Entries RSS Comments RSS

Archive for the ‘KS2 framework’ 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!

 

 

 

Building Spanish dictionary skills

Monday, September 24th, 2012

“I am not a walking dictionary!”

How many times have I replied with this phrase when asked ‘How do you say…. in Spanish/French/German/Polish? (yes, there were some who felt that the Language Coordinator meant that I was fluent in all languages…) Using a dictionary was one of the skills that I feel is really important to develop as it allows greater learner independence as well as supporting and enhancing literacy.

Firstly, it’s important that learners know that a bi-lingual dictionary has two halves, often helpfully separated by a coloured band, and recognise that you won’t find the word for ‘cow’ by looking in the Spanish to English part!

Once that’s established, looking at alphabetical order is helpful. Whilst this shouldn’t be too much of an issue, it’s worth pointing out that in a Spanish dictionary there are entries under the letter ‘ñ’. I have a Diccionario Salvat from my university days that has a separate section for “ch” and “ll” as well but this not common nowadays.

One of my classes’ favourite dictionary activities was playing ‘Quick draw Spanish’ in which they competed to draw their “weapon” (dictionary) and “shoot” (find a word) as quickly as possible. Works well with individuals or as a table game with learners taking it in turns to be the Sharpshooter. There are some other good ideas of games to play with dictionaries (and other reference materials) here. I also like this game where more advanced learners could use their Knowledge about Language (KAL) to deduce what words might mean, and younger/newer learners might be given a list of 4 possibilities from which to choose.

When I was thinking about this, I found some free online resources (always a bonus!) Whilst they are linked to the Oxford Learner’s Spanish Dictionary, they can be used with any dictionary and are mostly straightforward. At WCPS we had a short period at the start of the day called SODA (Start of the Day Activity) and these exercises would be ideal to do at that time, or perhaps as part of Guided reading, developing skills. The higher numbered worksheets start to deal with more aspects of grammar and tenses so you might not want to give them as written to a group, but the ideas are useful and there’s always a child who needs a challenge! (The same worksheets are also available in French and German, and there are a variety of free primary resources for using a dictionary and a thesaurus)

And Collins also have some free resources linked to their Easy learning dictionaries in French and Spanish including an 11 page guide to using a bilingual dictionary.  ELSpanDictionarySkills

There is also a set of resources to go with dictionary skills on TES Resources. Whilst labelled as Secondary, some of the most basic ones aimed at Year 7 could equally well be used with Upper Key Stage 2.

Whilst paper dictionaries may be giving way to online versions, the skills needed to look for and successfully select the appropriate word are still as important – especially if we are to avoid such ‘faux pas’ as referring to a (video) shoot as ‘une fusillade’.

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? 🙂

 

 

Phonics in KS2 and KS3

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Following on from Rachel’s Hawkes’ reminder to me of my plan to teach phonics using her grid, another reminder popped up today when i was on Slidecast and found this short presentation courtesy of Clare Seccombe aka @Valleseco aka MFL Sunderland webmistress extraordinaire.

Phonics are key to our ability to read and pronounce unfamiliar words in a language -must ask Rachel if she has a phonics grid for German!

 

Opinions sought on KS2 QCA schemes and making universally useful resources.

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010


Wondering if any of you would like to add to a debate I’m having at the moment re QCA schemes for KS2. I’m trying to help someone choose the best way to present materials on a site to satisfy as many Primary MFL teachers as possible. Having drawn their attention to the KS2 Framework and the QCA units and their thematic and skills rather than topic based approach, they’re now in a quandary as to how to best present things.




In your experience, do teachers tend to still take a topic based approach?

Are people using the QCA schemes?

They’ve just been updated – how long do you think their shelf life will be?

And, here’s a tricky one! – do you think if we get a change of government that the policy and therefore Framework / SoW will get changed again?

If you were planning resources with the aim of them being used universally, would you go for topic based approach or would you choose a number of themes loosely based on the QCA schemes of work, covering a number of topics, and follow their order to get the progression through the years right.

Any insights more than welcome. You can leave comments or contact me privately if you’d rather!

Gracias xx

I wish the English…..

Monday, November 24th, 2008



I love this poster, shared with me on Twitter by @nwinton from the imaginatively named I love Typography blog in a post entitled Diacritical Challenge. The challenge is to a) name the font and b) identify the diacritical marks!

I’ve got to say that I couldn’t name all of them but there are plenty of people having a go in the comments!!

The subtitle of the post is ‘Squiggly bits’ which is how many of the pupils I teach describe them. As they’re unfamiliar in our language, it can take a bit of explaining but ñ isn’t too hard to explain, and the accents in Spanish to show where to stress words is easily explained when I mispronounce their names by stressing the wrong bit. And ¡ and ¿ are explained by the need to know if something is a question or exclamation a the beginning of the sentence so that your intonation is correct – cue much overacting ;o)

All counts towards Knowledge about Language!

QCA Spanish Unit 14 – Yo soy músico

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

yo soy músico

Here comes part three of my reflections on the units I’m currently using in KS2 Spanish. If you’ve read the other parts on Units 5 and 11, you’ll recall that I’ve taught the units to half of the school and am now teaching the parallel classes until the summer break. So the current groups are probably getting a better deal as I refine and adapt from the first run, but may not finish the unit in its entirety as the end of term leads to much lesson disruption!

As with Units 5 and 11, Unit 14 has an opening stimulus from which the unit stems. In this case, a song. Based on the well known children’s song, I am the Music Man, Yo soy músico has proved popular with Year 5. The QCA Unit which can be downloaded from here in PDF and RTF, gives the lyrics – you just have to sing it! Helen Myers has recorded a music only version – clever lady!- which can be found here, and if you want to hear how it sounds with a class in full voice, check out the WCPS Spanish podcast in the right hand column – although I’m sure you’ve all subscribed to it in iTunes ;o)

At the top of the post is the Powerpoint I made to go with the song. Note that it has two parts. The first half is in the first person singular – Yo soy músico, which is the version used in the first instance when the teacher (or volunteer class member!) is the Music Man. The second part is in the first person plural – Somos músicos – as the class join in with the whole song and we all become Music Men. I used animations having listened to Nick Mair talking in Oxford about boys learning best when there is action and movement in the graphics. There is an initial disadvantage as the class comment on the guitar playing pig etc mid-song, but after the first view, this stops and it really helps memorisation.

Scheme of work for Year5 spanish summer yo soy musico

Looking at the medium term plan above, you can see that the objectives for the first lesson are to express simple opinions about music. This proved popular as we listened to some different types of music and decided if we liked them or not. In a previous unit on free time we had learned the phrase la música pop / rock / clásica and most recalled the phrase – and the accompanying action –

  • la música – hands on ears like you’re listening to music then ..
  • …pop – makes your hands pop from fists to spread fingers whilst making your eyes wide
  • …rock – rock from side to side
  • …clásica – conduct an orchestra
  • …heavy – mosh!! (a clear favourite I must say!)

We added jazz (jazz hands) and folclórica (play a guitar) which took some explaining as few knew what it was! Several pupils commented on the use of cognates – and when one asked what tecno music would be, another piped up that ‘it’d be la música tecno, silly’

I expressed an opinion in Spanish about the music using facial expression then encouraged the class to offer their own opinion in Spanish. Again, the phrase was not unfamiliar but, for some, had to be dragged from memory banks!

We then sang the song which soon involved the whole class. The first couple of times, everyone sang all the instruments to learn and fix the words – and of course we did actions for those who are kinaesthetic learners (and to keep everyone awake!). Having looked at pronunciation of the words we had a quick look at accents – why do música / saxofón / batería have accents – I explained it using people’s names – when we see a name in English we know (usually!) how to say it as there are stress patterns – it’s AlexANder not AlEXander and accents help show us how to say words. Pupils completed a simple sheet to finish the lesson – labelling and also trying to use their LLS to work out what six instruments were in English. Some of the words were obvious and others needed a bit of thought – but a few did work out los platillos are cymbals by thinking of plates!

instruments lesson 1 – Get more College Essays

Next lesson began with a recap of vocabulary and game of Simóm dice. Then we sang the song, firstly using Soy músico but with each table alloted the flashcard of a musical instrument to represent. This led to hilarity as the ‘piano’ table worked out that they had to stand up and sit down every verse – as you can guess I chose this table carefully!! We looked at the words of the opening to the song and used Sé tocar… and then Toco ….. to say which instruments we could and couldn’t play – an ‘on the ball’ pupil suggested ‘toco regular el piano’ and ‘no toco la guitarra muy bien’ as answers – not bad eh? It’s really encouraging when pupils ‘play around’ with language because they’re trying to express themselves more accurately.
We then looked at the second half – Somos músicos, venimos de Madrid etc’ and discussed how this might differ in meaning from the first half.

We went on to recap our opinions about music genres and this time tried to add some simple reasons for the opinion – because it’s slow, because it’s boring, because it has rhythm etc. Pupils made up sentences in groups adding all the bits from the two lessons to see how long a sentence they could make using connectives such as ‘y’ and ‘porque’.

types of music flashcards

At the start of the next lesson we recapped our opinions and started to present them in written form on graffiti wall posters – the word ‘graffiti’ made eyes sparkle although it was somewhat controlled graffiti! Whilst the class worked on this, I worked in the corner with my laptop and and microphone to record members of the class expressing their opinions about music – this was the start of WCPS Spanish podcast. The look of wonder on pupils’ faces when they heard their voice comin gout of my laptop and then the IWB was great – one lad, Zach, commented ‘But I sound really Spanish!’. (Pictures of posters to follow!)

Next we listened to some Spanish music and Latin American music, comparing and contrasting the instruments heard. I borrowed a CD from the library that had a vast array of South American music types on it, and I took in some of my own music – Tomatito, Heroes del Silencio, Joan Manuel Serrat, Los Nikis, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz, Operación Triunfo. We listened and decided which instruments we heard, and gave opinions on the singers / groups.
Then I role played buying a CD – using a ActivPrimary flipchart (in Box of Goodies as can’t upload to .DocStoc). In pairs with one as customer and one as assistant, the customer had to

  • say they wanted to buy a CD
  • express their opinion about a type of music and say which type they prefer
  • agree to buy an item., and we recorded some examples (see podcast!)

The roles were swapped so that everyone got to play each character. We recorded some examples for the WCPS Spanish podcast as well. This time I’m going to add discussing buying an MP3 file to this bit ;o)

Having looked at accents and stress patterns as well as considering types of music, looking at the rhythm, especially the rhythm of words made perfect sense and we spent a good while clapping out phrases and trying to copy rhythms in the next session. At times it was rather haphazard, freestyle clapping but there were signs of promise from some who managed to copy accurately and understood the use of dynamics to mark stress. ‘Guess the phrase from the rhythm’ was a popular game – it’s amazing how much concentration it takes to clap a simple phrase!

The last few sessions were given over to Year 5 producing their own rap/song in Spanish. I allowed them free rein over this with the proviso that it had to be in Spanish (obvious to me but you’d be surprised!) As a whole class we discussed how the task might be tackled and we came up with a start for those who couldn’t think of a way in, then it was up to the groups to do their bit!
There were several things to note from these lessons for next time.

  1. Some groups needed more support than they were given – perhaps more time working together as a whole class before setting groups off on their own.
  2. Groupings are key, and all the ‘musical’ kids ended up in two groups – they would’ve been better perhaps split up to help those whose rhythm was a bit off!
  3. When recording pupils’ final productions, don’t put your iRiver anywhere near the drums! Sadly, a couple of good outcomes are drowned out by the percussion.

I’ll upload those that will not damage eardrums to the podcast and/or Box of Goodies as soon as this post is finished ;o)
There were a couple of groups that tried to sing their performances to tunes from The Sound of Music – good idea, I thought. Some stuck to opinions on music, others tried to work in vocabulary from other units such as Personal introduction vocabulary and sporting likes and dislikes.

The other Year 5 class are very different to the first group and I expect this half term to pan out differently to the previous one. I think this time we’ll look at the pre-performance interview suggested in the QCA Unit and perhaps try to adapt a song rather than write rap. I’ll keep you informed!

NOTE – if you’d like ideas on this Unit in french, check out Talkabout Primary MFL where Jo Rhys Jones has spookily just blogged about the same unit!

QCA Unit 11 El Carnaval de los animales.

Thursday, June 12th, 2008


Here’s the second of four posts on the Spanish QCA units I’m using with KS2 this term. The first, QCA Unit 5, Los Cuatro amigos seemed to be popular so I hope you find this one helpful too.

First thing to say is that I really enjoyed teaching this unit – and the class seemed to be equally enthused. The combination of music, literacy and Spanish proved popular, and this half term the cross curricular element is extended as habitats is a topic in Science. And I was really pleased with the outcomes of the unit.

You can download the Unit in PDF or RTF from the QCA website.
Below is my medium term plans – being adapted as I go along and discover what does and doesn’t work.

Medium term planning QCA Unit11 El Carnaval del os Animales


Unit 11 is based around and inspired by the Saint Saens piece,
Le carnaval des animaux, and the opening lesson was heavily reliant on music. I borrowed the CD of The carnival of the animals from the library, but then found a great website that provided snippets for each animal theme. The site being in Spanish with short comments on the music makes it a possible resource for more experienced linguists to use in the discussion of music in Spanish rather than the English we used for ours. And it’s a gift for the teacher who can point the pupils in the right direction if they’re struggling.

We began by looking at the title of the Unit. I asked pupils to suggest what they might be learning in this topic, encouraging them to explain their ideas e.g. it’s something about animals I think – the last word looks like animals; ‘carnaval’ looks like carnival etc. None of the class made the association with the piece of music as none had heard of it. Having established the title, I asked them to suggest what sorts of things they might learn – they’re good at this as AfL is a focus this year at WCPS. Lots of suggestions hit the mark and others would’ve been good avenues for exploration given more time.
Then we listened to snippets of th
e music, in order, and I asked for suggestions as to the animal it represented. As I’ve already mentioned, this was done in English and was much more successful than I had thought it might be. As my lesson allocation for the class covered their music lesson too, we were able to spend more time on Spanish by combining the two lessons. The music topic was based on rhythm and this fitted well. The pupils love contemporary music but it was good to see and hear them discussing a classical piece and passing positive comment. The suggestions of animals were sometimes accurate but some were off mark and this was probably due to not being given an idea of the animals we might be considering, so this half term when I did the same lesson with the other class, I began the same but introduced the vocabulary in Spanish prior to playing the music. This allowed more accurate identification of animals and moved us onto discussion of how the animal was represented / suggested by the music much more immediately. I introduced the animals using the PPT below, accompanied by actions e.g un león was two hands like paws ready to pounce; un gallo, one hand on top of head, one under chin with wiggling fingers like the comb and crop; un elefante with your arm as a trunk etc. Using images and actions we played Beat the teacher, ¿Dónde está …? Simon dice, name the animal from the action and viceversa, to reinforce the vocabulary.

El Carnaval de los animales

The second lesson began with a video of Los pollitos dicen..,I’d downloaded it from Youtube which was fortunate as Youtube is now blocked at school.

We watched a number of times and pupils began to join in with the opening lines as they wanted. Having looked at the video, I challenged the pupils once more to think about one of the objectives for the lesson. Several suggestions were made including habitat, food, mummies and babies, and, the correct answer, animal noises.

We recapped the animal vocabulary using actions, images and also rhythm. As we repeated the words, I clapped the rhythm. Pupils echoed the clap back again and we played games around the rhythm of the words. More of that later..

Moving on, we listened to a number of animal noises and asked the pupils to make educated guesses on the animal that made each noise, commenting on similarities and

differences. We made a great cacophony of animal noises, akin to an unruly zoo as we practiced Spanish animal noises – the class were very amused that Spanish animals spoke another language too! With the noises came additional animals, extending beyond the initial stimulus. Below is a consolidation worksheet that we used to round off the section of the lesson as well as the PPT I used.

Los sonidos de los animales

Worksheet lesson 2 Unit 11


After the lunch break, we decided to make an animal symphony using percussion and voice! This met the objectives of the music unit as well as suggested activities in the QCA guidelines for the Spanish unit. Pairs of pupils were given an animal picture and a percussion instrument to create firstly a sound effect for their animal, and then used it to beat the rhythm of the word in Spanish. we took this further by individually presenting our pieces and then joining them together with teacher in the role of conductor bringing in and cueing out animals. The resulting ‘symphony’ was very interesting and you can listen to it here on our podcast WCPS Spanish (sounded better live, I must add!) A very enjoyable activity and an excellent for trying to maintain a steady rhythm and stay in time with others!

The next lesson was based around time and concluded with a class full of hot sweaty children and two children in first aid! Having recapped numbers 1-12 using a soft ball and various games – always a winner when I start chucking things around the room as I am hopeless at hand-eye coordination – I used an ELC clock to model the time for one and two o’clock before several bright sparks took over for three o’clock, half the class for four o’clock and 28/30 by five o’clock. We played time bingo and completed some questions from the IWB (sadly can’t save those in Doc.Stoc so will have to put them in My Box of Goodies)
With o’clock times stuck in our heads and consolidated with a written exercise, I ventured to suggest we could go out onto the playground and play a game. This was a popular idea – although not so popular when the class discovered that there were three other classes outside and they weren’t working, just running around. However, to their credit, they mostly concentrated and several children from other classes came to see what we were doing! We played ¿Qué hora es, Señor Elefante? , a variant on What’s the time Mr Wolf in which the animal changes each time, and the players have to move like the animal named e.g like an elephant for Sr. Elefante, like a swan for Sra. Cisne etc for the number of steps that corresponds to the time. More practice needed on the movement – never seen a tortoise run, nor a fish! However, lots of volunteers to be ‘on’. We also played El Carnaval de los animales, very like fruit salad but with animals instead of fruit. Having given each child the name of one of six animals in Spanish, I called an animal and all those with that name had to move around the outside of the circle back to their space in the manner of their animal. If I called El Carnaval de los Animales, everyone had to move around the circle like their animal. This was the cause of the scrapped knees in first aid I’m afraid :o( but the injured parties weren’t too sad so it was OK (phew!)

Next we looked at adjectives. Pupils had already commented on the colours of the nouns on their wordlist (see initial PPT) and had met colours in a previous unit. Some recalled the need for agreement and noted why there were two versions of most adjectives.
I used Querido Zoo (Dear Zoo) as the stimulus for the lesson – a familiar story to many and again introducing another couple of animals for those who had already grasped the others as well as great for introducing adjectives describing animals, and the word for ‘too’ – demasiado. Having read the book on PPT, pupils made their own conclusions in groups about the meaning of the adjectives before we discussed (and corrected!) ideas together. Having introduced a few more ideas including rápido / lento, fuerte/débil etc, pupils made up some sentences using es and no es to describe animals. This turned into a guessing game with definitions being offered and others trying to guess the animal, and there was also a pleasing clamour to find out more adjectives using a dictionary – cue impromptu lesson in bilingual dictionary skills!

Habitats came into play next – using the suggested habitats from the QCA unit in a IWB flipchart (again, will have to put it into My Goodie Box!) we looked at pictures and guessed the theme of the lesson before placing animal cards into the appropriate habitat, making statements about where the animals lived. We used the first person, pretending that we were the animal preparing for the written part of the lesson when pupils took the role of an animal to be interviewed. We reviewed personal identification questions and modelled a couple of examples on the IWB before pupils went away to produce their own introductions.

4AT had heard that 5MW had been recording and they wanted in on the act. So we set up our recording studio in a corner and several pupils came to record their work for WCPS Spanish, our podcast. It was great to see all abilities represented in the volunteers, including all SEN pupils, and there were some who were reluctant to go to lunch as they hadn’t had a chance to record. In fact, we even moved the studio to the library during their librar

y session to allow more participation. Great to see them so motivated.

I actually had an extra lesson with the class and decided to continue on the animal theme! We looked at the Build my WildSelf site and discussed the different animals and body parts included (this recapped vocabulary learned in year 3) Having designed their own Wild Self (a very amusing task attacked with great gusto), pupils designed their own hybrid animals on paper and wrote simple sentences about them such as;
Tiene la cabeza de un elefante.
Tiene el cuerpo de un pez.
Tiene la cola de un lagarto.
Tiene las piernas de una jirafa.

I made a display as part of the Unit too, well received by all of KS2 including the staff who liked its vibrant images and interactive quality – all the stuff to make it below! Just laminate! You can see more of the display here .


display

Since completing the Unit, I’ve discovered the following resources

Again, hope you found this useful.
Next I’ll report on Unit 14 Yo soy músico – that was a goody too :o)

UK pupils ‘least globally aware’ ?

Monday, November 12th, 2007



My BBC Online daily e-mail informed me this morning that, according to a British Council survey, ‘UK children aged 11 to 16 have the lowest international awareness among their age group in 10 countries’.

The article reported that 4,170 children with Internet access were asked about language learning and international affairs and the results were scored on an index from 7 to 0 –

  1. Nigeria 5.15
  2. India 4.86
  3. Brazil 4.53
  4. Saudi Arabia 3.74
  5. Spain 3.29
  6. Germany 3.24
  7. China 2.97
  8. Czech Republic 2.51
  9. USA 2.22
  10. UK 2.19

When questioned, children in the UK were least likely to want to try and understand world affairs, and saw themselves as citizens of their country rather than the world. Young people in Brazil were among the most likely to agree with the statement “it is a good idea for schools in my country to have links or partnerships with schools in other countries” but the least likely to be in schools that had such links.

The article finishes with the comments of Martin Davidson, British Council chief executive
“Our school children cannot afford to fall behind the rest of the world.
For the UK to compete in a global economy, it is vital that we encourage our young people to have an interest in and engagement with the world around them.”

Intercultural Understanding is a key strand of the KS2 Framework for MFL (although we’re supposed to use PLL (Primary Language Learning) to get away from the negative connotations that ‘foreign’ can have) As far as I’m concerned, opening the ‘window on the world’ is a vital part of learning languages. At Whitehouse Common, we’re taking this seriously and I’ve written raising international awareness and understanding into the SIP for PLL as a specific target.

Last year we made a start on this with an eTwinning project called Somos lo que Celebramos. Working with Colegio Público César Hurtado Delicado in Valverde de Leganés, near Badajoz in Spain, we compared and contrasted festivals and celebrations in the two countries. The project not only broadened the pupils’ knowledge of Spanish festivals and culture but also made them look at their own celebrations through new eyes. We won a Runners-up Prize in the National eTwinning Awards for the project too – I was very pleased – my head wanted to know why we hadn’t won!
(If you want to find out more about this, have a look at the presentation I prepared for The Isle of Wight Conference where I spoke about the project, and eTwinning in general – you’ll find it in my Box of Goodies. )

This year we’re on a roll and are pushing the boat out into deep waters! We achieved the Intermediate International Schools Award for last year’s efforts and this year, we’re hoping to achieve the Full Award (fingers crossed!)

We’re taking part in the Voices of the World project , have two Ted-E-Bears in North America and are about to become involved in a new Teddy based project with Silvia Tolisano. Our eTwinning project for this year is called Somos lo que comemos and hopefully will involve five countries comparing and contrasting food and healthy lifestyles in our countries (details being finalised at the mo!). Then there’s Hands around the World – 480 handprints to parcel up (and cut out!!) to be sent around the world to other classes as we compare ‘Holidays around the world’ and, later on in the year, a postcard exchange. I’m working on email links with South America and, following on from the success of this
year’s
European Day of Languages, I’ll be starting planning for next year after Easter!

I’ll tell you more about these projects over the next few weeks but just wanted to respond to the article with some examples of how we might address this – hopefully in a few years’ time, children in the UK will be more globally aware and see themselves as ‘global citizens’, as they are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences as they appreciate those of others.