Session 1: Station 2!

postcard

We worked in Station number 2 in the first session. It was quite long so we had to finish it together with stations 1 and 3 on the second session. Station 2 was very interesting as it contained a “simulation” task on it. I think this is a nice topic to talk about with secondary education students; we all have imagined what would happen if we were lost in a deserted island: which things we would bring, how would we get food, who would succeed on surviving…etc. It is a nice idea to practice the second conditional form and lots of vocabulary.

We had to read a headline on a major environmental disaster that was going to cause the end of the human race and we had to imagine that situation to be real. The only place in the world that  the disaster won’t reach is an island in the Pacific but to go there, there is only one helicopter who can take 7 people of the 12 shown in the list. We have the power to decide who are the ones who will go to the island to start again the human race.

Simulations can be really helpful when teaching language as students become participants and they make their own decisions. As the previous activities in the first station, this type of activities also increase motivations. Not only our students will feel engaged by the tasks they have to carry out but if they accept the reality of their functions in the simulation, they will try to do their best.

station 2

– In the first activity we had to debate and decide the ones who should be saved. These are the seven people we chose in our group.

  • William Patween. Although he is old and he has cancer, he is an indigenous tribe leader who knows the island pretty well. So, he is the only one who can teach and explain the rest of the group how to survive in the island in the Pacific.
  • Father Eugenio. Although he is a priest and he is not going to have descendants, he knows the South Pacific and is an expert on agriculture which is pretty useful in order to survive in a desert island. Being priest, he may also act as a sort of diplomat in the island.
  • Robert Sisulu. We take him because he is an experienced hunter and his hunting knowledge will be very helpful in order to feed people in the deserted island.
  • Kris McDonnell. The fact that she is a police officer and she carries a gun may be helpful in order to survive in the island, but we mainly take her because she is 3 months pregnant.
  • Mary Maloney. Although her story is quite impressing and we kind of understand her reaction, we basically take her because she is pregnant. As she is a housewife, she can be in charge of cooking and feeding the whole group.
  • Dr. Hammed Bedrouni. As we are taking pregnant women, we need a doctor to help them give birth. We don’t care if he is Muslim or not, but the role of the doctor is almost the most important when we think in terms of surviving.
  • John McDonnell. He is a firefighter. We need strong people in order to built shelters but we also need fertile men in order to reproduce the species.

– The second activity was creating a Glogster (a tool for creating digital posters: http://www.glogster.com/) depicting the ideal island. Our group created the following one: http://www.glogster.com/group2ucv/desert-island/g-6ks4b6irldlv11f9edk01a0.

We think that it is a good idea to make a glogster because you can catch your student’s attention on the topic you are going to be working with and as it is a visual tool, you can use funny videos or songs which are interesting and appealing to them so in the end they are learning without realising it.

– We think that the glogster should be used in pre-teaching as we can introduce a topic through videos, songs… They can get a general idea of what they are going to be working and then express their feelings, ideas and discuss the good and bad aspects of being trapped in a deserted island. It is perfect to use this glog as we can review the 2nd conditional form due to the fact that being trapped in an island is a hypothetical situation.

I think that we can integrate glogster in our lessons as it is quite easy to use, visual and dynamic and our students can be creative. Using ICT’s in education is innovative and our students will be delighted and they’ll develop autonomy. Glogster is the new PowerPoint, I believe that it is more attractive for students and they can create original projects.

– I created a postcard on Kerpoof (http://www.kerpoof.com/) for the next activity. In this site you can find lovely designs and it also contributes to develop the learners’ creativity while they can also put into practice some vocabulary and structures reviewed in class. You can see the postcard at the top of the post.

– In the next activity we had to visit the following web:        http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/1526 . It is a website where students can practice vocabulary while helping others. For each word that you  guess you donate 10 grains of rice to countries which are in need.

I would use this webpage in class to review vocabulary and also to raise the students’ awareness to the fact that we have to help each other and that there’s people out there who are suffering.

Here is a nice questionnaire about how to survive on a deserted island. My students in the language academy where I work loved it! There’s some difficult vocabulary on it but it can be adapted to different levels. It is funny, entertaining and students can learn new vocabulary and also develop reading comprehension skills: 1206_sopafp_survivalskillstest (1)

I think we could also add a debate for this type of simulation. It is called the “balloon  debate”. We have to divide the classroom into groups and each group has to choose a character (the ones in the island for example). They are all travelling in a hot air balloon but there is a leak and there is not enough gas left to carry all of them, only for 7 people (the ones who will reach the island safely). Each member have to give reasons to the rest of the class in order to convince the audience as they decide who will be the seven who will survive by voting them. The characters who receive more points will be the elected. It is a nice activity as students can practice their communicative skills and they also practice argumentation, giving reasons, arguing…etc.

– This type of simulation activities can be useful to teach human prejudices and rights. In the first activity where students have to discuss who would they save, I think at first they will start making comments on stereotypes and prejudices but, as teachers, we must make the students value people by themselves, thinking how useful they can be in a deserted island because of their job/role and without thinking of their sexual inclination or their religious beliefs. We can adapt the “balloon debate” to the teaching of human rights so every student has to support their right to be elected from a “respectful” point of view. For example: I think I deserve to be elected as I’m a pregnant woman and there is another life inside of me.

I have never used simulation in class before and it is a challenge but I think students will love it and they’ll come up with brilliant ideas to discuss. Integrating such innovative and interactive activities in the class help having students working actively and cooperating and they can learn a lot of English as we “learn by doing”.

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