One thing that sometimes happens as PPA teacher is that I have to teach the same lesson twice to two different classes. This isn’t a bad thing as it means I can try different things and achieve different outcomes because the children are different. For today’s lesson I thought I’d use Twitter to make it a bit more exciting…but it turned out to make it random and a lot of fun too!
The lesson was part of the ancient Greek topic and being the first lesson, we needed to look at Modern-day Greece. What is it like? Where is it? What key information can we find out about it?
After the initial ‘Who has been to Greece?’ conversations, we found it on a Google map and began exploring. Now, the usual stuff can all be found on Wikipedia e.g. currency, time zone, capital, flag and so on but I wanted to challenge the children further. So I asked the lovely/bonkers people on Twitter.
My question was simple. What would you like my class to find out about Greece? I asked people to include the #greecequest hashtag meaning that I could show www.visibletweets.com on the whiteboard and they could see answers that came in. We didn’t get hundreds, but we did get some great ones!
(Potentially this could pose a risk as I don’t check the tweets before they appear on te whiteboard, but I am happy to manage this risk)
- Who is number 1 in the Greek charts?
- Why is the flag blue and white?
- Where has all the money gone?
- Can you buy a Subway sandwich?
- How far is it from Marathon to Athens?
- Have they ever done well in Eurovision?
- Who won the Greek football league last year?
So, as you can see it was a bit random. It led to some amazing questions from the children. When looking at which football team won last year, we noticed the Greek league didn’t play from 1940-1945 so we discussed why. We also wondered where the Greek people were going as there were a million less of them in 2011 compared to 2009. We found out that the stripes on their flag are there to represent each syllable in the Greek motto! We also found out that their current debt works out at around 300,000 euros for every man, woman and child! Where possible we sent the answers back to the people who had asked them too.
The children were enthused and eager to find out the answers for the people of Twitter. As the questions popped up, they asked who the people were. I could only reply “he’s a deputy headteacher, he works for 2simple, not sure about that one”, but they didn’t mind. It gave them excitement and a purpose to their research.
One drawback was that the lesson ended at 10am and we had to move on to other things but tweets kept coming in! So I used these in the afternoon with the other class.
It seemed to work very well and I look forward to seeing the factfile that the children build up about Greece. I also want to say a massive thank-you to everyone who helped!