May 2010 – ¡Vámonos!
 

Month: May 2010

I’m currently on holiday in France and under a virtual (self-imposed) break from technology.

However, I wanted to acknowledge the fact that I’ve spent the last week in Barcelona on a Comenius Reggio visit.  I’ll blog about it more, but in the meantime, you can check out the daily reports I posted on WCPS website.

One of the highlights – there were many – was the visit to Vilafranca de Penedes for a rehearsal of Els Castellers.  It was an unforgettable night for so many reasons.  It warrants a full blogpost but to whet your appetite, here are Els Castellers in action, doing something that no one had ever done before.

Uploaded on November 21, 2009 by eyesplash Mikul

There has been much debate about the status of Primary Language Learning, beginning when the General Election process led to the rejection of The New Primary Curriculum being added to the Statute books.  Will the entitlement become statutory or will, heaven forbid, PLL be abandoned?

Forums have been buzzing with ideas opinions and worries.

Today, Kate Board, Chief Executive of CILT wrote the following letter to one such fora:-

Dear colleagues

In light of recent discussions on the forum, we thought it important to clarify the current status of languages at Key Stage 2.

Key Stage 2 languages do not currently have the legal status to become statutory in September 2011. However, the entitlement to learn a foreign language in Key Stage 2 still stands, having come into effect this year.

As many of you are aware, reforming the primary curriculum was one of the key provisions removed from the Children Schools and Families Bill during consideration of Lords Amendments in April 2010. The introduction of statutory languages in Key Stage 2 from September 2011 was part of the proposed new primary curriculum and therefore was also removed from the Bill. (For more information, please see the Children Schools and Families Bill

The future shape of the primary curriculum and the statutory status of languages will depend on the policies of the new government. CILT is in close contact with Baroness Coussins, and others in a position of influence through the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, and we are very grateful to her for raising this issue so prominently. We will continue to work together to encourage this dialogue and to promote the further development of language teaching in the primary school.

Kind regards,

Kate Board

Chief Executive

CILT, the National Centre for Languages

As far as I’m concerned, I passionately believe in Primary Languages and will fight for the continuance of a policy that gives pupils the right and entitlement to learn other languages during their Primary years.

Today sees the beginning of another wonderful offering from Radio Lingua Network as episode 1 of NewsTime Spanish is launched.

Made by a highly talented trio – Mark ‘Mr RadioLingua’ Pentleton, José ‘just say Edmodo and I melt’ Picardo and Chris ‘where’s it to?’ Fuller, this weekly podcast keeps you up to date with news from Spain and Hispanic countries.

In this week’s edition of News Time Spanish we’ll be looking at the major financial reform in Spain as a result of the ongoing issues around Europe. Other stories include:

  • UK elections news
  • Spanish sporting successes
  • Mexican/US immigration issues
  • Health problems in Spain

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and listen for free, whilst a Premium pass will allow you access to transcripts, exercises and a slower version of the audio.

MFL Show and Tell

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A not to be missed event fast approaching is the 3rd MFL Show and Tell.

Following on from the inaugural event at the Isle of Wight conference 2008, and the second edition held in Coventry in November 2009 , José Picardo (he of the sexy Spanish accent and highly informative Box of Tricks) has volunteered himself and his school for the 2010 edition.

As José himself explains –

The idea of the MFL Show and Tell session is to give teachers an opportunity to share good practice on the use of technology in the classroom in a relaxed, informal environment.

The session will take place in our brand new 6th Form Centre, where there will be access to a networked laptop computer, speakers, Wi-Fi, a data projector and screen for presentations.

If you want to sign up for the event, either as a speaker or as an attendee, pop along to José’s school site

The event is by teachers for teachers, and is all about sharing experiences.  Whether you’ve been teaching since the Stone Age or don’t remember life without the Internet, YOU have something to say.

I’ll no doubt throw in my ‘euro’s’ worth on a yet to be decided subject – good to keep you guessing ;o)

Thanks to Nottingham High School and Links into Languages East Midlands, the event is FREE!

Bargain!

Thanks to @joedale, I picked up the news yesterday that Voki has a new service.  I’ve never made any secret of my passion for these talking avatars and their uses for a variety of purposes, especially in the classroom.

The good news – classroom friendly, ad-free Voki

The bad news – you have to pay ‘ a small license fee’ per year

On balance, I’m not convinced of the benefits of paying $199 (which seems rather a lot to me) when I can use it perfectly adequately now for free.

However, I will await further details!

However, this news was accompanied by the realisation  that there is a ‘featured Voki educator’ section on the Voki home page.  And guess who features a the moment?

Oh yes – it’s me! If you want to see me in action, click here!
Very flattered! And wandering if they need a Voki poster girl…..? ;o)

Chillola.com

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I came across this wonderful website today, linked from Teaching Ideas site.

Chillola.com is a multilingual site, offering simple resources in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian.

There are attractive vocabulary presentations accompanied by audio on subjects like colours, numbers, months, fruit and vegetables and body parts.  There are also very simple printable activities and colourables.

It’s a great resource for introducing vocabulary and for individual access, as well for raising awareness of other languages that are not necessarily taught at your school.

My favourites are the hamster teaching prepositions and the lovely illustrations for the opposites.

The site also offers links to several other websites about which I’ve never previously heard.  I feel more posts may be forthcoming…

The third of my trio of posts on forthcoming ‘tour dates’ – this time a Links into Languages course on July 12th.

Interactive Creative Technologies – using ICT in the languages classroom is a one day course offering delegates the chance of participating in three out of five workshops on animation, eTwinning, using flipcams, podcasting and creative use of technology, led by Joe Dale, Helena Butterfield, Oscar Stringer, Sarah Hayes and me!  Plus a keynote speaker (yet to be confirmed), a memory stick containing course materials and refreshments.

Conveniently located at the University of Aston in Birmingham, close to all transport links and all for £35!

If you’re interested in registering, you can download this PDF Course flyer on using IT in the classroom course, or register on the Links site.

Second of my upcoming ‘gigs’ is in Enfield, London, at London ATI.

Another of my ‘hats’ is as an Apple Distinguished Educator, and it’s in this capacity that I’m taking part in the Apple Teacher Institute (ATI) at Enfield CLC on June 16th-18th.

As the blurb says –

Over three days you will have many opportunities to explore and discuss with Apple Distinguished Educators how digital media and Apple technologies can be used to engage and motivate students. The aim is to promote teacher confidence and develop capacity in a relaxed and friendly manner for everyone, regardless of experience.

There will be workshops on iMovie, animation, podcasting, iWeb, music in Garageband, iPod Touches in the classroom and also a couple of more advanced workshops on Final Cut and Logic.

A great way to start off using a Mac:  you choose several workshops over the first two days then, on the third day,  work with a group of delegates to complete a project of your own devising, using the skills you have learnt – and quite possibly a few more you discover as you go along!

If you want more details you can download the following PDF giving details of how to register – London ATI

And if London is inconvenient for you, there are other ATIs around the country too – Doncaster, Liverpool and Stockton all host an ATI  in June / July.  If you want to know more, send me a message below or  via the contact form.

First conference in which I am taking part is the Linguascope Conference in Brighton at the end of June.

Entitled Inspiration for Motivation, the two day conference taking place at the Thistle Hotel in Brighton promises to run at a more relaxed pace than the usual frenetic conference with one hour sessions punctuated by  30 minute breaks to allow brains to take in what they’ve heard before being filled with ideas once more.  It also allows time for viewing the exhibition and for networking.

You can find out more by accessing the conference site and downloading the PDF.

My sessions are entitled Using Youtube in the classroom and Tips to motivate in the Primary Language Classroom.

Very much looking forward to this conference, not least for the seaside, the conference dinner (which promises to be spectacular) amd meetiong up with friends

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