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EOI San Fernando de Henares. Autumn Memories

Revista Digital Educamadrid

Fecha de publicación 25 de mayo de 2018


Experiencia de aprendizaje de inglés basada en la actividad A Wish Tree, diseñada por la profesora Irene Santamaría, Facultad de Magisterio, UCLM. Tiene como objetivo de aunar el aprendizaje de la gramática (narrative tenses) con el aprendizaje cooperativo y el respeto a la naturaleza. Está basada en la sostenibilidad, cooperación entre profesores y la auto-reflexión del aprendizaje para alumnos y docentes.


Nivel. Enseñanza de Idiomas


María José Pastor Gómez

EOI San Fernando de Henares

The activity was carried out with two groups of Intermedio 2, studying at the EOI San Fernando de Henares, Madrid, with a total amount of 22 students taking part in the activity, in October 2016. It is a variation of the Wishes Tree activity to be found in, designed by Professor Irene Santamaria, in Facultad de Magisterio, UCLM. This blog presents a project called “hearts and hands”. The main principles of the project are collective work and respect for nature. The original activity takes the Hindi Wishes Tree festival as the inspiration for a project-based-learning activity and includes a lesson plan as well as learning awareness’ questions. In this version, the target grammar is related to ‘past narration’.

Trabajos del alumnado

The objectives of the activity are:

  • Carry out an activity related to nature, in this case, to the current season
  • Practise narrative tenses
  • Collaborate with your classmates by sharing your memories in a collective work, as well as doing individual work
  • Reflect upon your feelings through the learning process

The target grammar is:

  • Narrative tenses
  • Links
  •  Vocabulary related to the activity

Students are going to write down a piece of memory – something they recall, related to autumn. This activity is divided in two parts: collective work and individual work. For the collective side, students have to join in groups of three, decide on the shape of leaf they prefer and cut down the paper in the agreed shape. For the individual part, students will write a short narration in the paper they cut down. In this point, it would be advisable to set a personal example, since the word narration might be misunderstood as something longer than needed for this particular occasion. Back to collective work, students and teacher display groups’ narrations together, preferably tied to trees in the yard or nearby park. Finally, students vote for the narrations they like best. Incidentally, a little treat would be warmly welcomed (and indeed it was!) by the winners.

The materials needed are: paper, scissors, glue, raw paper, thread. In spite of the fact that the last part of these activities should be carried out in a park or garden, we had to pin their productions on the walls, due to bad weather. Their production looked like this:

Trabajos del alumnado

The last part of the activity was the satisfaction poll. Regarding the control questions of learning awareness and students’ satisfaction, an overwhelming majority of students circled ‘yes’ on the last question, agreeing on taking part in a similar activity (20/22), in spite of the fact that many of them answered ‘no’ to the question ‘Did you speak more than in a conventional class?’  (12/22).

For the rest of the questions posed, the figures are as follows:

  • Did you help your classmates?                                    Only 3/22 did not
  • Did you feel embarrassed when talking?                     Only 4/22 did
  • Did you ask your teacher?                                            6/22 did not
  • Did you feel any of the following?  
  • Before beginning the activity,  15/22 felt CONFUSED  and the rest felt CONFIDENT
  • While working with the group,  only 3/22 felt TENSE and the rest felt  RELAXED
  • After finishing the activity, most students circled  HAPPY, with only 5/22 INDIFFERENT

Degree of satisfaction


Source: prepared by M .J. Pastor

As shown in the grid, students were really satisfied with the activity and cooperated well, in spite of having been performed at the beginning of the year course, when the cohesion of the groups is still being built. Their overwhelming agreement on including similar activities in their program shows their willingness to include new topics such as cooperative learning, feeling awareness and respect for nature, as well as activities that include some kind of physical action, further from the usual four skills exercises, proper of more traditional approaches.

As for the teacher, this has been an attempt to innovate, featured by sustainability, teachers’ cooperation and learning reflection. For the first, the reader just needs to review the materials and spaces used: materials are easy to find in any school or cheap to purchase, or both; spaces are the same classroom and the backyard or the nearby park. I would like to underline the fact that the development of this activity intends to break the usual classroom dynamics, with a row or two of students looking at the board with the teacher in front of them. Regarding the cooperation among teachers, I would suggest this term being changed for inspiration. Informal chats, open sourced materials (as the blog cited) and lots of hours of personal research on the Internet inspired this activity, expanding the cooperative spirit beyond the walls of each educational center. Finally, students’ feedback served both as their learning reflection as for teacher’s assessment. The data in the grid above pointed out a new path to be trodden.