January 2009 – ¡Vámonos!

Month: January 2009

Positively Spanish

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Long time no blog, eh? Life’s been rather hectic over the last week or so – and I really should blog about it!! However, thought I’d flag up this opportunity as it has just arrived in my inbox and looks great!

The Consejería de Educación, in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes Londres, has arranged a full day of activities for teachers of Spanish in primary schools. Taking place on Friday March 27th at The Instituto Cervantes, the day looks packed like ‘una lata de sardinas’ with fun and examples of good practice, with workshops on things like storytelling, food, CLIL, .. showcases and a performance of a play written and produced for children who are learning Spanish in KS1 and KS2. And all for £25!

It doesn’t matter if your Spanish isn’t brilliant as the email stated –

‘The whole event will be friendly to teachers with a limited competence in Spanish.’

You can download details of the day, the programme and abstracts of the sessions here on the Consejeria site.

Despite living in Birmingham, I’m seriously considering going, as the sessions on storytelling, extending writing, five minute activities and starters for the Spanish classroom all look very interesting – and that’s just from a curspry glance. Added to which, I’d love to see El viaje de Matilde presented by A cuerpo as I blogged about it a while back and, now that we have a new Head at school, now might be the time to plant my suggestion…

Closing date for applications to attend is March 16th so if you fancy it, why not ask your manager if you can attend?

Many of you will know of Joe Dale and follow his marvellous blog, Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom. Joe is an SSAT Lead Practitioner and as part of his role, he delivers an SSAT seminar each year. This year he ran a day in Colchester on Blogging and Podcasting, and I am really pleased that he is going to repeat that day in the Midlands soon – on Thursday 29th January at Shirelands CLC to be precise.

As Joe says –

If you are interested in finding out more about the potential of blogging and podcasting to enhance language learning and offer personalised distance learning opportunities to your students, why not click here and download the flyer to apply to attend the course? It only costs £69 which includes lunch.

I can thoroughly recommend Joe’s seminars as they are always very instructive and full of ideas for enhancing language learning – and the ideas are all easily transferrable to other areas of the curriculum so it would be easy to share the outcomes with your whole school and for everyone to benefit.

If you need further persuasion, check out some of the comments from his session in Colchester– (bottom of post!)


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This time next week, TeachMeet09 will be drawing to a close and about 60 people will be descending on PizzaExpress to carry on the networking and discussions. And I can’t wait!

As Drew Buddie has put it so eloquently on his blog, I’ll leave it to him to explain –

The TeachMeet model is one which encourages anyone with something of interest regarding the use of technology in the classroom to talk about, to speak to a gathered audience of people who (in a nutshell)want to be inspired. It makes for an excellent antidote to the BETT Show which is effectively a showcase for hundreds of companies trying to sell teachers their products. This is because you know that the people talking are genuinely talking about THEIR classroom practice, as opposed to a salesman peddling their latest tool or software package.

Last year I went to BETT for the first time and must say that I got far more out of TeachMeet than I did from BETT. I love the fact that each presentation is short – 2 or 7 minutes – and that everything is based on classroom practice! And because presenters are chosen by random generator from the list of volunteers, you’re neer sure what’s coming next.

Last year, I watched in awe of everyone, rather like a rabbit in headlights. One year on, I’m helping to organise the event and have volunteered to speak – name is down for 7 minutes as I was told by several people that there was no way I would be able to limit myself to 2 minutes!! And that’s what I’m going to talk abut – how I got from one to the other!

So, if you’re coming to BETT next Friday, sign up on the wiki – it’s free!

And if you can’t be in London, why not join in virtually? As Drew also points out, there are Facebook , Twitter & Flickr groups and a Ustream feed already set up for the event as well as a Flashmeeting providing a backchannel which will run throughout the event so that attendees all around the world can participate in the event, and there are plans afoot to have all videos hosted on a TEDTalks-like portal so that the talks can be used to inspire others once the event is over.

There are lots more details on the wiki – well worth a look to find out what’s going on. And I’ll try and blog as much as I can!

¡Qué nieve!

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Blogging from my desk, I can watch the cars sliding down the icerink that has replaced the road on which I live. That’s the problem with living on a steep hill – good for keeping fit but a pain when it snows as it fast turns to ice and makes it very hard to go down the road under complete control, and you might as well forget going up the road! And this situation can continue for long after all the surrounding roads have been cleared.

Anyhow – looking out of the window reminded me of a post on About.com entitled Spanish words for ‘SNOW’.

An urban legend has it that the Eskimo language has 25 (or four, or 50 or 100, depending on the version) words for snow. While the statement is seriously flawed (there’s no one Eskimo language, nobody knows what the true number is, and nearly all languages have multiple words for snow), it does have some truth to it: Living languages, by their very nature, come up with the words or means to describe nearly everything that people talk about and to differentiate among them.

It goes on to list the numerous words in Spanish to describe and name snow and related vocabulary. So, if you want to get beyond talking about ‘la nieve’ and become more descriptive, check out the list!

Here are a few words I liked!

la ráfaga – a snow flurry
escarchado – covered in frost
la nieve fusión – snow that becomes almost liquid when skied or slid upon.
ventiscar / ventisquear – to blow snow with a strong wind
la conchesta – a large snowdrift

As a Mum whose eldest has ‘had a little chat’ with me this year about Father Christmas, this clip particularly struck a chord!

If you are fortunate enough to be somewhere they celebrate Reyes, enjoy the ‘cabalgatas’ and don’t forget your shoes on the balcony.

¡Felices Reyes!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noH51NPI9C4&hl=en&fs=1]

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Redhill @ New Year, originally uploaded by lisibo.

from my little ‘reyes magos’ Isaac and Jude. They seem to have lost their mate – perhaps he’s feeding the camels??

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