The Snail and The Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Fame at Last!

Here is Primorski Dnevnik’s report concerning our English language camp. 🙂

The Snail and The Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Dancing Under The Sea

To the mermaid’s tune ‘under the sea’ we composed steps and strutted our stuff.

The Snail and The Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Artful Creations

Outside of the classroom’s wall lots of things were happening. We created snail and whale inspired costumes and scenery and used them to perform a theatrical masterpiece.  🙂

Here we are a few snaps of us creating for the big day:

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Final Day

The students were so tired today, they had obviously used their last night together to good effect.  So, we started the day with bingo, and word games. Then we spent a little time finishing up the fire brigade unit by thinking about what characteristics a fire fighter should probably have. We came up with courage, strength, and helpfulness, along with a few others.

The final mini-unit was entitled ‘save the whale’. The class suggested notions of why whales should be protected and then wrote them down in a short text.  I thought that this would be a fitting final assignment that highlighted the plight of some of these creatures. The students produced some insightful reasons as to why we should protect whales, including the memorable question: why must they die?

We closed the lesson by going outside to sit on the grass and talk. It seemed a very fitting way for an English course to end. 🙂

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Day 5

This morning we saw rain outside our windows, therefore we looked at the different types of weather the snail and whale must have encountered, and we crafted our thoughts into a mind map.

We then did a similar exercise with the landscapes our pair might have discovered together.

Next we beached with the our unfortunate whale friend and we followed the snail as she looked for help. We ended up in a school. While there we revised the objects we often find in the classroom and we thought about what qualities a good teacher should have and wrote them down on a chart.

We then followed the children out their school gate as they sought help from the local fire brigade. And we finished the lesson by taking a quick look at the equipment they used to save the whale’s life.

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Day 4

What a whale of a day! We started with labelling the oceans of the world and discovering that there were 75 species of whale, then we went on to study why the whale isn’t a fish.

We looked at the difference between toothed whales and baleen whales and studied a little about the Earth’s biggest creature, the blue whale. We went outside to measure its length, we compared its size to the largest known dinosaur,  the seismosaurus, and we weighed it against one hundred and twenty elephants.

We went back to the story book for the next unit and followed our intrepid explorers across the globe. We joined them in Antarctica, where we looked at penguins and seals. We followed them to tropical climates, where we discovered Bengal tigers, Boa constrictors, chimpanzees, gorillas and tree frogs. And finally we visited Canada,  where we met three species of bears.

And then the class finished and we returned back to Postojna for lunch. 🙂

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Day 3

This morning’s lesson began with us all wondering what we would take with us on a sailboat journey around the world. I was surprised to discover that we came up with lots of  legitimate answers, including  pillows and blankets, food and water, a first aid kit and a fishing rod.

We then began thinking about snails, which was the topic of our next mini-unit. We labelled a picture’s body parts, and then we interviewed our story sea snail. Firstly, before she had embarked on her journey we asked her exactly why she wanted to go, and then, after she had returned, we asked  her about her travel experiences. Our next task was to create personal mind maps about what we ourselves wanted to see, eat, be and visit in our own lives. We finished up the unit by looking at ‘animal coverings’, we now knew that the snail had a shell, but we broadened the scope to discover which animals were covered in fur, feathers, scales and smooth skin.

The final unit of the day was concerning humpback whales. We began with chalk and tape, and together we measured a humpback’s possible sixteen metre length and five metre flippers, and after with hypothetical scales we weighed one humpback whale against a possible thirty-six one ton elephants. After marvelling at its size, we interviewed our story humpback and discovered why he liked to travel and exactly who his friends were.

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Day 2

The snail and the whale is such a great book to base a course upon, and this morning we began just that. After breakfast we met in the classroom for the first time.  We began by establishing ourselves as ‘The Wild Ones’ and we stuck our names and caricatures onto our classroom door.

We then went out to meet the glorious sunshine, sat in the grass and read the book together. Once finished we wandered back inside, sat back down and began our first mini-unit.  Its aim was to allow allow the children to comprehend the story better, so we summarized the story with the aid of ‘story strips’, and made a mind map identifying its characters, settings and its general plot.

After having fixing the story firmly into our minds we moved onto the next mini-unit entitled ‘real and make-believe’.  We looked at the stylistic differences between a light-hearted cartoon drawing of a whale and a more serious penned portrait, and then we set about creating a list giving examples of real and make-believe creatures and objects.

That being done we moved to exploring the story’s first setting: a harbour.  We looked at the book’s illustration of  a harbour and identified various things within it, for example the lighthouse and the cargo ships, with colours and teamwork. Then it was back outside again to with a bucket of water and a tray of things to discover which items floated and which sank.  The kids really enjoyed this and it was a nice high note to finish the lesson on.

The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012 – Day 1

The adventure has begun. Our camp started this afternoon with a bunch of nervous children, but it ended this evening with a group of excited youngsters.

We broke the initial Antarctic icicles with the help of a ball and some blindfolds. We then laughed with charades and finished the evening by roving around the grounds.

It was a great start to what I hope will be a great week.


The Snail and the Whale – Jezikajte 2012

This afternoon I have spent some time preparing for the August summer camp. The book I have chosen for this year is The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson.

It is book I have used a little in my regular English clubs, but never to its fullest potential. With the aid of this great book we will be exploring the themes of ambitions, friendship, travel, and ecology. It is going to be a great week. 🙂