The idea behind the project, was to teach the children where in the World these nine countries are, along with some facts about each country and how to say hello and goodbye.
Umsetzung / Ablauf
We began of course by learning the song. Upon going through the text and explaining words they may not have understood, this lead us to discuss the many different ways people say hello around the world. Because of the diverse background of the children in class, some of them where able to understand/recognise some of the language. This brought us onto the subject of family members who had migrated from one place to another. At this point I had to put on the brakes and steer the class (and this happened in each of the four classes) back to the song and the nine countries mentioned.
Next they started work on a large poster. The class was split into groups and each group had different parts of the poster to do. In the end, all the parts were assembled and the result was a large poster that would be put up on the wall.
Now it was time for the larger ‘picture’. Using a large map of the world (or in some classes I just projected an image of one onto the board) we used magnetic flags I made to identify the countries and place them on the map. This had the added advantage of the children being able to visually identify the country with a geographical placement without using any written or printed words.
Once they had an I idea of where the places were that we were talking about, it was time to look at each country in a little more detail. I started with the ‘Flower Magnetic Flashcards’ on the board. These cards built a ‘flower’ of each country. And each ‘petal’ of the flower had information: 1-Country Name, 2-Capital City, 3-Language, 4-Hello and 5-Goodbye. With the flag as the centre of the flower.
Getting some children to speak English can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. I made ‘Domino Cards’ of the nine countries with the information on them and questions and answers for the children to ask each other in turn. This gets everyone involved and speaking.
For the next part of the process, children worked in pairs (table partner). Each table was given two flags (centre of the flower), and the children had to fill in missing words (info from the petals). This of course lead to them having a sheet that they could present to the class……so their homework was to learn the sentences so that they could Stand up in front of the class, or in circle time, and tell the class about what ever flag they were given the day before. Now they have it all in written language and are speaking in proper sentences out loud to me and all their class mates.
At the end of it all, we invited the parents to come to the class and watch their children present the nine countries and then sing the song to them. It was a success each time and the parents loved to see and here their children speaking English so well.
Well at it’s core, the children learn geography, where the country are, and repeat things like the continents, North and South Hemispheres, then there is the language, reading, writing and speaking. However that is just the structure. Its all the things around it, from the art work to the confidence building of being able to show and talk about the work they have done. The discussions that are sparked when someone mentions migration can turn into the most meaningful lessons. And just the reactions of the children, the way they become so involved really shows how children really do possess the hunger to learn. Often it just needs to be presented to them, and then allowing them to run with it on their own accord.
Ergebnis / Weiterentwicklung
What I would like to do is add a landmark for each country and perhaps a famous person. Our school is a GEPS school so this kind of ‘worldly’ project is perfect. As I said, I repeated it in four classes, and in each class the children became very involved. I remember in one class we had a Chinese girl that wore traditional clothes and shared some other words with us on the day she presented her worksheet to the class.
This project involved only the class.
My name is Andreas Lehner . I was born in Wels here in Austria, but grew up in Dublin, Ireland and Johannesburg, South Africa. I went to business college in Johannesburg, never thinking I’d become a teacher. However, a few years later when my wife and I lived in Ireland, our children’s school were having an international day, and the teachers were looking for foreign parents to talk about their countries of origin. So I decided to do a small presentation on Austria. They had added two other classes to my son’s class and all the children sat looking intently as I gave my little presentation, and in that moment I knew…..this is my calling. A couple of years after that we left Ireland and moved here to Vienna. I consciously made the decision to teach children, and have been doing just that for the last seven years. Everyday I look forward to go to School, and almost every day I arrive home happy. I love working with little children and feel that I was born to teach.