Thursday, August 10, 2017

Teens 6 Magazine Project

Making writing exciting

Whenever I get to a writing lesson, I picture my students complaining and moaning about having to write anything. It’s almost as if they had a radar that indicated “boring activity ahead”. These are, thus, the lessons that intrigue me the most just for the challenge of changing that regular pattern.

DSC06109.JPGTo do so, I am always reflecting on how relevant and interesting the writing can be for my young teenage students. The formula is not so hard: just take the genre of the piece of writing into account and think about how it could be applied to their realities. That is basically what I did for my Teens 6 group. Writing news reports was the goal, so I decided to take my students from the role of students to the role of reporters.

The students were obviously excited with the idea of becoming reporters and writing a story. The idea was that they would gather in pairs or trios and would each be assigned a certain page of our class magazine. Once I had a Google slide template of the magazine prepared and ready to be accessed through a shortened link (bit.ly/teens6magazine), I instructed my students and took them to the Resource Centre to make it happen.

DSC06129.JPGI had to do it in two classes. The first attempt wasn’t so good because some of my students messed around and interfered in other students’ slides. In the following class, I told them off and told them that they would be given a last chance to finish their reports. I also said that those who didn’t finish would have their pages taken out of the magazine. That gave them some encouragement. On the second day, then, they worked a lot better and behaved as expected.

After joining forces with the Resource Centre at the Main Branch, the magazine was printed out and the students were able to have their own copies. The gleam in my students’ eyes when they saw the magazines I had brought paid off all the effort and struggle I described in the previous paragraph.

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Maybe a magazine project cannot be carried out every semester, but something we can definitely do is plan our lessons every day wondering whether they will bore our students or excite them. Bearing that in mind and having some deal of willingness, we will be able to come up with many other ideas that can surprise our students and make a difference in their lives.

Lucas G. Silva

9 comments:

  1. Fantastic work! Thanks for sharing this successful experience with us!

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    2. Thank you for the compliment!

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  2. Lucas, what a motivating and rich approach to teaching writing! I also appreciate that you shared your students' initial difficulty in the quality of their engagement, when you mentioned that they messed around with other colleagues' slides. The fact that you were able to manage the learning past that initial and not all unexpected behavior shows your resilience and ability to prime your students for deeper learning and authentic engagement. Our students are not used to having so much autonomy, so it's only natural that they don't know how to make the most of it FOR learning. But we shouldn't let that get in the way of learning. The more opportunities for autonomous work our kids are given, the better they will become at it, and the more authentic and long-lasting the learning will be. Fun and innovative. Keep it up, Lucas!

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    1. Thank you, Clarissa! I'm always trying to be more resilient and patient with my students. I'll be honest with you: I don't find it easy, but you're right. It's worth it. We should never take students' misbehavior personally to the detriment of learning.

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  3. Hi Lucas,
    What a fantastic job. I really liked everything in it. The layout is great. I am sure students loved dong it.

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    1. Thanks, Zé! It means a lot coming from you! You're such a model in the educational innovation matters!

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  4. Hi Lucas! I remember very well when you started this project last semester and am very happy to know that your efforts have paid off. Fantastic! Keep offering your students opportunities of doing autonomous work during classes. Your students will feel empowered and in a short time will start reacting more positively to the assignments you give them. Way to go! Eneida Coaracy

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    1. Hey, Eneida. Thank you for the words! I feel like being a teacher is almost like being a parent now. You need patience and resilience (as Clarissa mentioned above) and they will never know everything you had to go through in order to provide them with a learning experience. Thank you for your support and for always being there for me.

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