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Archive for the ‘KS1’ Category

Building firm foundations for strong buildings #ALLMFLSW16

Monday, February 29th, 2016

IMG_8436On Saturday 27th February, I delivered a workshop at the #ALLMFLSW16 conference in Bristol. I’d been asked by Marie-France Perkins if I could talk about primary languages in the context of the new curriculum which is planned as a continuum from KS2 through KS3 and onto Ks4 and hopefully KS5. I called my session Building Firm Foundations for Strong Buildings, harking back to a talk I did a number of years ago called Bricklaying for Beginners!

Below is my presentation, and under that I’ve written a brief summary of what I said.

I hope you find it useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment or send a message via the contact form. 

Firm foundations for strong buildings – the importance of Primary Language Learning. from Lisa Stevens
I began by talking about the importance of foundations, and the role they place in keeping buildings upright and stable. Although they are often unseen, they are the last things that are destroyed by time and erosion; I shared my own experience of primary language learning and how my 4 years of middle school French have stayed with me. We moved on to considering why starting language learning at primary is so important before considering what should be taught/covered at KS2, referencing a survey by Clare Seccombe and also a document compiled by the ESAGMFL group.
Looking directly at the Programmes of Study, we used Rachel Hawkes’ helpful “KS2 and KS3 side by side” document to look at the progression of skills and I shared the document below with participants, acknowledging the source as Rachel’s website.
Handout_1_Curriculum14_Overview
For me, my most important task as a primary language teacher is to nurture a passion for languages and an excitement about learning and communicating in other languages. That, however, does not mean that it’s all  ‘fun and funky singing, dancing, cutting and sticking ‘ with no substance. There is a clear rationale to what I teach and I shared some ideas linked to each of the four skills as well as grammar.
Listening
  • animal symphonies – clapping the syllables of words to encourage listening and awareness of word patterns
  • using rhymes to listen out for phonics and respond physically
  • using songs as a way of introducing topics e.g. ¿Cuántos años tienes?
  • stories as a way of encouraging listening carefully and responding – ‘safe’ due the familiarity and repetition
  • branching listenings or minimal pairs (slide24)- I first encountered these last year at ILILC in a session by Julie Prince, and I shared two examples from LightBulbLanguages – colours (Spanish)  and jobs (French) Learners listen to a series of words – or phrases – and at each step choose between two alternatives until they arrive at the bottom line and give the number they reached.
Speaking
  • PHONICS! So important! The keystones of the foundations as they enable understanding of the spoken word, pronunciation, enable learners to read effectively and also spell. Rachel Hawkes once more had burning ears!
  • vowels and setting them to DISCO by Ottawan
  • phonic islands and mats, referencing Sounds and Words by Lynne Erler and Julie Prince
  • “stress punching” to demonstrate intonation and stress patterns
  • “Spanish glasses” to read Spanish – chocolate is spelt the same in English and Spanish but pronounced differently (slide 30 ) also false friends like gift and Gift in German.
  • tongue twisters to practice ‘getting your mouth around’ certain sounds
  • using Trapdoors to practice sentences – learners will play long after you’d think they’d be fed up!
  • using board games to practice the question form (I shared a Snakes and ladders board game worksheet from Eurostars with learners asking a question when they land on a square rather than giving an opinion)

Reading

  • using poems like Doña Pitu Piturra that have a rhythm and a rhyme, and a pattern that can be followed – and the example also shows handwriting which fascinates and is worth discussion
  • using Tarsia and dominoes
  • using storybooks isn’t a bad thing – even Y6 like a story, especially if you link it to reading to younger pupils or making something to be shared.
  • books don’t have to be fiction – non fiction is important too. Books on e.g. planets can be accessed as learners have learned the facts in Science and can therefore make deductions about vocabulary etc. Plus there are diagrams and images to support.
  • the importance of making mistakes and discussing WHY you thought something
  • instilling the idea that you don’t need to understand every word, and linking in to literacy skills of comprehension: where will I find the answer? what are my clues? what’s the context? is there a word in the question that helps me?
  • making your own texts using storybird.com – I shared ¿De dónde viene el yak? There are other MFL Storybirds shared on the wikispace both fiction and nonfiction. Well worth a look.
  • dictionaries can be glossaries, picture dictionaries and encyclopaedia/thematic type ones as well as the ‘tradition’ bilingual ones. I shared an activity linked to a colour poem which Y3 had rewritten using a combination of picture dictionaries and bilingual dictionaries.

Writing

  • writing texts from other texts e.g. rewriting stories by substituting nouns and or adjectives (El bicho hambriento), or writing a story in the style of another (rewriting El Nabo Gigante to feature a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard who calls for help to pull him out!)
  • the value of whiteboards and technology to allow for quick correction without committing it to their book – rehearsing and making mistakes
  • giving structures using card, human sentences to physically demonstrate word order e.g. making sentences negative, or the noun-adjective order in Spanish compared to adjective-noun in English
  • scaffolding
  • memorisation – I shared another activity from LightBulbLanguages to demonstrate a way of supporting learners in memorising spellings by giving them the shape of the word

Grammar

  • Grammar is the cement that holds all the bricks together!
  • link it to English – and/or other languages e.g. making plurals
  • using songs is quite effective e.g. ¿Por qué es mi mochila tan pesada? introduces Es+ singular noun and Son+plural noun – learners picked it up without me saying a word!
  • I also shared songs for verbs in Spanish, German and French
  • using parallel texts to compare language
  • making verb spiders or flowers – if you teach South American Spanish you can use a hand!
  • verb drilling isn’t wrong – Y6 quite enjoyed it last year and treated it like a code or game that they conquered as they did it more!IMG_8437

I then talked about the importance of promoting language learning in general and that no one language is an island – let’s celebrate the multilingual nature of our schools and draw out the experiences of our EAL learners. Comparing and contrasting languages is one of the things my learners enjoy more than anything else, and it’s language learning skills that are going to be key for their future success, especially as most of my learners will start a new language at KS3. I briefly highlighted the importance of including culture in whatever you do as languages need a context and it’s jot just about words!

Finally we considered that not all foundations are the same – some are more basic than others i.e. some pupils will arrive at KS3 with less language learning, or perhaps with gaps in the expected knowledge (whatever that may be!) Some may have experienced lots of vocabulary and not much structure, some may have had a very sporadic language input, some may have encountered several languages and some only one. Whatever the experience, and however many ‘cracks’ there may be, my plea was to not destroy what has gone before but repair it, and shore it up.

 

The final part of my presentation (which I admit we don’t reach due to overrunning previous sessions) considered the need for Ks2 and KS3 to communicate. KS2 can’t moan about what happens at KS3 if they don’t tell their secondary colleagues what has been done, and KS3 can’t throw their hands up and say it’s impossible to deal with all these children if they don’t talk to KS2 and give an idea of what would be helpful to them. On p69 of Language Trends survey  it says:

“The need to promote effective transition in languages between Key Stages 2 and 3 is not yet high on the agendas of either primary or secondary schools….the introduction of compulsory language learning has not yet stimulated increased contact between language teachers in state primary and secondary schools.”

That has to change!

My final thought was from an article about building foundations:

“The three most important purposes of foundations are to bear the load of the building, anchor it against natural forces such as earthquakes, and to isolate it from ground moisture.”

I’d categorise those three things as future learning at KS3 and beyond, wavering confidence as ‘it gets a bit serious’ and the ‘rising damp’ of adolescence! Ultimately, we want learners to ride those storms and sit proudly atop their magnificent linguistic skyscrapers, not falling like Humpty Dumpty never to be put together again!

 

 

 

Los animales and Little Languages – the story so far.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

I’m conscious that I haven’t posted since before school started so I thought I’d share something I’ve made this week.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.39.02

At WCPS, Foundation and Key Stage 1 teachers follow the Little Languages scheme of work for Spanish. It’s simple to use, has clear instructions and best of all, builds up from a +/- 10 minute activity/ies in FS to 10- 15 minutes in Y1 and 15-20 minutes in Y2. The activities can be repeated during the week or just done once, and there’s lots of repetition. Sound files are included to support the teachers (none of whom are fluent or confident Spanish speakers) and visuals too.

I’m timetabled to teach two Y2classes this half term which is great, so I’m following the same scheme but making it a bit more in depth and adding my own bits to it! At the same time, I need to ensure that the third class have a similar experience; their teacher is doing their lessons with half a class at a time as the other half go swimming and then the other half when they swap.

The last few weeks have been based around animals.

Week one we sang an adapted version of  Vengan a ver mi granja featuring a kitten (un gatito) and a duckling (un patito). We sang the song with actions then played Patito/Gatito, a game with cuddly toys.

We sent someone out of the room and hid the ‘gatito’. When they returned we had to find ‘gatito’ by listening to the rest of the class repeating its name; the nearer the person got, the louder we said ‘gatito’. One class was really good at the dynamics whilst the other needed a bit of help as they were loud from the start and didn’t leave themselves enough leeway to get louder without screaming! Then we played with ‘patito’. This led to horror when someone hid the cuddly in the class play oven! The next week, we added ‘perrito’ to the game. Very popular and the children recalled the words clearly after so much repetition.

Download wk 1 gatito patito

The next week we moved onto a story about wild animals called ¿Quién soy? in which you see small parts of a wild animal who asks ¿Quién soy? before revealing themself and saying ‘Soy un elefante / un tigre / una jirafa’ etc. Whilst reading the story for the first time, we assigned each animal an action and children showed they understood by doing the action on subsequent retellings. For example, un elefante was arm as a trunk; una jirafa, arm above head like a long neck; un tigre was claws in front; and un león was the same but whilst swishing your hair. They also joined in with ¿Quién soy? and some with the response too. Another game followed in which children mimed an animal and asked ¿Quién soy?, challenging their classmates to guess. Again, plenty of volunteers and lots of language. We also used masks to play a similar game with the images from the story; we looked at the clue images, chorusing ¿Quién soy?, and the child wearing the correct mask jumped up and announced ‘Soy….’  

Their favourite is…

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.38.23

 

… accompanied by puffing out the cheeks (which strangely helped them to say the word!)

To continue the theme I made a simple labelling sheet with 8 animals, three of which they hadn’t met: un mono, una cebra, una serpiente. This led to a really good discussion about how they could work out which animal these words matched.

 

Mono looks like the start of monkey.’

Cebra looks like zebra.’ ‘It starts with a s sound not a z or a c though’

Serpiente sounds like snake because it’s got a sss at the start’ (that followed me reading the word with a very sibilant s!)

Download jungle animals worksheet

This week, the lesson was to be based around Alarma en la jungla. But I couldn’t it. I’m sure I’ve got it so Im not buying another copy until I’ve had a good look, and I couldn’t find a powerpoint or PDF online (that didn’t require me to sign up to something requiring my credit card details!) so I had to find an alternative.

Step forward, Animales salvajesThis is a lovely book that I bought in Spain for 2€ which has a little rhyme giving a clue to the animal hiding behind the ‘plastic page’. Look at the example below!

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender-2 FullSizeRender

We’d met all but one animal so I planned to read it to the class, sharing the book so that everyone could have a look, emphasising or explaining key words to help them guess. For example, the first animal is described as ‘verde’ and they have a chart of Spanish colours on the wall so that gave them a clue that it wasn’t the elephant! However, I was aware that my colleague in the 3rd Y2 class couldn’t speak Spanish and wouldn’t be able to read the book to the children. So I made a powerpoint with embedded sound for her so she could just show the pictures and turn the pages whilst the text and sound came from the IWB. And I added a question to each slide too ¿Qué es? as it’s a common question that they’ll hear repeatedly.

Download animales salvajes

Except we had two special assemblies so we didn’t use it! However, we’re all ready for next week. And hopefully the sound on the IWB in one of the classes will be fixed as the children are eager for a repeat of Veo a un animal on the BBC Primary Spanish website.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.25.09Firstly, it’s a guessing song about wild animals.

Secondly, they like the funny pictures and the catchy tune.

And thirdly, they are particularly impressed because I wrote it (and all the other Spanish/French songs, games and vocabulary /information pages on the site)  and this has elevated me to superstardom in their eyes!

We did however have a great game of ‘Secret leader’ in which we all sat in a circle and chanted a word whilst doing an action. We sent a child out and nominated a leader who would change the action whenever they wanted (I changed the word in response to their action as it was the first time we’d played but one child did it themselves so we’ll see what happens next time!). The child returned and had to work out the Secret leader.  “Oh, it’s like ‘Wink-faint’ isn’t it?” said one child which made me think of the days when we used to ‘murder’ each other and die violently and gorily! This class are only 6 years old though 😉 Again, a game with lots of repetition with the action reinforcing the spoken word.

I’ll report back on how we’re progressing at a later date. Hope you enjoy the resources I’ve shared.

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.

Image 9

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.

Image 8

 

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.

Image 11

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.

Image 13

  • 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

 

How might I use Yo quiero ser – Nubeluz

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Thanks to Pat Sweeney on the Yahoo MFL Resources group for pointing out this group.

If you like Hi5, and you love a bit of 90s “cheese”, you’ll love Nubeluz.

As Pat writes –

“Many of Nubeluz’s songs seem to be innocent good fun and definitely have catchy tunes that make you want to dance and sing along.
However, some “carry a message “. For example “Papi, deja de fumar!”
( Daddy, give up smoking!) or “Cuidado ” ( Be careful!) which warns of being mislead by friends to get involved in things that are not right or good.”

She goes on to pose a question –

“I would be very interested to know what people think of the songs and whether they would deem them suitable for using as teaching aids..and if so..with which groups..how?”

So…here are some ideas for how to use  Yo quiero ser

I think this would fit well with the topics People who help us or Jobs people do that are part of EYFS and KS1. I think that the chorus is the most useful part.

Activities you might do:

  • ask learners to identify the jobs they hear in the chorus. They are repeated at the very end so there are 2 chances to catch them. You might provide a tick sheet with pictures for younger learners or the names in Spanish for older ones.
  • make a pelmanism game with job images and names in Spanish for matching first then for playing.
  • cut the lyrics (chorus) into strips. Ask learners firstly to see if they can match the jobs with the description of what they do. This uses their LLS as they will look for cognates, make connections between the word for the job and words in the description and so on. Then they can check their answers by listening and watching again.
  • I might use Amara (was UniversalSubtitles) http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/ to put Spanish subtitles on the video too. (See this example and also this post about how and why)
Moving away from the video, some further ideas –
  • I might use other video clip such as Los oficios which features a famous song, or this version with the words.
  • This clip Cuando sea grande would be a good step onto using the future tense. Seré dentista/artista etc. I also like the final lines – “Cuando sea grande, haré mil cosas/Porque estoy seguro que podré. Y mientras tanto llega la hora/Solamente niño quiero ser”
  • There is a whole unit of work on Udicom on Los oficios. These resources are intended for ‘alumnos de compensatoria’ or learners needing extra help in Spain so many are very simple exercises on copywriting, phonics, matching and writing words and short phrases. I particularly like the phonics sections and the use of little rhymes too.
  • This interactive site is useful for learning the names of jobs by hovering over the people, and clicking to see/hear a short sentence about what they do. Further forward (click on arrow bottom right) it talks about “profesiones” – professions as opposed to “oficios” – jobs.
  • Here’s a free poster that you can download – I believe you need to purchase the other posters tagged Los oficios but you can look at them for ideas!
  • I also found this blog with an image and short descriptions for 6 jobs/professions.
  • And this is a wonderful site with lots of ideas and materials for a wide age range. There are a number of stories at a variety of levels (primary and secondary) as well as comics and ‘information books’, all presented online. As this resource is aimed at social studies for Spanish learners, so you need to bear that in mind e.g. Look at the complexity of language rather than going by the age indicated. I looked at a few stories – Alejandro el canguro pintor (basic) is a lovely tale about a kangaroo that draws all the time, and Maria auxiliar de ayuda a domicilio is more complex and a home help who makes Grandma’s life better. There’s a teachers guide that includes ideas and some activity sheets. Well worth an explore if you’re looking to work cross curricularly at primary or secondary level!

 

So, Pat. Does that answer your question? 🙂

 

 

Mis amigos Pooh y Tigger

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

I’ve been having a little look at Youtube resources again, and, inspired by the session last week on teaching Infants languages, I’ve found some sweet little videos featuring Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too! Now, Winnie is always a winner in my books – I just love that bear of very little brain! – but talking Spanish is even better.

A couple of ideas.
This clip is called Estrellita abrillar and is a version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (I know other words). The story seems to be that Lampi, the Heffalump can’t sleep and they sing to him. However, his Mummy sings different words so he sings them to the friends then goes to sleep. A cute little story in a song in just over a minute.

The words are:

Estrellita ¿cómo estás?

me preguntas ¿qué serás?

en el cielo brillas tu

como un diamante es tu luz.

Estrellita ¿cómo estas?

me preguntas ¿qué serás?



Lindo lampi ¿cómo estás?

No te quejes; duerme ya

La noche es para soñar

Pon su trompa, descansar.

Qué se acabe mal humor

y no ronques por favor.

Lindo lampi ¿cómo estás?

Es mejor que duermas ya



Then there’s this clip called Es la hora de pensar and is a little song to signal thinking time. I think it would be a lovely cue to send children to their desks to work on whatever they are doing, or as a signal to change activity. And not just in language lessons but as one of those ’embedded’ ways of making language an everyday, incidental thing.

Hope you like them!

Any other ideas people have found?