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Lee con Gloria Fuertes

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

Another post about books I bought in Bilbao.

I’ve long been a fan of Gloria Fuertes, in particular her poem Doña Pito Piturra which I’ve written about before and so has Erzsi Culshaw.

The National Curriculum Language programme requires learners to:

  • discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied

and the KS2 section specifically states that pupils should be taught to:

  • explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language

I’m trying to include more whole class poems that we read and recite together in light of this and also as a way of supporting the English curriculum which requires learners to recite poetry.

So when I saw a series of books called Lee con Gloria Fuertes I decided to purchase a couple. It was hard to decide which to choose but I settled for one on nature and one on weather.


Below are my favourite poems from the books. The first is a list of wishes entitled Todos contra la contaminación which fits well with the eco focus at both my schools and would work well as a reading/drawing activity with learners choosing a line or two to illustrate. The second poem is called Gatos constipados and is about two poorly cats who get thrown out for coughing too much!

There are lots more books in the series so I may well purchase more in the future.

You can find more poems specifically for children by Gloria Fuertes here and others here. In this post there are a number of downloads of her poems along with links to other Gloria Fuertes poems including here (poems about time) and here (poems about professions). You can find a PDF of more of her work here plus here which also has a reading guide.

 

Veo Veo (A. Rubio y O. Villán)

Friday, May 19th, 2017

Another purchase on my travels to Bilbao was this book entitled Veo Veo.
It’s a really simple board book about two ‘lunas’ or moons that go for a walk to the park and play I spy. I liked it for the simplicity of the languages, for the repetition and also for the simplicity of the images.

So how would I use it?

  1. A book to read as the introduction to a guessing game: a number of images on the board and the leader says Veo Veo to which everyone answers ¿Qué ves tú? (the refrain in the book) before someone guesses which picture has been chosen. This limits the number of vocabulary items that need to be known to play the game.
  2. As a variation on the above, the leader could say what letter the item begins with Empieza con … or say what colour it is Es (de color) …. or give other simple clues.
  3. As above but using the whole rhyme that I shared in a previous post some time ago. (Sadly at the time of writing the link to the East Riding materials in the post is broken and I haven’t managed to track down if they are still in existence. EDIT: Now updated as I’ve found it!) It’s a call and response with the leader saying the parts in red and everyone else responding with the blue words before someone guesses.
    Veo veo I see, I see,¿Qué ves? What do you see?Una cosita. A thingY ¿qué cosita es? And what thing is it?Empieza con la ……. It begins with ………

    ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? What can it be? (x 3)

  4. It could even lead into a Wake up Shake up style activity or PE warm up using the MiniDisco video below; I can see my KS1 classes enjoying being letters and waggling their fingers (and their bottoms!)
  5. Getting away from the song/game Veo Veo, I also thought that the book would be a good stimulus for some writing.
    The story has the ‘lunas’ seeing two items, one on top of each other, then on the next double page, a third item has been added underneath, and then another so that by the end there are five items:

    Una estrella sobre un pez.

    Un pez en la nube azul.
    La nube sobre un ciempiés.
    El ciempiés sobre un iglú.To limit vocabulary, you could provide a number of labeled images that pupils could cut out and stick in a tower as in the book. At the most basic level they could label the items and at the next level describe using simple prepositions like en and sobre in the style of the book: [noun] [preposition] [noun]
    A little more complex would be to add some time conjunctions primero, luego, después, finalmente etc to sequence the items.
    And to add extra difficulty pupils could choose their own items to arrange and describe, perhaps not restricting themselves to placing them on top of each other but also placing them a la izquierda or a la derecha, al lado de, entre etc to introduce further positional prepositions, and adding a verb to the sentence; for example, Hay un sacapuntas debajo del arco iris or La silla está al lado de la naranja.
  6. The texts from the above activity could be used for listening activities with pupils sat back to back, reading out their description for the other pupil to draw before comparing images at the end.
  7. Another listening activity would be with the teacher describing a stack of items (as in the book) from a bank of given images and pupils arranging the images according to the description. Or it could be a reading activity involving drawing or sticking the items.
  8. Or if you’re feeling adventurous and have a big space, what about giving instructions to place larger items in a tower (being careful of H&S of course!); this might be a good idea for a smaller group or club.
  9. An added challenge for pupils would be to make the items rhyme with each other; for example
    Una vaca debajo de una butaca.
    Un payaso en un vaso.
    Un sartén sobre un tren.
    There’s a PDF of rhyming words in Spanish here which is helpful as it gives meanings, and this post gives a download of some rhyming cards as well as more suggestions on rhyming word activities. More advanced learners could use Buscapalabras, but the meanings are not givens it’s hard for a (near) beginner to choose suitable words for their sentence.
  10. And finally, why not have pupils making their own books – using an app like BookCreator if you want to use technology or a mini book if you want to go ‘analogue’ – using all of the above, and perhaps having the own characters.

So, there are my ideas. Have you got any to add? Leave a comment below.

Leyendo con Pictogramas

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Another of my purchases in Bilbao was Las vacaciones  which comes from a series called Colección Pictogramas described the publisher, CEPE (Ciencias de la Educación Preescolar y Especial) as forming part of a series  “para favorecer la integración de los alumnos con n.e.e. [Necesidades Educativas Especiales], sobre todo los que presentan dificultades lectoras y/o de comprensión” (to support the integration of students with SEND, especially those who have difficulties with reading and/or comprehension.)

I was drawn to the book as it has a very simple text and is on the subject of holidays and the seaside which one of the topics covered by Y1 at my school. However the thing that drew me most was that the text is accompanied by pictograms, small images to support understanding of the text.

At both of my schools we use pictograms or widgets for visual timetables to support all pupils in following the flow of the day as well as on key rings for individual pupils who use them to communicate. At one of my schools we use Communication in Print (now called InPrint3) just as Las Vacaciones does to support reading and comprehension across the curriculum. I’ve used it in RE lessons to retell stories from the Bible and Quran with success but have found it more fiddly with Spanish as it doesn’t recognise the words. A while back Clare Seccombe talked about finding a Spanish version and when I bought the book, I had this in mind but couldn’t find the name of it. Fortunately, she wrote a post about it a few days ago!

Pictotraductor will enable me to translate resources to support my pupils, but also to support non specialists who deliver Spanish lessons, much as the resource below helped the Y1 teachers to use the story of Ricitos de Oro until they discovered the Pictocuentos version (and subsequently enjoyed Caperucita Roja and El Patito Feo!)

Cuento ricitos de oro arasacc from ruvgac

And here is a video version of the story using pictograms as the characters and activities using pictograms that I found on this blog that shares resources for ‘Educación Especial’. In this post he recommends using Adapro or  AraWord (with the library of images from ARASAAC), both of which are freely downloadable from SourceForge. I do think that Pictotraductor looks easier to use as you don’t have to be at a specific computer but you need to be online to use it whereas the options above are downloaded programmes on your computer so could be done on a train for example.

I wish I’d bought more of the series of books but I’ve found the website and catalogue online so will perhaps get more when I’m next in Spain or persuade someone to take delivery and post them to me 😉

 

Un bicho extraño

Monday, May 1st, 2017

One of the books I bought in Bilbao was Un bicho extraño by Mon Daporta, a book which first came to my attention at Language World last year during the Show and Tell when Jesús from the Consejería shared it.

It’s a charming book that fits in well with the work we’re currently doing in Y4 about describing our faces and body parts. I love the video below of the story being told using a picture onto which body parts are stuck/removed as the story develops. And the wonderful thing is, the Consejería have produced a series of activities to use the book as well, including activities for pre and post reading. Some lovely ideas, and the instructions are bilingual too so no need to worry if you’re not fluent in Spanish!

I’ve also found this Slideshare that discusses ideas for using the story, and culminates with making your own version of the book using felt, buttons, ribbons etc.

UN BICHO EXTRAÑO from Patri Losada

La Maravillosa Medicina de Jorge – #WBD2016

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

IMG_1397My school decided that this year we’d have a Roald Dahl theme for World Book Day on March 3rd. Children came to school dressed as characters from Roald Dahl books – so lots of Oompa Loompas, Matildas, BFGs and Willy Wonkas not to mention a Fantastic Mr Fox appearing around every corner – and lessons were to have a similar theme. Serendipitiously I had purchased a copy of La Maravillosa Medicina de Jorge during my recent trip to Mexico so a plan began to form.

I had originally thought about a dictionary lesson in which children looked up ingredients for there own ‘medicine’ and wrote a list. Suitably purposeful and fun at the same time. Looking at the timetable I realised that I had Year 5 and 6 on WBD so thought I would ‘up’ the challenge. So I did. And I’m really pleased that they rose to said challenge!

Below are details of what we did. There was too much for one lesson; in fact, to do each activity justice I’d say you’d need at least two and a half hours, if not three. One class had 30 minutes…

The lesson began with me reading a chapter of the book – in Spanish of course. The chapter, entitled El maravilloso plan, is near the start of the book and is the one in which Jorge/George considers what to do about his intolerable grandma. He toys with the idea of blowing her up or using snakes or rats to scare her but, realising that he doesn’t have the means to do that, he spies her medicine and hatches a plan. It concludes with a rhyme in which he excitedly shares his plan. It lends itself well to dramatic reading and has illustrations that help with understanding, plus there are quite a few cognates. Additionally, it’s three pages long so manageable!

FullSizeRender_opt1. Listen to and follow a chapter

I copied the text* so that children (in pairs) could follow as I read and also displayed the appropriate image for the section on the whiteboard. I stopped after each section to ensure that they were following the story, and also used lots of actions and acting to ‘animate’ the story. It certainly engaged the classes as there was no chatting during the reading, and they were so engrossed that when I reached the part where Jorge/George jumps on the table and actually did it, they were rather shocked. Did get a few cheers afterwards!

If we’d had more time… I’d have done a ‘find the word for..’ activity, both in English and Spanish.

2. Read aloud a rhyming section

I read the last section then we went back and looked at it again. I decided that the first section was all we could attempt in the time we had. I read each line and the class repeated, then we read it again together. Then the class read it to each other in pairs or threes. It was a real test of their phonic knowledge as they’d only heard it three times, and had four minutes to rehearse before I asked if anyone wanted to have a go at reading it aloud to the class. There were between three and eight volunteers in each class who bravely stood and read it together, some with incredibly good pronunciation that made me want to jump up and down and squeal! I think the children were impressed too, especially as two of the classes had heard their native speaking classmate reading it aloud and hearing that it’s quite tricky to get your mouth around it even when it’s your first language!

If we’d had more time… I’d have worked on more of the rhyme and had groups rehearsing a section for a whole class poem recitation! Fits well with the school literacy policy and current focus on poetry. 

IMG_14023. Listen to a recipe and put it in order

Moving on, I’d created my own ‘maravillosa medicina‘. I cut the instructions into strips and gave each group (threes) a set. As they listened to me reading the recipe, they put the recipe into order. They did this very successfully without much problem. Before we checked our answers using the PPT, I asked children if  they could guess any of the ingredients. They were successful with shampoo and got close to engine oil (¾ said petrol), understood that paper was included and knew that ‘comida de gatos’ had something to do with cats! We went through the recipe and discussed what the instructions meant.

Download la receta

If we’d had more time… we could have done another sorting activity with pictures of the ingredients as an extra challenge, or a ‘fill the gap’ activity with the text if we were feeling extra adventurous.


IMG_1389
4. Write your own ‘maravillosa medicina’

Using some of the vocabulary from my ‘receta’, I made some colour coded cards to guide recipe writing. Green = ingredients  orange = quantities and blue = instructions/verbs. Each table had a pack of words and we discussed how to form phrases using an orange and a green card, or a sentence using a blue, then orange then green card. Children then made up their own recipes for ‘una maravillosa medicina’ on a copy of the final slide. Some chose to work in pairs but others preferred to write their own recipe although they formed sentences together. They worked at a variety of levels: the minimum was to write a list of ingredients. Next level was to specify quantities as well as ingredients. The next level was to give instructions by adding a verb. Some children decided to aim even higher and add sequencing words such as  primero, después, entonces etc. I was really pleased to see that the dictionaries were used very intelligently by which I mean, there were very few children who tried to look up every single word. That’s progress as I find that some pupils are so eager to please that they try to write overly complicated phrases rather than following the structure and adding ‘glittery bits’ as I call them!

Download medicina cards

We ran out of time in the lesson to do this part – most classes had about 20 minutes but the vast majority went for it and there was some great work. I asked everyone to finish their medicine for next lesson and I’ve promised to award prizes for the best entry in each class. To help, we looked at how to use wordreference.com 

If we’d had more time… we’d have spent time making and sharing phrases with the cards before starting to write the recipes. We’d also have spent more time in class on writing the recipes. It’s always risky letting children take work home to finish…

IMG_1387 IMG_1386
IMG_1404 IMG_1403

Next week I will share the completed medicines but I hope that you get a feel for what we did in this post. I enjoyed the lesson and I’m pretty sure that the pupils did too as there was no one off task in any of the four classes, and there was a buzz of discussion about ingredients and how to construct correct sentences throughout the day. I only wish we’d had more time.

So, I wonder what the theme will be next year?

* As I photocopied one chapter of the book only, this was not a breach of copyright. Schools have a CLA license and, as I own the book, it is acceptable as detailed below. The illustrations in the presentation come from that chapter too. For more information see http://www.copyrightandschools.org

copyright rules

PS I did dress up as a Roald Dahl character, but not from George’s Marvellous Medicine. Can you work out who I am? (I’m the one in mortal danger!)

12806201_10154771290609152_2647308444962819072_n

 

Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

If you’ve read the July edition of UKEDmagazine you may have read my article entitled Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning. If you haven’t, you can read the unedited version below or the official version at this link

Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

A wide variety of people teach languages in Primary schools, probably more than in any other ‘subject’. Whether you’re a class teacher with or without language skills, a reluctant language coordinator or a visiting language specialist (to name but a few possibilities) here are my top ten tips for primary language teaching and learning.

  1. Phonics are vital

It doesn’t matter which language you teach, making the correct sounds of that language is key. Working on phonics from the start builds a strong foundation on which learners can build, enabling them to see new words and say them accurately. Have a look at Rachel Hawkes’ website where there are links to free resources covering French Spanish German and Italian. http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php

 

  1. Songs and rhymes motivate and teach

A good way to increase confidence in reading and speaking the language is by sharing songs, poems and rhymes. This is also a good way to reinforce phonic knowledge and explore the rhythms of the language. Mama Lisa has songs and rhymes in many languages, often with a sound file giving the correct pronunciation and a translation into English so you know what you’re saying! There are also many songs and rhymes on Youtube on channels such as Basho and Friends or by searching for the artist such as Alain le lait

 

  1. Dramatic stories

Using stories – in translation or original language – is another great tool for language learning as they are familiar and often very repetitive. My favourites include Oso pardo, ¿qué ves?, Le navet enorme and Kleiner weisser Fisch as they lend themselves to acting out (even Y6 like acting!) and are easy for learners to adapt into their own stories. For example, Y5 invented stories based on Le navet enorme that included a child who didn’t want to get in the bath and had to be pulled to the bathroom, a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard and a car that broke down and needed to be pushed.

 

  1. Technology has its place

There are many opportunities for using technology to enhance language learning such as recording, reviewing and refining speaking activities using Audacity or an app like VoiceRecordPro, or performing speeches and role plays using Tellagami, YakitKids, or Puppet Pals.  BookCreator app is an excellent tool for creating multimedia books including text, sound, video, hyperlinks, doodles and pictures; incredibly easy to use and suitable for young children as well as those who are less confident with technology. And why not use Build Your Wildself or Switchzoo to create hybrid animals then describe them in the language.

 

  1. Share!

Using technology is also a great way to enable sharing of the great things that go on in language learning. Whether it is via the school website or VLE, tweeted or shared on a class/school blog, celebrating language learning gives it status and also provides an audience and a purpose for learning. Additionally, learners are able to take their learning home with them digitally; the excitement of pupils when we made our first podcast nine or ten years ago was great. “I’m on my Gran’s iPod!” was my favourite comment.

 

  1. Use anything you can get your hands on

The primary classroom is full of things that can be used and adapted for language learning. Number fans are great for counting and also giving feedback with numbered images for example. Mini whiteboards allow learners to write and correct without committing it to paper as well as drawing images to show understanding of vocabulary or instructions. Unifix cubes can be used for ordering ideas or vocabulary and cushions make great impromptu puppets for speaking or islands for phoneme sorting!

 

  1. Grammar isn’t a dirty word

Primary learners are very familiar with grammatical terms and enjoy comparing the grammar of other languages, making links and finding differences. Sorting words into boxes according to gender, making human sentences to explore word order and creating verb flowers or spiders are just some ways of making grammar fun and memorable.

 

  1. Integrate language learning into the curriculum

Language learning shouldn’t be seen as a standalone but, as much as possible, integrated into the primary curriculum. As there is no prescribed content in the KS2 PoS, it’s possible to teach the skills through whatever topic if you use a little imagination. And where full integration is tricky or where a specialist delivers the lesson, a class teacher can always build language into routines such as PE warmups, lining up, the register and so on, even if their knowledge of the language is limited.

 

  1. Make links

Don’t just make cross curricular links, but also cross country and cross cultural links. Making contact with children that speak the language you’re learning is very motivating and gives a real purpose to learning. It also increases learners’ understanding of other cultures as well as considering their own in new ways. The British Council SchoolsOnline is a good place to start the search for partners.

 

  1. Celebrate all languages

Most of all, celebrate all languages. Many learners already speak more than one language which is a valuable skill. Encourage them to share how to say things in their languages; comparing and contrasting numbers or colours in a variety of languages is a fun activity as learners try to group similar words together.

This article first appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine

If you’d like to read more of the magazine that includes other articles about language learning including one of target language by @reebekwylie and Progress in MFL by @jakehuntonMFL the links are below.

You can buy a printed copy of the magazine by clicking here, or

Freely read online by clicking Here

Books and bloomers

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Mr S has been to Mexico this week and returned bearing gifts. I suspect there will be a few posts coming up in the near future about these ‘gifts’  and here’s the first!

photo 1

I asked Mr S, if he had time, to bring me back children’s books that are simple and repetitive, and that’s what these two little books are.

Very simple and designed for very young learners, each 2 page spread introduces two related vocabulary items and then poses a question that is answered by lifting a flap. Taking the example of Animales, some of the questions have obvious answers like ¿Qué ha puesto la gallina? and ¿De qué color es la mariposa? (no flap for that one) whilst other have a range of possible answers with the correct one revealed under the flap like ¿Quién monta a al caballo? but there’s no reason why you couldn’t give silly answers to any of the questions;

¿Qué come el monito? Un cocodrilo

¿Qué ha puesto la gallina? Un dragón

photo 4 photo 2-1
photo 3 photo 2

The other little book is called Palabras and has more ‘random’ vocabulary, presented in pairs on a double spread. Once more there’s a question and a flap that reveals the answer, and some questions are more open ended than others.

photo 1-1 photo 3-1

The question on the right made me giggle! ¿Qué lleva la muñeca debajo del vestido? (What is the doll wearing under her dress?) It reminded me of De quelle couleur est ta culotte?

And then I lifted the flap.

photo 4-1 Well there’s a word I hadn’t heard before. So I looked it up. Apparently pololos are bloomers. But that’s not all as you can see here.  In Chile, un pololo is a ‘novio’ or boyfriend and also, according to this Etimología de Pololo, an insect or a short job. And Reverso says

   pololo  (Chile)  

a       sm/f  
*   boyfriend/girlfriend   →   polola  
b       sm  
1    (=insecto)   moth
2    (=pesado)   bore
3    (=coqueto)   flirt
4    (=pretendiente)   (persistent) suitor
5    (=chulo)   pimp

So, dolly might have all sorts of things hidden under that pretty spotty frock 😉

And of course, la muñeca also mean wrist…

Words are fun, aren’t they?

 

 

PS these are ‘pololos’ too

h-elegans-f1 AstyTrifaciatus


Teachmeet Brum #tmbrum

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Last night I braved the cross city traffic and went to King Edwards Five Ways (nowhere near the Five Ways I know!) for TeachmeetBrum. Organised by @frogphilp aka Steve Philp of Paganel Primary, it was an intimate affair (but that’s not a bad thing!) but that’s a good thing as we all talked to one another!

I admit to spending longer on cupcake production than on my presentations, but I often do my best work when hoofing it and speaking from my heart.

I talked about using apps like PicCombo, 4Pictures 1Word and Icomania (iOS and Android) to inspire learners at the start of lessons as well as increasing vocabulary. I used them when teaching English last year; M+M loved the puzzle of working out how the picture were linked and then discussing what a duster and a red and white flag had to do with one another (answer – polish/Polish) There is a French, German and Spanish version of 4pictures 1word available in the Swiss (Fr/Ger) and Spanish (Sp) iTunes stores – you can download them if you have an account with that store. Alternatively, you can do as Dannielle Morgan did and create your own! She has made some for Year 7 French ,  Year 8 French and Year 9 French that she kindly shared on TES Resources
I didn’t make a new presentation but recycled part of an old one – see below!

Games to learn – TeachMeet International from Lisa Stevens

 

My second presentation was also recycled from MFL Show and Tell in Coventry – and I make no apologies for it as I think it was a really successful unit of work that both the kids and I enjoyed. Inspired by Go away Big Green Monster in Spanish, and the learning journey topic of Mythical Monsters, Year 3 and I embarked on a mission to write books in Spanish. See how we did it below, using non-technological means as well as iPads!

Year 3 Spanish story making from Lisa Stevens

The PPT of Señor Cabeza Naranja is all over the place for downloading (some with my name removed which bugs me no end!) – just Google it. However, the updated version is below!

Señor Cabeza Naranja (2013) from Lisa Stevens

Hopefully I managed to inspire someone, and failing that, hope someone enjoyed my cupcakes 😉

Favourite books for PLL – Counting ovejas / Diez orugas cruzan el cielo / Descubre y aprende los números con Fido

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

*This is one of a series of posts about some of my favourite story books for Primary Language Learning*

Following on from some ideas for Spanish books using colours, the books in this post look at numbers 1-10.


Image 12

Counting ovejas (available on Amazon and Abebooks) is a book about a little boy who can’t get to sleep as there’s too much noise so he decides to count sheep. Except these sheep aren’t in his imagination! Una oveja blanca arrives in his room and he bids it ¡Adiós! , then dos ovejas amarillas walk in; he bids them ¡Adiós! as he pushes them out of the window. More and more sheep of varying colours  arrive and the boy bids them ¡Adiós! in ever increasingly ingenious and elaborate ways. Does he ever get to sleep? you’ll have to read the book to find out!

The text is very simple and very repetitive, following the structure of stating the number and colour of the sheep on one page and bidding them goodbye on the next. In fact the whole book is made up of the following vocabulary:

los números – uno / dos / tres / cuatro / cinco / seis / siete / ocho / nueve / diez

una oveja / ovejas

los colores – blanco / marrón / negro / rosa / verde / rojo / turquesa / violeta / azul / amarillo

¡Buenas noches! ¡Adiós! ¡gracias!

Image 13

There is a ‘pronunciation’ given on each page for the Spanish; I personally don’t like these as their accuracy depends on everyone interpreting the ‘phonetic spelling’ in the same way. For example seis ovejas rojas is written ‘pronounced’ say-ees oh-veh-hahs ro-has 

However it’s a lovely book for reading with young learners who will soon recall the colour of the sheep as well as the next number as you count the invading woolly creatures! It’s a great book for acting with masks too, perhaps for an assembly! And although this post is about another (similar) book, the activities are equally valid!

Image 9

Diez orugas cruzan el cielo (available on Amazon and Abebooks) is another counting book with little caterpillars traveling through the pages. Each double page is written in four line rhyme with the final word of line 4 being the number of caterpillars left on the next page:

Image 10

One caterpillar falls asleep, gets lost, or gets left behind on each page so the numbers decrease from diez to uno until there’s a big surprise on the last page. I like this as counting backwards is more tricky than forwards and adds variety to number work.

Image 14

The final counting book for young learners is Descubre y aprende los números con Fido. This book is similar to Descubre y aprende los colores con Fido and particularly good for small groups or individual reading, or for whole class using a visualiser. And as the numbers only go as far as 5, it’s particularly good for very young learners in Nursery/Kindergarten.

Image 15

Each double page focuses on a different number and has bright images for counting, a panel of numbers for indicating the correct figure and a wheel for finding the correct image to fill the window. You could extend the activities by asking learners to find a certain number of items e.g. dos ovejas or tres vacas from the farm, or cuatro coches y un tren from the transport corner. Or count the number of steps to reach certain parts of the classroom/playground.

A fun book – I’m sure there are plenty of other similar books that could be used for similar activities.

I’ll be back with some French ideas once I’ve found all my French books!

And to finish, a few videos that could be used with these books –

Very simple presentation of Los números 1-10 

and also

Un elefante se balanceaba

And a counting song (NB Mexican accent)

Favourite books for PLL – ¿De qué color es Elmo? / Descubre y aprende los colores con Fido / Harold y el lápiz morado

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

*This is one of a series of posts about some of my favourite story books for Primary Language Learning*

One of my favourite occupations in Spain or France – and now Switzerland/Germany – is sitting on the floor of bookshops, supermarkets and any other likely looking shop, poring over children’s books. I could – and often do – spend hours searching for gems that I can use in the classroom. I consequently have a large collection of books but many are either out of print or “don’t exist” in searches as I bought them in supermarkets. De quelle couleur est ta culotte (shared earlier this week) is one such out of print book – you can get it but it costs a week’s wages! Two of today’s books belong to another category – they ‘exist’ (obviously as I have copies!) but can’t be found for love nor money! However, I’m still going to share them as the ideas can be used with other books of a similar vein, or with homemade presentations instead of a commercial book.

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I found ¿De qué color es Elmo? in a shop in Benalmadena about eight years ago and it instantly became a favourite, particularly with Nursery/Reception. The book poses the question ¿De qué color es Elmo?  and each double page spread offers a suggestion as to his colour on the left hand page with the response on the right hand page indicating that another character is that colour as well as an object in the picture, before finally suggesting the correct colour on the final page!

Image 10The book is popular for a number of reasons

It’s repetitive – it’s easy to respond to the question with a loud ¡NO! however old you may be! Or join in with the suggested colour when I pause ¿Es Elmo….? by looking at the colour of the writing!

Sesame Street is always a winner as the characters are so friendly. Many younger learners don’t know the English names for all characters but they do know Elmo! And those that recognise Big Bird are quite happy to accept that he’s called Paco Pico, or that Grover is called Coco!

The pictures are clear and interesting. Once we’re familiar with the book we look for other objects in the pictures that are the colour suggested. For example, the house – la casa – is suggested on this page. Then we turn the page and look in other pictures. And then we start looking around the room for more ideas. Sometimes we play “Traeme algo ….” – this worked really well when the age of my pupils spanned 1 – 3 years as the little ones were happy looking and pointing whilst the older ones needed a bit more challenge! As a follow on activity we might build up a collage of images in the different colours, like mini mood boards with a character at the centre of each. Older learners might label them.

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Someone recently said on a forum that they didn’t like little books as not everyone can see them in a class situation and that is true (although it’s a good way of staying warm as everyone squishes up close…) However, there is a very limited supply of big books, particularly in other languages. To get around this problem, I photographed each double page and blew it up to A3 size and laminated it, making my own ‘big book’. If I had had a projector in the room, I’d have simply projected the images from my computer onto it, straight from the photogallery  (the quick answer) or in a presentation (the longer lasting solution!) Lots of classrooms have visualisers now so why not use that to show the book? (Alex shares here how you can use a USB webcam as a  really cheap visualiser!)

As I said, I bought this book years ago along with another called ¿Qué oye Epi?, a lovely story about what Epi (Ernie!) can hear as he sits by his window. Unfortunately that book went missing and I can’t replace it. Fortunately I had ‘blown it up’ into a display so can hopefully find where that is (I’m a bit of a hoarder!) and use it again.

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Another book I have that is good for very little ones is Descubre y aprende los colores con Fido. I found this in a discount bookshop in Spain along with Descubre y aprende los números con Fido for 2,95€. I’m sure that there are many equivalent books out there!

Each double page focuses on a colour – verde, azul, rojo, amarillo and marrón (not an obvious choice for me but it works!) – and has a number of things to do.

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  • three examples of e.g. brown things (adjective after noun isn’t something I’d point out but sometimes a bright spark points it out for me!)
  • ‘point to the colour’ on the colour grid
  • turn the wheel to find the e.g. brown object
  • other labelled items that ‘go with’ the object on the wheel – in this case, things in the garden around Fido’s kennel.

This book works best with small groups of children or as a book for independent learning although you could use a visualiser to share it with a whole class, inviting individuals to point/turn the wheel whilst everyone else watches on the screen.

 

Image 7My final book (for now as I haven’t found them all yet!) on the subject of colour is Harold y el lápiz morado. Harold is a little boy (in a onesie!)  who decides one night, after much thought, to go for a walk in the moonlight. But there’s no moon… so he draws one with his purple crayon. And then he draws the path and the adventure begins as the purple crayon brings Harold’s thoughts to life.

Image 6Whilst it has lots of words in it and I wouldn’t necessarily read it all to the class in one go, I love the idea of “taking a line for a walk” (not quite in the same way as Paul Klee!) guided by your imagination! Added to that, it’s very visual as the drawings are clear you can follow what’s happening without understanding every ward. So I’d read it as an experience of listening to a story in Spanish, deciphering meaning from pictures, gestures and tone of voice. And then we might take our own lines for walks to see where they might take us! Perhaps we might even take it in turns to add an image to the story that could then be narrated in Spanish by the teacher (or that convenient native speaker in my class!)

Harold y el lápiz morado is available from Abebooks and Amazon