Early in October I took part in the Talleres de español at Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch in Portobello, London. It was quite a treat to attend and participate in a face to face conference, and I thoroughly enjoyed the day in spite of the pouring rain and general exhaustion!
My presentation was entitled Take One Book, considering how one book can be used as the inspiration and impetus for a wide variety of activities in the primary language classroom. You can read a little about it and view my slides in a previous post.
When I was asked to speak, the organisers asked if I would be willing to write up my talk for publication in a special edition of TECLA, the Consejería magazine. I agreed and the magazine has just been published. I am really proud to be part of such a prestigious publication, and hope that it is well received and useful to readers.
Below is the first page and you can download the whole article below that.
Other contributions include an interview with Baroness Coussins, an article on using important artists as the vehicle for Spanish learning, and a report on using MFL projects to build bridges at QKA in Peterborough where 52 languages are spoken by the school community. The full list of articles is below. I’m looking forward to reading through the articles over the holidays when I have time to digest.
Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the Talleres de español in London. It was lovely to see people in real life rather than through a computer screen, and it was definitely worth the trip from Birmingham. As always Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch was buzzing with chat and the food was delicioso. Not many conferences where you are given a glass of wine with lunch, or finish the afternoon dancing or learning about jamón y vino! Thanks to the Consejería de Educación and Junta de Castilla y León for facilitating the day and to Baroness Coussins for her inspiring start to the day. It’s good to know that there’s someone passionate about languages fighting hard and trying to make change in the corridors of power. “Talking about languages in Parliament often feels like wading through treacle. [But it’s about] doors opening and horizons widening. The beauty of languages is that there is a win-win waiting to be claimed.”
As promised here is my presentation. I spoke about Take One Book in Spanish and my presentation is below. In a future edition of TECLA you’ll be able to read a summary of what I said in Spanish (I hope!)
All the videos and activities I mentioned in the presentation are bookmarked on a Pinterest page. A warning – Pinterest may be blocked in your school (it is in Birmingham schools) so it may be that you have to access the links at home and save them elsewhere, but this is the easiest way to collate them. And here is the vocabulary for the Tesoro o basura activity.
Following on from my previous post, I also purchased this book. Whilst not a new publication, it’s new to me and I thought I’d share how I might use it.
This book also features Sandra Boynton’s trademark quirky animals with all the favourites including cows, pigs and the funky chicken!
Here’s the opening of the book that sets up the ‘story.’ What do you think it’s about? I’d encourage learners to use the cover picture, the illustration on p1 and the text to try and work it out. What are the animals on the cover doing? What is the cow doing? I’d expect ‘dancing’ and ‘playing an instrument/singing’ to be included in the responses. Depending on the learners’ knowledge of music/life experiences, they might put the dancing and the fiddle together to mention barn dancing, but some might need a bit of a steer in that direction. You could show a video of some barn dancing to give them an idea!
Next I’d look at the text. Which words can you pick out and suggest a meaning? ‘Aplauden’ (clap/applaud) and ‘danza’ (dance) are the most obvious but watch out for false friends ‘corral’ and ‘pies’! If learners have met body parts they might recognise ‘pies’ and possibly ‘manitas’ from manos (several finger rhymes that my learners have met include the word manitas though) So what are the instructions? Stamp your feet and clap your hands. Again, I’d expect my learners to recognise ‘¿listos?’ as I use it often, but it would be a good opportunity to learn it otherwise. So, are we ready for the barn dance?
The book then continues with instructions to do an action with an animal. Above we have hopping with a bunny, walk with a duck and dance with the mad chickens, clucking all over the place. Below you can see that there are also animal sounds to explore – which animal makes these sounds?
The whole book is one long dance routine and it’s a great text to get learners involved!
Here are some ideas!
Read the text and learners do the actions.
Give learners an animal and they stand up or hold up a picture each time their animal is mentioned.
Match the animal to the action. ¿Brinca o galopa con el conejito? Brinca con el conejito. ¿Y con los pollos locos? Baila con los pollos locos
Match the sound to the animal. ¿Qué dice beee – una vaca o una oveja?
Explore more animal sounds; compare English and Spanish animals; explore other languages. I’ve got a great book called Animals Speak that would be great for this! (This post is about it, and another Sandra Boynton book!)
As learners move around, hold up an animal picture and they change the way they’re moving according to the story.
Follow the instructions and have a barn dance!
Rewrite the instructions replacing the animals with members of the class – baila con Charlie; brinca con Evie; da vueltas con Israel; corre con Mariah etc
Make up a routine with each learner adding a new move to the previous one(s) like Granny’s Shopping – how many moves can you remember and perform?
Work on verbs – lots are -ar so could you work out how to say I jump if given the verb paradigm of a regular -ar verb?
Make your own dance routine using the verbs
Alter the instructions so it’s not brinca CON un conejito (jump/hop WITH a bunny) but brinca COMO un conejito (jump/hop LIKE a rabbit) then write your own sentences for a game that could be played in PE or at break!
Those are just a few activities that immediately spring to mind – do you have any to add?
In the post this morning I received an exciting package – a new book that I wasn’t expecting until mid September! I love Sandra Boynton books – Moo Baa La la la was one of my sons’ favourite books as toddlers and Azul el sombrero, Verde el sombrerowas a massive hit when I recorded it for KS1 in lockdown (I received several reports and even videos of children exclaiming ¡Ay caramba!) so when I saw that she’d published a new book, I preordered it!
The book is all about emotions. Here’s the opening page that sets up the whole book:
Each page then features an animal and an emotion. Here are the first two pages:
All the emotions go with estar and include enérgico, gruñón and contenta. As you can see from the sample pages and the examples I’ve given, the adjectives are presented in masculine – enojado, enérgico – and feminine – contenta – forms as well as those that are unchangeable – triste, feliz.
I love the illustrations which make the book. All the animals have their own characters and also demonstrate their emotion brilliantly. I also like that there is some more unusual vocabulary like complacido (contented/pleased with yourself) and confundida (confused) which opens up discussion of confounded being another (stronger) way of saying confused.
The final message of the book is that whilst the hope is that everyone is happy, it’s OK if you’re not, you’re amongst friends and that emotions change day to day.
It’s a lovely stand alone book but would also be good to introduce and/or review :-
estar + adjectives
use of muy (and potentially bastante) to qualify the extent of the feeling
masculine and feminine nouns (cerdo and hipopótamo are masculine nouns but are presented in feminine form as the animal is female)
the diminutive -ito/a
Having read the book, I’d try some of the following:
Asking the question ¿Cómo estás? and looking for a reply starting Estoy... (I am….)
Ask the question ¿Cómo está (animal)? to use the 3rd person with replies (animal) está (emotion)which requires learners to swap the indefinite artilce in the text for the definite article in their reply e.g. ¿Cómo está la rana? La rana está contenta
Make new sentences about animals and emotions based on pictures (see below for some possible ones!)
Make similes using the structure [adjective] como [animal] e.g. enfadado como un león; hambrienta como una cabra; listo como un búho
I thoroughly recommend the book – and all of Sandra Boynton’s books as they’re great fun but also great to spark ideas and activities.
When bsmall contacted me to say that they were updating their 50 Phrases series and would I like a sneak peek, of course I said yes!
bsmall are a “small but mighty” (love that description!) award-winning independent children’s publishing company that creates and publishes children’s books for sale in the UK and around the world. “We’re on a mission to empower all readers with critical literacy skills, and our books are creative, educational and encourage children to think for themselves.” I’ve written about some of their books before. You can find out about their Hello Languages serieshere, one of their UKS2 parallel text books Los Mellizos del Tiempohere and their I can read series of books here (update – there are a couple of Spanish ones and more French available now £1.99 each from Apple Books)
The 50 Phrases series are currently available in French, Spanish and English, and aim to give children ‘a head start’ with a new language. Over 32 pages, they introduce some common phrases and useful vocabulary for beginner learners including how to introduce yourself, talk about your family and express opinions as well as asking questions about where and what things are, inviting others to play and requesting things. Each double page spread has between 2 and 5 key phrases that are highlighted, adding up to 50 over the whole book, as well as boxes of vocabulary that can be used with those phrases. There is also the suggestion of a game or activity to rehearse those phrases, and also a little bit of grammar is explained throughout. You can see an example below.
Each phrase is written in Spanish and English, and is also written ‘phonetically.’ I’m not a great fan of this ‘how to pronounce it’ guide as it can lead to very odd pronunciation, but I understand that some people find it helpful, particularly as this is intended to be used at home/independently. And that’s where the update comes in about which I am very pleased.
The book now comes with a QR code that gives the reader access to audio files of the 50 Spanish Phrases (and the same for English and French if you purchase those books.) that give a clear native speaker model of the pronunciation. You can see how it works with the sample below.
By giving the pronunciation of the key phrases, learners now have access to what they actually sound like which will facilitate more educated understanding of the pronunciation guide and more accurate Spanish pronunciation. So this is a great resource that can be used at home without need for a Spanish speaker to be present!
As I said, I was given a sneak peek as the updated versions are not released until May 3rd but you can preorder the SpanishFrench and English books via the bsmall website.
While you’re on the site, check out some of the other books they publish. My eye was caught by the Hide and Speak books with flaps to lift and the Mix and Match flashcards for practising questions and answers. Or download the Language Learning brochure to browse at your leisure! And make sure you check out the Activity Hub where you can download a copy of the Rights of the Language Learner as well as a beach picture labelled in French and Spanish – perfect for Y2s summer topic.
I once more had the pleasure of presenting at Language World, the annual conference of Association for Language Learning (ALL). My presentation was entitled Take One Book and was the sequel to the presentation I did at PHOrum in November (you can read about it here) this time choosing a book that was originally written in Italian and has no English translation.
I really enjoyed sharing my ideas of how to use ¡Ojo Oso! and was pleasantly surprised that I managed to finish in time and have time for questions. I experimented with using subtitles/captions during my presentation after comments by Helen Simpson on LiPS made me think about accessibility. I need to watch back the recording of my session (which has just been made available for those who registered for the conference but missed the session) to see exactly how accurate they were but I know that when I spoke Spanish they definitely had trouble as they were set to English! For example un agujero became ‘all alcohol’ and una madriguera became ‘mother together.’
Below you can find a PDF of my presentation. I’ve removed the story slides due to copyright but you can find links to versions of the story read online, as well as to where you can purchase a copy.
At the end there is a link to my Pinterest where I collected together materials for the talk, some of which I didn’t use! You can also access it via this QR code.
Perhaps you have ideas that spring to mind? Or you have a book that you could use in a similar way? If you have any comments or questions, do leave a comment below.
Postscript – you can watch the ‘standby/rehearsal’ recording of the session here.
There are 10 books ranging from picture books to chapter books, and after the first 10 slides that show just the covers, the next 10 slides reveal the titles in English as well as the language in which the book is written. You could use this as an extra part of the quiz, awarding bonus points for successfully identifying the language.
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
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!
Continuing on the theme of colours, the next story I decided to share with the children is all about Elmer the elephant. In the book, we meet Elmer and his multiple colours, and then discover things that are that colour like snow, an ice lolly and fruit.
Here it is:
Since recording it, I’ve discovered the video below which takes the book towards the story of Elmer in which he wants to be the same as everyone else to fit in. [You can find that story here.] They each colour in a picture of Elmer and explore the idea of being the same but different
Then I found this song that is really lovely and worth sharing with children as it speaks about the value of diversity.
The lyrics are:
De mil colores es su piel se llama Elmer y es genial un elefante quiere ser de igual color que los demás. (2 veces)
Para ser feliz no hay que ser igual para sonreír no hay que ser igual para divertir no hay que ser igual porque el color no importará. (2 veces)
(Elmer, el elefante de colores – Canción del cuento de David McKee Autor: Juan Rafael Muñoz Muñoz Arreglo: Luis Miguel González)
I also like this version of the songs with pictograms to aid understanding. If you’d like another version of the story I shared, here’s a little child reading it. Very different style to me – far cuter! And I also found a couple of activities here that you could do related to the story.