Monday, 28 October 2013

The Seagull (Part B)

It is a national holiday today and I grabbed the opportunity to update our project with my elementasy class. 
All kids were anxious to work on our poem. I think it is more their desire to be presented in a blog post rather than the poem itself but even this motivation is quite enough to shake them up.

We first heard the poem The seagull composed by Michalis Tranoudakis and sung by Aphrodite Manou. Then I let them read the poem for themselves. I urged them to take their time and read slowly. Young pupils get easily carried away and skip meanings and language items. When they were ready, I simply asked them whether they liked it or not. They spontaneously answered, 'Yes!!!'.  But then, the big question followed, 'Why?' I must confess I was surprised with their replies. They liked the language, the lines, the rhymes, the meanings and metaphors. Elytis describes and compares the seagull (symbol of freedom) and people's lives. 

In the next phase I thought to dare them a little bit. I asked them to translate the poem as much as they could. They came up with many words. My goal is not to have them translate but I believe they will be encouraged to see their contribution in theEnglish version.

 The reason I used the original text first was that I wanted them to get familiarised with the poem. They are preliminary pupils of elementary level and my intention is to make them feel secure and confident. However, the whole discussion was in English and they successfully transferred their ideas and opinions from their mother tongue to English.

In our next lesson I will distribute the English version and we will work on from there.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Opening their wings like the seagull!!!

Fly up to the sky!

The main purpose of our literature project is to involve English learners of as many age groups and levels. This is why I thought to encourage elementary school pupils at A1+ level to participate.

As I was flicking through their anthology of their Greek language subject at school, I came across Odysseas Elytis' poem 'The seagull'. I had no doubt that we would work on it. The reason? I have a special predilection to that bird as I always connect it with freedom.

The problem was that this poem has never been translated to English. Here, I would like to thank a good friend of mine who offered to help me out and make a free translation of the poem. The aim of the project is not the translation but to get the meanings, emotions, thoughts through into the world!
Since we went past this obstacle, I was confident that they would perform excellently and they will get wholeheartedly involved. The idea that their work will be uploaded in YouTube and that other English teachers will watch it filled them with excitement and eagerness.

The first step was to find information about the poet. They did their research and in the very next lesson they were ready to answer questions about Elytis' life and work. We picked up the main points through questions. This is how it looked:
The Kids :)

In our next meeting we will start working on the poem. The best are yet to come!!!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

And they glow like luminescence!!!

Today our second meeting with C2 level project participants took place. We work on Kostas Ouranis' text 'Daybreak on Mount Athos' (1949).

Briefly I will fill you in what our idea is to approach the text. First, it should be mentioned that Ouranis' works have not been translated before and our presentation will be the first attempt ever to interpret his travel descriptions in English.

In our first meeting last Saturday we talked and analysed what translation actually is. As most of the participants are not Literature or Linguistics students, they thought that we should translate the text word by word. This is what they used to do when they tried to comprehend an English context in their first language.

Well, you can imagine their surprise when they realised from the first lines that this is not how it works. The main aim of our project is to spread emotions, meanings, linguistics and language abundance of the text. Their first comments showed that it was a challenging task but I was sure they wouldn't give up! Why? Simply because they love literature!!!

In just two sessions we are almost half way through but we do not just stick to translation. We discuss why they choose specific words over their synonyms. Do they sound better? Do they reveal the underneath meaning? What thoughts, emotions do specific structures evoke?

What I have learnt from them:

They keep surprising me with their talents, their initiative, their suggestions, their ideas! I come out of the meeting much richer in experience, with new perspectives, not to mention the enrichment of my English knowledge! 

Do not forget that it is also my first attempt to spread literature into the world after all!!!

Soon we will upload a video with one of our meetings so that we can present you virually what we do!!!

Friday, 4 October 2013

It's a wrap!!!

Here is the outcome of the project that my students have created!!! Let's look back at the stages they have been through:
1. They talked in the classroom and decided what they are going to present.
2. They prepared their presentation in written form.
3. We worked on their texts and edited them where necessary.
4. They rehearsed their presentations in the classroom and filmed them. Then we watched the videos and spotted the flaws and what they can improve.
5. They filmed their final presentations.

Here, I would like to thank Antonis Kapetanos (B2 level) who put the videos together...
 I couldn't make it without him! :)

And now... enjoy the premiere!!!

It's a wrap!!!