In November I had the unexpected pleasure of speaking at PHOrum, an online twilight for Primary language teachers run by Sue Cave and Association for Language Learning (ALL) . PHOrum stands for Primary Hubs Online and is a response to maintaining community of support and development for primary languages in the current climate. The inaugural meeting had sessions by Steven Fawkes, Eleanor Chettle Cully and me! You can read about my part of it here.
The Spring meeting is fast approaching on February 25th 16:00-17:30 via Zoom. Along with a ‘roadshow’ of updates and information from Steven Fawkes, there will be two further presentations:
Language acquisition and development in a primary language lesson Carlota will share the process of acquisition of a language and ideas to carry on in a lesson. How to start with vocabulary and simple structures and develop skills to understand a text , comprehension questions, classroom language and be able to follow basic communication, at the same time, make the learners feel that they are being challenged and are successful in their task. Language in Primary should be real and useful. The examples will be in Spanish but applicable to other languages. Carlota Cámara Suarez is Subject Development Lead and Spanish Teacher at Gladstone Primary Academy and Thomas Deacon Juniors
Memory methods in KS2 MFL Kirsty will talk about how gestures, memory tags, routines and songs can help motivate primary language learners and improve their retention of vocabulary and phonics. Kirsty will relate this to her teaching in y3-6 giving practical examples of action songs and vocabulary learning methods that can be applied to a variety of topics in the primary classroom. She will touch on her experience of teaching EAL pupils and what motivates them to learn. Kirsty Williams is Lead Teacher for EAL and Primary MFL at Castle Newnham School, Bedford and runs the local ALL Primary Hub. She has taught French for over 15 years in KS2, KS3 and KS4.
Both sound very interesting and I’m hoping that the staff meeting at school that week is on Tuesday not Thursday!
At this time of year, I’m normally gearing up for my annual ‘weekend away’ at Language World. It’s taken me to York, Lancaster, Leicester, Rugby, Nottingham, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Loughborough and of course, Oxford where Language World and I first ‘met.’ This year, things are a little different as I won’t physically be going anywhere as the conference is coming to me in my home via the wonders of video conferencing. And it can come to you too if you sign up!
As the blurb on their site says: “Schools are currently exploring how they can offer rich, exciting education for all their pupils. Ofsted encourages schools to make positive decisions to preserve or develop richness of experience along with breadth and depth of curriculum – for example, giving pupils the opportunity to learn a number of foreign languages and arts subjects, recognising local ambitions. We look forward to sharing ideas and best practice from among our languages community about these kinds of curricular aspects, and about learning that goes deeper into content, motivates learners of Languages, culture and communication, and is broader than the exam specifications.”
Keynote speakers this year include:
President of ALL (2020-22), Kim Bower;
Dr. Michael Wardle, Language Lead for OFSTED;
international expert on CLIL and Professor of Languages Education and Classroom Learning at university of Edinburgh, Professor Do Coyle
Professor of Applied Linguistics at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Professor Li Wei
Im particularly looking forward to hearing from Professor Li Wei on Friday talking about Multilingualism, Language Learning and Social Cognition and then from Jane Driver on Saturday talking about Using CLIL and MFL strategies to maximise the curriculum for EAL learners.
And then there are the talks and presentations from which you can choose. Each session is 30 minutes long with a 20 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions. Easier for concentration but challenging when you’re planning a session and always have too much for 45 minutes…
Some sessions that caught my eye as a primary languages practitioner include:
Promoting intercultural understanding through cross curricular and extra-curricular activities in the primary classroom – lots of practical ideas led by Bernadette Clinton and Raquel Tola Rego
A recipe for success! Creating a bespoke scheme of work – Clare Seccombe
Engaging, enriching, inclusive: ensuring a primary MFL curriculum which delivers for SEND pupils – Eleanor Chettle Cully
Celebrate your bilingual learners and promote linguistic diversity in your school with an International Mother Tongue Day project – Hannah White
As usual, I have a problem! The first two are at the same time as each other AND I’m speaking at the same time! And the second two are also concurrent. I’m hoping that with the online nature of the conference we might be able to catch up… but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on it!
Other sessions I’m looking forward to:
What does an anti-racist, decolonised MFL curriculum look like?
Embedding languages into the curriculum: practical examples from Scotland and Wales
Teaching Phonics – Mapping, Method and Moving on
Another innovation this year is that some 30 minute slots split into 3 mini talks and I’m looking forward to many of those too including Dr Judith Rifeser talking about Nurturing intercultural understanding and celebrating pupils’ diverse and multilingual voices through creative projects, Bryn Llewellyn sharing Learning Languages on the Move – Developing Language Vocabulary using Physically Active Learning Approaches, Helen Stokes talking about Making connections between languages with translation skills: for easier transition between KS2 and 3 and How MFL teaching can boost whole school literacy led by Clare Caio.
So much that it’s hard to choose! You might even want to ‘attend’ my session entitled Take One Book in which I’ll explore how to make full use of a storybook (a different one from the one I shared at PHOrum!) You can find further details on the Language World 2021 website and the programme can be found here.
I am very much looking forward to a new experience and whilst I’d rather we were meeting together as usual, I’m excited for the new format and will still be wearing LiPS themed clothing and sketchnoting!
Find out about my experiences at previous Language Worlds by following the links below!
Last night I attended a webinar hosted by ALL London with the British Council to launch the Language Trends survey for 2021.
Language Trends is a yearly report that discusses the state of language learning in England and is written by Ian Collen of Queens University, Belfast. It’s a really important report on language learning at primary and secondary level in England that is published and read at high level by government and policy makers. The more responses they get, the better the picture of language learning across the country as it is informed by the results of a survey sent to schools.
The Language Trends survey 2021 is being emailed to schools this week. It’ll be sent to the public email of your school – often the HT or enquiry@ Last year, it was notable that the responses tended to come from schools in more ‘affluent’ areas statistics wise (eg lower than average FSM) so it would be good to have a wider breadth of data this time. Ian Collen, the author of the report, wants to hear all about what’s going on in primary schools. One of last year’s finding was that “Primary Languages are embedded in policy but not in practice.” Therefore, if you ARE putting policy into practice, this is an opportunity to share all the wonderful things that are going on.
If you are asked to fill it in, please do! If you aren’t, email the Head and ask them to do it, or offer to do it for them! It’ll take you about 15 minutes. The deadline is 29th January which is very soon!!
If you’d like to read last year’s report, you can find it (and other research into language learning in the UK) on the British Council website Language Trends 2020 or it’s below in PDF,
I love Itchy Feet: The Travel and Language Comic and this particular comic amused me no end! It’s one way to explain ¿? and ¡! I guess, although I tend to liken them to ’66 and 99′ or ‘6 and 9’ for speech marks/quotation marks that we use in English to enclose speech/a quotation! And in typing that I’ve discovered that my computer doesn’t distinguish between opening and closing speech/quotation marks hence the simplistic KS1 explanation!
Prompted by various requests for simple Spanish Christmas songs and my own desire to teach Y2 a song that didn’t involve too many words and too much ‘blending words together’ I decided to collate 10 possibilities (with thanks to LiPS for reminding me to do this!)
Mi burrito sabanero I love this song and so did one of my Y3 classes last year who learned it and sang it in our ‘Christmas around the world’ LKS2 performance. It’s a Venezuelan song writtern by Hugo Blanco that was famously recorded by La Rondallita and then by Juanes and is all about the little donkey on his way to Bethlehem. Y3 particularly liked the ‘tuki tuki tuki’ part but enjoyed the repetition of the lines too which meant that they didn’t have too many words to learn.Here are the lyrics – https://www.letras.com/villancicos/1613730/
Vuela Vuela This is a beautiful song that remembers the Christmas star that led to Bethlehem and talks of a wish for a world with no more war, hunger, poverty or loneliness, a peaceful world. Really simple and a lovely sentiment. This version is great for little children as it has characters in it https://youtu.be/nymD4tp_emw but here’s an alternative.
Copo de nieve This one isn’t strictly about Christmas but it’s a lovely song to sing at this time of year especially if you don’t want to have a ‘religious’ song. Would be lovely to use with Nursery or Reception and let them dance like snowflakes!
Soy un muñeco de nieve Another one for the very littlest – and a great one if you’re not allowed to sing at the moment! More of a rhyme spoken to music, children can join in by pointing to themselves as if they are the snowman showing his buttons, mouth, nose and so on.
A las doce de la noche This song talks of the midnight when the baby Jesus was born. The cockerels all sing and wake the singer to announce the birth of Jesus. The singer takes Mary some pears as a gift and declares that he loves the baby. A sweet little song with a good rhythm.
En Navidad turrón y mazapán Another song with a great rhythm is En Navidad turrón y mazapán. This one is good as the lyrics are clear and repeated twice with rests at the end of each line which makes it clearer than in some villancicos where one sentence ends and another starts! This is obviously a very popular song for performance as there are multiple videos on Youtube of little ones dressed as Christmas trees and mini Santas singing it! I like the version below as it has widgets or pictogramas to explain the meaning but if you’d prefer a version without them, here’s one (fast forward to 1:27 to avoid the chatting!) https://youtu.be/hymnI_DKOnk
Cascabel Spanish version of Jingle Bells. I particularly like this version as it has an echo section in the middle where the chorus is sung line by line with spaces to echo it back. This allows those who can’t recall all the words or struggle to fit them in to concentrate on just one line at a time.
Dulce Navidad An alternative version of Jingle Bells in Spanish which replaces Jingle Bells with Sweet Christmas. This version is repeats the chorus and verse twice before there’s a final verse about Santa Claus being old and confused and delivering last year’s presents including chewed chewing gum and a punctured football!
[The more widely known version of this is Navidad Navidad hoy es Navidad; this however has three verses with lots of words. It’s here though if you’d like it https://youtu.be/Z0qYQSvGSdw]
La Marimorena This one is a more traditional Christmas song. As you can see from here https://www.mamalisa.com/?t=es&p=4198 there are many verses and alternative verses but the chorus is lively and simple to join in with. I love the flamenco clapping – it makes me want to dance! The version below is long but gives lots of opportunities to sing the chorus and has ‘sing with the colour’ lyrics! You could split into groups and each take a verse – one way of getting around ‘don’t sing altogether’ if that’s the rule in your school! This version is shorter and has people singing but no lyrics on the screen. https://youtu.be/CSaoK1Aceb0
¡Feliz Navidad! I couldn’t leave this one out! Very very simple – but it’ll get stuck in your head and may drive you slightly loco! This version is animated but if you’re a fan of Michael Bublé here’s the one for you 😉 https://youtu.be/J4DQC-M9O5c (that song starts after 44 seconds)
And one more bonus! Decoremos el árbol de Navidad Perhaps not to sing but this is a cute song for tidying up at this time of year with the repeated ‘Fa la la la la, la la la la’
Earlier today I saw someone share that they had made an Advent calendar using AdventMyFriend. Not liking to actually sit and do just one thing, I decided to investigate and have a go myself whilst watching TV.
Below is the result!
Really easy to do too!
One you’ve finished, you can share your calendar to most social media platforms as well as sharing via email and embedding it into a website or blog.
I’m thinking that I’ll make another one with Christmas traditions from around the world. In the meantime, you’ll have to wait until December 1st before you can look behind the first door of the one above! Why not make your own in the meantime?
I was overjoyed to be asked to present at the inaugural PHOrum meeting for members of the Association for Language Learning last Wednesday evening (get well soon Susanne x). My presentation was entitled Take One Book and can be viewed below along with links to some of the resources and ideas I shared.
You can find out more about the Take One Book by going to their website. A helpful literacy idea with amazing resources! https://www.takeonebook.org
There are multiple versions of the story being read online in Spanish online – this is one and here’s another one that are read in both Spanish and English, and this one has the bilingual text but just Spanish narration.
Joining in with a story video featuring Nigel Pearson sharing the book in German (Wo ist meine Katze?) https://vimeo.com/123422432 Well worth watching this masterclass in engaging a class in a story! If you want to story as written in the book in German here’s a video of it being read
As mentioned in an earlier post, I was asked to speak at The Language Show which this year went online and was delivered via Zoom. Below is my presentation and brief notes on what I talked about.
Thank you to all those who saw it ‘live’ for being there – even if I couldn’t see your faces which I found quite disconcerting – and for your questions and comments. I saved the chat and enjoyed reading back your comments. Any questions that were in the chat and not put into the Q&A tab so therefore went unanswered, I’ll answer below.
If you want to see me delivering it live, you can view the recording of the session for the next month (so until mid December 2020 I would think) via the Language Show website and clicking on my name (see below)
Below are links to resources, reading and things on which I commented/shared as there are lost of hyperlinked images!
In the chat Lisa Ng asked about the exercise on slide 21. It’s from a unit on your town and the task the children were doing was using the structure En mi pueblo hay (place) Aquí se puede (infinitive) We’ve been talking about what there is/isn’t in our town, and what our town is like, and moved on to looking at infinitives. The task was supported by a ‘trapdoor’ grid that we’d used to rehearse the structure. The child whose work I shared had extended his sentences using adjectives which weren’t on the grid and applied his previous learning of adjectival position and agreement. I’d suggested it as a way to enhance their writing but not pushed the point which was why I was so pleased. Paula asked if I remembered The Language Show a few years ago at Olympia with my trolley of resources. Of course I do! I still have it although in Covid19 times it has been rested for a bit as I’m not allowed to use as many resources. And I’d just like to reiterate what people were saying in the chat about making mistakes and being an example to your learners. I completely agree – modelling how we deal with mistakes, and showing that we are lifelong learners is SO important. One of my Y4 classes answer the register by greeting me in variety of languages and I’m trying to learn (and remember!) the response to each. They’re being very patient and keep repeating it until I get it correct. Problem is, by the time the next week comes, I’ve forgotten most of it. I keep trying though – which is all I ask of them!
Finally, if you teach primary languages in the UK, I recommended joining Languages in Primary School group (LiPS) on Facebook. Here’s the link. Please make sure you answer all 3 questions when you ask to join! https://www.facebook.com/groups/primarylanguages
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below and I’ll answer.
Due to current circumstances The Language Show, which is normally held in November at Olympia in London, is going online this year.
Held the weekend 13th-15th November, the show has three streams of talks: For those who love languages – talks, entertainment and insights. For language teachers– CPD for teachers in primary, secondary, HE, FE, adult, EFL/ESOL For language professionals – interpreters, translators and those who want to put their languages to work
Each stream offers a programme of seminars starting mid morning on Friday Saturday and Sunday and are all free to attend via Zoom. Some that have caught my eye include
Friday 13.30-14.15: Unlocking the hidden meanings of everyday wordswhich is all hidden meanings and ancient connections, and the etymology of words.
Saturday 13.30-14.15: Foods and Words: Can our appetite motivate language learning? which looks at the history of some staple British food of foreign origin and introduces basic linguistic principles to understanding their names.
Sunday 11.00-11.45: 5 Weeks of Low-Prep Fun in the Language Classroom – Janina Klimas which offers 25 easy-to-prepare, engaging activities and resources that get students excited about learning languages and through some of the rough parts, all while having fun.
Friday 15.30-16.15: Introduction to subtitling – Lindsay Bywood which will cover the various types of subtitling, how they are created, how the industry is set up and how to train and get work as a subtitler.
I’m definitely signing up for “We Are Multilingual”: Identity-based activities to promote and enhance language learningwhich is being delivered on Sunday 14.30-15.15 by Linda Fisher and Karen Forbes on behalf of the Multilingual Identity in Education group at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.
On Saturday from 1300-1345 you can join me as I talk about how language learning is about More than words. Here’s the blurb!
“This session explores the notion that learning a language is about so much more than lists of words and grammar. Drawing from the speaker’s own observations and experiences as a lifelong language learner as well as a teacher and mother, we will consider the importance of context, culture, communication, celebration and connections in nurturing learners with an enduring passion for language(s).”
You can register for free now on the website Follow all the latest news by following The Language Show on Twitter or Facebook.
In these strange times, the online conference is the way to go and thus I sat down at my laptop, coffee in hand and attended the ALL Primary Languages Conference a couple of weeks ago. Nicknamed ‘Acapulco’ by Steven Fawkes (there was a reason but nobody can recall what it was!) the conference was based around five pillars as can be seen from the graphic.
Others have shared their takeaways already, including Nathalie aka Nattalingo, as well as their presentations (Suzi’s is here) and I thought I’d share mine in the form of my sketchnotes. Disclaimer: I had to ‘leave’ early so I’m afraid I didn’t do one for Suzi’s session nor Nathalie’s but you can access their slides at the link above!
An excellent conference and really well organised. Not only were the sessions great, the chat was good too with ideas flying so fast it was sometimes hard to keep up with it all! I recommend that you sign up to ALL as there will be future events for members, specifically designed for primary called PHOrum and they will be quality events! You can find out how to join here and also about the other benefits!