Tips and Advice for Teachers


General tips
• Keep your collaborative project simple. The simpler the better, especially if you’re a first timer. Remember the KISS rule: Keep it simple, silly!
• Always have a plan B because anything can go wrong, especially with technology!
• Skype works well as a tool.
• Guide those who volunteer in your class. Be specific about their role, their responsibilities and what tasks are to be done.
• When working with older students, be sure they are willing to commit for the duration of the school year.
• Directions must be clear, and students must know what they should be doing at all times.
• Dropbox is a very efficient tool for sharing assignments with another class.
• Creating an email address for the class can be very useful.
• You will need to be patient!
• Use your time constructively! Release time to meet face-to-face is crucial, since time is limited during the school year. It is a good time to brainstorm and to try new technologies on the spot to make decisions about future activities. This is an excellent time to exchange ideas with other teachers and to ask questions.
• The more structured the planning is, the more the students will know what is expected of them.
• Getting support from an IT person or another colleague to solve technical issues encountered is important.
• Have a plan for safeguarding the materials.
• The “technological tools” documents on the PELIQ-AN Web site are a good resource.

Forming teams

• Consider personalities, abilities, gender and special needs, etc., when making groups and blending students from both classes.
• Students do better when they form teams with one peer from their own school and two students from the other school.


word cloud on projects

• When planning your project, map out all of the steps ahead of time, from beginning to end, so that your end goal is clear. This will guide you in assessing your students’ needs and your own. This will also help you to know your limitations and what actions need to be taken for the successful completion of the project.
• Schedule a weekly time slot for the project.
• Before choosing a project, take stock of what you have in terms of technology, and what is feasible. What other hardware will you need? Wires, apps, Wi-Fi, computer programs, etc. Can you get it easily if you need it? Do you have access to help if you need it?
• Technology is helpful to encourage communication between visits, but the ultimate goal of linguistic exchange does not necessarily require technology. The overall success of your project depends more on planning, co-operation and goals.
• Keeping in mind the project’s objectives, set clear goals for each day spent together and what needs to be accomplished in between visits.
• Let the students become familiar with the apps before they start an assignment. It will be easier for them to work on the project.
• Designate student experts as project resource persons.
• When working with very young students, make sure the project is carried out mostly through direct rather than indirect contact, so as not to increase the teacher’s workload.



• Use volunteers if you can, or any available teachers, aides or technicians who can help out during visits or other collaborative activities.
• Having a different recess and lunch schedule from the rest of the school is helpful.
• When planning a visit from your twinned class, it is really important to organize how the physical space is going to be used. Will it accommodate the activities you are planning? Do you need to reserve other spaces within the school?
• Where will the visiting class store their coats, boots, lunches, etc.? How will recess be organized? Will regularly scheduled specialists still be teaching?
• Think of hot lunches, catered lunches, supervision replacements and specialty subjects.
• Let your colleagues know about the visit beforehand.
• If possible, plan to visit the other school on a day when some of the groups are away on a school outing. This way, there will be extra classrooms and chairs available, and fewer students to monitor during recess and lunch.
• Having a different recess and lunch schedule from the rest of the school is helpful.
• Plan some recess activities to avoid conflicts between the twinned groups or the other students at the school.
• Together, decide ahead of time how to handle the following: getting the attention of both groups, discipline issues and forming groups.
• Plan activities to help everyone get to know each other. The work should be cooperative-based so everyone has something to contribute.
• Go over the rules of teamwork: respecting other people’s ideas, sharing opinions, etc. These may need to be reviewed, given that you will be working with people you don’t know.
• Schedule “movement breaks” to help students focus on the work they have to do.
• The PELIQ-AN site is a good resource for ideas.
• Allow for individual follow-up work, which is often required following a face-to-face meeting of the two classes.