As an EFL teacher I have taught various levels of English. Whatever the level is, one thing holds true for most teenage students – they are curious, they hate tests and they like technology. So my solution is to try to be as creative as possible and design lessons in which the students think, learn, collaborate, create, communicate and use technology.
I believe that most of the Europeana Learning Scenarios are actually innovative lessons which involve both the visual senses and the learners’ ability to gain knowledge in a new way.
The students who took part in the implementation of Having Fun with Levi (original Learning Scenario by Kristina Mijandrusic Ladavac, Croatia) are 8th grade, 15-year old learners of English, as a foreign language. They are intelligent and knowledgeable young people who are keen on learning a foreign language, enjoy art and like being challenged. The school is a secondary school with the study of various European languages.
The Implementation – Having Fun with Levi
It took two sessions of 40 minutes to implement the scenario. We had already covered the vocabulary unit of “Fashion and Clothes” in English so the scenario was a great source to dive deeper into the topic of invention and entrepreneurship. The students were not passive observers. They were active participants and later designers and inventors. Our school uses Google Classroom as a LMS so for many of the activities we used the digital classroom. Actually, I prepared some Google slides to introduce the topic and present the main points of the scenario.
The students got intrigued the very moment they read the title of the scenario as I asked them if they knew what or who Levi was. Interestingly, a few students knew the right answer. To my astonishment, one of the students (a boy) even knew the exact year when jeans were invented. This was a good starting point for our lesson. It turned out that all of the students but one were actually wearing jeans so we easily found the real-life connection.
After reading the Europeana blog about jeans Denim and jeans : Making of a fashion icon the students watched a video about the indigo plant as the scenario suggested. To be honest, I didn’t use Edpuzzle for the video, although my students are familiar with it, as I wanted them to practice their speaking skills, to interact with one another and get feedback from their peers. Of course, the students were impressed with the hard work behind the success of a product.
During the second session, we looked at some pictures from the Europeana site which illustrated different items of clothing and discussed the evolution of fashion. We discussed some keywords and new vocabulary related to materials, patterns, styles as well as opinion adjectives. One of the key words was the word “patent”. The students had heard the word but didn’t know its exact meaning. A student looked it up in the dictionary and explained its meaning to the rest of his classmates. The students worked in pairs or groups of three to create crosswords so that they could practise the new vocabulary while making some decisions, looking up words in the dictionary and trying to be as creative as possible. The words to be used in the crosswords had to be words from the new lesson “Having Fun with Levi” and ones from the topic “Fashion and clothes”. The students used the crossword generator of Classtools http://www.classtools.net/crossword/ to create digital crosswords.
They had to complete the crosswords as a homework assignment as some of the teams ran out of time and also to come up with an invention related to the fashion industry. In addition, the students presented their inventions using Google slides but they were asked to think of questions such as the target group which would benefit from their invention, the cost of production, advertising strategies, etc. For this task, the students were able to use content from other subject areas such as art, biology, mathematics or physics. The main idea was for the teams to present their inventions to their peers orally on the next day. The latter had to vote for the most useful and innovative product.
This was the first time my students and I had used Europeana so it was a challenge for both of us. I believe I gained a lot of knowledge and experience and learned a lot from the other teachers. This experience with Europeana contributed a lot to my professional development and above all, I believe it was beneficial to my students. They not only learned about Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis but they also developed their communicative, creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills.
Teacher of English
Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario:
Having Fun with Levi by Kristina Mijandrusic Ladavac
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