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Received an e-mail from CILT today with the latest copy of the Primary Languages e-Zine.

This online magazine contains news of QCA units, CILT publications and more, and also takes a topic for consideration.

The focus for this edition is STORYTELLING with ideas of how to get started, how to move on and how it fits into the Primary Curriculum and some ideas for resources as CILT staff choose their favourite books.

There’s also a section called ‘What you’re doing‘ which contains reports on how various people have used storytelling in the Primary language classroom – including Handa’s Surprise, Jules Verne and Go away Big Green Monster – written by someone you might know ;o) – as well as ideas for where to obtain *free* resources for storytelling and what research says about the use of stories.

Well worth a read!


On Monday, Comenius West Midlands held its Primary Languages Conference at the Novotel in Wolverhampton. Sandwiched between keynotes by Joe Brown from CILT that involved song rhyme and lots of action, and Steven Fawkes from ALL who thrilled us with his ‘Banane‘, delegates had to choose sessions from a range including :

  • It’s magic!
  • International Perspective
  • Let’s play – Language games and activities for the playground.
  • Numeracy through Languages
  • Animation
  • Italian for the Primary classroom – a cross curricular approach.
  • Music and songs in the Primary classroom
  • Animation in the languages classroom (double session)
  • Creative use of ICT

A tricky choice for many, judging from the feedback at the end of the day! I for one will be emailing presenters for notes from their sessions as I was presenting and missed out on all of the sessions!

Actually, I didn’t completely miss out as I was able to attend the plenaries and also began the day by acting as ‘roadie’ for Oscar Stringer as he presented a whistle stop double session on animation from idea through planning, modelling, filming, adding finishing touches and publishing. Phew! In a very short time (less that two hours), the participants made short films in French and Spanish which can be viewed below and on his NING network. Just shows what you can do in a short time with good instruction, imagination and a bit of plasticine. ;o)

Find more videos like this on Animation For Education

Definitely inspired me! So much so that, after a quick chat with Oscar, I decided to have a go with my Year 4 class this week. More of that in a later post!

My session was entitled Creative use of ICT and centred on the use of some tools that i thnk are useful to enhance and enable PLL.

The idea had been to introduce delegates to Voki, Voicethread, Audacity and Photostory, explain how I’ve used them in my classroom, and then let delegates have a go at using one of the tools. I’d prepared notes for people that went into everyone’s pack so those who couldn’t attend were able to benefit too, and these pointed to online tutorials for the tools as well as examples from my experience and research. I’d also requested a laptop between two to be provided with a microphone and Internet access, and Audacity and Photostory3 uploaded ready. I’d prepared a Voicethread and Voki account for the day so all outcomes could be saved together for future reference, and I’d also added some examples to get people started.

Best laid plans and all! There were three laptops provided, the speakers didn’t work, and Internet access was at best infuriatingly slow and at worst non-existent (at 20€ per laptop, I hope the orgnisers got a refund!) Anyhow, it left me rather embarrassed as my examples took an age to load (Voki) or didn’t play sound (Voicethread AND Voki at times) – next tie I’ll save them for offline access using Camtasia or similar – and I’ve found that there is a facility on Voicethread now to save for offline access.

However, I did manage to highlight the use of del.icio.us which i hadn’t intended to mention but proved to be one of the most popular ideas with delegates. My account of how I use Audacity led to lots of smiles and there was a general hum of interest as I made a Photostory in three minutes.

I must say was a little disheartened by the first session, especially as I had to repeat it after lunch, but several people came up to me and seemed to be buzzing about something I’d shared, so I went into the repeat feeling a little more confident, especially as I was prepared for the problems this time! The make up of the group was different this time and they asked lots of questions – I think they were the G&T group ;o)

At the end of the afternoon when the evaluations were returned, I was rather surprised, and very pleased as well!- to read several who said things like

“The ICT session was the best bit!’
“Brilliant session on ICT – can you do a whole session on Voicethread and podcasting next time please?”
“the notes were so useful – I’m going to check them out on del.icio.us – and I’m going to tell my staff about it too”

If you want to have the notes, see below. and all the sites / references can be found on my del.icio.us account – http:del.icio.us/lisibo/june22

Creative uses of ICT in the PLL classroom – Get more College Essays

Europe Day 08

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I’ve just received notification from Ruth Churchill at CILT of some FREE resources available. Never one to look a gift horse …, I immediately investigated!

Apparently May 9th is Europe Day (I’m afraid this was the first I’d heard of it!) and the European Commission has produced a booklet to promote the day as well as provide information promoting the EU.

Here’s the e-mail:

Representation of the European Commission in the United Kingdom – Passport to the European Union
What do we know about the member states of the European Union? Whereabouts is the statue with more clothes than one would find in any woman’s wardrobe. Did they really use eggs to built a bridge in Prague? Could there still be an island where no female either human or animal is allowed? This and a lot more information on the 27 member countries of the European Union e.g. their size and population, famous citizens etc. is answered in our little booklet “Passport to the European Union” which also includes stickers of coins, flags, buildings and even a map. Children can find places for the stickers in the passport and on the map.

In order to support Europe Day (9 May) activities for young people, the Representation of the European Commission in the United Kingdom is making 100,000 copies of the Passport to the European Union available to UK schools and similar organisations completely free of charge.

You can view the booklet online and then decide if you want to order up to 100 copies per school either from your Europe Direct centre or by filling in a form online. I’m planning on using them for SODA (start of the day activity) and also for incidental work. If every class focussed on a different country, we could share notes in assembly later in the week. Kids love finding things out and with stickers and things too, it’s sure to be a hit (they’ll prefer it to handwriting too!)

So don’t hang around- there are now 100 less copies as my order’s already in!

Here’s a montage of posters used in previous years to promote the day – perhaps it’ll inspire you!

To find out what’s going on in the UK, have a look at the events diary – I like the look of the Giant European Union Pub Quiz in Wrexham! And there’s also a whole page of ideas for how your school might be able to celebrate.

Joe Brown, was the keynote speaker at the Birmingham Primary Languages Conference. Joe is a Primary Language Teaching Adviser at CILT explained his experience and background as a Primary School teacher, teaching abroad (in bilingual German school) and in Inner city London. Joe used an exercise with the following greetings to highlight how many languages were spoken by the pupils at the school where he teaches. He talked about the opportunity that this offered to show respect to others by learning how to greet these children in their own language, giving value to the home language and also the possible discussion of forms of greeting (tu et vous; tu y usted) How many languages can you identify?

Salut

Salaam

Merhabah

Bom dia

Guten Tag

Servus

Pree-vyet

Adaab

Hola

Zdravo

Ahoy

Jambo

Vanakkam

Namaste

Bonjour

Czesc

Joe was definite that PLL is NOT just about speaking and listening – there are five strands in the KS2 Framework and all are as important. There is fun in PLL but there is also rigour.
He highlighted the QCA scheme of work, pointing out that it is specifically designed for the KS2 Framework and is freely downloadable or can be purchased for £15.

Joe asserted that every child is interested in language learning – every one can be intrigued by the idea of different languages, giving successful experiences to those who may have struggled in other areas of the curriculum. We want to harness this enthusiasm, embedding language into the curriculum and making sure that language lessons stay as among pupils’ favourite lessons. Joe commented that, in his experience, this enthusiasm is particularly well maintained where there is dialogue between primary and secondary, and where PLL has the support of the Headteacher.

Joe reported on the spread of languages chosen for PLL – 91% doing French, 25% Spanish and 12% doing German. He also pointed to HLTAs playing a big role in some areas.

When pupils re asked about PLL, three words are heard a lot – Joe offered some ideas as to why:

DIFFERENT – incorporating learning styles

EXCITING – working with and extending the children’s interests

FUN – children and teachers see learning experience as motivating

Joe used the following song to discuss how we decode language using KAL and LLS. How did we work out the meaning? What comments might children make? Can actions help us? How co
uld this become a month’s work? Could this cover all five strands of the Framework? For example – intercultural understanding in discussing songs from other countries about the weather. The only clues he gave were in the form of an action for each line.

¡Qué llueva! ¡Qué llueva!

La virgin de la cueva,

Los pájaritos cantan,

Las nubes se levantan,

¡Qué si! ¡Qué no !

Que caiga un chaparrón,

Con azúcar y limón.

Joe then highlighted more resources that are available including the NACELL site and the ELL forum, the various Grids for Learning including East Riding (schemes of work) and Northumberland (interactive stories with resources) and the Training Zone

Joe offered some ideas of brain breaks – using actions like stretch, turn, dance, and then adding adverbs or perhaps negatives. Why not do brain breaks in Spanish? Such activities cover Framework objectives and count towards the recommended time allowance.

Finally Joe highlighted an often forgotten part of the Framework – part 3 which has 8 sections giving guidance on more general matters such as inclusion, progression, assessment, making links, transition. Under inclusion the Framework addresses self esteem, involving parents, social skills such as body language etc.

Joe concluded by offering some ideas on the question – What does good PL look like?

He demonstrated in a whistle stop 10 minutes that, from small beginnings, a unit of QCA can be extended to an end result that can be celebrated.

  • Teach body parts
  • Simon says (listening activity as well as a game)
  • Look at word and point to it
  • Phonemes
  • Apple pie/Sausages/Squeak piggy squeak/Your majesty to practice vocabulary
  • Look at graphemes / orthography – accents / use of gender – engaging children in the written word
  • Tongue twisters – eg Poquito a poquito Paquito empaca poquitas copitas en pocos paquetes.
  • Colours
  • Comparing colours in different languages – not sticking to the language you’re learning
  • Cross curricular – practice using grid references along the corridor up the stairs using numbers and colours for axes
  • Beetle with body parts and colours to produce monsters
  • Talk about the monsters they have created. Using 1st or 3rd person
  • Portraits – look at painters eg Picasso
  • Produce a portrait of self for display labeled in language in simple words then sentences.

A summary of Joe’s Key messages
Framework available
There are 5 strands
Training Zone is there to support
Nacell is there to support
QCA SOW is available and builds on KS2 Framework and 5 strands.
Small steps – giving a broad base of knowledge and enthusiasm for language on which secondary colleagues can build.


When considering Primary Language Learning (PLL), one of the thorniest issues seems to be the transition from KS2 to KS3 – how will it be managed? The KS2 Framework for MFL and the introduction of language learning for ALL pupils in KS2 by 2010 has massive implications for KS3. In the past, many children went into KS3 with little or no knowledge of languages – now pupils will arrive with, in some cases, more than four years of language study. Added to this, not all experiences will have been the same. Some pupils may arrive with four years of French, others with Spanish, still more with experience of two or more languages. How can it possibly work?

Comenius West Midlands today held a conference entitled ‘MFL – Planning for Transition’ to discuss just this issue.

Led by John Connor (Associate Consultant, MFL, Thurrock), and David Mee (former General Inspector, MFL, Wirral), the day began with an overview of the challenges and opportunities involved in transition before Carmel O’Hagan (CILT) offered some advice on welcoming pupils with diverse PLL backgrounds. The day then offered the opportunity to attend three workshops chosen from topics including

  • Investigating Languages-a skills based approach
  • Practical strategies to ease the challenge of transition
  • Asset languages
  • Welcoming children into the MFL classroom in their new school
  • Video conferencing to support transfer and progression
  • Language Bridge
  • Liaison –the issues and how to avoid (or cope!) with them
  • Using the ELP to support transition (delivered by me – see My Box of Goodies on the right for the notes!)

before Phase groups (one for Secondary and one for Primary) to discuss the issues of the day, concluding with a plenary to draw the two lists of issues together and culminating in a highly entertaining example of using song to engage in the Primary classroom.

Over the next few posts, I hope to share some of the things presented during the day and my repsonse to them.

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