August 2011 – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Month: August 2011

Jigsaw Planet

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Thanks to Jen Turner for telling me about this fun site on which you can make a jigsaw puzzle of any image, specifiying the number and shape of pieces as well as difficulty.
To demonstrate, I’ve made a couple that could be used for Spanish cultural awareness.

preview20 pieceRoscón de Reyes

preview30 pieceSardana

Zachary Jones’ site Zambombazo is a great source of inspiration for all things Hispanic.

And I love it because it proves time and again that there is always something to learn about a language you thought you knew quite well.

I’m often challenged by pupils when I can’t recall the word for ‘meerkat’ or ‘spark plug’ that ‘you’re supposed to know Spanish’ to which I reply I don’t know every word in English. Especially when it comes to colloquial useage. I mean, my son tells me that when he says soemthing is ‘sickage’, that’s great. I’m not so sure…

So, I particularly like this map that Zachary has made – ¿Cómo se dice ‘cool’ en español?

As he points out in his post, the answer to that question depends on lots of factors including the country or even region you’re in, your socioeconomic status as well as your age. The post also offers ideas on how you might use the map to increase vocabulary, to encourage intercultural discussion and to promote discussion of current linguistic useage.

Just found this interesting infographic about the relationship between learning languages and your brain.

The bottom section about the optimum age for your brain to be most efficient at language learning is a strong case for Primary Languages (hurrah!) but not such good news for my attempts to learn German (boo!). It doesn’t say you can’t learn a langage when you’re old. Er. Although I will very shortly head off their scale…

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One of the aspects of our Comenius Regio project that I have particularly enjoyed and that has given me great pleasure is the change in perceptions about being ‘foreign’ and by extension different.
Although pupils at WCPS are bright, and have had some contact with children in Spain previously, many still thought that every town in Spain was near a beach, that it was always hot, and that everyone steak and chips whilst speaking English. Their idea of a Spanish person was a lady with dark hair wearing a sevillanas dress or Lionel Messi (who isn’t Spanish!)
As one of the strands of the project was Intercultural Understanding, challenging and changing these perceptions has been key to the success of the project.
As pupils have met teachers from Barcelona in person, and children from Els Pins via Skype, and asked them questions, many things have dawned on them – for example,we all wear similar clothes, our food isn’t so different although we eat at different times and that we have many interests in common like sport and the environment. It’s also been noted that, whilst they do speak English quite well, people in Spain speak Spanish , but people in Barcelona also speak Catalan.
Now that we’re more aware about Spain- and India through Connecting Classrooms, being ‘different’ has become cool and there are several pupils who would never have ‘owned up’ to having another first language who are now wanting to share.
There’s always further to go of course and whilst this infographic is deliberately provocative, how many of the ‘perceptions’ can be identified as not just being held by Americans?
If we were to draw a similar map based on our perceptions, what would it look like?
Might be interesting to ask learners what they know and think, and then set about challenging the accuracy of their perceptions.
 
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August 1st is Swiss National Day and across Switzerland people are celebrating with parades, parties and fireworks.

A couple of years ago, we arrived in Interlaken just as the parades began meaning we were stuck at the station for a couple of hours (we weren’t that bothered!) (see Animoto above!)

And 19 years ago I first conversed with a certain John Stevens as we watched the men of Oberwald in the Swiss Valais ‘ga-donging’ huge bells hung around their waists as they paraded down the street. A twisted ankle, a trip to Interlaken, a broken down bus and a swimming pool- the rest is history.

However, there’s another reason why I highight Swiss National Day this year.

Tomorrow marks the real start of an adventure which is very exciting but also rather scary!

You see, I’m moving to Switzerland. Tomorrow, my husband goes to start his new job (the reason for the move) and I’ll follow with the boys later in the year once school, housing etc are sorted. We’ll be living near Zürich so I’ve started learning German (you may have noticed if you follow me on Twitter!)

So next year, watch out for the picture of me ‘ga-donging’ and blowing my alpine horn with the best of them!

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