I am very excited to have Özge Karaoğlu as my guest-blogger today. If you’re on twitter, you probably know Özge – she’s the one who fires off about 20 links a day – she’s a one-person PLN, capable of providing you with enough reading and links to write a thesis on teaching English. 🙂
I met Özge in Istanbul in September, and I can tell you that the enthusiasm she shows for her work is absolutely infectious.
Özge won the MEDEA Award for Creativity and Innovation this year for Daisy and Drago, the series of animated films she made with her kindergarten pupils. Below, she describes the process that she and her pupils follow to make the films.
I’m an EFL teacher and a teacher trainer in Istanbul,Turkey. I’m also the educational coordinator, script and screenplay writer of “Yes,I Speak English” DVD series in America.
Children and “Teachers” Filming Their Dreams
“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”
Before you read anything, please watch this video.
Children have great aptitudes, they are open minded, curious, expressive, excited, imaginative, willing, inspired, playful and funny with a great sense of humor all the time. They welcome every opportunity and this may be the reason why they are more creative than we are.
If you are teaching children who are learning English as a foreign language, you know that repetitive stories that cycle the sentences or vocabulary in different context, work better with kids. They learn the story faster. They internalize it and use it into their daily lives easily.
I teach topics such as community helpers, food and drinks, clothes, seasons, body parts with related vocabulary and sentences. I was looking for topic based stories to teach my kindergarten students. I couldn’t find any and decided to create my own stories. My stories have two main characters, Daisy and Drago.
Daisy is the heroine of my stories. Each story tells a new adventure of Daisy and her best friend Drago. I use cardboard with pictures and two puppets of the characters made of paper. They both have their personalities that we decide with kids. Daisy likes playing tennis and eating ice-cream. Her favorite color is red and she wants to be a princess when she grows up whereas Drago wants to be a Spiderman. My dream was to publish my stories one day but something better and magical has happened. 🙂
We have animation classes in kindergarten at my school. I thought one of my stories could be a cartoon to be used in our English lessons as a material so we decided to turn it in to a project with Havva Kangal Erdoğan, the animation teacher.
First we decided on the best story that could be animated with kids. I wrote the story and Havva illustrated the pictures. We taught the story in our English lessons. We played games, did re-telling, role-playing, question/answer and craft activities. Students liked and learned the story. They had animation lessons at the same time. When they learnt the basic skills, they started working with the characters.
Drago was difficult to draw so it took more time to get used to the characters. Then, they started animating pictures on light tables in our animation studio. Some students were animating the pictures (making them talk, smile, jump, walk, play etc.) where others were drawing the background or coloring the pictures. When they finished the animation and coloring, we had more than 400 pictures. We scanned them and our technical crew put the pictures together.
Recording students’ voices was the most difficult part, as they were so young, it was hard for them to concentrate, and some of them didn’t have their front teeth so they sometimes had to repeat one sentence more than ten times to get the right intonation and pronunciation. They had to be silent and wait their turns while others were being recorded but they managed to do it!
You can watch our journey of recording here:
We listened the recording from the beginning to choose the best intonation and pronunciation. When we finished with this, pictures and recording were put together and it became Daisy and Drago film.
With this project, our aim was to entertain young learners while they learn a foreign language and help to build permanent learning in English but we achieved more than that. Students created their own material for themselves and others who are learning English that can be used over years; they learnt how to animate pictures, gained artistry and language skills through the production of this film, how to work together as a team and the importance of team work and experienced the enthusiasm and joy of creating a material and audience’s applause.
I do enjoy being a kindergarten teacher; it makes me feel I am important for someone else and it is very rewarding. Children inspire me every day. You can do as many projects as you can do with older kids. This amazes you and others more, because they are so young and enthusiastic and can do great things in spite of their limited world, with their limited language. This is the story of how we filmed and fulfilled our dreams. I hope you enjoy!
I feel extremely honored to write a guest post on Ken Wilson’s blog! I would like to thank him for sharing his light with us and empowering my PLN.
Özge blogs at: http://ozgekaraoglu.edublogs.org/