Curricular Integration of the eTwinning Project ”Reading Crew”

Reading Crew was a 6-month project (December 2022 – May 2023) aimed at improving students’ creative and critical thinking skills with the help of reading in English. Over 200 students from Turkey, Portugal, Lithuania, Italy and Romania, coordinated by 11 teachers, worked in mixed teams, read and analyzed a novel (”Jane Eyre”, Charlotte Bronte), three short stories (”The real meaning of peace”, Author Unknown, ”The old man at the bridge”, by Ernest Hemingway, ”Venus and Serena Williams”) and two poems (”Caged Bird”, by Maya Angelou, ”Rosa” by Rita Dove), related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4, 5 and 16) and suitable to their English level (A2-B1).

They learned about the English Literature eras and Literary Terms and prepared common products (Book Talks, debates, collaborative poems, posters, videos etc.) using web 2.0 tools (Canvas, Genially, Padlet, Kahoot, Bookcreator etc.). Some important events like, Safer Internet Day, World Poem Day, World Book Day, Read Aloud Day and eTwinning Day were also celebrated by preparing some common products like videos, an ebook, Kahoots, word clouds etc.

The project started from a need: nowadays students read less and less and they do not know how to analyse and interpret what they read. Therefore, through this project, we aimed at developing their critical thinking skills, creativity by reading in English, enriching their knowledge about SDGs as each poem, short story or novel they had to read was connected with an SDG.

We implemented the following pedagogical approaches:

  • a student-centred one with the students actively involved and the teachers as facilitators;
  • an inquiry-based one with students doing research to find answers to guiding questions which helped them explore the topics in greater depth;
  • a project-based one when the students did research and collaborated with their partners to do certain tasks;
  • a high-tech approach when students used technology to make their work more interesting and to express their creativity.

The students worked independently to do their avatars and describe themselves, to answer the suggested questions for March short story; collaborated with their classmates in pairs to design the logos, to make the school and country presentations/ videos, to analyse the poems, short stories and the novel; and with their teammates, to create common videos, posters, illustrations, comic strips etc.

All the students involved in this project were divided into 4 teams. Each team followed the same steps and had the same tasks. Coordinated by their class teachers, the students read and analysed the short stories, poems and the novel during the English classes, then, together with their teammates, divided into groups, they created the common products (videos, posters, etc.), had online meetings during which they watched the common products, had debates, answered questions on or Kahoot, expressed their views etc.

My students were part of Team 4 together with 29 Turkish students. This team was divided into 5 groups, each group consisting of Romanian and Turkish students. They collaborated to do the common products and, during the online meetings, they shared their products, expressed views during the debates, played Kahoot, answered questions on etc.

Moreover, they had different roles. For example, during the March meeting of Team 4, there were two moderator students who conducted the debate. Also, for each common product, there were responsible students who collected their colleagues’ work and created the final products. They also had a Whatsapp group for Team 4 on which they communicated.

We applied a multidisciplinary approach which allowed students to use and acquire knowledge from different subjects (English, ICT, literature) given the fact that each month they had to read poems, short stories and a novel related to SDG goals (quality education, peace, love, war, discrimination, gender equality, justice, strong institutions).

One of the project’s aims was to develop students’ 21 century skills like: critical thinking (while analysing the poems, short stories), collaboration and cooperation skills (pair/teamwork to make presentations, posters, leaflets, videos); digital and learning to learn competences; ICT skills (using web 2.0 tools to carry out the tasks and present their work); communication  and language skills (English- the language of the project- to communicate during online meetings, to talk about the poems, short stories, to write poems, to express their views); initiative, responsibility, autonomy, open-mindedness. They acquired knowledge, evaluated, analysed, made decisions, participated actively in the activities, collaborated etc. The various web 2.0 tools used aided students to learn, to display their work, to express their creativity and transmit messages.

Because it was based on reading in English, each teacher integrated the project into each school’s existing curriculum. I permanently monitored, advised and encouraged my students to do the activities on time and achieve the project goals in order to develop 21st century skills. I was involved in this project with my group of 17 tenth-grade intensive English students, so they did all the activities during the English lessons. I taught my students how to use web 2.0 tools (how to access the TwinSpace of the project; how to use Bitmoji- to make an avatar, Canva- to make a poster, illustration, video, comic strip, presentation; how to introduce themselves, how to use Padlet etc.). I guided them to present their city, country and school.

Each month I dedicated 4-5 classes to the project. For example, in January, I had an introductory lesson about SDGs, followed by a quiz on I guided my students to read and analyse the short story (Old Man at the Bridge) and the poem (Rosa). For the short story, I prepared a powerpoint presentation which I shared with all the Team 4 students. The same did my Turkish partner. On each slide they had information (links with videos, documents) and tasks to do. Then, they collaborated with their partners in mixed groups to prepare the Book Talk. During the online meeting, they watched their works, played a Kahoot (which I prepared) and expressed their views. For February activities, I guided them to read and analyse the poem ‘Caged Bird’ and the short story ‘The Real Meaning of Peace’. During the English classes, they started to work on the comic strips, posters, animated videos and illustrations they had to do with their partners. During the online meeting, they watched them, played a Kahoot (which I created) and expressed their opinions. For March activities, I guided them to read the short story ‘Venus and Serena Williams’. During the English classes, they answered the guiding questions. I selected a student who was the moderator of the online meeting. During the online meeting, they had to answer the questions I had prepared on For the April activities, they read ‘Jane Eyre’. We started the activity during the English class. I shared with them a powerpoint presentation. On each slide there were tasks with links for shared documents on which the students from my group had to write in pairs or groups of 3 the information required. We read the adapted version for the level of all the students involved in the project.

We also celebrated World Poem Day when all the students wrote collaboratively a poem using and then, they decided which poem to choose to be published in the common poem book.
For World Read Aloud Day, I selected two students who read an extract from ‘Frustration’ by I. Asimov and I recorded them. The video was used by the teacher who coordinated this activity to create a common video.
For World Book Day, they answered a question on (`Explain in one word what the word „book” means to you.`), suggested by the coordinator of this activity and then, we had a class discussion.
We also celebrated eTwinning day. In pairs or groups of 3 students, they wrote poems, designed posters and created wordclouds which were collected on a common Padlet.

In conclusion, I consider that I managed to help my students develop their 21st century skills by integrating this project in the curriculum and by involving them in all the activities.

As a sign of recognition of the quality of the activities carried out in this project, in November 2023, I received the National Quality Label.


prof. Ștefania Manea

Colegiul Național Mihai Eminescu, Petroșani (Hunedoara) , România
Profil iTeach:

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