Sunday, 15 March 2015

E-merging forum 5. Anna Loseva "Flashmobelt"

Before coming to E-merging forum 5 I came across this blog post of Anna Loseva . The idea seemed very interesting and I decided to learn more. It was my luck that the topic of Anna Loseva’s E-merging forum 5 session was about Flashmobelt. 

So what is Flashmobelt and how can it be used by teachers? It is a collaborative project for teachers from all over the world to share their favourite activities and to use the activities offered by other teachers. There are a few rules that should be followed for the activities to be considered acceptable for Flashmobelt. They should be generalized and adaptable for various contexts. They should be easy in terms of preparation and technology and easy to model, explain and use. Ideally they should be short and shouldn’t be centered around specific materials. The idea is to provide opportunities for sharing and networking between teachers in different countries. It is usually said that teachers feel isolated and might get depressed when left one on one with their problems. Reaching out and communicating with fellow teachers, giving a helping hand and trying out something new – all this can be achieved by participating in Flashmobelt. However, this project is not only about sharing and using the activities, but also about reflecting on how they went in this or that classroom. Reflections on the activities can be written as blog posts on the blogs of the participants. Flashmobelt is aimed at bringing teachers closer and thus motivating them to be better teachers and in a way making their life easier.

In her workshop at E-merging forum 5 Anna Loseva showed several activities from Flashmobelt in action.
1) Love or hate. The teacher asks the students to make pairs and choose the person who will either love or hate the suggested objects or concepts. After the decision is taken, the teacher gives the topic. In the workshop the first discussion point was March. So a person who chose either to love or to hate March should be speaking for a minute and giving reasons to prove their point of view. Then it goes on and the students switch roles. This activity provides students with the stimulus for freer speaking practice. It is interesting, motivating and fun. During the workshops the list of points for discussion consisted of these: March, March the 8th, Friday, Friday the 13th, etc.

2) Writing now. The next activity which was demonstrated was connected with Writing practice. The teacher divides the class into groups and gives the beginning of the sentence to complete in as many ways as possible. At the workshop the sentence was “English teachers in Russia….”. The students work for 1-2 minutes writing their variants and teams with the most creative answers get points. Usually teachers prefer to leave the Writing tasks for homework. This activity is not very time-consuming and is simple enough to be done in class. It won’t take up too much of classroom time.

Anna Loseva gave some statistics concerning Flashmobelt. There are three boards with activities now including 40 activities shared by 40+ teachers from all over the globe. 8 blogs have been written so far reflecting on the classroom experience of using Flashmobelt activities in class. The Lino board with activities looks like the board with stickers of different colours. A teacher can choose a yellow, green, red or blue sticker, write their activity anf stick it to the wall. 

At the end of the session Anna invited all the teachers to share one of their favourite activities which can be included in the project. The description of Flashmobelt and the link to the Lino board can be found on Anna Loseva's blog. I am going to explore it and possibly to take part in it and you?


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