Wednesday, 18 December 2013

We wish you a Merry Christmaps!

Christmas is just a few days ahead and from Workshop Undergrounding London we want to wish our students and friends all the best for the festive season

This year, besides bubbles and stars, we have decorated our Christmas tree with colourful London tube maps since our project is inspired by such an iconic navigation tool. We hope you like the picture above, which depicts a few of its arty designs. 

We wish you all a Merry Christmaps and a happy 2014!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A terrific present for Christmas

Last week, on Friday 6th December, I was so lucky as to personally meet and say a warm hello to our nice friends from Animals on the Underground at their office in London: a kind of milestone in the story of our project and a terrific present on the days before Christmas. 

You all know we have been working in partnership with them since the school year 2011-2012. Nick Thomas and Paul Middlewick have always been really kind to us and they had done their best to let their wonderful animals help the students at our school improve their English in a fun and motivating way.

Every course a new group of pupils find out about Animals on the Underground when they are given each an envelope with a tube map inside. The map has a secret message within which reads: "Hello, I'm the London tube map. Bring me back to school next Monday with an elephant inside". The students are told to keep the message in secret and not to speak about it to each other

On the following Monday all kinds of elephants overflow the English class and the students show their classmates the examples they have brought within their maps: pictures, drawings, models, or toys. Then, the students are told to carefully look at their tube maps and check some of the lines and stations. Suddenly an elephant seems to hop off the map: he is Elephant & Castle, one of the charming animals on the underground map. 

The students hardly believe it: it's a kind of magic and they can't stop smiling and laughing at each other. Next, they are shown a few more animals and they are told about Paul, a man who was one day waiting for the tube on the platform and, staring at the large map on the wall at the other side of the track, first spotted Elephant & Castle.

Later in the course, around May, the students focus on Animals on the Underground in one of the activities within the project Workshop Undergrounding London. First, they write and act out a role-play story in which they visit Paul and Nick at their London office; second, they read the story on how the Animals concept started and developed; finally, they do a range of fun exercises to improve their English as they keep on discovering about the Animals. Terrific!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

My last weekend

Hi you all friends! I'm Bus and right now I'm going to tell you what I did last weekend.

Last Saturday morning I got up at 9:00. First I had breakfast and then I cleaned the house. In the afternoon I cooked and ate lunch and next I watched Chelsea's match on TV. Later, on Saturday evening, I had a shower and then I went to the cinema with a friend. At night I arrived home at 11:00. I ate a sandwich and some fruit for dinner and finally I went to bed at 12:15.

On Sunday I didn't get up early. I had breakfast and then I read the newspaper. In the afternoon I ate lunch at Antonio's house. Later I drove his children to the park and played games with them. On Sunday evening I planned the classes for Monday and next I had a shower. At night I had dinner. Then I watched TV for a while and finally went to bed at 11:30.

Yeeessss, I had a great time last weekend. What about you? What did you do? Did you enjoy? I am looking forward to listening to your presentations in the English class.

PS: In the picture above you can see me reading the paper last Sunday morning.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Now they know ... A Tube Story

We have already finished the first workshop within our project, called A Tube Story. The students, working in teams, have made very beautiful artworks on some of the things they have learnt about during the workshop.

Several teams focused on Geography. They now know The British Isles are in the northwest of Europe and there are two countries there, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their capital cities are London and Dublin. They also know the biggest island, Great Britain, is separated from mainland Europe by The English Channel.

United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast. The British flag is called Union Jack and the British anthem God Save the Queen. The students also found out about a peaceful city on the southwest coast of England, Plymouth. It is in the county of Devon and its most popular landmark is a lighthouse called Smeaton's Tower.

Other teams focused on the story of our workshop, Undergrounding London. They now know it is inspired by the iconic London tube map and the students go on a virtual trip to London. They use the tube map to plan and describe their journeys around the city on the underground. They read the story of someone who first travelled on the London underground in 1989 and has still got the ticket of that journey.

One of the teams focused on a popular football team in London, Arsenal. They chose it because Undergrounding London's mascot, Uly, is a true fan of Arsenal: he is a gunner. The students draw Arsenal's shield.

If you want to see pics of all the artworks, just follow the Flickr link on the right and then click on the album "artworks". I'm sure you'll love them!

PS: The picture above shows one of the artworks made by the students.

Monday, 18 November 2013

First artworks this school year

This school year Workshop Undergrounding London will feature new activities. One of them will be the students working in teams to create some pieces of artwork at the end of every single workshop. 

We are about to finish the first one, A Tube Story, and they are already doing the task. Once it is complete they will also text and tweet a few messages on the artwork in order to say what it depicts and what they have learnt about it. Before the students start making their artworks they will be always given an example, both of an artwork which portrays something from the workshop and of some tweets on it. 

The picture above displays the craft they were shown before they began to create their own: an easy cut and paste artwork depicting the famous lighthouse in Plymouth, Smeaton's Tower. We found about it earlier in the workshop, first when we read Uly's e-mail and then when we focused on The British Isles and the United Kingdom.

On the next few days you will be able to see several pics of the artworks made by the students. They will be available on our Flickr page. I hope you like them! 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Workshop Undergrounding London at GRETA's conference in Granada

Last weekend Undergrounding London was part of GRETA's Annual Conference in Granada. GRETA is the  English Teachers Association of Andalusia. We held a workshop on the project with several teachers from schools around the region. The aim was to let them know about our project, the way it is designed and used in our English language classes. 

The workshop started with a short presentation on Undergrounding London. Then, the participants were given a few tasks to perform. The tasks were all activities from the project. Once finished, the teachers introduced their tasks and act them out. They also had the chance to meet our friends Uly and Bus and couldn't help taking pics with the latter.

This has been the fourth time Workshop Undergrounding London is presented at an English Teachers Meeting. The audience's feedback has always been super: they like our project and say they'd  love to use it as a resource in their English lessons. Thanks to all of them for their enthusiasm towards our work. We will keep doing our best to offer something special and different from other materials.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Our new class assistant, Bus

This year Workshop Undergrounding London has a new and special friend: he is called Bus and for a long time used to work for Transport for London. 

When he was retired from service last summer, Bus still felt young and strong enough to keep doing something else. That's why he published an advert in several newspapers looking for a new job. I was so lucky to be reading one of the papers, and as soon as I noticed the advert I got in touch with him. After a long and lovely conversation, we both decided that Bus would start working with us and would be my class assistant.

Bus is so friendly and helpful I'm sure you will all enjoy a lot with him. Moreover, after driving around London's streets for over 40 years, he will be able to tell us hundreds of wonderful stories on the city. Welcome to the workshop, Bus!