"You talk as if a god had made the Machine.. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but it is not everything. I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you. I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you. That is why I want you to come. Pay me a visit, so that we can meet face to face, and talk about the hopes that are in my mind."The machine stops - 1909 - Forster

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY: "Strange Animals" class project

We've just finished a class project which involved 12-year-old Middle School students.

Here is, step by step, how it developed.



Step 1: Eliciting already known vocabulary

Teaching aim: revising animals words
Web2 tools used : AnswerGarden, Wordle.

We started with an online poll . Students were asked to answer a very simple question: "What's your favourite animal?"

What's your favourite animal?... at AnswerGarden.ch.

Then we created a Wordle using their answers. That was the starting point for further work on vocabulary.

We also recycled common words introducing emoticons.
Students were shown smileys and  had to guess the animals they represented.
Some new words were introduced using emoticons.
Here is a link to a site where you can find a lot of them

Step 2: Introducing  new vocabulary

Teaching aim: learning new words related to animals and animal world
Web2 tools used: Tagxedo

A list of words was turned into a dog-shaped cloud, as dogs seemed to be their favourite pets.
It worked great on the IWB: students in turn came to the board and moused over the words, which were highlighted.

We also practiced vocabulary using this site.

Then, as homework task, students had to create new emoticons representing other animals. A couple of them even added their creations to the site. Here is an example.

Answers : )

Step 3: Creating a new animal

Teaching aim: drawing an imaginary animal ( cross-curricular Art )
Web2 tools used: PhotoPeach

At this stage the students used a powerful tool : imagination.
The idea came from "Imagine That"- Helbling Languages - Arnold, Puchta, Rinvolucri, pag.64, "Elesnakes and Zebradiles". The students were asked to imagine a dog, then to visualize the dog whose front part becomes a cat. The students kept changing animals in their minds ( back of one animal and front of a different one ), and they created a lot of them. At the end they chose the one they liked best and they gave it a name.
The Art Teacher, Alessia Gazzolo, helped them draw and paint the animals. She also suggested suitable backgrounds for their pictures.
Here is a Photopeach displaying all of them.

Strange Animals from 2 E on PhotoPeach

Strange Animals from 2 E on PhotoPeach

Step 4: Bringing the animals to life

Teaching aim: writing about daily routines and descriptions and practicing the Present Simple Tense.

The students wrote essays about their animal's life,habitat,  family, habits and dreams. They recycled vocabulary and grammar structures.

Step 5: Giving voice to their creations

Teaching aim: practicing speaking and questions formation
Web2 tools used: Blabberize, Bubblesnaps

The class worked really hard to digitalize their "pets".

Some of them used Blabberize.

Others tried Bubblesnaps.

We thought we could let people comment on our creatures and we made a Voicethread.
Feel free to add comments if you wish. 

Steps 6 : Wrapping things up

Teaching aims: making students reflect on the meaning of words such as "diversity", "imagination" and "creativity"
Web2 tools used: Animoto

A class discussion was led to fully understand the meaning of creativity and the incredible power of imagination. As a final consideration they came up with these simple words:

Close your eyes
If you can think about it
It exists
In your mind
anything can live 

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


For the students who are going to take Trinity level 6.

Click here to open the glogster.