I spent this past weekend in Nottingham at the 12th eTwinning UK National Conference held at The DeVere Jubilee Conference Centre – always the NCSL to me though! The name of the venue might have changed but the sense of community, fun and learning never varies, and once more I came away inspired, energised and still laughing at onions, pants and Bollywood Maori dance moves.
The theme this year was inclusion and below are my sketchnotes from the sessions I attended. Lots to reflect on and many ideas forming already.
A couple of years ago I was asked to help produce some lesson plans for around celebrating and exploring diversity and enabling everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination.*
As part of this I did some research into books in Spanish that would be suitable for this purpose.
One of the plans I wrote was around families all being different and getting away from mum, dad and 2 kids = a family. At the time I did not use a book as the basis of the resources I made, but I’ve since found this book that I think is a lovely resource that I’d like to use next time we look at families. I envisage choosing a few chapters to read and discuss as a five-ten minute segment, perhaps in conjunction with RE/PSHE that I often teach as well as Spanish.
Mi familia es de otro mundo literally means My family is from another world, but actually means My family is out of this world in the sense of being amazing. The book tells the stories of seven children, each one with a family to share, each family different.
There’s Juli whose parents have split up and spends part of the week with each, Lu who has two Dads who get married with her as ring bearer, Santi who looks nothing like his parents as they adopted him as a baby, Sol and Matu who are test tube babies, Vale who has an Argentinian Dad and a Chinese Mum so has two cultural identities, Leo whose Dad died when he was small so it’s just him and his Mum – and Negro the dog, and Fran who has what he calls una familia enredadera, literally a tangled family with parents who have split up and have new partners and/or children.
Each story is told very simply in short paragraphs of a very sentences with a longer information box that clarifies or explores some of the ideas and issues raised. The book concludes with more family models including grandparents as prime carers, parents whose jobs mean that they don’t see their children for months on end, surrogate mothers, extended families. foster families and globetrotting families with children born in a variety of countries.
El Mundo de Juli – Dos casas
El Mundo de Vale – Dos años nuevos
El Mundo de Lu – Papá, Papi y yo
El Mundo de Santi – Tomados de la mano
I really like some of the images that are used to explain families, in particular the idea of some families not fitting on a family tree but rather a family climbing plant!
The book concludes as below. In English:
Every family has a way of living, of sharing, of celebrating, of arguing, of loving. There are no two the same.
Sometimes because of that when we compare our family with another we think “My family is from a different world!” Or when someone sees something in a family that is a bit odd to them they whisper “Every family is a world (or each family to their own)”
But in fact, there is only on world, this one, where there’s room for all families.
This is a message that I think is really important as we look to encourage children to value diversity and to understand that our life is much richer by learning about and from others’ experiences. We might not share their beliefs and we may find some of their ways a little odd but we all live on the same planet, have the same basic needs and, in the words of Jo Cox, “we have far more in common than that divides us.”
I’ll share more of my ideas of how we can do this in other ways too in future posts. Other books that might interest you along the same lines:
The other book I purchased at Foyles belongs to the series Sabelotodo which translates as Knowitall or Smartypants.
I was torn between two books, this one and one about dinosaurs. In the end I chose this one as the other book I bought was about dinosaurs. You can see a couple of images from the dinosaur one at the bottom of the post.
I liked this series as it’s very child friendly with bright images and short chunks of information on a theme for each double page spread along with a ¿Sabías que…? strip of interesting facts. The pictures draw you in and contain such great incidental language; I particularly like the exclamations at the gladiator fight!
Así eran los Romanos covers Roman life, society, the army, Roman inventions such as the baths, food, Roman emperors and Roman gods.
I’m sure that it would be well read if I were to lend it to Y4 – particularly as we have a bulge year with 3 instead of 2 classes at one of my schools! I wonder how long it would take them to find these interesting facts…
Y4 study the Romans at both my schools and I developed a whole unit linking their Spanish with the topic several years ago. I was sure I’d shared it but it seems I was mistaken; I shared (at length!) about The Egyptians
On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.
Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)
It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story
“Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:
Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.
Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?
Le daría el nombre ….. – I’d call it……
Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives
Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?
Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..
Viviría …………. – It would live….
and so on.
Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.
For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:
There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.
In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:
Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.
And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!
There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!
Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!
Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…
However, I was even more excited when I opened the book.
I love a flap book as I find that they offer an extra something when you read them aloud, adding a mystery that needs solving, a secret that needs discovering. And they really engage learners who all want to uncover what lies beneath, a great classroom management tool with young kids as you only get to open the flap if you’re sitting quietly.
It’s on a favourite theme of mine, animals, one that is often revisited in the time learners spend at my school.
There are twenty animals featured in the book, but each page focuses on 5 of them, with a single sentence leading to the identity of one of those five animals. Therefore the possible answer is limited to one of those five, making it easier for young learners or beginners to offer a suitable answer.
Each clue is a single sentence followed by ¿Quién soy? and are mostly very simple. Some are simply the noise that the animal makes, others refer to the physical appearance of the animal and others talk about the preferred food of the animal.
Lifting the flaps is fun enough but each opened flap on the page adds to the picture of the next. Hard to describe so I’ve videoed it. Very clever!
I have another book called Animales Salvajes that has much longer clues to the identity of an animal that I’ve used with Y2 and whilst they enjoyed the book, the longer clue went over their heads (although I enjoyed them!) and their guesses were more random based on the images rather than the Spanish. This book would work better for them, but the animals are not specifically jungle animals so I guess I’d have to write my own…
…and writing our own version would be a really simple and fun activity for older learners to share with younger ones. Perhaps one I’ll try out with Y6 as they continue on their learning abut verbs and recap all that they have learned over their years of Spanish.
And finally, there are actually 21 animals in the book with ‘un regalo’ on the final page!