challenge – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: challenge

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or have ever met me will know that I like to sketchnote whenever I attend conferences or complete professional development activities. In fact, you’ll find many of them on this website too!

Sketchnotes are rich visual notes created from a mix of handwriting, drawings, hand-drawn typography, shapes, and visual elements like arrows, boxes, and lines. (Mike Rohde)

Well, one of my sketchnote inspirations is Sylvia Duckworth. Her definition:

 Sketchnoting, or visual note-taking, is an effective and fun way to take notes using doodles and text. It has many other benefits such as increased focus and engagement in class, improved comprehension and memory retention, helps develop creative thinking skills and allows students an alternative way to display their learning and make connections to course content. It has a calming and relaxing effect too!

You may not have met Sylvia Duckworth; perhaps you’ve never heard the name before, but I’m sure you’ve seen her sketchnotes! Recognise either of these?

Sylvia collected some of her beautiful sketchnotes in a book nearly two years ago called Sketchnotes for Educators which features 100 of her favourites in print with links to download and print them out for your classroom. Here’s the trailer!

A month or so ago I heard that Sylvia was releasing a new book entitled How to Sketchnote: A step-by-step Manual for Teacher and Students. Very exciting news! Just as exciting was news of #sketchnotefever, a 21 day sketchnote challenge. Each day from October 23rd to November 12th, Sylvia is posting a 3 minute video that shows how to draw icons, fonts, banners and bullets with the aim of building up a visual dictionary for sketchnoting. 

I joined in as I like a challenge and I felt that it would do my sketchnoting a good boost in advance of the Practical Pedagogies conference in Cologne. Each day I’ve had a go at the task and posted my results on Twitter and Instagram. Sylvia loves seeing all the #sketchnotefever posts and is really good at commenting on them all! And she’s really kindly let me have a copy of her new book ahead of publication – and it’s BRILLIANT!

It explains what sketchnoting is, compares analogue (the way I do it) and digital (the way Sylvia does it, using an iPad and Procreate app) sketchnoting and then offers exercises and activities to practice ‘doodling’, build up a vocabulary of visuals, and learn how to do all the ‘other bits’ like banners, bullets and fonts. I’m particularly liking the icon section on p26-27, and will be spending lots of time on p54 practicing animals, and the stick people on p51-2. I may even start a ‘Doodle club’ using it!

So – two bits of advice!

  1. Use #sketchnotefever as a way of giving sketchnoting a go. It’s a great introduction and by the end you’ll see that you really don’t have to be an artist to do it!
  2. Get a copy of How to Sketchnote: A step-by-step Manual for Teacher and Students. Whether you’re planning on using it as a tool to help teach your pupils how to sketchnote, or as a personal ‘how to’ manual, it’s well worth the purchase as you get links to images for projection as well as links and QR codes to videos. And if you order before November 13th, you get bonus features too. Click here to find out about it.

PS I’ll post all of my #sketchnotefever sketchnotes at the end of the challenge in one post but check out Twitter or Instagram if you can’t wait! If you search for the hashtag you’ll find lots of other people’s sketches too!

My husband often has to travel abroad with his work and, knowing my love of books, has been trained to look put for things I might like to use in the classroom. This last week, as usual, he texted me from the airport to ask about books I might like. Only he wasn’t in Spain or Germany, Switzerland or Austria, countries that speak languages I teach (or love!); he was in Lithuania.However, I am always up for a challenge and when he sent a picture of the front of the book, I decided I liked his choice and said ‘why not?’ I think he fell in love with the covers too as he bought me two.

And so I met Kakė Makė! I couldn’t understand a word of the books, but I immediately loved the bright pictures and quirky character of Kakė Makė that comes through the illustrations.

From the pictures I decided that Kakė Makė ir Netvarkos Nykštukas was about Kakė Makė getting up to mischief, and making an incredible mess, and an elf taking her toys away. Kakė Makė then follows the elf and tries to get the toys back by completing some tasks including a maze and fighting a monster. I also worked out that Kakė Makė is a nickname and the girl’s real name is Kornelija

I’ve since found this video that tells the story in English – and I wasn’t far off! It seems that Kakė Makė translates as GooGoo MooGoo!

And then I looked at Kakė Makė ir didelė Tamsa and concluded that it’s about a shadowy monster that scares Kakė Makė and her friends, and Kakė Makė sets off to find it, capture it in a bag and dispose of it. * What do you think? Here’s a video of the story with no narration!

I think that, as a language teacher, it’s good sometimes to put yourself into the place of a learner who has very limited or no understanding (as was my case) of the language being presented. Not only does it help you to understand the level of panic that can arise when faced with a page of unfamiliar and apparently unintelligible  words, but it also clarifies how you have to rely on all the clues you can find to help you.

  • Pictures – very helpful here
  • Cognates – virtually non existent; I found laberintas and bibliotekininke
  • Punctuation like capital letters for names  – I worked out that Tamsa is the name of the monster and Pipiru is the dog. So some help but not a great deal!
  • Knowledge about stories – there’s usually an opening before a build up to a problem, the problem gets fixed and there’s a conclusion.

I also looked at the text and noticed a couple of things:

  1. Kakė Makė is written Kakėi Makėi a couple of times, both times at the start of a sentence, and once Kakės Makės; what do those suffixes mean? I wonder if it’s to do with subject/object of the sentence? Or possession?
  2. Speech is denoted by – – as in Spanish, and quotations by ,,    ” which I found interesting.
  3. I’m fascinated by the diacritical marks and accents. I want to know how they work! Does it alter the sound of the letters as in French, or the stress pattern as in Spanish? And is Lithuanian like Swedish (which I’m trying to learn on Duolingo)

I’m still not sure how, if at all, I’ll use them in my classroom but I’ve certainly enjoyed ‘reading’ them and exploring the world of Kakė Makė which, judging by my online searches, is quite extensive in Lithuania with product endorsements, themed parties, toys and much more! There’s an app you can download or you can play online (although cleaning her teeth isn’t the most exciting activity ever..) You can even be her friend on Facebook! I’m holding out to meet a Lithuanian speaker to help me read it properly!

*(After working this out, I did resort to GoogleTranslate to find out that the title means Kake Make and Big Darkness so I think I’m on the right lines!)

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Continuing my posts on non-fiction texts, here are some suggestions of texts that you might use to engage those hard to please learners who need something a bit different to capture their attention.

Firstly, some DK Readers that I bought a long while ago on Amazon. They come in several levels as you can see below, ranging from one sentence per page plus reinforcing illustrated vocabulary through simple sentences using repetitive language to the inclusion of information boxes and fact files and beyond.

 

The three I have come from the lower levels as they were bought to be accessed pretty independently by learners, and are on topics that I don’t specifically teach so the vocabulary is mostly unknown.

This is taken from El Mundo Marino which belongs in the lowest level ‘prenivel 1 para principiantes’ and I used this with Y1 last year when they were looking at the seaside. I read it to the class, focusing on the names of the things found in the sea rather than the meaning of the phrases. It was then left for reading during the week by anyone that fancied and also as an activity for those who finished quickly. Perhaps you could encourage learners to label a picture of a sea creature using the book as a reference?

The second book is called Gigantes de Hierro and was bought when I had a pupil who was obsessed with vehicles. I now know a little boy who would very much appreciate this book! It contains some great pictures and I found it fun expanding my heavy machinery vocabulary to include un camión de volteo, una aplanadora  and una carretilla elevadora. Of course, it’s good for a bit of role reversal with learner teaching the teacher new words; just proves nobody knows everything! It’s a good book to read with a child or to a group of children, particularly with the onomatopoeia!

And then there’s ¡Insectos! which comes from ‘nivel 2 Lectura asistida’ and has some wonderful photographs of insects as well as interesting information. It’s quite complex as it’s a direct translation of the English version, but not impenetrable. For the page above left I might ask questions such as:

  • What is the name of that insect in English? Use the text to help you if you don’t know.
  • We call it a praying mantis – do you think the Spanish name is similar? Why?
  • What do you think ‘inmóvil’ means? Why?
  • Can you find a word for ‘huge eyes’ in the text? (relying on them knowing ‘ojo’)
  • How do you say ‘Its front legs trap the fly’?
  • Find the words from jump, trap, disappear

I like the fact file at the end too which,if anything, is the most accessible as the facts are so short. I’d have translations of each fact and ask learners to match them up with the Spanish as an extension activity perhaps, or as a little challenge!

If you search DK Readers Spanish on Amazon there are several including El Mundo Marino and Insectos although most come from the USA so beware the postage!


Deportes de riesgo – El vestuario de pegatinasI bought this book at El Prat in Barcelona last year as I was about to embark on sports with a particularly feisty Y6 cohort and needed all the ammunition I could get to keep them with me for the last half term! Every time we learn the vocabulary of sports there are children, usually boys it has to be said, who want to say that they do activities and play games other than the ‘stock’ ones like football, rugby, basketball, swimming and horse riding. And why not? I’m forever encouraging learners to be imaginative and ‘make it up’ in Spanish lessons so I can’t really object when they want to say that they go scuba diving or skateboarding. And this book covers, as the title suggests, some marvellously dangerous and unusual sports. It not only gives the name for the sport, but also talks about the equipment required which fits perfectly with the Light Bulb Languages unit that looks at sporting clothing and equipment to explore the definite and indefinite article. Again I wouldn’t let them use the stickers on the pages but I’d use the stickers on card and cut out to ‘dress’ the sports people, or indeed use the central pages as a picture dictionary which is what I did last time I used it.

There are sports mentioned that I’d never heard of, and it’s always good to find out the technical words in Spanish associated with sports. For example, someone who does el parkour is called un traceur or una trace use (all taken from French which is where it originated), un piolet is an ice axe and climbing chalk is polvo de magnesio

If I can bear it, I might even separate the pages of the book and use the pages as ‘laminas’ with questions associated with each, as well as reading activities to dress the people in the images according to written instructions.

One complaint about this book – there are four female sports people and over thirty male. Girls like dangerous sports too, Usborne!

ISBN – 978-1-4095-7265-7

Buy from Amazon and Ediciones Usborne 


My last collection of books in this post are from Mini Larousse 

I love these books for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re attractive with amusing illustrations that draw you in so can be enjoyed even if you don’t understand a word!
  • The text is in Spanish handwriting which is again novel, adds something to the reading challenge and is a good way to add a bit of culture and ‘authenticity’ as well.
  • The texts are presented in short chunks using bold to pick out key words.

Being a football fan, El fútbol was the first one that I purchased, attracted by the cover that features La Selección winning La Copa Mundial with recognisable drawings of players (although Iker Casillas has strangely got very dark hair and a huge chin!) In fact there are players throughout the book that learners will recognise including Frank Lampard, Bufon, Gerrard and even Gary Lineker.

I like the combination of prose and labeled images, and the balance of images to text is about right to not put off reluctant readers in  UKS2. As with previous books, I’d be happy for learners to access them individually and use the pictures and their knowledge of football in conjunction with language learning skills to read as they wish. To offer some guidance you could produce a list of key words and phrases in English and challenge learners to find the equivalent in spanish, perhaps giving them the page number as a clue.



Caballeros y castillos is a book that Y3 would find interesting  as one of their topics is all about castles and involves organising an imaginary jousting competition, complete with stalls and ‘betting’ on the jousts (from Youtube!) The page able would be useful for finding the names of people involved in the joust, and the one below could be used as the stimulus to design and describe ‘escudos’ (a twist on the Y3 Spanish topic on shape and colour)

And then there’s Los Piratas which is a bit advanced for the KS1 topic on treasure but great for reading for pleasure. Good to see some famous female pirates featured in this book!

You can purchase El fútbol and Los Dinosaurios in this series from Little Linguist.

ISBN – 978-84-15411-16-1 El Fútbol

ISBN – 978-84-15411-14-7 Los Piratas

ISBN – 978-84-15411-18-5 Caballeros y castillos

Other books include El Universo, La Prehistoria, Los 5 sentidos and El Cuerpo Humano.


Any ideas you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Very challenging video that I’ve seen all over, but originally on JessMcCulloch’s blog.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VSymMbMYHA&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Estigiu preparats!

The notes accompanying the video say:

Hi, I was looking for something interesting at archive.org and I found your (lonebanana)short film ‘What to do in a zombie attack’. I have to say that I found it terrific, i was laughing out loud the first time i was watching it! I’m a high school teacher in Barcelona (Spain) and I was thinking to translate it into catalan (a language we talk in Catalunya, in the north of Spain and south of France) to show it to my pupils. Also I was thinking about giving a translated copy to a couple of friends who work in horror festivals to see if they can be interested in showing your short film. Great film!!”

Fun idea – you never know when you’ll be be attacked by zombies ;o)


It’s been over a week since my last post on Es Repte Català (Catalan Challenge) and although haven’t been idle, I haven’t done as much as I would’ve liked to have done.

One way I’ve found that helps me ‘revise’ is to listen to the language and to see how much I can understand. I usually find this encouraging as I understand more than I think. It also brings back to my mind phrases that I know and love – for example – com vulguis – as you like!
And if the listening is accompanied by viewing, visual clues add to understanding.
What’s more, if the listening / viewing is of something that is already familiar or known to you in some other form, you’re on to a winner.

So –

Here’s a challenge for you! Courtesy of Lynne Horn (marvellous blogger from Tobermory – the real ‘Miss Hoolie’) – here’s Fawlty Towers in Catalan. Can you follow the story? Which episode is it? Can you pick out any key words?

And what about some Si primer ministre – Sir Humphrey and Bernard show how the results of questionnaires and statistics can be manipulated to say whatever you want! Can you follow the gist? This is trickier as Sir Humphrey is an expert at bamboozling in English so in another language, wel…)

And if all that is too tricky – why not have a go at the tonguetwister challenge on 12seconds.tv? One brave soul has had a go! There’ll be another one coming up soon.

Bona sort avec es repte ;o)


As I said in an earlier post, I began learning Catalan at Sheffield University in the 90s as part of my degree in Hispanic Studies. Given the choice between Portuguese and Catalan, my decision was influenced by three things.
Firstly, I thought it would useful if I wanted to go to Barcelona (which I did!)
The second reason was more frivolous; a rather charming young solicitor from Barcelona called Chema lodged around the corner from us at home and he spoke Catalan as well as Spanish. The third reason was that I looked at who would teach us, and decided that the Catalan prof looked rather fun!

Professor Alan Yates
was – and no doubt still is!- a unique, enigmatic individual who exuded a love of life that was rather inspiring. And boy did he love Catalan! As I am proving, I wasn’t the greatest student of Catalan – I tried hard though!- but some of my most vivid memories of the Hispanic Studies Dept took place in n’Alan’s office where our motley group had tutorials. I recall a large rubber plant, mountains of books on all the chairs that you had to move to sit down, and, most of all, that all tutorials were accompanied by pipe smoke. I’m sure it wasn’t allowed but n’Alan puffed away on his pipe throughout, and tough if we didn’t like it! I was normally OK but as I am allergic to smoke, it was tough going when I had a cold!

Professor Alan Yates wrote *the* guide to learning Catalan – Teach yourself Catalan. There are others now no doubt but at the time it was the only one I believe! – and as I look at now, trying to recapture my ability to put indirect and direct object pronouns in the correct order, and use the subjunctive effectively, I am once more struck by the uniqueness of the man – it’s him through and through!

I mean, how many teach yourself guides include such marvellous, improbable phrases?

Era l’últim dia de l’any i tota la mà obra, fora dels paletes, va plegar d’hora
It was the last day of the year and the entire workforce, apart from the bricklayers, finished work early.

L’han disfressada de monja.
They have disguised her as a nun.

Demà anirem a caçar ànecs, Tant de bo que no plogui.
Tomorrow we are going duck hunting. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

No sé si és boig però ho sembla.
I don’t know if he’s mad, but he looks it!

How could you fail to make friends and influence people with such phrases at your fingertips? Here are a few more – but you really should get your hands on a copy of the book to see the full range. I joke – but it is a really good textbook that does teach you all that you need to know to speak and write coherent Catalan.

Quina boca més grossa que tens!
What a big mouth you’ve got!

No puc tombar la clau al pany i no vull trucar a la porta, de por de despertar la meva dona. A veure si és posible entrar per una finestra?
I couldn’t turn the key in the lock and I don’t want to knock the door for fear of waking my wife. I wonder if it is possible to get in through the window.

Estic disposat a sortejar la cabra.
I’m prepared to raffle the goat.

Vés a buscar-me el tornavís – Per què el vols? -Fes el que et dic. Aquests cargols són rovellats i vull canviar-los.
Fetch me the screwdriver. what do you want it for? – Do as I tell you. These screws are rusty and I want to change them.

De tot això ja fa molts anys … però encara m’agrada el català
All that was many years ago…. but I still love Catalan.

Graciès n’Alan xx


I couldn’t resist sharing this video with you. In my befuddled bunged up state, I thought it was a interesting take on Star Wars, made by those who want Catalan to be given more prominence and power, and feel aggrieved by its treatment by Spanish authorities.

En una galàxia molt, però molt fatxa….

Estic constipada :o(

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Avui, estic molt constipada. No puc respirar bé. Tampoc puc pensar – a l’anglès i encara menys a català.

Per això, un conte bonic que m’agrada – i també coneixo molt bé :o)

Les tres ossos i la Rinxols d’or

[PS – In case you’re puzzled, I have a cold. As José Picardo kindly explained when I tweeted my condition yesterday, it’s English that is scatalogical ;o)]

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