After hearing about CLIL approach and getting knowledgeable about it, it was high time for me to put the theory into practice.
Here are some types of projects that you can try with young learners
– hands-on experiments,
– short plays,
– investigation presentations,
– writing a class newsletter… there are many other things you can implement. The sky is the limit. Just try to think out of the box!
As my third graders were really interested in Geography, and I knew that they didn’t really know enough about other countries. So I decided to do a lesson about some European countries. While reading a book or watching TV, or simply listening to older people, they come across these country names, but they do not actually have any idea where those countries are, or which languages are spoken and such things.
To spark their curiosity, couple days before the lesson I informed them about the activity we were going to do. They only knew that it was about some foreign countries and that was all.
It was their first CLIL activity in English. So I tried to keep things easy. I chose 7 Europe countries, then also prepared country posters with only maps on them, some colorful cards showing information about the capital cities, population, languages spoken, currency and flags.
Before they came to the classroom, I put all these cards on the board but not in order. And once they came and saw them on the board, they started to make some guesses on what they were about. They were really curious!
After a short warm-up, it was time to brainstorm about the information on the board. All together we put them under the right headings and organised information. And then I told them I needed their help to match these information with the right country posters.
I had 7 countries so this meant I needed 7 groups. As soon as I put them into groups, I had one student from each group to pick up a country name from the small basket you can see below. Putting them into groups depends on your class dynamics. You can either decide earlier which kids will work with which kids, or simply divide them into groups right at that moment.
Just to make it sure for the last time, we went over what their task were. And before starting the main activity, I showed them the one I made about Turkey just to give some idea.
Next, I showed each card on the board one by one and asked them to choose the right ones for their countries. They had to negotiate with their friends in the group and decide which card belonged to their country. Sometimes for one single card you can see two or more groups raising hands to take it 🙂 Here you may ask them to give reasons for their choice if you like.
After finishing all the cards on the board, now we were ready to check if they made the right choices. I handed each group a paper showing the information they needed.
Looking at the papers, they found out if they had the right cards or not. And if they had the wrong ones, they were to put these ones back on the board and get what they needed.
After being sure they had the right information, they were ready to start designing their poster. I was always going around to praise them and sometimes to give some ideas if they needed. But my super kids didn’t really need the idea part. Their imagination work better than mine 🙂
I put my example Turkey poster on the board so that they could come and check for the spelling of the new vocabulary.
It took us 2 hours to finish the activity. Ad when they were finished, we put these posters to the walls inside the school so that eveyone could see their work. They were really proud of themselves.
With this activity, I believe I made their day. I can easily say this because I saw it in their eyes! There is no bigger pleasure for a teacher than seeing a kid leaving the class with full pockets and a huge smile. It was actually something really basic and easy, but was also something different for them.
Now it has been 4 days since we did this CLIL activity in the class, and everyday they come to my room and tell new things they learn about the countries 🙂 And I pretend: ‘Oh, really?’ That feels awesome!
To revise the vocabulary and information they got, I am planning to make a powerpoint competition. I am quite sure they will go crazy for it!
By the way, when you look at the pictures above, you see everyone working together and happy. But it was not always like that. Sometimes they had little disagreements, but that is quite normal, isn’t it? To avoid these little ones turning into big ones, I advise you to walk around the class and observe the cooperation and collaboration among your students.
And also, get ready for the noise. Buy a flower or something to the manager before the lesson 🙂