April 2011 – ¡Vámonos!

Month: April 2011


Image from Flickr By mikefisher821 Some rights reserved

I sometimes look back to when I first began teaching and can’t believe some of the things I recall. Like handwritten worksheets made on a banda machine, barely legible worksheets photocopied from Tricolore, not allowing pupils to see the words when you introduced them orally and naff songs! But, as this quote says, I do better now!

The last video has a footballer reading 2 non-fiction books about animals – always a popular subject in primary schools.

The first links into geography, culture and the environment; life cycles – who eats who – and habitats – who lives where.

Here’s a link to the West Sussex Grid where there are some resources linked to habitat. And some animal / habitat flashcards.

The second is about elks – venados – and how they live. Really interesting!



The third video is a non fiction book called Ser respetuoso. I think this would be a great way to start a PSHE session on respect – how do you recall eople showing respect in the story? The discussion doesn’t have to be in Spanish – but why not use the Spanish story as the stimulus?  That’s a good way of  integrating language  into the curriculum.



The second video I’d like to share –

A story about a girl called Maria finding some lines on the ground at the base of a mountain in Peru opens up the possibility of looking at the history of a Spanish speaking country, the culture and heritage, and the art of that area. Here’s some background information that might help!

I think it’s be a brilliant way of integrating lots of different areas of the curriculum – what about making your own Nazca lines on the school field?

Nazca lines

Nazca Lines and Cahuachi culture

Nazca lines facts


Just discovered this ‘channel’ on Youtube – coloradolibraries. It’s the site of Colorado State Libraries and features several clips of people reading stories.

A Colorado Storytime includes read-alouds of childrens books along with literacy tips. It includes different types of short books, in English and Spanish, with colorful pictures, related in some way to Colorado through publisher, author, illustrator or theme, and read by Colorado personalities.

Over the next 4 posts I’ll be sharing some Spanish ones and making the odd suggestion about how they might be used.

The first is a story about Cucumber soup – Sopa de pepino – a great story about working together (think The enormous turnip) featuring minibeasts!

Linda Owen has some lovely ideas about using minbeasts in primary languages and here are some resources (in French I think but they could be adapted!)  and there’s a wonderful song about a labybird on this page (scroll down the page)




I was interested to see a FB post by Foreign Language House recommending some video clips for Earth Day.

When I investigated further  I found that Earth Day is 22nd April.

Here are some clips to help you consider the environment with young learners on any day of the year!

La tierra está enferma


La carta de la Tierra


Dia Mundial de la Tierra – some images to help you think about our effect on nature.


Medio ambiente – a short video by Arena and Pablo giving their take on the environment.


And a little bit of help from Pocoyo!



And then there are a few sites that could be of use too!

Ecopibes.com looks a wonderful site all about the environment – both on Earth and in space – offering explanations, activities and advice!

Peques.com also has advice on looking after our environment both at home, at school and in the wider world.

Just missed it but here’s an article about World Water Day!

Some advice here for parents / teachers on how to interest kids in the environment.

And some Cuentos para dormir about nature and the environment. Sadly no pictures, but you do get a transcript and the audio is well read!

En la granja de IKEA


Yes, I’ve been to IKEA again in search of a blind and more inspiration in the form of squishy things!

You’d think I’d bought up the whole shop by now but I did purchase this set of farm animals.

How might I use them?

Well, I’ve thought of the following-

a) colours –

Busco algo negro.

Busco un animal de color rosa.

¿De qué color es la vaca?

¿El cisne es amarillo?


b) size/shape

Busco algo negro y pequeño.

Busco algo blanco con un cuello largo.

Althernatively, you could give half the information and the pupils to ask for more information.

Busco algo grande.     >    ¿Es negro?

No, es marrón y blanca.    > Es la vaca


c) a song (there’s always a song involved isn’t there!)

El granjero tiene una granja or En la granja de mi tío or En la granja de Pepito or whichever version you sing would work well!


d)looking at names of baby animals –

una oveja – un cordero

una vaca – un ternero

un cerdo – un cerdito

leading into the use of -ito to mean little  (cf un pollo – un pollito)

(btw – if you fancy a giggle, have a look at this for finding out how to say little baby cow in different languages!)


e) storytelling

Una vez había un grupo de animales en una granja había una vaca y su ternero, un cerdo y sus tres cerditos, una oveja y su cordero negro y un cisne.  Su vida era perfecta aparte de una cosa… en la granja también había un toro gruñón..

I’ll leave you to finish off the story!


So, there’s a few ideas. Perhaps you could add your own in the comments below?


PS I was very taken with these wonderful large squashy fruit and vegetables. I resisted the temptation to buy them though!

I received an invite to the ‘Trade and Press’ preview of the Gadget Show Live, taking place today ahead of the ‘real’ Gadget Show Live that runs from tomorrow until Saturday at NEC.

I have to admit that I felt a little out of place as

a)I’m not a man

b)I wasn’t wearing a suit

c)wasn’t toting a huuuge camera

However, I had a very pleasant few hours wandering around, looking at all sorts of technology and taking photos of interesting things.

So – what were my impressions?

Firstly, it was great to be able to get near to things! We went as a family last year and struggled to see or try anything as there were so many people. I had a go on an electric bicycle – very slowly it has to be said as it took me a while to get used to the throttle, and the course was very windy – I’d never have managed to get a go on a ‘normal’ day.




I sat in the Hub Theatre and caught the end of a talk by people from Warwick University about robots used in emergency situations such as nuclear disasters and earthquakes toassess safety – fascinating!











Then I heard the whole of a talk by Tom Dunmore, ex editor of Stuff and now CEO of MediaBlaze about smartphones and apps. Very interesting – I captured a few of the slides below. Very interesting that the projection of smartphone useage in 2015 puts Android ahead of iPhones and Google on a par with iPhones…

Enjoyed meeting R2D2, seeing the Batmobile and seeing all the tech from 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.



And texting a machine that then delivered me some Smarties, and then tweeting @mbedmicro for Billy the Bass to read it out.




I was particularly interested to discover Practical Action

Practical Action uses technology to challenge poverty, working with poor women and men around the world.

I enjoyed talking to the staff on the stand about their Zeer pot fridge – ‘a simple technology that brings new hope’ as they put it – and treadle pump. These are just a couple of their projects in the area of agriculture; they’re also involved in other areas such as transport, disaster risk prevention and new technology such as podcasting to support local dialects. And I’ll be having a closer look at the education resources on the site – especially the Squashed Tomato challenge and Small is… challenge (closing date 30th April)

So, that was the Gadget Show Live Professional. More pics here.

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