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Archive for the ‘intercultural understanding’ Category

‘Cool’ en español

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Zachary Jones’ site Zambombazo is a great source of inspiration for all things Hispanic.

And I love it because it proves time and again that there is always something to learn about a language you thought you knew quite well.

I’m often challenged by pupils when I can’t recall the word for ‘meerkat’ or ‘spark plug’ that ‘you’re supposed to know Spanish’ to which I reply I don’t know every word in English. Especially when it comes to colloquial useage. I mean, my son tells me that when he says soemthing is ‘sickage’, that’s great. I’m not so sure…

So, I particularly like this map that Zachary has made – ¿Cómo se dice ‘cool’ en español?

As he points out in his post, the answer to that question depends on lots of factors including the country or even region you’re in, your socioeconomic status as well as your age. The post also offers ideas on how you might use the map to increase vocabulary, to encourage intercultural discussion and to promote discussion of current linguistic useage.

What can eTwinning do for you? #ililc

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Travel around the world by Harpagornis on Flickr

Here’s the presentation and notes from my second session at #ililc – What can eTwinning do for you?

Again, sound will follow as soon as possible!

What can etwinning do for you? notes

‘TeachMeet styley thingy’ #etwpdw

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Yesterday, as the European eTwinning Ambassadors PDW at National college of School Leadership in Nottingham drew to a close, I took part in what Drew Buddie aka @digitalmaverick entitled ‘a Teachmeet style-y thingy’.

Drew introduced the idea of an ‘unconference’ explaining both TedX and Teachmeet before opening the floor to others to share their 7 minute micro or 2 minute nano presentations.

I was first up – see the next post for my presentation – and later for a video of it (if it’s not too hideous!)

Other presenters were-

Lieven from Flanders who shared his magnificent projects, all documented on his blog. These included repurposing old computer mice, decorating them and then using TuxPaint to animate them (MouseArt), using Pivot to make animations of bubbles (B@llobees) and also to make animated characters @ni & M@te who travelled to other schools and found out about them.

Two things that particularly struck me were firstly when Lieven said he liked ‘making the unexpected valuable’ which struck a chord, and also the use of technology to back up and enhance more traditional methods eg the Kindergarten pupils made bubble pictures with paint and straws, and those pieces of art were used as the background for the Bubble animations.

Next up was Paddy who talked about his eTwinning project Wii will rock you which used the Nintendo Wii as a stimulus.  I enjoyed this presentation as Paddy underlined that it was not all about playing games, but that the games were the starting point for other activities – writing letters, designing CD covers, planning tours with travel plans and money considerations, cooperation with other children, publicity and negotiation.  They also worked on a joint sports day with a school in ireland with some ‘traditional’ sports day activities as well as Wii based ones.

Then Susi Arnott shared about using comic strips and Comic Life, and how the process of looking at comics enhanced the understanding of texts and enhanced literacy skills.  She mentioned Bitstrips which I will be investigating!

Drew used Twitter to ask why people went to Teachmeets- responses included:

‘the range of ideas’

‘a cross subject sharing of ideas’

‘non threatening’ collaborative spirit’

‘celebrating work done in my classroom’

‘meeting like minded colleagues leads to great PLNs’

‘at least 20 ideas for use tomorrow’

‘widens my ideas’

Nick Falk finished up the meet with a nano-presentation on the use of QR codes and QR readers in mobile phones.  Very interesting, and something I need to investigate!

No camel, no fruit machine and no alcohol; but otherwise pretty like a normal TeachMeet! Oh, and no cupcakes.  Sorry @niiloa

AQA – Creative and motivational language learning in the primary classroom. Part 2

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

On Tuesday I was in sunny (yes, it was sunny!) Manchester, delivering my AQA course.

Apart from the problems with the internet, I believe a good day was had by all – lunch was once more a highlight!

Rather than repeat all the links, can I refer you to my last post where you will find all the ‘new’ links about PLL, and also some recommendations from other delegates of sites and learning materials that they’ve found useful.

I forgot last week to put a link to a resource listing many many games and quick activities for the PLL classroom, so here it is.

News Time Spanish

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Today sees the beginning of another wonderful offering from Radio Lingua Network as episode 1 of NewsTime Spanish is launched.

Made by a highly talented trio – Mark ‘Mr RadioLingua’ Pentleton, José ‘just say Edmodo and I melt’ Picardo and Chris ‘where’s it to?’ Fuller, this weekly podcast keeps you up to date with news from Spain and Hispanic countries.

In this week’s edition of News Time Spanish we’ll be looking at the major financial reform in Spain as a result of the ongoing issues around Europe. Other stories include:

  • UK elections news
  • Spanish sporting successes
  • Mexican/US immigration issues
  • Health problems in Spain

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and listen for free, whilst a Premium pass will allow you access to transcripts, exercises and a slower version of the audio.

Raising global awareness in a second language.

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

The first session I attended was Helen L. Walker presenting Raising global awareness in a second language and speaking from her experience as an early years teacher in the immersion programme in Canada.Helen asserted that we still tend to live within our own cultural bubble despite the immediacy of internet etc, and that global awareness, that is, an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, is something on which we still need to work. She talke dof how we can do this using books, experiences and contcts as well as global focus weeks such as thos edetailed on the SWgfl.

Whilst living in an English speaking part of Canada (Calgary), Helen taught a class under the immersion programme of pupils aged 5 who had no or very little French. they began their journey using the topic L’Afrique, and applying an enquiry based method of learning. They looked at elephants, had an Africa day and did lots of art activities. Questions were posed and the children looked for the answers with teacher help where needed.

One such question was ‘Does it rain in Africa?’ to which the children immediately answered ‘no’. Reading What the animals were waiting for, a book about the rains in Africa, challenged this view and shaped their understanding of what it might be like to live in Africa.

Another book Beatrice’s Goat had wide reaching effects on the pupils.

Beatrice lives in Uganda and wants to go to school but has no uniform as she can’t afford it. Then she’s sent a goat from a charity. The pupils empathised with Beatrice – and wanted to send a goat to her. Helen explained that Beatrice now had a goat, but that perhaps they could buy a goat for another child. The class discussed how to raise money to send the goat, and settled on creating items to auction off including the journal of Françoise the class teddy bear, booklets made in computer time in french about numbers, colours, animals and Africa. On an art trip they made a quilt with each child contributing a square – this too was auctioned . All in all, they raised sufficient money to buy a barn full of animals. Not only had they raised funds but also the awareness; the pupils were so proud of themselves and had a great joy in giving.

Helen offered a list of some of the resources she used, and of sites that were useful for this type of thing, and others shared ideas from their classes including a boys’ school where the pupils raised money by doing the staff’s ironing!

As a postscript to this, I overhead a conversation today about an article saying that by teaching ICU, we are producing racist pupils as we are presenting a ‘stock view’ of countries. This rang bells as I had had a similar experience in Liverpool at the PLS where someone had been challenged for portraying a very narrow view of life in Martinique. Good point i guess. How can we make sure we’re not reinforcing unhelpful stereotypes?

CLIL – Content and Language Integrated Learning

Thursday, October 15th, 2009


CLIL is – Content and Language Integrated Learning and basically involves teaching cross-curricularly, delivering other subjects through the language. Do Coyle is the driving force behind this. The ideal is that the subject specialist delivers the lessons in the language, but it’s more likely that the MFL specialist will deliver eg history, or possibly the subject and the MFL teacher team teaching. You might also use the FLA to support the subject specialist. I’m interested in this as Whitehouse Common is involved in a project with three foci, one of which is CLIL.

Schools that use this include Hockerill Anglo-European College, Tile Hill Wood School, Ridgemeadow Community College.
Why CLIL? There has historically been a focus on grammar and the content of the exam. that they need to pass, rather than on content and interest, on creativity and relevance. The New Curriculum talks of real purposes, creativity, imagination, personal interest, intercultural understanding. CLIL is also a good potential ‘solution’ to transition as pupils will be arriving in KS3 with knowledge of languages – whichever it may be.
I’m really excited to see details of how Ringwood Junior School where they use CLIL for aspects of the curriculum eg in Year 5, the Science scheme of work is linked to the French story Mimi, le fourmi d’espace. This is the sort of thing I’m trying to do increasingly at Whitehouse Common, making language learning part of pupils’ day to day experience and not just a discrete subject. Louise Wornell, the presenter, is from Ringwood School, and shared what her school did – for example, in Yr7 they do 3 modules including Citizenship – the right person for the job
and History – Castles. In KS4, topics include climate change based of 12 French speaking countries and Paris through the yes of the Impressionists.
It seems to me that CLIL is something that is actually quite easy to start – there is already a teacher at my school who has taken on my attempts to link language learning to e.g. Science and has labelled all her displays in Spanish as well as English. Taking that further step and teaching entire lessons of the scheme in the language might need a bit more courage, but small steps are how we start to walk….

Learn Spanish hand gestures.

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

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Spanish Hand Gestures, originally uploaded by KatsAsleep.

Just picked up the following from Twitter via @josepicardo who was alerted to it by @luciax.

Published by The Guardian in its Language Resources – Spanish area, ‘Learn Spanish gestures’ is a guide to some typically Spanish gesticulating that you could employ to look truly authentic as you complain of being fed up or tell your friend how busy the bar was at lunchtime.

Gesticulating is something that I can’t help doing when speaking, especially in Spanish so this is just up my street. And I can see that this would be a useful resource for intercultural understanding activities, comparing typical gestures. I recall discovering the hard way that gestures that are innocuous in one country can cause offence to other nationalities – not my fault that Greece lost 5-0 in the football and noone had told me that holding up five fingers with my palm facing a Greek was rude!

Resources for Christmas.

Monday, December 1st, 2008


Well, it’s December 1st and as much as I’ve tried to be strong, Christmas has finally got me! School is full of Christmas plans for plays, parent partnership days, activities, assemblies and the like, and home is likewise in Christmas mode as littl’un plays the lead in the Infants’ play tomorrow as The Little Angel – if his temperature doesn’t get any higher :os

And, obviously, plans for classroom activities are turning Christmas-ward too!

So, I’ve been through my files and found some Powerpoints that might help you – and me! to get our classes in the Christmas spirit as well as ticking a few Intercultural Understanding boxes!
I am not claiming responsibility for all of these as lots have been kindly shared by people on Yahoo! MFL resources group, or the Consejería.

So – to start you off, why not try learning how to say Merry Christmas in 10 languages other than English? Perhaps you could take one each morning for the next two weeks?

Here’s a Disney video from Youtube if you want more languages – and it’s even got the pronunciation for you!

Then perhaps have a look at some Christmas vocabulary in Spanish? If your room is decorated for Christmas, why not label the decorations – or use them for a game of ‘Búscame…’ ?

Christmas in Spain is very particular and the Ministerio de Educación y Cienciain conjunction with the Consejería de Educación en el Reino Unido e Irlanda have produced a great powerpoint presentation choc-a-block with authentic pictures of the events in December and January – not all of which are religious.

La Navidad en Espana

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: christmas spanish)

They have also produced a presentation about El Belén – the traditional Nativity scene that decorate Spanish homes at this time of year. I usually use my ELC nativity scene to retell the story of Christmas from the Biblical perspective completely in Spanish. Kids understand because it is a story with which they are familiar and also because I’m very dramatic in my retelling – the Head of the Catholic Prep, School where I used to work was rather taken aback by my reenactment of Mary being told by an angel that she was pregnant with Jesus ;o)

I also uncovered this very comprehensive presentation about Spain at Christmas complete with more photos and information in bite size chunks. It includes details of El Gordo, el Caganer (in ploite language!) and el Roscón de Reyes.

Navidades En Espana

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: traditions spanish)

I’ve also found a presentation I did a few years ago at Birmingham Council House (I think it was!) about ideas for Christmas in the MFL classroom. It includes ideas for French, Spanish and German, and the ideas are suitable for right across the age range. I posted it last year too but in case you didn’t catch it….hopefully something for everyone! (hope the links still work!)

to be continued!!

Enthralling tales from afar.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

I came across an interesting news report via my GoogleAlerts from The Kerryman paper in Ireland, entitled Enthralling tales from afar. The report begins…

It goes on to say that this is the second time that this type of visit has been made possible by the GoetheInstitut, and that the aim of the exercise was to encourage primary pupils to learn German in a fun environment.

“There has been a growing interest in teaching and learning modern foreign languages at primary level in Europe and research shows how enthusiastic teachers and children are,” Georgia Herlt, head of the language department at the Goethe-Institut Dublin, stated.

“As well as learning languages it helps with cultural awareness and combats stereotypes, and the children are geared up for it when they go to secondary school.”

The visits saw Suse Weisse using familiar and less well known fairytales in German (with explanations in English).
I love using stories to teach primary languages for many reasons. For example;

  • familiarity of structure
  • familiarity of story
  • children enjoy being read to
  • making links between English and the language of the story
  • you can do all kinds of things with a story – drama, games, jigsaw texts
  • using them as a model for production of new stories
  • easy to embed sound in story powerpoints to help non specialist teachers
  • I enjoy doing the voices ;o)

I could go on!

So I’m all for these visits – when a Year2 class told me that they’d worked out from listening to and reading Rubiales on the Northumberland GfL that Spanish put the adjective after the noun whereas English put it before, I was sold on the use of stories to teach!

Off to see if I can find a Spanish storyteller now…;o)