Having an online school magazine in a foreign language is a perfect motivation for the pupils of every school to see their work come together, from the 1st graders to the 9th graders. Creating this platform serves as a motivation for the youngest learners of a foreign language eager to learn more, as for the 9th graders, who have already acquired a lot of language and can therefore produce longer and more complex texts. The article presents the school online magazine written in English created at the Fran Erjavec Primary School Nova Gorica, named “Fran’s Got Talent”. The process of creating an online magazine can be very creative and a lot of fun, but can leave the teacher with a lot of extra work. The article presents the structure of an online magazine divided into seven sections: poetry, comics, crosswords, interviews, projects, letters and visits. Each section presents an example created by the pupil.
Key words: magazine, online, English, primary school, creativity.
The process of writing a school’s online magazine in a foreign language at the Fran Erjavec Primary School accepted the work from the 1st to the 9th grade. It offered the pupils to develop their skill of writing, reading, listening, speaking, individual and group work.
The beginnings of “Fran’s Got Talent”
The first issue of the online magazine in foreign language in English was done in the school year 2016/2017, followed by yearly edition. The name was coined by paying tribute to Fran Erjavec, a Slovene writer, naturalist teacher the school is named after, and to the famous shows that search for talented people. Being kind to the environment and the trees, we chose the online version, which everyone can access from any device.
The text and art that the pupils made was in the first years arranged by me, which presented a lot of additional work, with hours and hours being put into scanning the texts written in school, arranging them into a file, changing the font, adjusting the pictures etc. In the school year 2022/2023 we are organizing an extracurricular activity dedicated only to the creation of the English online magazine. The work will be divided among the pupils, we will use IKT technology and the applications it offers.
The magazine’s issues are divided into seven sections:
Picture 1. The first page of the magazine
In this section, pupils can present their poetry, from the very simple lines where cues are already provided to the students and they fill in the gaps with their suggestions, to the more complex ones, where they are free to write.
… I love chameleons.
Luka Kenda Strgar, 5.A
I was happy when we met,
but now I’m trying to forget.
All those days I was with you
’cause you said you love me too.
Now you don’t feel anything anymore,
your love is like closed door.
I feel sorry about you,
’cause you lost me too.
I’ll forget your smile
I’ll forget your laugh
I’ll forget your lips,
I’ll forget you
’cause you said you don’t love me.
Lija V. Vremec, 8. A
Some pupils prefer poetry, while some rather choose to create comics because they also like to draw. We read a lot of comics provided by the school book Happy Street 2.
Saša Makuc, 5.C
Picture 2. An example of a comic
Crosswords present a perfect way to repeat the vocabulary learned at school. Often, the crosswords are found in the workbook, but pupils love to create them.
Complete the crossword and find out what I’ve borrowed to Maša.
Picture 3. An example of a crossword
Working in groups or individually, pupils like to conduct interviews, be it with people in their lives or with their idols. As a group, for example, the 6th grades wrote questions for the headmaster and conducted an interview with him. They wrote down the answers and the readers learned about the headmaster.
An interview with our headmaster, Mister Ferjančič
How old are you?
I’ll be 41 in autumn.
Have you got any children?
I have two sons and one daughter. The oldest son is ten years old and the youngest is four. My daughter is eight.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I like to work in the garden.
Do you like animals?
Yes, I do. We are currently planning on buying a dog.
What’s your favourite food?
I like all sorts of vegetables.
Which subjects do you like best? Why?
PE (physical education) has always been a part of my life, ever since I was little, up to the Faculty of Sports, followed by 11 years of being a PE teacher. It is safe to say that PE is my favourite subject.
Do you have a lot of embarrassing moments? Can you tell us one?
In the past, I had problems with public speaking. That is why I choose to apply for a school for public speaking and I overcame that obstacle. Once, while I was working at a secondary school, they’d asked me to dress up as Saint Nicholas. I was so nervous that I was unable to read what they wrote me to say.
What do you want to change at our school?
Our school is a very good school and I would not change anything.
Some pupils preferred to write an interview with their idol, be it a famous singer, actor, sportsman etc. They first find the information about the person of their choice, come up with the questions and write down the answers.
An interview with my favourite handball player, Vid Kavtičnik
What’s your name?
My name is Vid.
What’s your surname?
My surname is Kavtičnik.
How old are you?
Where do you live now?
I live in Motpellier. This is a city in France.
OK Vid. Goodbye and thank you for your time.
No problem. Goodbye.
In the fourth grade, we talk about taking care of the environment and how to make toys out of recycled materials. Some pupils choose to create their own toys and wrote about them, as for example making a table football. It’s made from a wooden box, plastic tubes, collage paper, a ball, elastics and clothespins.
Picture 4. A table football recycled out of trash
The 3rd graders created their town made of paper and wooden blocks.
Picture 5. The project “My Town”
This section also includes descriptions of imaginary dragons, strange animals, dream houses or strange families – the topics which we talk about in primary school.
Picture 6. Imaginary animal
This is my monster. It’s beautiful. Her name is Diamond Queen. It’s blue. She’s got a big tail and four blue legs. There are twenty-five diamond spikes. She’s got small eyes and a small nose. She’s got an ice power. She has bludgeon on the tail and she’s got two wings. She is strong. She’s got a golden shield. She is big.
Jaša Valič, 5.A
Picture 7. Dream house
Luka Brun, 4.B
At school, we often exchange letters with schools from Slovenia from other regions. In the magazine, we often choose to publish them.
Zoja Ocvirk, 4.C
Picture 8. An example of the letter
7. Visits from abroad
We often invite people from abroad and write about them. For example, a girl named Lea from California came and told us about the life and school in California. Usually, the students from the 8th or 9th grade write the text about such events, having broader vocabulary and knowing the language structures and tenses more.
Picture 9. A visit from California
Picture 10. A visit from the U.S. Embassy Ljubljana (David Gallagherju and Sgt. Eddie Montanu)
An online magazine in a foreign language can be a perfect platform for creativity in all the topics discussed in primary school. It offers extra challenges for those pupils in the classroom who wish to develop their writing, speaking, reading and listening in English, be it individually or in a group but we, as teachers often run out of time to provide those challenges for them. In addition, their work is seen by all the school who can learn from them. The magazine offers room also for students who struggle at learning foreign languages, since they can create and present a practical project and stay at the spotlight as well. A magazine like this also connects the pupils at school since they as a group create a fun magazine which is appropriate for their classmates and they are the authors of. It is advisable to have an extracurricular activity dedicated solely to the creation of this online magazine because it requires a lot of time to put the pupils’ texts and photos into the form of a magazine.