Eins zwei drei Tier / Tierbabys

On a recent flying visit to Switzerland I found myself in Orell Füssli at the airport and made a couple of purchases.

Firstly I had a good rummage in the Pixi Bücher ‘bubble.’ (Should’ve taken a photo of it as I can’t find one anywhere!) For those unfamiliar with Pixi Bücher, they are tiny (about 10cm square) paperback books that cost about 1 euro 50 or 1.90 CHF. There are a variety of types including stories, information books and sticker books.

I was immediately drawn to  Eins zwei drei Tier as it has an amusing cover and on opening it, I decided that it would be a good buy for my upcoming German club at school as it’s very simple. Each page has four characters on it; on the first page, three people are followed by a wolf; on the next, three wolves by a pig and so on. Each image is accompanied by a word, the third of which rhymes with the fourth which is the name of the animal.  Some are names, some adjectives and some prepositions. Hopefully this image explains it if you don’t get the idea.I thought it would be good to read the book then give learners a list of the animals and see if they could predict the name of the animal in fourth place each time the next time I read it.

 

My other purchase was a set of cards called Tierbabys. I thought that they were Top Trumps with statistics on, and had envisaged using them to rehearse numbers and the like in the context of animals, but they’re actually for playing Happy Families, with four animals in each of eight ‘families’ grouped by environment in which they’d be found. Interesting from a vocabulary point of view – how do you say foal in German? And calf? What does junge mean? And küken? And also good for rehearsing the question “Hast du…” as well as manners – Danke to say thanks, Es tut mir leid to say sorry you haven’t and so on. So not quite what I’d envisaged but still useful. And the baby animals are very cute too!

 

We’re off to Germany on holiday this summer so I expect to add more to my collection ready for September and my long planned German club at school!

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Using technology to enhance and engage – #PLN17 29.06.17

Now that term is at an end I have finally got around to uploading my presentation to Slideshare and writing this post!
As I said previously, it was a very successful day and I hoped that what I had planned to share would live up to that which had gone before! There were lots of encouraging noises made as I was speaking and also some lovely messages afterwards so I think there were at least a few nuggets of gold!

You can find supporting links on this wikipage (link also on the penultimate page of the presentation) including the URLs of the quizzes that we didn’t have time to complete including my Classtools bin sorting and my Kahoot Schwytzerdütsch quiz!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me a message via Twitter, LiPS or email!

Reporting back from #PLN17 29.06.17

On Thursday, I had the privilege – and it really was a privilege – of delivering one of the keynotes at the Primary Languages Network conference in Lymm. It was a day jam packed with ideas and demonstrated the power and value of a community of teachers and learners, bouncing ideas of each other and sharing their light bulb moments. And celebrating those ideas too.

I did my best to sketch note all the sessions, including the Spotlight sessions, and you can see them below. I would recommend that you follow the PLN blog to keep abreast of all the fantastic ideas that spring out of the network (This post was inspired by the day), and even consider joining for further support and inspiration!

Thanks to Janet for inviting me – I had a wonderful day! You can see some of the highlights in the video at the bottom of the post!

Details of my session will follow in the next post!

Keeping it Primary – the wonderful Therese Comfort shared what makes Primary language learning so special, with special stickers from La Petite Souris/El Ratoncito Pérez/ die Zahnfee.

How to identify progressDan Alliot talked about what progress looks like in primary language learning, and challenged us to flip the triangle so it’s not always point first!

Embedding phonics in Language LearningSue Cave challenged us to pronounce Hungarian words using phonics to support us, talking us through the 7 stepping stones to ‘code breaking’ and sharing ideas of how to practice and reinforce phonics in French.

Throughout the day there were Spotlights – shorter presentations of one or two ideas each from PLN associates and also exhibitors. I’ve tried to capture them all in the above – some with more success than others (spot the pig that looks suspiciously like a cow!) Ideas included songs for EDL, games, purposeful writing activities using technology, AR dragons, using actions and creating raps and poems.

 

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#eTUK17 – the sketchnotes

I spent this past weekend in Nottingham at the 12th eTwinning UK National Conference held at The DeVere Jubilee Conference Centre – always the NCSL to me though! The name of the venue might have changed but the sense of community, fun and learning never varies, and once more I came away inspired, energised and still laughing at onions, pants and Bollywood Maori dance moves.

The theme this year was inclusion and below are my sketchnotes from the sessions I attended. Lots to reflect on and many ideas forming already.

If you want to find out more about eTwinning or any of the other British Council programmes including the International School Award or ISA, feel free to ask questions using the comments below or the contact form. I am a British Council Ambassador and would love to help!

Professor Sonia Blandford – Achievement for All

 

An interesting session on Lyfta, a Finnish designed VR and AR resource to facilitate global awareness and empathy.

 

Manju Patel-Nair – Diversity in the global classroom; beyond the single story

 

Andy Cope – The Art of Being Briliiant
Amazingly motivating session – being a #2%er in my special pants.

 

Jo Speak talks passionately about Inclusive Pedagogies

 

Paddy Carroll shares about The F word – failure, and how his project worked on developing resilience through learning from failure.

 

Joe Dale shares how to use Clips by Apple as well as Autodraw (a web tool) and a number of other apps.

¡Mi familia es de otro mundo!

A couple of years ago I was asked to help produce some lesson plans for around celebrating and exploring diversity and enabling everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination.* 

As part of this I did some research into books in Spanish that would be suitable for this purpose.

One of the plans I wrote was around families all being different and getting away from mum, dad and 2 kids = a family. At the time I did not use a book as the basis of the resources I made, but I’ve since found this book that I think is a lovely resource that I’d like to use next time we look at families. I envisage choosing a few chapters to read and discuss as a five-ten minute segment, perhaps in conjunction with RE/PSHE that I often teach as well as Spanish.

ISBN – 978-607-9344-32-0

Buy from Amazon 

Mi familia es de otro mundo literally means My family is from another world, but actually means My family is out of this world in the sense of being amazing. The book tells the stories of seven children, each one with a family to share, each family different.

There’s Juli whose parents have split up and spends part of the week with each, Lu who has two Dads who get married with her as ring bearer, Santi who looks nothing like his parents as they adopted him as a baby, Sol and Matu who are test tube babies, Vale who has an Argentinian Dad and a Chinese Mum so has two cultural identities, Leo whose Dad died when he was small so it’s just him and his Mum – and Negro the dog, and Fran who has what he calls una familia enredadera, literally a tangled family with parents who have split up and have new partners and/or children.

Each story is told very simply in short paragraphs of a very sentences with a longer information box that clarifies or explores some of the ideas and issues raised. The book concludes with more family models including grandparents as prime carers, parents whose jobs mean that they don’t see their children for months on end, surrogate mothers, extended families. foster families and globetrotting families with children born in a variety of countries.

El Mundo de Juli – Dos casas

El Mundo de Vale – Dos años nuevos

El Mundo de Lu – Papá, Papi y yo

El Mundo de Santi – Tomados de la mano

I really like some of the images that are used to explain families, in particular the idea of some families not fitting on a family tree but rather a family climbing plant!

The book concludes as below. In English:

Every family has a way of living, of sharing, of celebrating, of arguing, of loving. There are no two the same.

Sometimes because of that when we compare our family with another we think “My family is from a  different world!” Or when someone sees something in a family that is a bit odd to them they whisper “Every family is a world (or each family to their own)”

But in fact, there is only on world, this one, where there’s room for all families.

This is a message that I think is really important as we look to encourage children to value diversity and to understand that our life is much richer by learning about and from others’ experiences. We might not share their beliefs and we may find some of their ways a little odd but we all live on the same planet, have the same basic needs and, in the words of Jo Cox, “we have far more in common than that divides us.”

I’ll share more of my ideas of how we can do this in other ways too in future posts. Other books that might interest you along the same lines:

El gran libro de las families  (in English The Great Big Book of Families )

Cada familia a su aire; el gran libro de la familia

The Family Book

*I wrote the KS 1 and 2 MFL, and KS1 and KS2 ICT lesson plans that you can find on the Educate and Celebrate website here under PRIMARY. 

Así eran los romanos (Sabelotodo)

The other book I purchased at Foyles belongs to the series Sabelotodo which translates as Knowitall or Smartypants.

I was torn between two books, this one and one about dinosaurs. In the end I chose this one as the other book I bought was about dinosaurs. You can see a couple of images from the dinosaur one at the bottom of the post.

I liked this series as it’s very child friendly with bright images and short chunks of information on a theme for each double page spread along with a ¿Sabías que…? strip of interesting facts. The pictures draw you in and contain such great incidental language; I particularly like the exclamations at the gladiator fight!

Así eran los Romanos covers Roman life, society, the army, Roman inventions such as the baths, food, Roman emperors and Roman gods. 

I’m sure that it would be well read if I were to lend it to Y4 – particularly as we have a bulge year with 3 instead of 2 classes at one of my schools! I wonder how long it would take them to find these interesting facts…

Y4 study the Romans at both my schools and I developed a whole unit linking their Spanish with the topic several years ago. I was sure I’d shared it but it seems I was mistaken; I shared (at length!) about The Egyptians

However I do have a lot of my ‘finds’ bookmarked on a Pinterest board – https://www.pinterest.com/lisibo/spanish-romans/ – many of which I’ve used in class. I particularly like the resources on icarito.cl including the image below that learners used to label a Roman. There are similar diagrams for roads and Roman army camps.

http://www.icarito.cl/2009/12/como-se-vestian-los-romanos.shtml/

The lolly stick problem was also very popular with learners who puzzled over it for ages! And finally, here’s a worksheet I made to compare Spanish French Latin and Roman numerals.

worksheet-LAT-SP-FR-ROM-NUMBERS-1-31

Anyone tried any Roman activities? Do share them in the comments!

 

Mi dragón y yo (David Biedrzycki)

 

On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.

Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)

 


It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story

Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:

Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.

Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?

Le daría el nombre …..  – I’d call it……

Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives

Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?

Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..

Viviría …………. – It would live….

and so on.

Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.

For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:

There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.

In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:

Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.

And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!

And if you’re looking for a story to read that has a message, I liked El dragón que escupía chocolate. And Nattalingo recommends El dragón frío on her blog.

There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!

Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!

Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…

Veo veo ¿a quién ves? – un libro animado con solapas

As I came towards the end of sharing the books I bought in Bilbao at Easter, it dawned on me that I’d bought some lovely books in Barcelona last May and not shared them. Here’s one of them!

I was initially drawn by the title as it reminded me of the game (similar reason why I bought the book I shared a couple of weeks ago, also called Veo Veo ); I explain the game in this post and also here.

However, I was even more excited when I opened the book.

  1. I love a flap book as I find that they offer an extra something when you read them aloud, adding a mystery that needs solving, a secret that needs discovering. And they really engage learners who all want to uncover what lies beneath, a great classroom management tool with young kids as you only get to open the flap if you’re sitting quietly.
  2. It’s on a favourite theme of mine, animals, one that is often revisited in the time learners spend at my school. 
  3. There are twenty animals featured in the book, but each page focuses on 5 of them, with a single sentence leading to the identity of one of those five animals. Therefore the possible answer is limited to one of those five, making it easier for young learners or beginners to offer a suitable answer. 
  4. Each clue is a single sentence followed by ¿Quién soy? and are mostly very simple. Some are simply the noise that the animal makes, others refer to the physical appearance of the animal and others talk about the preferred food of the animal.
  5. Lifting the flaps is fun enough but each opened flap on the page adds to the picture of the next. Hard to describe so I’ve videoed it. Very clever!
  6. I have another book called Animales Salvajes that has much longer clues to the identity of an animal that I’ve used with Y2 and whilst they enjoyed the book, the longer clue went over their heads (although I enjoyed them!) and their guesses were more random based on the images rather than the Spanish. This book would work better for them, but the animals are not specifically jungle animals so I guess I’d have to write my own…
  7. …and writing our own version would be a really simple and fun activity for older learners to share with younger ones. Perhaps one I’ll try out with Y6 as they continue on their learning abut verbs and recap all that they have learned over their years of Spanish.
  8. And finally, there are actually 21 animals in the book with ‘un regalo’ on the final page!

 

Non-fiction to engage reluctant learners.

Continuing my posts on non-fiction texts, here are some suggestions of texts that you might use to engage those hard to please learners who need something a bit different to capture their attention.

Firstly, some DK Readers that I bought a long while ago on Amazon. They come in several levels as you can see below, ranging from one sentence per page plus reinforcing illustrated vocabulary through simple sentences using repetitive language to the inclusion of information boxes and fact files and beyond.

 

The three I have come from the lower levels as they were bought to be accessed pretty independently by learners, and are on topics that I don’t specifically teach so the vocabulary is mostly unknown.

This is taken from El Mundo Marino which belongs in the lowest level ‘prenivel 1 para principiantes’ and I used this with Y1 last year when they were looking at the seaside. I read it to the class, focusing on the names of the things found in the sea rather than the meaning of the phrases. It was then left for reading during the week by anyone that fancied and also as an activity for those who finished quickly. Perhaps you could encourage learners to label a picture of a sea creature using the book as a reference?

The second book is called Gigantes de Hierro and was bought when I had a pupil who was obsessed with vehicles. I now know a little boy who would very much appreciate this book! It contains some great pictures and I found it fun expanding my heavy machinery vocabulary to include un camión de volteo, una aplanadora  and una carretilla elevadora. Of course, it’s good for a bit of role reversal with learner teaching the teacher new words; just proves nobody knows everything! It’s a good book to read with a child or to a group of children, particularly with the onomatopoeia!

And then there’s ¡Insectos! which comes from ‘nivel 2 Lectura asistida’ and has some wonderful photographs of insects as well as interesting information. It’s quite complex as it’s a direct translation of the English version, but not impenetrable. For the page above left I might ask questions such as:

  • What is the name of that insect in English? Use the text to help you if you don’t know.
  • We call it a praying mantis – do you think the Spanish name is similar? Why?
  • What do you think ‘inmóvil’ means? Why?
  • Can you find a word for ‘huge eyes’ in the text? (relying on them knowing ‘ojo’)
  • How do you say ‘Its front legs trap the fly’?
  • Find the words from jump, trap, disappear

I like the fact file at the end too which,if anything, is the most accessible as the facts are so short. I’d have translations of each fact and ask learners to match them up with the Spanish as an extension activity perhaps, or as a little challenge!

If you search DK Readers Spanish on Amazon there are several including El Mundo Marino and Insectos although most come from the USA so beware the postage!


Deportes de riesgo – El vestuario de pegatinasI bought this book at El Prat in Barcelona last year as I was about to embark on sports with a particularly feisty Y6 cohort and needed all the ammunition I could get to keep them with me for the last half term! Every time we learn the vocabulary of sports there are children, usually boys it has to be said, who want to say that they do activities and play games other than the ‘stock’ ones like football, rugby, basketball, swimming and horse riding. And why not? I’m forever encouraging learners to be imaginative and ‘make it up’ in Spanish lessons so I can’t really object when they want to say that they go scuba diving or skateboarding. And this book covers, as the title suggests, some marvellously dangerous and unusual sports. It not only gives the name for the sport, but also talks about the equipment required which fits perfectly with the Light Bulb Languages unit that looks at sporting clothing and equipment to explore the definite and indefinite article. Again I wouldn’t let them use the stickers on the pages but I’d use the stickers on card and cut out to ‘dress’ the sports people, or indeed use the central pages as a picture dictionary which is what I did last time I used it.

There are sports mentioned that I’d never heard of, and it’s always good to find out the technical words in Spanish associated with sports. For example, someone who does el parkour is called un traceur or una trace use (all taken from French which is where it originated), un piolet is an ice axe and climbing chalk is polvo de magnesio

If I can bear it, I might even separate the pages of the book and use the pages as ‘laminas’ with questions associated with each, as well as reading activities to dress the people in the images according to written instructions.

One complaint about this book – there are four female sports people and over thirty male. Girls like dangerous sports too, Usborne!

ISBN – 978-1-4095-7265-7

Buy from Amazon and Ediciones Usborne 


My last collection of books in this post are from Mini Larousse 

I love these books for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re attractive with amusing illustrations that draw you in so can be enjoyed even if you don’t understand a word!
  • The text is in Spanish handwriting which is again novel, adds something to the reading challenge and is a good way to add a bit of culture and ‘authenticity’ as well.
  • The texts are presented in short chunks using bold to pick out key words.

Being a football fan, El fútbol was the first one that I purchased, attracted by the cover that features La Selección winning La Copa Mundial with recognisable drawings of players (although Iker Casillas has strangely got very dark hair and a huge chin!) In fact there are players throughout the book that learners will recognise including Frank Lampard, Bufon, Gerrard and even Gary Lineker.

I like the combination of prose and labeled images, and the balance of images to text is about right to not put off reluctant readers in  UKS2. As with previous books, I’d be happy for learners to access them individually and use the pictures and their knowledge of football in conjunction with language learning skills to read as they wish. To offer some guidance you could produce a list of key words and phrases in English and challenge learners to find the equivalent in spanish, perhaps giving them the page number as a clue.



Caballeros y castillos is a book that Y3 would find interesting  as one of their topics is all about castles and involves organising an imaginary jousting competition, complete with stalls and ‘betting’ on the jousts (from Youtube!) The page able would be useful for finding the names of people involved in the joust, and the one below could be used as the stimulus to design and describe ‘escudos’ (a twist on the Y3 Spanish topic on shape and colour)

And then there’s Los Piratas which is a bit advanced for the KS1 topic on treasure but great for reading for pleasure. Good to see some famous female pirates featured in this book!

You can purchase El fútbol and Los Dinosaurios in this series from Little Linguist.

ISBN – 978-84-15411-16-1 El Fútbol

ISBN – 978-84-15411-14-7 Los Piratas

ISBN – 978-84-15411-18-5 Caballeros y castillos

Other books include El Universo, La Prehistoria, Los 5 sentidos and El Cuerpo Humano.


Any ideas you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Non-fiction books – Science

Following on from my post on Arts themed non-fiction books, here are some books I have collected that have a scientific theme.

1001 bichitos para buscar con pegatinas

I bought this book in Barcelona last year for our Y1s who study mini beasts. I bought it not as a sticker book – imagine one book of stickers between 61 children! – but as a reference book for them to look for and name mini beasts, and for them to be able to label their science bilingually. I also like the variety of habitats shown including the desert, a cave and a rainforest, places that Y1 may well have not visited. As you can see via the link below, there are other books in the series including one about animals and another about pirates (another Y1 theme!)

Link to purchase

ISBN – 9781474909303


Larousse – Las estaciones


I can’t recall when I bought this book, or from where, but it is one of my favourites for its simplicity and range of information.

The above pages are brilliant for comprehension with learners given a grid with the four seasons and asked to fill it with the weather phrases from the text. It also has some phrases that more able learners like to ‘magpie’ such as no hace ni mucho calor ni mucho frío, estalla una tormenta,  and ráfagas de viento (which I admit was a new one for me too!) as well as using más and menos 

This double page spread covers what happens in spring and could be used for finding the word for… sap, roots, branches, buds, leaves, to sew seeds; and also for looking at the relationship between fruits – manzanas y cerezas (with which learners are familiar) and the trees on which they grow – manzanos y cerezos. And aren’t the illustrations wonderful?

One last double page which would be useful to Y2 who look at life in Antarctica. There’s a similar page for life near the equator where it’s always hot.

It’s listed on Amazon.co.uk at the ridiculous price of £173 but if you go to Amazon.com, the same series are more reasonably priced at $3.95

ISBN – 978-970-22-1445-8


¿Por qué  el Planeta Tierra es tan especial?

Planets is a Y5 theme that I’ve used many times as a cross curricular link with Spanish (see this post for my solar system plate books!), and this book was purchased several years ago, along with others, in Barcelona on a Comenius Regio trip. It was chosen by a non Spanish speaking colleague who felt that she could understand it, could use it and that her class would enjoy looking at it. And so it proved. This book, and another which is at school and that I’ll share another time, sit in the class library for the duration of the topic and are referred to regularly. Learners don’t understand every word but they like the graphics and enjoy the thrill of ‘reading’ in Spanish.

Again, the information is easy to decode as the learners are familiar with information about the planets such as their order, and can work out key vocabulary such as atmósfera, oxígeno, fricción, meteoritos, rayos, gira, respirar and so on. Great practice for huge numbers too!

The book isn’t just about the planets though; it’s about why Earth is so brilliant, and it concludes with several pages about climate change and how we can prevent our planet from becoming less conducive to life.

Buy from Little Linguist

ISBN978-84-261-3805-7


Pregunta al Dr Edi Lupa sobre el Clima

I bought this book from eBay and it’s one of my favourites. The texts are more challenging, and learners need more support to access them but the whole concept is worth the effort. It forms part of a series of books in which Dr Edi Lupa answers the letters of concerned animals on a  number of topics, in this case, the climate. The letter from the animal appears on the left and then the response of Dr Edi Lupa on the facing page. These are often followed by double page spreads that expand on and further clarify explanations.

I particularly like the Glosario at the end which explains some key words simply in Spanish. You could make a great matching up game with this that could be kept as an extension activity for Science lessons. In fact, you could make an activity out of the water cycle explanation above by removing the speech bubble words and asking learners to put them back in the right places so that the process works.

To buy from Amazon

ISBN – 978-84-96609-45-7


So that’s my ‘scientific’ themed books – or the ones I have at home at least! Do you have any favourites that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below if you do!