Wednesday morning saw me gazing at the sea, then moving swiftly past Butlins to speak at University of Chichester MFL Conference. I had a lovely day attending sessions in the morning and sharing some ideas about using technology and stories in the languages classroom.
Below are my sketchnotes of the sessions I attended, starting with Elaine Minett’s upbeat introduction to the conference, talking about challenges being seen as opportunities, followed by an idea packed session about using poetry by Concha Julian of the Consejería de Educación and finishing with Lynne Brackley’s session on using drama based activities in languages. I enjoyed using my dramatic skills in both of the latter sessions!
If you get the opportunity next year, I can thoroughly recommend attending as the conference was varied with sessions for primary, secondary as well as cross phase sessions, and they were delivered by a variety of people including PGCE students, teachers and representatives of organisations like the British Council, the Consejería de Educación and Language Angels. I enjoyed seeing Catherine on the Little Linguist stand once more (and buying a new book!) as well as visiting other stands including Institut Français and European Schoolbooks.
This year at Language World I was invited to present some ideas for using technology for collaboration in language learning. I teach primary so the focus was on that age group but there are many ideas and tools that are equally applicable for young and old! In spite of some technical hitches and running out of time as there was so much to share, the ideas were well received and I hope that this will serve as a reminder/update for those who attended, and a snapshot for those who didn’t.
Below is my presentation. Whilst all the links work, the videos don’t I’m afraid but you’ll find some below to give you a taster.
Today is International Children’s Book Day and I’ve got a new book!
It’s called Presiona aquíand it’s by Hervé Tullet. It’s the Spanish version of Press here and I bought it to share with FKS and KS1, although I’m sure some of Y3 would also enjoy it!
The book starts with a single yellow dot and asks the reader to ‘presiona aquí y da vuelta a la página.’ Magically, another yellow ‘círculo’ appears on the next page, and there follow lots more pages with lots more instructions and lots more ‘círculos’ – grandes y pequeños; amarillos, azules y rojos. I like the simplicity of the illustrations as well as the text, and I think it would be a fun book to share on the carpet with children coming up to press buttons, or in small groups as a special treat. You can children enjoying it in the trailer for the English version below. In our Y2 Spanish scheme (based on Little Languages) they look at sequencing and this would be a great addition to the activities that include counting and sequencing buttons, shapes and any little things we can find (dinosaurs, cars, fruit…)
I mentioned that I thought Y3 would enjoy it, and with that in mind I’ve been thinking about what we could do as a follow up activity. When we were working on colours before Easter and talking about colour mixing I (perhaps rashly) said that we could do some painting in Spanish towards the end of the summer term when we’ll be looking at shape and colour once more. This would be a lovely way to introduce or revisit some shape and colour vocabulary, and I can see us creating our own versions of the book as a story board, perhaps diversifying into other shapes depending on what action the ‘reader’ does. Or perhaps we could use the same approach, an action leading to the appearance of a new item to create Miró-esque art? Still a developing thought…
After I’d started writing this, I discovered that there are a couple of videos of the book too – see below – so it would be possible for class teachers who are non specialists to borrow my book and share it with their class. This video actually uses the book but lasts more than ten minutes and the presenter doesn’t just read the story but offers comments too. I wonder if Nursery and Reception would manage to sit still for that long, and worry that the ‘extras’ might put off the non-specialist teacher presenting as they don’t know what’s being said? The video below would be my choice as, although it doesn’t feature the book and the instructions are worded slightly differently, it is much simpler and lasts just over 5 minutes.
Hervé Tullet has lots of other lovely books too – I think I may need to get ¡Mézclalo bien! is this one is a hit…
One of the sessions I attended at Language World was given by Sue Cave. Entitled Language Detectives, it shared a project that Sue and a colleague had devised, originally for a day long workshop for more able primary linguists, based around children using their detective skills to decode unknown languages. Sue described it as ‘a morning of training in preparation for an afternoon trying to thwart a multilingual gang of criminals.’
The session referred to and worked on the Language Learning Skills (LLS) and Knowledge about Language (KAL) strands of the KS2 Framework (NB is still a very useful document!) We discovered that gesture is important but that it works best in conjunction with words, eye contact and prior knowledge, and I discovered that I’m not as good as charades as I thought I was. (Sorry Vicky!) We also discovered that knowledge of word classes as well as how to use a bilingual dictionary are skills that a good detective needs, and that listening to the sounds and intonation of a language is also helpful.
Having undergone our (very swift!) training, we used our skills to thwart the gang who spoke Spanish, Welsh, German and Italian, stopping them before they stole a valuable item!
Sue has very generously shared not her presentation but all the resources on her excellent website on the Sharing Good Practice section (scroll to the bottom)
One idea (of the many!) that I particularly liked was the Language Detective certificates that Sue gives out when a child makes a discovery about language and shares it with the class. Sue has generously shared her certificates in the Teaching and Learning section of the Sharing Good Practice page. As I teach Spanish not French, I’ve made some of my own that you can download from the link below.
Thanks for an inspiring session Sue, I know I’m not the only one who went away with my mind buzzing!
And thanks to Yvonne too for my ‘lucky dip’ magnifying glasses that fit the theme perfectly and will be put to sue immediately!
I shared the Chocolate rhyme previously but I think it’s worth sharing again as it’s been so popular with Y2. And, as this post shows with ‘mariposa’, any other four syllable word works. It would work with cucuracha, elefante or even Barcelona! The clapping is the same as for Double double this this in English so pupils find it less tricky than you’d think!
Now that term is at an end I have finally got around to uploading my presentation to Slideshare and writing this post!
As I said previously, it was a very successful day and I hoped that what I had planned to share would live up to that which had gone before! There were lots of encouraging noises made as I was speaking and also some lovely messages afterwards so I think there were at least a few nuggets of gold!
On Thursday, I had the privilege – and it really was a privilege – of delivering one of the keynotes at the Primary Languages Networkconference in Lymm. It was a day jam packed with ideas and demonstrated the power and value of a community of teachers and learners, bouncing ideas of each other and sharing their light bulb moments. And celebrating those ideas too.
I did my best to sketch note all the sessions, including the Spotlight sessions, and you can see them below. I would recommend that you follow the PLN blog to keep abreast of all the fantastic ideas that spring out of the network (This post was inspired by the day), and even consider joining for further support and inspiration!
Thanks to Janet for inviting me – I had a wonderful day! You can see some of the highlights in the video at the bottom of the post!
Details of my session will follow in the next post!
Keeping it Primary – the wonderful Therese Comfort shared what makes Primary language learning so special, with special stickers from La Petite Souris/El Ratoncito Pérez/ die Zahnfee.
How to identify progress – Dan Alliot talked about what progress looks like in primary language learning, and challenged us to flip the triangle so it’s not always point first!
Embedding phonics in Language Learning – Sue Cave challenged us to pronounce Hungarian words using phonics to support us, talking us through the 7 stepping stones to ‘code breaking’ and sharing ideas of how to practice and reinforce phonics in French.
Throughout the day there were Spotlights – shorter presentations of one or two ideas each from PLN associates and also exhibitors. I’ve tried to capture them all in the above – some with more success than others (spot the pig that looks suspiciously like a cow!) Ideas included songs for EDL, games, purposeful writing activities using technology, AR dragons, using actions and creating raps and poems.
On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.
Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)
It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story
“Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:
Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.
Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?
Le daría el nombre ….. – I’d call it……
Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives
Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?
Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..
Viviría …………. – It would live….
and so on.
Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.
For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:
There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.
In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:
Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.
And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!
There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!
Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!
Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…
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.