We didn’t have foreign guests. We didn’t talk about any “serious” topics either. We had our own drama teacher Varpu Kolehmainen working with us. We dived into the world of drama! We were active speakers using our senses when plunging into the unknown.
A student’s thought:
“Today’s lesson was so different and so much fun with Varpu! I like to perform and do stuff rather than read just something from a book, so it was really great!”
We had a lovely visitor in the lesson: Maya Sofya from Indonesia. Maya introduced her own culture and told the students about working in a foreign country as an au pair.
“We had a visitor, Maya, from Indonesia. She was here to talk about Indonesian culture, nature and a little bit of language. It was really fun to hear about her time not only back home in Indonesia but also her time as an au pair in Finland.”
“My honest opinion is that it is absolutely great to have people telling about their culture and country, because it teaches me much more than a school book can teach.”
On this lesson we had a bit more serious topics again. Visa Virtanen from the UN federation in Finland worked with the students on themes related to the UN Millennium Goals, mainly to water and sanitation. The students got to work a lot in groups, which was very good.
In some of the students’ opinion:
“Our guest was really sympathetic.”
“The poster thing/exercise was good and different, I liked it :). And the video was great too.”
Another English teacher in our school, Anna Grubert, took charge of one lesson. She taught the students about Creole and Pidgin languages. For many it was the first time they heard such languages even existed, let alone the fact that quite many of them were based on English.
A student’s view on the lesson:
“I was really confused in the beginning of the lesson, but later I got really interested in those pidgins and creoles. The Hawai’i Creole language was just lovely and sweet and everything in between.”
In the following lesson we went through the basics of creating a cut-out animation. We would use an Android application Clayframes for the work. Since there was not very much time for the actual work in the course, the students were given instructions and the theme for their films. They needed to start the planning but finish it outside lessons, either face-to-face or by using a cloud service.
“Today we finally started our animations! We divided into groups of three and started brain work: we had to come up with a good but simple idea for the animation projects. I think we did fine…”