On Saturday 18 of March 2017, English teachers gathered at Lingva for the 25th round of in-house workshops. The presenters this time were Danijela Bojanić and Marija Milovanović. While Danijela’s workshop, titled Humour Is No Laughing Matter, explored ways of practising different language skills through different forms of humour and using diverse multimedia resources at A2-B1 levels , Marija’s session called “Writing in Class” was dedicated to finding attractive ways of encouraging students of all ages practise this skill, which we more often than not tend to leave aside and assign for homework in order to save precious class time for speaking although we are aware that most of our students do no homework at all. It has been a long time since we last had our in-house workshop and we were all eager to learn and share some new teaching and learning ideas and ready-made activities. Our impressions of the activities presented in both workshops were extremely positive:
Feedback for Writing in Class by Marija Milovanović
“Great, interesting, useful ideas for classes!”
“You’re ready to present at higher levels – at YALS or ELTA seminars and conferences.”
“On the second thought, I’ll use all of your activities. Well done!!!”
“Keep up with the good work!”
Feedback for Humour Is No Laughing Matter by Danijela Bojanić
“I loved it. We haven’t had any workshops so far related to this, what is great is that you could use everything in the classroom (I know I will). Thanks for the ideas!”
“It was very exciting, I liked it pretty much, a lot of interesting ideas and activities. Great job!”
“The song is great! Students could write their own version and practice vocabulary (fruit/vegetables).Tnx”
“I enjoyed it and you encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone! Thanks!”
“A lot of fun! I would actually use the teacher prank list with the worst students and ask them to add their own.”
We proudly announce that we have saved two more walnut trees – the seventh and the eighth – from cutting, together with their scops owlets, which kept hooting for help in our lush green, so fully walnut-and-linden-scented Valjevo! Look at our latest news reports illustrated with LEGO bricks, and published with LEGO StoryStarter program, with the little help from our teacher Katarina Vićentijević.
What more can you wish for than have a sunny day to walk your dog or play volleyball, and finish the day feeding your pet and having a round of the mobile phone games. Or have a fantastic day at the seaside spoiled by and ugly witch and her sister to be saved by the most handsome prince in the world and to be kissed by him at the end only to wake up and realise it was just a dream … Or have another dream in which you fight a terrible battle against some soldiers to, it’s hard to believe, actually save a witch who has just treated you with a lunch, but again your dream gets interrupted; this time by the rattle of breakfast plates. We presented all of this with Lego bricks and turned into comic strips with LEGO StoryStarter program and a little help from our teacher Ivana Lazić.
Our adult students Natasa Simjanovska, Jelena Davidovic, Natasa Damnjanovic, Stanko Markovic and Radisa Jovanovic, from General English group B1+/a, supported by teacher Ivana Lazic, prepared some interesting news for us about topical events this spring in our country, town and language school Lingva. We can read about some good and some not-so-good events, such as a case of mugging in Valjevo and a traffic accident in Pirot, paying homage to actor Dragan Nikolić, but also about a wine festival in Valjevo, and especially about how finely tuned and cooperative their language group is, especially when they discuss varous issues, and how fond they are of their teacher Ivana.
The best singers for us are Ariana, Selena, Shakira and Taylor. Ariana has the nicest voice and Selena is the most beautiful without makeup. Taylor is fitter than Ariana and Shakira is the fittest.
Not only do we like football but we play it as well. Our favourite players are Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo. Ronaldo’s muscles are bigger than Messi’s, Messi’s muscles are bigger than Neymar’s, but Neymar is taller than Messi, and Messie is more popular than Ronaldo.
Our favourite basketball players are LeBron and Curry. LeBron is older, stronger and taller than Curry, but Curry is better at basketball than LeBron. Curry is the best player in the world.
We made these beautiful posters with the help of our teacher Ivana Lazić.
In accordance with the needs analysis of Lingva English language teachers, the 23rd in-house workshop was dedicated to writing assessment. A similar workshop was held On 18t February 2011 with some of the teachers attending both of these events.
Being one of the two most elusive and difficult areas for assessment, besides the speaking skills, since no black-and-white criteria can be set as in the case of listening, grammar and vocabulary, language teachers always appreciate efforts to practice assessment and marking. It is also beneficial for our language school to improve quality and consistency of writing assessment in order to ensure unifed and fair school assessment procedures for young adult and adult groups.
In the first session, teachers brushed up their knowledge of overall CEFR written assessment criteria and then familiarized themselves with the relatively new Cambridge Writing Assessment (sub)scales, first of all four subscales referenced to CEFR level descriptors: Content, Communicative Achievement, Organisation and Language. Special attention was given to clarifying the meaning of specific criteria in each of the subscales. In the second session, teachers were given samples of written students work at B1 and A2 levels to rate them individually and in pairs, which was followed by the whole group discussion. On this occasion, too, agreement was the highest in rating the language, while communicative achievement marks required more harmonizing.The session was ended by agreeing on the exact sets of criteria that will be used uniformly by all teachers for progress test and final exam assessment at each of language proficiency levels.
The workshop was prepared and facilitated by Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović. The next workshop, which will focus on speaking assessment standardisation, will be held in June.
Three teachers from Tom & Emma School, Belgrade – Milana Papić, Jelena Mitrović, and Sofija Ljiljak-Vukajlovića visited Lingva last Thursday, 10 March, to see how LEGO® bricks and StoryStarter educational programme are used for foreign language learning in our school. They enjoyed working with our young learners on the activities designed by teacher Katarina Andrić at A2.c and B1.b levels, and they also had opportunity to familiarize themselves with the use of StoryVisualizer software, where they were joined by teacher Mirjana Ljiljak-Vukajlović.
The exchange was two-way – Lingva teachers learned which activities the guests had applied at Tom & Emma, and that they also had positive experience in the use of LEGO® elements with older students. The joint conclusion was that these activities exceptionally boost students’ creativity, which has a direct impact on the effectivenes of language acquisition.
It was confirmed once again that short exchange visits bring a lot of benefits to both sides and that we should continue with this good practice.
It was finally our turn to build stories with LEGO® bricks and write about our kitty cats. They are really naughty – when they do not fight they knock down the telephone, let our kite fly away, or fall into the sea. We always have to rescue them. Naughty, naughty kitty cats!
Our teacher Milica Marić kept us company and helped a lot.
In the month of November two Lingva teachers Lora Petronic Petrovic and Katarina Andric were a part of an online creative writing course “Small Town Stories” supported by ELTA and the American Embassy, designed for teachers who love writing. The course tutors were Nathan William Meyer, Olja Milosevic and Gordana Klasnja.
It was a four-week course designed to strengthen teachers` writing skills and encourage new approaches to language teaching. During the course, the participants had weekly writing assignments on which they got thoughtful and constructive feedback both by the course tutors and peers. Their final task was to write a short story focusing on different skills of creative writing which they acquired during the course itself. Teachers were also engaged in creating dynamic lessons plan with the aim to implement their ideas in their classroom.
The second phase of the course was Face-to-Face Workshop which was held in Vrnjacka Banja from December 11-13th. It was a great opportunity for the participants to share their ideas and practice, as well as to get valuable feedback on their stories which could help them in their future writing.
Upon the completion of the course teachers were awarded ELTA certificates. They finished the couse with a big smile on their faces because they felt it had really enhanced their creative writing.
Our weekends are usually very quiet becuse we are all relaxed , but from time to time little mishaps happen and disturb our peace. They can give us a bit of a fright, such as when we come across a snake in the countryside, make us a little sad if somebody falls down and hurt themselves, but very often we are amuzed and have a good laugh when animals or people bungle things and cause a great commotion. Here are short news stories with lego brick illustrations about our last weekend of summer holiday. Teacher Marija Milovanović helped us in creating them.