Oswald Awards 2011


One of my responsibilities as Grade 8 Language Arts teacher is to put every single one of my approx. 75 students on stage for a full-length production of the comedy play “Wooing Wed Widing Hood” by Charlie Lovett. Motivating the students to memorize lines, moves and directions and really perform to a full house of parents and teachers isn’t always easy, but I have a Secret Weapon; The Oswald Awards!

The Oswald Awards is my very own version of the American Oscars! It’s called Oswald beause that’s the name of one of the funniest characters in our play; the back half of the dragon… Each student is nominated for their performance in their own class’ production of the play (8a, 8b and 8c perform on different nights). Since I’m the director of all three of the class-productions, the students’ performances are of course very similar (obviously I tell the 8a student playing the Fairy Godmother the same things I tell the 8b and 8c Godmothers), but it is still possible for the Jury (7 of my colleagues – thank you!) to identify a “best actor/actress” for each of the 23 + parts in the play. 

How is the “Oswald Awards” a secret weapon? Well, I don’t know about yours, but my students are fiercely competitive. They want to win and they want their class to win the most awards. Therefore, they not only work harder individually to be the best, but they help each other (within their own groups) do their best so that they can win together for ”Best Class” … 


The Awards Ceremony is a Production in itself. It involves the ”typical” presentation of awards, i.e. power point in the background with movie segments from the Evening Performances played as the nominees’ names are read, the dramatic opening of envelopes, drumroll, “gold” trophies, emotional acceptance speeches etc. There are also several ”entertainment sections”, courtesy of my wonderful colleagues and administrators who dress up in the costumes from the play and perform parodies I’ve put together of  key scenes to a very excited and appreciative audience. The 7th graders are invited especially. After experiencing “the Oswalds” they can’t wait to be 8th graders and perform in a play!

Click HERE to see the video-clip (from the Evening Performances) introducing the nominees for “Evil Queen”. I think all three girls are really good actresses! Which of the three girls do you think won an Oswald?

Here are three more, the first clip was used to introduce the nominees for “Best Grandmother” and the second for “Best Gerald and Oswald” and the third for “Best Loud Prince Frank”.  If you can take the time to watch them I’d love it if you’d comment! Please.


 I think this second one is really funny: The Dragon …. and here’s the last one: At the Royal Castle …

The Oswald Ceremony this year ended with an announcement from our principal (for the occasion dressed up as Queen) that the grade 8s had won “A Royal Garden Party” for their collected efforts. So, next Wednesday a part of the campus we call “the triangle” will be decorated with balloons & streamers and the grade 8s (only) treated to a lunch of pizza and ice cream  ….

Happy Summer everyone!

:-) CoffeeAddict

If you want to know more about how I put on plays (tricks I’ve learnt and tips on traps you should avoid falling into) you may want to check out these posts:

Putting on a Play: Successfully

Putting on a Play: Evaluation

Putting on a Play: Why?

Putting on a Play: Dont’s


Anxious Arts

Beautiful Brighton

On Monday I really have to go participate in Leo Selivan’s “All about Alliteration”  workshop. Why? Well, first of all because I’m sure it will be absolutely awesome, but most of all because phrases such as fabulous fun filled Fridays, pretty pictures, sweet sunny Sundays, fantastic fun and – you guessed it – Beautiful Brighton keep popping into my mind these days.  Here’s a clip that I think will give you a clue as to why:

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Another reason for participating is that I’ve gotten to know Leo and think his workshop will definitely be worth a visit! Check out Leo’s personal blog here and know that he is also part of the British Council’s Online Blog Team. Check that out here.

A Sweet Sunny Sunday to all….

PS! I did end up going to Leo’s session and it was really good! Here’s a photo of Leo:

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Planning 4 IATEFL

I started preparing for Brighton today. I hope I’m not jinxing it by starting early – but I’m just so excited to get there! Anyway, I decided I should create my own day-to-day schedule and so the first logical step for me was going over the conference program with a fine tooth comb and then (trying to) choose between sessions. What a difficult (but enjoyable) job that turned out to be! Now I really can’t wait to go!
very soon ...

very soon ...

Friday and Saturday – a Perfect Plan?

The first two days were (relatively) easy to plan. I’m a member of the Learning Technologies Special Interest Group so I’ll get to join the “Interactive Whiteboards: from methods to madness pre-conference” on Friday. It’s an all day thing. On Saturday after the morning session of  “Web 2.0 tools for IELTS speaking and writing success” by Amanda Wilson & Susan Dempsey I’ll get to experience Shelly Sanchez Terrell’s “Sharing stories: motivating young learners through mobile digital storytelling” and then “Blogs in action: Reflections from a collaborative blogging experience” by Burcu Akyol. Guess I’ll be pretty star struck by the end of that, or what? Well, it gets “worse” :-). The rest of the day will be led by Karenne Sylvester and the theme is just up my alley: “Blogging as Teachers’ Professional Development. The ELT Blogosphere”.  Sounds absolutely divine, doesn’t it?

 Sunday  – Help Needed!

After the plenary session by Sue Palmer on Tuesday morning (which I guess nobody will want to miss) I have to choose between “Meaningful English through multimedia projects” by Mary Henderson and “Expand the horizon of learning: digital games by digital learners” by Ozge Karaoglu & Esra Girgin Akiskali. I’ll have to flip a coin when the time comes I guess. Then I’ll go see “Using Moodle for testing” by Josefina Santana & Rosa Elena Santana and then I’m torn again - between “10 years of onestopenglish: essential tips, tricks and lesson ideas” by Tim Bowen & Lucy Williams, “Tweeting is for the birds, not for language learning” by Alan and Nicky Hockly and “Ten things (I think) I know about teaching (and learning)” by Ken Wilson! Flipping a coin is not going to cut it here. Perhaps drawing paper bits out of a hat will? Anyway, the rest of the day I’ll spend on “Teenagers and grammar – How to rescue an ailing relationship” by Mark Lloyd and finally enjoy “Teaching idioms effectively with Web 2.0 tools” by Janet Bianchini. No matter how the coin flipping or hat tricks go I’m sure I’ll be pretty dead by the end of that day…

Monday will start on a poetic note with “Twas brillig… Interpreting poetry through film and drama” by Eleanor Watts but then I have to choose between Gavin Dudeney’s “Location, location, location: mLearning in practice”, “A Language Garden Community” by David Warr and “An animated classroom” by Bryony. Impossible! Coin flipping again I suppose. After lunch I’ll learn about “How drama/film techniques improve my teaching English to students” by Marina Simovic, “Usage and implementation of videos in ELT – Practical insights” by Philip Gienandt  and “Is a good f2f trainer automatically a good online one?” by Shaun Wilden . Then there’ll be “Ideas for improving students’ writing skills – my experience” by Cecilia Lemos Coelho which is something I’m really looking forward to. Finally I’ll join “The Learning Technologies Studies Special Interest Group Open Forum” to finish off the no doubt wonderful day.

Tuesday – the end :-(

How can I make the most of the last day? I’ve decided that I’ll have to get into the “ Drama methodology and language learning” workshop by Ian David Holmes and then either attend “Making shadow reading visual, challenging yet fun!” by Jo Timerick about easy-to-use freeware such as Audacity, “Creative Commons in the classroom: use, share, remix” by Dominic Pates or “Teaching with technology: plan B” by Sue Lyon-Jones. More coin flipping!?! Truth be told I think I’ll probably go with the third option here as I am really in need of activities for backup when my technology based lessons don’t turn out as planned. (which seems to happen rather too often to me) After that there’s the last plenary session by Brian Patten, which I think will be really fun and entertaining and then finally there’s the closing address by Eric Baber, the President of IATEFL.

Brighton Nights

One of these days I’ll start planning for the evenings… ;-) I’ve heard about a karaoke party on one night and something about beer and sand and no shoes on another… Then there’s a Pecha Kucha evening and several comedy night talks  and storytelling – choices and more choices… Oh, this is going to be so much fun! Can’t wait to start flipping those coins!

beer & sand, an unbeatable combination ;-)

beer & sand, an unbeatable combination ;-)


Sunday Voki Fun


One of my new friends from the Learning Technologies course I’ve been taking told me about Voki and insisted I’d enjoy it. She was right! Thank you Kadriye! Fun and definitely entertaining! I couldn’t change the color of my eyebrows and the avatar refuses to smile – plus the voice gives me a rather psycho-vibe. However, one thing is certain; my grade 8s will love this! Now all I have to do is come up with a plan for how to use it … Does anyone out there have any voki lesson-plan ideas to share? Please & thanks!