On May 6th I made the trip across Birmingham in rush hour traffic to attend TeachMeetWM organised by the irrepressible and absolutely bonkers Simone Haughey at her school Robin Hood Primary. I sadly missed the choir singing and the start of proceedings thanks to a staff meeting and the traffic, but I arrived in the end to be greeted by delicious Chinese food saved for me by Sim and lots of friendly faces including John Rolfe and AnaPaula Booth from the British Council, and the staff of Robin Hood who are obviously well used to Simone as they didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked if they had a couple of hula hoops I could borrow!
There were many great presentations on the night including a couple via video, and you can see what you missed by looking at the Storify of the tweets at the end of the post. However, my presentation is below as promised for those who were there. How I managed to explain it all in 7 minutes I do not know but I avoided being attacked with a cuddly toy! Do leave a comment if you have questions!
I’ve just completed the final week of the FutureLearn MOOC, Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching. A little early but I wanted to get it done as I need to concentrate on report writing
This week focussed on phonological and orthographic awareness, skills that are needed for successful spelling, reading and comprehension. It underlined the need to move from word level to text level, and the value of shared reading, pre-reading/pre-teaching, and of constant checking of comprehension to avoid gaps in understanding being left unplugged.
Below are my sketch notes. I hope they’re useful!
4.3 – Developing phonological and phonemic awareness (Professor Joanna Nijawska)
4.6 – Multisensory tasks to teach spelling
4.8 – Helping children with reading comprehension difficulties (Professor Kate Cain)
4.10 – Developing dyslexic learners’ reading skills (Dr Anne Margaret Smith)
I’ve just completed Week 3 of the Dyslexia and Foreign Language Learning course. This week focussed on teaching grammar and vocabulary to learners with dyslexia. Some dyslexic learners explained the techniques that did and didn’t work for them and how their learning environment affects their learning, some language teachers explained how they might teach grammar and vocabulary to dyslexic learners and we were challenged to mind map out learning and also design a task based on our learning so far.
Below are my sketch notes once more. I hope you find them helpful. I shared them in the comments section of the task on mind mapping as I think that sketch notes could be seen as mind maps with pictures. I certainly find them very helpful!
3.2 Dyslexic learners talk about learning strategies.
3.5 Teaching vocabulary and grammar (Dr Anne Margaret Smith)
Week 2 of the course focussed on understanding what aspects of language learning dyslexic students might find difficult and how we can assist in making language learning more enjoyable and less challenging for these students by making accommodations.
Below are my sketch notes of the videos; I’m enjoying sketch noting and finding that my own ‘style’ is starting to develop. (Still not happy with my drawings but I’m getting better!)
2.2 – Dyslexic students talk about their experiences
2.3 – Foreign language learning and dyslexia (Dr Margaret Crombie)
2.6 – Accommodating dyslexic learners in the classroom (Dr Anne Margaret Smith)
2.10 – Using IT to teach students with dyslexia (Dr Margaret Crombie)
I’ve now caught up with posts from the last two weeks so the next post will be a few days on coming whilst I finish week 3!
If you follow me on Twitter, you can get a sneak preview as I post each sketch note as I complete it. Otherwise, ¡hasta pronto!
I’m currently doing a MOOC (massive open online course) with FutureLearn called Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching. It’s a four week course and is free to do. I know that quite a few people from my PLN, whether on Twitter or Facebook, are doing it too, and the participants represent a range of languages as well as phases.
It’s proving very interesting and I’m discovering that, whilst I do many of the things that are suggested as being helpful, I also do some unhelpful things that I thought would help.
To help me internalise things, I am sketch noting each video I watch and, whilst I have shared them on Twitter and in the Language in Primary Schools Facebook group, I thought at the end of each week I should share them here too.
So, here’s week 1 which started by considering some common assumptions and beliefs before looking at the theoretical concepts and issues related to dyslexia and other specific learning differences (SLD); I prefer differences (UK) instead of difficulties or disorders (US).
1.5 – Students with dyslexia talk about some difficulties that they face
1.8 – The effect of dyslexia on language learning (Dr Judit Kormos)
1.10 – The nature of reading difficulties (Professor Kate Cain)
During one of the modules for this week we were asked to use our non dominant hand to copy out a text in 3 minutes, with the lined paper on its side and substituting certain vowels for symbols in order to discover what it might be like for a dyslexic student to write under pressure. Oh, and to stand up too whilst we did it. Below is my attempt. It was very hard and very frustrating!
British Council Ambassadors from across the UK assembled in Manchester this weekend to meet one another and find out more about British Council projects, strategies and plans. Starting on Friday lunchtime and finishing today at midday, the conference was ‘all go’ with early starts (first session at 8.30am on a Saturday?) and a timetable that was stretched as time passed all too fast.
I decided to continue my sketch note journey and bought a new notebook on the way to the station, one that stays open on its own (spiral bound) and is slightly larger – and square which seemed to help!
Below are my sketchnotes and links to important /useful sites from the conference. I’m sorry that I had to leave early and missed the final sessions. I’ll catch up when the final presentations are shared!
Opening session (Emma Chaplin) plus quotations from the conference.
Dr Mark Potts – Living out our values
Update on SchoolsOnline: how it works (John McMurtrie) and what it offers and will offer – exciting stuff! (Vicky Gough)
British Council Strategy presented by Stephen Hull
Connecting Classrooms Professional Development offerings shared by Katherine Walakira
International School Award – Ludmila Vávrová (and John Rolfe!)
Funding for three more years of Connecting Classrooms; Stephen Hull shares plans to spend it!
Gary Shiells and Ana Paula Booth talk eTwinning as it celebrates its 10th birthday!
Dorota Drajewicz and Bethan Dinning – Erasmus+ opportunities for schools
Last Thursday I headed to Newcastle for ALL Connected, the title of this year’s Language World conference taking place on 20-21st March at Newcastle University. I look forward to LW each year as it’s a conference that offers lots of ideas but also lots to challenge my “little grey cells” and make me think.
This year I decided to replace my normal note taking with Sketchnoting as started at #ililc5. I’d tried using Paper app on my iPad there and found it quite tricky to use to the extent that it was distracting me from the session content. I’ll persevere and practice further but for Language World I choose a different tool – the notebook and pen! Actually, notebook, pens and pencils! I’m a strong believer in choosing the correct tool for the job, be that an iPad, a pencil and pen or a slate and chalk, and this combination allowed me to write more easily, select colour at will and, most importantly, focus on what was being said rather than worrying about zooming in and out or accidentally drawing whilst trying to make the toolbar reappear!
Below are my sketch notes created over the two days. I did them all ‘live’ – no retouching afterwards apart from one on which I’d made a mistake with someone’s name and felt I really should correct it as she’d won an award and deserved it!
Bertram Richter and Rebecca Bolland – Planning for Progress @KS2
Vicky Cooke – Teaching reading in KS2: leading learners towards independence
Jackie Rayment – Primary Languages Quality Mark
Bernadette Holmes – Interculturalism: The Power of 3
Clare Seccombe – Be a crafty languages teacher
Greg Horton – Talking the talk in the MFL Classroom
Rachel Hawkes – ALL for all and all for ALL: ALL CONNECT
René Koglbauer – ALL Connected: a celebration of language learning & teaching and volunteers.
Nadine Chadier – It’s all about the code
Wendy Adeniji – How can your teaching be consistently good or outstanding?
Roma Franziska Schultz and Emma Whittle – Ideas for using literature and developing literacy in the Primary Classroom
Rachel Hawkes – Memory and thought: why we can’t have one without the other.
Steven Fawkes – Now we are 25
Looking back on them, it’s amazing how much more I can recall about the sessions than I would following my more traditional note taking; my page was smaller than A5 so I had to carefully consider each word/phrase I wrote or picture I drew. I successfully kept to one page per session (45-50minutes) apart from two sessions where there was just too much to fit onto one page.
I’m still learning and developing my own style and I certainly need to work on my drawings (there’s a tortoise on one that looks like a sheep!) but I’m pleased with the way it’s going. I intend to keep working on it, and I’ll persevere with my iPad but I’ll save that for times when there’s no ‘time pressure.’
Ever since #ililc5 when Janet Lloyd introduced us to this French song for gaining attention and restoring quiet in the classroom, I’ve been searching for a Spanish equivalent. So far I’ve not found one but it got me thinking about using songs and rhymes to create calm.
I have to admit that I tend to use them to either create excitement and action – see posts about La Vaca Lola and Choco Choco la la, two of my favourite songs, or to teach vocabulary – for example, see these posts on Yo quiero ser by Nubeluz or La finca del Tío Ramón and Hojas Hojas that I subtitled using Amara. However, I began to use this song to start all my lessons in KS1 at the start of the year and noted that as well as signalling the start of the Spanish lesson, it focused us all and calmed everyone down.
Part of the appeal is the routine, but I also think that the actions help. And as I was searching, lots of the songs and rhymes I found were either about or used your hands so I thought that warranted a post!
I came across some lovely songs that I think would certainly work for restoring calm, focusing attention and creating a ‘brain break’ during class:
1. El pourri de las manos
I love this collection of songs which could be used separately or as a whole! Each is only about 40 seconds long and all can be sung/acted on the carpet as well as in seats. Some helpful (opposites) vocabulary too – content/triste, arriba/abajo, abre/cierra, allí/allá.
I also like the way that it starts very calm and then gets a little more animated but not too much!
This is one of the songs included in the above video – I think the ‘band’ will be very popular, and it’s still very chilled with the saxophone and calm actions!
Saco una manito. La hago bailar, / I take out one hand. I make it dance. La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again. Saco la otra manito. La hago bailar, / I take out the other hand. I make it dance. La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again. Saco las dos manitos. Las hago bailar, / I take out two hands. I make them dance. Las cierro, las abro y las vuelvo a guardar. / I close them, I open them, and I put them away again.
A very very simple song in which you touch each finger together one after the other then all together.
Palmas con un dedo, palmas con el otro, doy con el más largo, luego con el otro,
viene el más pequeño…
¡Y luego con todos!
Éste dedo es la mama,éste otro es el papa,el más grande es el hermanocon la niña de la mano,
el chiquito va detrás.
Todos salen a pasear
4. El zapatero
This song about a shoemaker is the Spanish equivalent of Wind the bobbin up with arm rolling forward and back, pull, pull and then ‘pan pan pan’ as you gently hammer the shoe.
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
I’ve seen this rhyme before but had forgotten about it. A nonsense rhyme, but with hand actions that require some concentration.
Continuing on the original thought of bringing the class together, this might work as I’ve yet to find a class that don’t want to wiggle their bottoms given half a chance!
Mis manos hacen clap clap clap
Mis pies hacen stamp stamp stamp
Mi boca hace la la la
Cintura hace cha cha cha
Other rhymes using your hands include Los dedos de las manos and there are several more here including Dedo pulgar (the Spanish version of Tommy Thumb) and Cinco ratoncitos in which one less finger or ‘ratoncitos’ comes out each time to play! And the ever helpful Spanish Playground has some other suggestions too.
I was going to talk about clapping rhymes but I think I’ll save that for another post as they aren’t really very calming 😉
I’ll try some of these out in class and let you know what happens.
PS Over the last two weeks Y2 and I have been exploring world dance and this week we did some ‘flamenco’ arm work. There was utter concentration so perhaps that’s another avenue to explore!
I was rather gobsmacked when Zena asked me to do the closing keynote at #ililc5. An offer I couldn’t refuse but daunting nonetheless. Especially as there was no ‘theme’ this year so I could talk about ‘anything’ according to my instructions!
As Christmas came and passed and I still hadn’t really been inspired, I grew more concerned. It wasn’t until mid January that a seed of an idea formed in my head. I’d been prepared to talk about Cupcakes and Smiles at TeachMeet BETT, a short presentation on education being about ‘feeding’ minds but also celebrating and rewarding learning, and that we did it for those ‘smiles’ that happen when the lightbulb goes on, when the unexpected happens, when you’re speechless at something a child has said and so on. There was no time for my presentation then – although I still shared my cakes. I was a bit annoyed as lugging a few dozen cupcakes from Birmingham and around London on the train and Tube is no fun and nor is being told off for daring to ice them in the presence of Sir Ken Robinson but that’s the way it works. Still, I liked the idea of cupcakes and when there were queries as to why I made cupcakes for TeachMeetBETT but not ILILC, the idea began to germinate.
Over the next few weeks I still wasn’t entirely sure what I’d say but a thought here and there occurred to me. Stupidly I didn’t write them down and I’m sure some ‘got away’. However, with help from my husband John (who must be fed up of my food/language analogies!) who told me to get a grip (and a notepad), Cooking on gas (other fuels are available) grew.
Ready to start?
On the day, armed with new shoes and an assortment of cupcakes, I shared my thoughts about language teaching and learning with the remnant that had managed to survive to the (not so bitter) end. And it was recorded! (I’d forgotten about that part until I was standing there.) You can watch it here.
As my presentation was in Keynote and delivered from my own MBP, the slides don’t show up in the recording but are all synced and appear alongside (thank you to the lovely Matt for doing that!) I’ve added the videos that you can’t see but can hear at the bottom of this post; I know that the Intermarché one about Les fruits et légumes moches has already proved helpful to more than one person!
I summarised some of the main messages right at the end (go to 45 minutes) if you don’t have time for the whole thing, and I’ve also added a Storify of the tweeting that was going on during the presentation; I certainly found it interesting to see what people had taken from my words and thoughts. And I was gobsmacked by the sketch notes too. Thank you Clare, Simone, Jane, Rachel and Catrin, and Alex, Jonathan and Ceri who had a cupcake in their ILILC5 summary sketch notes too. (If I’ve missed any, apologies and please tell me; I’ve been in a bit of stupor all week!)
It’s very different when you’re sharing your personal thoughts, reflections and passions; it made me feel very vulnerable so I’m really glad that people picked up on and identified with the key messages I wanted to share.
Start at 1.10 until 1.30 for the key bit:
PS At 23 minutes, I start talking about my language hero, and whilst I think I communicated that she was special, I didn’t share all that I might have done as time was pressing and I was getting choked up. So in my next post, I’ll tell you all about Luz Sánchez-Richardson, my language hero!
Here is the presentation and notes for my introduction to Twitter session at #ililc5.
I’d delivered a similar presentation before at the National eTwinning Conference in July but since then, new possibilities have arisen and these have been added. For example, you can now send video directly from the Twitter app (record it and send) rather than going via another app, and there is also the possibility of group DMs. Additionally, I’ve added a page of links to other useful material as well as making the ideas more language centred.
I hope those that attended found it useful – I know at least one started tweeting so that’s success in my book!