eTwinning Visibility Newsletter no. 4 eTwinning Visibility Newsletter no. 4 - Page 89

Visibility of eTwinning Projects Group July 2014 Newsletter ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ As with every project, it is not easy to captivate all your students with just one project. I am still not a very experienced eTwinner so I cannot say I have achieved that goal just yet. When we knew “YES” would have a follow up, a big brother, called “YES 2.0” (http://newtwinspace.etwinning.net/web/p97693) programmed to start in September 2014, we brainstormed, evaluated “YES” and decided that imposing four topics was way too restrictive – our solution: no restrictions, our students got to talk about anything they wanted. Since the demand for eTwinning projects was on the rise, we involved 7 classes, not all of them working on “YES 2.0” though. But those who did found it unique fun. Once again, one class in particular posed a challenge. As 5th graders, they had been studying English for 3 years, but typical methods never worked. They were the embodiment of our ‘NoWay’ group. Not even working with schools from the U.S.A., Taiwan, Africa, the U.K. got them focused and motivated for long. But when eTwinning swooped in, it was like a completely different class. Everybody wanted to be at the videoconference, to record messages, to post messages, mainly those whose English was barely even there. But once they decided they wanted to work on eTwinning in class, something unexpected happened. Their colleagues helped them with the spelling, the pronunciation, the technical stuff. I, as a teacher, was staring at them in disbelief. They were all over my laptop, typing, making mistakes and not caring, having fun. And as in the years before, we came head to head with “Made for Europe”, again, this time in Brasov, and we came back with another 2nd prize, for the same website youngeuropeansspeak.eu. Only this time, there were almost 200 new materials as part of “YES 2.0” on that website, materials in English, French, Spanish, Italian and German, but also in our native languages. But I was saying, talking did not appeal to all my classes. Some preferred to attend videoconferences, speak there or just listen but work on different projects, so I asked them to make a list of topics they were interested in and we looked for projects that would suit them. And we did. “Traditional Games” (http://newtwinspace.etwinning.net/web/p100661) was a fun project, a project we could not carry out outside because of the snow and rain and cold months… so we adapted and played in the classroom. Once again, I was a mere spectator, watching my 5th graders decide on the games, explain the rules, choose the participants, translate the rules, take pictures. We played dozens of games, ours and our partners’. It did not matter we were during the English class, we learnt Geography, a bit of History, lots of things about traditions, and we put teaching grammar on a back shelf away from our class. We had eTwinning now. And just like before, the shy and the linguistically challenged came out to play and learn in a different manner. 89