I’ve just finished presenting at TeachMeet International, an online Teachmeet bringing together educators from across the world. Unfortunately the meeting was blighted by technical issues but we managed to get around them in various ways in order to share our ideas and experiences.
My presentation was on using games in language learning. I talked about games that are easy to organise, games that take you out of the classroom and then moved on to talk about two apps – 4 Pictures 1 Words and PicCombo that I think are really useful for vocabulary at an intermediate/advanced level.
Below is the Slideshare and you will be able to see it and other presentations (hopefully with sound!) soon via the link that will be posted on the TeachMeetInternational website.
I will never ever forget my visit to Cal Figarot, HQ of Els Castellers de Vilafranca. An overwhelming evening of fun, fear and awe that left me quite emotional as we watched – and participated in a small way – in a rehearsal of this very special group of ‘human tower builders’. (Sadly the photographs disappeared when my website was hacked, and the links to my school website are out of date too – I’ll upload them again when I have a moment!) Therefore I am a little sad that I’m not in the UK at the moment as they’re ‘on tour!’
The Human Towers are a three hundred year old tradition of building multi-story human towers called “castells”. The great Human Towers perform at many Mediterranean town festivals and are one of the oldest and most spectacular traditions in Barcelona and Catalonia.
The 170 member Castellers de Vilafranca, the world’s best Human Towers team, will debut in London on Friday, 19th April, at Potters Field Park near London Bridge. Each tower will be an exercise in intense concentration, strength and balance as the barefooted participants form successively smaller tiers – resembling a human wedding cake – by climbing up the bodies of each layer to mount the shoulders of the previous tier until the tower is complete.
Once UNESCO had declared the Human Towers as Intangible Cultural Heritage , a huge festival was hosted in the Old Estrella Damm Factory in celebration, in the heart of Barcelona during which a variety of concerts took place and human towers were built to commemorate the much anticipated recognition. It is estimated that over 2,500 people attended the large-scale event.
(from Estrella Damm press release)
The Castellers will in London from Friday 19th April – Sunday 21st April, performing in various places. The schedule is below and I’ve attached a PDF as well. If you are in or around London, or fancy a day trip, I know that you will not be disappointed. ‘Human towers’ are gobsmacking – and this lot are record breaking world champions!
I’ve recently started a Pinterest of Spanish resources and came across some lovely maps as I was pinning. None of them would actually serve to guide your way so no good for directions really, but they sparked a few ideas!
This map is a composite of a number of graphics used in an article on Spain. I like the stylised topography and selection of places of interest in various towns.
Name the monuments on the map of Spain.
Assign each group a monument to research.
Identify the mountain ranges. Which is tallest? What activities can be done in the mountains?
Give learners their own blank map of Spain and ask them to select places of interest, features such as rivers or lakes etc to mark on their own infographic map.
This isn’t an infographic, rather a site that is packed with interactive maps looking at the geography of Spain. You can try to name the rivers, mountains, autonomous regions, provinces and so on. I particularly like the provincias one above as the shapes give you a clue – they’re quite tricky puzzles!
Spanish Playground is a great site packed with ideas, and their latest post is full of ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month – April. (It may not be where you are but I like poetry and any excuse!) I liked their suggestions and was inspired to share a couple of their ideas, and a couple of mine!
I particularly like Idea 6 which suggests using ETTC’s Instant Poetry forms. Once you get the idea of the structure, there’s no need to use the site although I like it for the reminder about structure. I had a go at a few…
A Lune(using the 3 word, 5 word, 3 word structure)
La primavera viene Corderos nacen y flores crecen Hay vida nueva
A 5W, or in Spanish 5Q poem (each lines answer a question who, what, where, when, why)
Pocoyo Juega con Pato, En el campo, Después del cole, Porque sí.
I took a screenshot but you can save the poem as a PDF and also share it via email.
An alternative to this would be to write the words in the shape of the subject as a calligram like the cat one below (from here)
I also like the idea of using Wordle or Tagxedo with poetry, either to create word clouds of existing poems or to give shape to new ones. Here’s an example below that I made using Tagxedo and ‘A Mexican Night before Christmas’
I also wrote about the QCA unit La Primavera and taking part of the Antonio Machado poem La Primavera and rewriting it. This would be a simple activity to do as a celebration of National Poetry Month too. We posted our on a Padlet (was called Wallwisher) wall so we could share it with a wider audience.
I’ve found this post about Spanish poetry by Federico García Lorca, Jorge Guillén and Rafael Alberti (for older learners I’d say!) and these are more suitable for younger learners. And this post about using poetry to look at rhyming is also very interesting, using one of my favourite little poems –
Colita de rana.
Si no sanas hoy,
And to finish off, as a 15 year old I was captivated by Joan Manuel Serrat singing poems by Antonio Machado so Dedicado a Antonio Machado (Cantares)
EDUtalk is organised by David Noble (@parslad) and John Johnston (@johnjohnston) and encourages people to talk about education, using mobile and web technologies.
I was really honoured to be asked and enjoyed the talking about my experiences and thoughts on education. We talked about my background, how I came to be in Switzerland and what I’ve been doing here before going on to talk about creativity and technology in education.
My summary of “the important bits”!
Be patient – things don’t happen overnight.
Lead by example. And if learners enjoy it, they’ll be your greatest help!
Technology is just another tool that can be used to enhance and transform learning – it’s not THE answer.
Before using technology ask “why?” – it should suit the task rather than the task being made to match the technology.
When starting out using new tools, don’t try to do everything at once. You’ll end up with too many plates spinning. Start with one or two ideas and “practise” for a bit before adding something else.
Learning should be celebrated. Loudly. And I love doing it.
Twitter is wonderful for keeping in touch and feeling connected.
We need to support one another, especially as other support, such as advisory teams, is being decimated.
Thanks to David and John for the opportunity. Great to talk to you again! You can listen to the programme here.
We would like you to write and illustrate a short story in a foreign language on any subject you like. We will pick two winners from the entries and publish the winning stories as e-books on our website. Each winner will also receive a b Small library worth £100 for your home or your school.
The story should be no more than four pages and you can use lots of illustrations to help tell your story. You must write your story in one of the following four languages:
There are two categories – 6-9 year olds and 9-11 year olds, and you can write a collaborative story with classmates (hence the overlap in age categories) The story can be about anything, and the closing date is June 1st with winners announced on July 1st. Entries can be sent via post or electronically, accompanied by an entry form.
¡Vámonos! is back up and running, thanks to the hard work of Sinclair MacKenzie who is a complete star. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
All is not quite as it was at the moment but things are mostly back to normal. If you want to find out more about me, find out what Lisibo Ltd. is all about or send me a message, click on the appropriate tag in the side bar under Pages for now until I remember how to get them back on the menu bar!
Thank you for your patience and thank you to my knight in shining armour once more!
Reading Los mellizos del tiempo got me thinking about integrating language learning in the Primary curriculum. As I mentioned in my previous post, it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. So I had a bit of a look around and came up with the following ideas, resources and links that might be of use to anyone who wants to do just that!
Egipto para niños – collection of fairly simple texts on a number of areas of Egyptian life including the Pyramids, food, manners and mummies as well as a bit of geography. This text is in fairly short chunks too. And Blog de los Niños has some short chunks of information, particularly about Egyptian gods and the meanings of the various crowns.
Here are some longer texts about various Egyptian ‘misterios’ including the Mummy of Pyramid KV22.
Historia Simple has some short-ish historical summaries of the various phases of the 2500 year long Egyptian era including a section on the Pyramids. There’s also some information on El Historiador.
And of course there’s Wikipedia – you can translate the pages back and forth between languages so you could have some fun with picking out key items of vocabulary.
Slideshare has some presentations for ideas and information including this lovely one from some young learners which is beautifully simple and asks some good questions on slide 4 that could be used for investigation.
And this blog has two simple presentations by Dora la Exploradora and friends, and Hello Kitty covering some of the basics of Egyptian geography and history in words and image.
However, my favourite find is from Junta de Andalucia. This site is a one stop shop about Egyptians, written in simple language and presented in short paragraphs with lots of visuals, making it really accessible. There is a dictionary of key terms as well as the facility to click on highlighted words for an immediate ‘pop up’ definition. Lots of interactive maps and also a hieroglyphics maker within the site also make it a great place for young learners to find out about Egypt. There’s also a webquest that guides learners through the site, posing questions that can be explored and investigated. (There’s another more complex webquest here along with other Egyptian resources shared on the Tiching site.)
A close second goes to a resource from Gobierno de Canarias that takes an interactive look at the Pyramids with extra information, again simply presented, appearing as you click on specific areas of the pyramid.
Videos are another source of information that can often be more accesible than just text.
And then there are these cartoons, the first from a series called Érase una vez.. and the second from a series called Martín Martín.
And here’s another I’ve just found which is a short video about the Egyptian pyramids:
You might also like to try the Barrio Sésamo approach with this video in which Lola visits the Pyramids or this video which presents images and name of the animals of Egypt before moving on to images of buildings and then some short snippets of information about Egyptian life.
You know how I love a good kitschy song! Here’s one called Momias de colores by Rockolate. When my hand is feeling better, I might try to subtitle the video using Amara or at least write them down!
(see also Fátima una momia responsable below under Stories for another song)
(see also Stories below!)
Perhaps with older, more advanced learners you could use some of the definitions from this ‘Glosario’ for a match the word to the definition. You could choose key words like Faraon, Esfinge, Obelisco, Momia, Papiro, Sarcófagos, Vasos canopos and so on.
And this vocabulary list gives you the Spanish word with the Arabic equivalent. Could provide an interesting language comparison activity.
And here’s an online hieroglyphics tool. Would be fun to write some words in hieroglyphics and ask learners to decode before they write their names. Or they could write key Egyptian vocabulary in hieroglyphics for display as well as in Spanish for a multi lingual display!
The Egyptian system of counting and adding etc was very developed and you can find out all about it here (in more detail than I think I need to know but if you like Maths…)
This site has lots of writing at the top (useful information!) but the really ‘useful’ part for learners is the chart with the Egyptian number glyphs and the puzzles underneath, both for whole numbers and also for fractions. I foresee lots of fun with setting maths problems for each other… There are a few more maths problems here.
A document explaining that Egyptian numbers are not positional so you can write the units, tens, hundreds etc in any order! Un sistema aditivo – el egipcio
And of course there are all sorts of things you can do at a very simple level such as sequencing and using geometrical shapes when making Egyptian jewellery, and making pyramids.
I found this free video story about Egypt called El pendiente de la princess: Cuento de Egipto. Sadly it doesn’t go full screen but the man telling the story speaks clearly and fairly slowly so it could be used for a true/false activity or perhaps a multiple choice activity.
However, I found two more promising possibilities!
2. This PDF (rita_ladrones) has links to useful sites (some I’d already highlighted above before I found this!) and also some activity worksheets. Whilst the middle sheet on characters in the book would be hard without reading it, the first sheet (matching words with images and writing your name in hieroglyphics) needs no knowledge of the book, and I think that the third sheet which is a sequencing activity could also be done without reading the story, and actually gives a very simple synopsis of what happens!
3.Then I discovered that there is an online version of the CD rom of activities about the book, complete with Teachers Notes (in Spanish!) There are various activities including finding synonyms and antonyms, sequencing text and a wordsearch – see below image for contents. Some activities are quite challenging for primary learners; however, a bit of challenge can be a good thing!
Fátima, una momia muy responsable
Fátima una momia muy responsable is a lovely story about an Egyptian mummy called Fátima who wants to be a tour guide and keeps scaring people! She builds up a great collection of hats and torches by doing it, but one day…
It’s a narrated version of a book that has been used in many Spanish primary schools.
Some ideas for using the story –
act out the story
talk about colours and sizes describing the hats that Fátima collected / was gifted
pretend to be Fátima and give a tour of a pyramid
one of the class blogs I discovered had a song on it about how Fátima dances which would be great fun, whatever your age! You can access the words here or here, and here is a recording of young learners singing it!
I love ‘being a magpie’ and collecting ideas, and here are some classes in Spanish primaries that have done an Egyptian topic and shared their ideas.
Mis cosillas de Educación Infantil – this link takes you to the posts for the entire project. I particularly like the concept map that they made which includes lots of important vocabulary organised systematically. I think that having a map of what is already known that is added to as time passes and more information is gathered is a great way of documenting learning and progress, especially if learners post questions that they’d like to investigate and see them answered as they explore and investigate!
E.I. 5 años Carlos Ruiz have been doing an Egyptian topic too and this is the first of a number of posts on what they have done. If look in the archive, there are further posts documenting their work throughout noviembre and diciembre 2012 including the sequencing activity referenced in the Maths section above and an interesting post giving instructions on making ‘papiros’.
La Clase de la Bruja Maruja have done a project on Egyptians too and have published some of their work as well as links on their blog. Of particular use I think are the simple worksheets they used that could easily be used in the primary language classroom. I also love the fact that they’ve been using the wonderful Woodlands site by Mandy Barrow using GoogleTranslate to put it into Spanish!
So, I hope you’ve find the above useful. I know that there are many more things that could be done; for example, I haven’t even started on the possibilities for art projects! If you have any ideas or resources, please leave a comment – it’s good to share! And even if you haven’t, leave a comment! Its good to know that people are reading!