Let’s get active (part 3) – ¡Vámonos!

Let’s get active (part 3)

| Posted in active learning, ELL RSG, games, rhymes, songs

It’s taken me longer than I expected, but here’s the rest of the input from the Birmingham ELL RSG on November 20th – Let’s get active! – giving ideas on activities for the PLL classroom that get the kids actively involved in learning language.

I’ve already blogged about some games and a song – Jean Petit qui danse – that were suggested by Sara Vallis and also shared my input on using parachutes and also some action songs such as Le fermier dans son pré and El granjero (you’ll find the files in my Box of Goodies on the right hand side of the blog.)

So, all that’s left is to tell you what the ‘experts’ (i.e. the advisors!) said!

Paul Nutt – whose exact title currently eludes me and Google ;o) – started the session by reading us a passage in French about hobbies and pasttimes. It was in the form of a letter and was not a simple text, but the activities he suggested made it accessible to younger learners who had some understanding of French.

The first activity involved us being split into groups and each group being given the name of a pasttime. Our task was to listen for our activity (my group had ‘le rugby’)and stand up each time it was mentioned, with everyone standing up for ‘les passetemps’.

The next time we listened we were given cards with the vocabulary items written on them. Our task was to hold up the appropriate word when we heard it. To make things a little more complicated, we rotated the person who held up the card so sometimes there were a number of hands grabbing for cards!

Following on from this, we were challenged to put the words into alphabetical order against the other teams.

By this time, we had heard the text and the vocabulary items a number of times, and our next task was to write as many of the hobbies and pasttimes in English as we could recall -the cards were taken away at this point so no cheating was allowed :o(

The final part of the activity involved different cards, this time with phrases as well as vocabulary items, from which we were challenged to make sentences. For example,
From here, we discussed how the activity might go, with pupils being encouraged to substitute pasttimes and opinions, add qualifiers and connectives, give reasons for opinions etc.

This seemed a good idea and I actually tried it out the next day with Year 6 – I read a passage of personal identification information and I challenged them in mixed ability groups of 4 to put the text into the correct order whilst listening. I know that listening is the skill about which they have the most hang ups – even more than with speaking- so I was interested to see how they did. It proved a success and we took it on to the next stage when we discussed how we might use the activity to inform our own writing. The pupils suggested annotating the slips and substituting numbers, sports, names etc to personalise the passage. Here are some photos of their ideas.

Rona Heald – Comenius West Midlands Regional Manager – shared some activities for the hall and playground.
She began with a song about measuring –

Un kilomètre à pied,
ça use, ça use.

Un kilomètre à pied,

ça use les souliers.

The song continues with ‘deux kilomètre’ etc .
It’s very easy to learn and is sung whilst marching around in a line. Rona suggested using it with instructions as to HOW the pupils should march and sing – marchez…lentement, sur place, accroupis, au galop, à quatre pattes, les mains en l’air, en faissent sauter une crêpe… et… changez de direction.
This reminded me of a session I attended at the Primary Language Show last year about linking ELL with Physical development in Foundation Stage – suggested activities included jumping the rope where the leader holds up two coloured cards and calls a colour then the pupils jump to the correct side to indicate answer, and walking the line where the class walk around a line on the floor whilst singing a song – the above would be a good choice!

Rona went on to present different ways of playing hopscotch from around the world. The names themselves were an education – La Marelle (France) El Muñeco (Spain) Tempelhuepfen(German) Hinkelbann (Netherlands – I think!) Rayuela (Argentina). We were also treated to a discussion of another variation called Escargot or La Marelle ronde’ where the squares are in a spiral and players hop on one foot to the centre and back.
Hopscotch has minimal language content so the suggestion was to perhaps put a picture in each square and to win it, you have to name the item, or put it into a sentence. Also players should count the squares as they hop, not necessarily starting at 1 but perhaps 8 or count in 2s etc., or even r

ecite the alphabet.

Another activity which we tried was La llamada de los animales – the call of the animals. Four children are given a picture of a Mummy animal eg frog, elephant, cat, dog, and they go to stand in a corner of the room. The rest of the class are given a card with one of the animals on it – they are the babies and they need to find their Mummy. As they approach one of the Mummies, they emit the sound of the animal and if it’s their Mummy, they reply. To extend the (very minimal unless you’re teaching animal calls!) languaeg, you could give the pupils lines to use such as ‘I’m a little …. and I’m looking for my Mummy..’ or ‘Come and sit down’ or @sorry, I’m not your Mummy’.

There were many more ideas for games such as Lupo mangia fruta – the fruit eating wolf, and Alto ahí, a Spanish variation on Dodgeball. Many can be found on iEARN Children’s Folk Games, ‘a result of an international networking project run in I*earn Kidscan Conference
during September 1998- April 1999.‘ There are lots of games, rhymes, songs, tonguetwisters and customs in a wide variety of languages – well worth a look!

The next RSG is on 22nd January and I’m really looking forward to it as Oscar Stringer is coming to tell us all about animation – I’m already sold on the educational possibilites so I can’t wait for others to discover its potential too.

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