Lo que escuchó la mariquita

This is the third in a series of three posts about Julia Donaldson books that I have recently purchased in Spanish.

ISBN – 978-8-4941634-7-0
Available from Little Linguist

Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita is the Spanish version of What the Ladybird heard and is a ‘farmyard thriller; a crime set on a farm‘ according to Julia Donaldson, the author. In it, two robbers, Hugo el Zurdo and Len el Largo plot to steal the prize cow from under the farmer’s nose. But they hadn’t reckoned on the very tiny, very quiet ladybird.

All the other animals on the farm are very noisy…
‘pero la mariquita no decía nada de nada.’

One night the ladybird hears the thieves plotting and relays the story to the animals who all make a loud hullabaloo – and then they hear the plan which make use of all their noisiness! Will they outsmart Hugo el Zurdo and Len el Largo? I’ll leave you to find out! It’s a great story and I love the rhyme and rhythm of the text.

How would I use this story? I’d probably read it much the way that Julia Donaldson does in the video below – but in Spanish!
The story is a wonderful opportunity to work on animal vocabulary as well as the always popular topic of animal sounds. It always amuses children that animals ‘speak Spanish’ too and make slightly – or sometimes very – different noises in Spanish. You could even sort the sounds into groups according to how similar they are. You could use puppets or masks to involve individuals in retelling the story or even a set of fingerpuppets or finger scribbles for each child to join in physically, or even use actions (my latest obsession with Makaton would come in handy here!) Nonetheless with little preparation of that kind, it’s easy to encourage learners to join in with some noises and sound effects!

Here’s Julia Donaldson reading her story in English with some ideas for how you could use the book with audience participation, using puppets, animal noise prompts and action!
Here’s the story read to you so you can get an idea of the story. Or you can actually read part of the book yourself on Issuu
And this version has an ‘on screen’ narrator!

Follow up activities might include vocabulary matching at word level, some simple substitution sentences with animal and sound [La vaca] dice [Muu] or [El perro elegante] dijo [Cuac] or even some simple descriptions
La vaca es bonita y premiada. Es blanca y negra con manchas grises. Tiene un cabestro azul y un premio rojo. La vaca dice Muu.
Alternatively you could ask comprehension questions with Sí/No Verdad/Mentira responses, or at a higher level, require a response in a phrase or sentence.
And finally, how about making a map of the farmyard and giving directions around it in Spanish, or making it into a game and guiding a blindfolded classmate using only animal noises (but don’t try and confuse them like the animals in the book!)
There are lots of art ideas that go with this book – you can see one below.

This video shows how one class responded to Lo que escuchó la mariquita at C.E.I.P. Miguel de Cervantes de Navalmanzano Segovia. Loe the idea of making ‘mariquitas’ out of footprints!

Looking for ideas of how to use the book, I found lots of ideas for using the English version What the Ladybird heard. I’ve collected them together on a Pinterest board.
It included the video below of Julia Donaldson and her husband singing a song based on the story – anyone fancy writing a Spanish version?

Some other posts and reviews of the book:
Tell Bake and Love
Ediciones Fortuna

La Mariquita appears in two further books – Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita Despúes and Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita en Vacaciones.

Do you have a favourite Julia Donaldson book? Do share in the comments if you do!

Las tres cartas del Oso

This is the second in a series of three posts about books by Julia Donaldson that I have recently purchased in Spanish.

ISBN 978-84-261-4373-0
Available from Little Linguist

Las tres cartas del Oso is a very simple board book with flaps. It has two short sentences per page and colourful illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Oso writes three letters and sets out to deliver them. We follow him, counting the letters as we go and trying to guess to whom they are addressed by the home in which they live. Are we correct? Opening the flaps gives us the answer! But why has Oso written to Ardilla, Rana and Topo? All will be revealed as the book concludes with cake!

I bought this book to read to FKS/KS1 as it is very simple and also short. It reinforces counting to 3 and also could be used to introduce the names of some animals. I’d introduce the animal words before the story, with images to support, and then display them so that children can choose from the ‘gallery’ which animal they think the letter should go to. We could act out delivering the letters too, and reading them. And, as the purpose of the letters is revealed to be Oso’s birthday, it would be a good opportunity to talk Spanish birthday songs and traditions.

Here’s a Spanish birthday song – with cake ballet and dancing stars!

Feliz, feliz en tu dia 
Amiguito que Dios te bendiga 
Que reine la paz en tu dia 
Y que cumplas muchos más 
If you want Happy birthday to you in Spanish, here is it with lyrics on screen!

This video is nearly 10 years old but still helpful in showing a birthday celebration in Spain – and allows a comparison. https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/clips/zmvtsbk

A couple of traditions that I like that are quirky – instead of being given ‘the bumps’ and being thrown in the air, children in Spain have their ear ‘pulled’ the number of times that corresponds to their birthday. And in Mexico, I’ve discovered that they have the tradition below:

And speaking of Mexico – I learned Las Mañanitas from my Mexican friends on my birthday. A lovely song about the beauty of the morning! You can find the lyrics here .

Tres cartas del Oso is one of a series of books set in El Bosque de la Bellota (Acorn Woods) that includes El Zorro se viste, ¡Quiero dormir la siesta! and Juguemos al escondite.

El GIGANTE más elegante

ISBN 9788469621431 Available from Little Linguist

When I saw this book on the Little Linguist stall in July (yes, I’ve had it that long without sharing it!) it immediately sparked ideas in my head so I had to buy it. And now I’ve got around to sharing them!

The Spanish version of The Smartest Giant in Town, it’s written and illustrated by the wonderful Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, famous for The Gruffalo/El Grúfalo and Room on a broom/¡Cómo mola tu escoba! The main character is Maxi who always wears the same clothes and same sandals, and is fed up of being the scruffiest giant in town. When a new shop opens, he buys himself some lovely new clothes, becoming el gigante más elegante. Feeling happy and content, he leaves the shop to go home… but he keeps meeting animals who need help on the way home. Item by item he happily gives away his clothes, singing as he does it. Then he gives away his belt… and he’s no longer happy as he’s cold now. However, there is a happy ending as he finds his old clothes, and all the animals he has helped thank him with a crown and a lovely card.

My immediate thought was how well it would fit with other activities I do based around clothes – using Te visto y te como, doing activities to accompany Juguemos en el bosque and singing ¿Qué hay en la lavadora? from ¡Español Español! (Have a look at this link to see how Y2 did this!)

Reading the story reminded me of El Pequeño Petirrojo which is my favourite Christmas story, and one of my favourite books full stop as the robin in that gives away all his clothes too. It works really well for acting out with props; I’ve even got a knitted robin and vests with which to dress him! (See my blog post about it!) So I could see us doing something similar with this book. The video below shows how the story has been used as a class assembly – I think that would be easy to do in class too!

And like El Pequeño Petirrojo, there’s a message to El Gigante más elegante. Both el gigante and el petirrojo happily give their clothes to others in greater need than them, end up sad, but are praised and rewarded for their selflessness. Therefore they are both a good way to link to the PSHE curriculum and be creative with the curriculum! Perhaps learners could write a simple thank you letter to el gigante, following a model/scaffold, and then write one to someone they’d like to thank.

I liked this activity that I found on Twitter. Good exercise in manual dexterity!

I think that having read the story, younger learners would certainly enjoy designing clothing for el gigante, labelling them in Spanish with nouns and adjectives, and beginning to write simple sentences with a scaffold. Equally, work around the animals, their names and the noises that they make would also work. Older learners might like to link emotions to parts of the story:
El gigante está muy contento feliz cuando da su …. al …..
La cabra está muy preocupado porque su barquito no tiene vela.

I also thought it might be fun to think of other uses for the giant’s clothes by different animals. El mono necesita el cinturón para escapar el cocodrilo.
Being even more adventurous, I think that this could be a good story to retell (in a simplified version) using Talk4Writing as it has repetition and would be fairly easy for learners to adapt.
This blog also gives some further ideas of how you might use the story, both before and after reading.
And I love the ideas suggested by Teaching Ideas – they’re for the English text but many of them, such as drawing and labelling a map of the tow, trying to sing the giant’s song, and making a scarf for him, are easily adaptable to another language.

This video tells the story in Spanish with the English text on the screen. It’s not exactly the same as the Spanish translation but it could be used by those who are less confident in reading Spanish, and also as an activity in listening to Spanish.

I have another two Julia Donaldson books that I’ve recently purchased. Hopefully it won’t take me six months to share those…

If you found this post interesting and/or helpful, please comment. And if you have ideas for using the book, please let me know too!

Sharing my books

The advantage of technology?

When we moved to Switzerland seven years ago, I had no job and no idea if I’d need my large collection of books. We decided not to take them all with us in the first instance so I started to make a list of them all whilst selecting some favourites that I couldn’t leave behind. The list stayed on my iPad and I forgot it was there.

Last summer I decided that I needed to work out how many books I had and list them somehow in some semblance of order. So I started a few Google Docs so that each time I purchase new books I can add them easily. And Google Docs have the added bonus that I can share the links so others can see too.

I’ve added the title of each book, the format and an idea of what the book is about and/or links that could be made to topics or to other curricular areas. Sadly it’s not searchable but you’re quite welcome to have a look!

Ideas:
If you’re looking for books on a topic, have a browse.
If you want ideas of books to purchase.
If you’re not sure about a book’s suitability, check and see if I’ve got it, and ask my opinion, or for a look. (I’m happy to do either!)
If you’re starting teaching a language and are looking for ideas.
If you just want to be nosey, go ahead!

So here are the links:
Spanish fiction
Spanish reference and non fiction
Spanish rhymes, poems, plays and puzzles
French
German
General ICU/GL/International/language promoting

Let me know if you find anything interesting or helpful!



Cache-Cache Ville

ISBN 979 10 235 0927 4
Link to Amazon

The other book that I was gifted to me by Mr S was Cache-Cache Ville. He chose this one from a selection that he thought might be suitable because, as his messages said ‘This is fun!’ and “It’s magic!’

The book takes you through the town Cache-Cache Ville, past les magasins et les maisons, la boulangerie, la poste, le bureau et l’usine, le parc, la piscine, le musée et le zoo. You see the outside of the building as you read the rhyming text. However, you can also see INSIDE the buildings and vehicles by using la loupe magique.

I really enjoyed exploring using the red filter, finding out the secrets hidden behind the doors and windows. Love the man on the train with the really long legs and the person swinging from the luggage rack in the next carriage. And it’s great fun finding the zoo animals that seem to have ‘escaped’ from the zoo!

You can also view the ‘magic pictures’ using an app. In the UK app store it’s called Hide and Seek City and costs 99p, which gives you access to mini videos and the opportunity to draw what you imagine is happening within the houses as well as the illustrations you can view with the magic magnifying glass alone. Below is a short video showing how it works.

You can also get Cache-Cache Ville in Spanish as Villa Escondite and Italian as Borgo Nascondino.  I don’t know how the text work in Spanish and Italian as I can’t see the inside of the book, but I like the French text as it gently rhymes and has some interesting words too.

Apparently Cache-Cache Ville was inspired by The Great Journey, published by Tate and also written by Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau, that tells the story of Red Beak on his migration. Looks a lovely book too! (In French La Grande Traversée in Spanish La Gran Travesía in Italian La Grande Traversata in Portuguese A Grande Travessia and in Dutch De Lange Reis.)

Mon ami

ISBN 978 2 226 40369 8

My lovely husband was in France recently and, as usual when he is away in another country, had a look for books I might like. I have to say, he’s getting rather good at choosing good ones that I’ll like!

One of the books he chose was Mon ami. The blurb starts…

Aujourd’hui, à l’école, il y a un nouveau. Il s’appelle Sam.

It’s a lovely story about Archibald getting to know Sam and discovering that being different isn’t a bad thing. He learns how to view the world from someone else’s perspective, seeing dragons in the clouds and a cyclone in his spinning top. When Sam doesn’t come to school the next day, Archibald misses him but his view has changed. Will Sam come back? Has he been changed too by his new friend? I’ll let you find out.

I really enjoyed Mon ami. It works as a story but also as a text that could be used for PSHE to promote discussion of everyone’s right to be themselves, and the joy of us all being different.





Come to Language World 2019!

Friday 22 – Saturday 23 March 2019 at Imago, Loughborough

Language World 2019: Speaking up for Languages

Now that the holidays are drawing to a close, and thoughts turn to work once more, it’s a good time to think about how the next year will pan out in terms of teaching and learning. You might be considering how to move forward with your appraisal targets, looking to discover new ideas or simply seeking to refresh yourself with some camaraderie and inspiration.

I’ve found that Language World is a perfect place to do all three of those things, and I’d encourage you to consider attending. As the website says:

The Association for Language Learning’s annual conference and CPD event offers a packed programme with speakers from across the languages sector which attracts up to 250 participants a day, with a large number coming from primary and secondary schools.
– It’s an exhibition: a large and varied exhibition showcasing the latest in language learning resources and support
– It’s a real boost to your teaching: a great way to recharge your batteries – a two day shot of ideas, advice, debate and inspiration
– It’s a celebration: get together with other language teachers from around the UK, and around the world…… at Language World!


The programme is always strong but this year it includes plenary sessions from Heather Fearn, Ofsted Language lead, Suzanne Farrell, ASCL and Dr Rachel Hawkes who always inspires and enthuses me. I’m particularly excited that ALL Patron, Professor David Crystal, OBE, will be delivering the Mary Glasgow Plenary keynote entitled 25 years of not (yet) having a House of Languages. I’m  really looking forward to what he has to say, and also hoping that I can sketchnote his thoughts whilst listening too!


It includes sessions for all phases of learning with a strong primary languages thread that has sessions from Vicky Cooke, Nadine Chadier, Clare Seccombe, Sue Cave, Eleanor Chettle Cully, Sara Montero, Noelia Rivas and me to name but a few! I’m also looking forward to a session on SEND in the MFL classroom, on supporting EAL learners and how to include families in language learning.

I’ll be speaking on ways of supporting learners’ understanding and enjoyment of stories in what I hope will be an interactive and fun session with lots of delegate participation! In addition, I’ll be ‘official sketchnoter’ for the third year, trying hard to capture sessions as I listen ready to be displayed on a huge board for all to see. No pressure, eh?

Hopefully all that has whetted your appetite! There’s an Early Bird offer that runs until Friday 11th January so you have one week from publication of this post to book for the lowest price possible. Do have a look at the website for further details; the link to book is at the bottom of the page or you can click here to save you having to scroll!

Looking forward to meeting you there and celebrating all that is great about teaching and learning languages.

You can find out about my experiences in previous years in the following posts (I wasn’t blogging for my first couple of Language Worlds and I missed 2012 and 2013 as I was living in Switzerland!)

Reflections on Language World 2008
Absorbing Language Learning 2009
Language World 2010 and various posts following including Raising Global Awareness and Creativity talks as well as sessions by Clare Dodd, Liz Black Cynthia Martin Oh, and my session – Bricklaying for beginners!
Language World 2011 – my session Entitled to enjoy Primary Languages and many other sessions by Chris Harte, Jan Lewandowski and Liz Fotheringham
Language World 2014 overview     Session on apps
Language World 2015 in sketchnotes
Language World 2016 in sketchnotes Session on Sketchnoting
Language World 2017 in sketchnotes
Language World 2018 in sketchnotes My session Using Technology for collaboration Sue Cave’s session – Language Detectives Primary Show and Tell

¿Quién trae los regalos de navidades en Europa?

Thanks to José García Sánchez in the Secondary MFL Matters Facebook group for this lovely infographic/ map of European present givers. Whilst Christmas is past for most, Spain and those who follow the Orthodox calendar have another day or so before they receive their gifts on 6th January or Epiphany. I’ll certainly be thinking of activities to use this next year, perhaps preparing comprehension questions based around practising name of countries and / or nationalities but I’ll also be using it as soon as we go back to school as a way of eking out one last activity from the array of Christmas cards and greetings we received as part of our eTwinning projects.

Below are some images of our cards, temporarily taking over the Achievement Tree!

Ole Olentzero

For the last few years, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a lovely young Spanish lady at one of my schools. She has Basque heritage and last year, when I put on the ‘villancicos’ whilst we carried out our Christmas activities she asked if we could listen to Ole Olentzero. I obliged and the class were fascinated by the costumes and the unfamiliar words.  

This year, today in fact, she asked once more if we could listen to it. I’d forgotten about it to be honest until I started it, but the class recognised it immediately. Here it is:

I decided to do some research and discovered that “Olentzero is a character in the Basque Christmas tradition.  According to Basque traditions Olentzero comes to town late at night on the 24th of December to drop off presents for children.”  There are various explanations of the  origins of the tradition. One has Olentzero as one of jentillak, a mythological race of giants that lived in the Pyrenees. Another suggests that a newborn baby was found in the woods by fairies,  blessed with the name Olentzero as well as kindness and strength and gifted to a childless couple. He grew to be a strong man who was a charcoal burner and made wooden toys that he gifted to children, and is said to have died saving children from a burning house leading to the fairies granting him eternal life.

“Nowadays, Olentzero is depicted as a lovable character, widely attributed to being overweight, having a huge appetite and thirst. He is depicted as a Basque peasant wearing a Basque beret, a farmer’s attire with traditional abarketa shoes and smoking a pipe. Whether he has a beard or not is not yet an established tradition. Sometimes his face is stained with charcoal, as a sign of his trade as a charcoal-burner. On Christmas Eve, groups of people or children carry effigies of Olentzero around on a chair through the streets, singing Olentzero carols and collecting food or sweets. At the end, it is customary in some places to burn the Olentzero.”

You can find out more about how the legend/story has developed here and you find an English translation of the story here. There’s also a short presentation about Christmas in the Basque country on Slideplayer.

Finally I discovered that there’s an old  Basque proverb : Anything, anyone with a name exists if we believe in its/his/her existence.  I think that could apply to many Christmas traditions!

Next year I shall have to remember to play this song as N is moving to Australia next week; perhaps we’ll have to Skype her! I wish her well.

Merry Christmas! ¡Feliz Navidad! Eguberri On!

Hello Languages! from bsmall

“As lovers of all things British AND foreign, especially languages, the team at bsmall publishing are leading a crusade to keep foreign language learning alive in the minds of our kids and parents at home.”

Thus starts the press release from bsmall publishing, announcing their new series of books entitled Hello Languages.’

I’ve blogged about bsmall products in the past including the I can read series and their dual language books for older KS2 pupils, and I also helped them with some advice a couple of years ago, so I was really pleased to be contacted for my comments on this latest publication.

bsmall have approached the creation of these materials with the following in mind:

“Kids like cool facts and fun things to do. That’s why language learning books for kids should … take the essence of the language… [and] be bright, bold, fun and colourful..filled with practical examples of language in everyday life and [encouraging] kids to just have a go without fear of making mistakes.”

The Hello languages series is available in three languages – English, French and Spanish – and is bold, colourful and fun. It’s intended to be used independently by children rather than as a classroom resource, and comprises four books;

  • Beginner’s guide
  • Picture dictionary
  • Workbook
  • Colouring book

I was sent the Hello French! materials to have a peek before they were released.

The Beginner’s Guide is organised under 6 topics and takes one aspect for each double page; for example, in Viens chez moi there are pages on Ma famille, À la maison, La cuisine et le salon,  and Ma chambre et la salle de bains. It gives vocabulary and some useful phrases as well as a very short explanation or comment in English at the start of each topic as well as for certain themes such as the weather and time. The vocabulary is supplied as labels on a vibrant illustration, in French, English and with a guide to pronunciation.* There is also a word list at the back of the book for reference.

*I’m not a great fan of this as I think it can lead to confusion – how many of you have seen children laboriously copy out the phonetic version of words from a dictionary, and also over pronounciation – grassy arse? However, given that this is a resource for children to access on their own, without phonics input or a spoken example, perhaps supported by a parent who is also unaware of how to say the words/phrases, I can see the value of including the ‘how to pronounce’ notes.

The Workbook goes alongside the Beginner’s Guide, giving children an opportunity to apply what they learn in a series of Challenges – as the front page says ‘Practice makes perfect!’ On completion, children can check their answers at the back of the book and are invited to assess how they’ve got on by colouring or circling one of three faces – Bien, Pas mal or pas super.

The Colouring Book takes some of the topics and themes from the Beginner’s Guide and offers the opportunity to colour the illustration used in the latter as the child wishes, reinforcing vocabulary which is labelled as in the Beginner’s Guide.

The French-English Picture Dictionary is organised by topic with nine vocabulary items per page, and an alphabetical word list of the 350+ vocabulary items in French-English and English-French at the end.

This is a resource that I could happily recommend to a parent who wants to encourage their child’s language learning at home. It’s suitable for younger learners with some adult support in part (the workbook is labelled 6+ due to the required level of literacy) and could be used in the language being learned at school – for my pupils, this is Spanish – or in a new language – in my case, French.

You can find out more on the bsmall website – www.bsmall.co.uk  and, on their language learning pages, you see their other language resources including books, dual language texts, play scripts, sticker books, activity books  and card games and download a catalogue.