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I choose joy

Friday, December 9th, 2016

On Sunday I posted the following image on Twitter with the comment I choose joy.

I’ve  pondered this post all week and finally found time to write it. It’s provoked by an increasing trend to point out all that is bad in life, and more specifically, education.

Whilst I am quite aware that there are a myriad ways in which our world is broken, a multitude of things that drive me bananas about education and multiple aspects of my working life that I’d like to be different, I make a choice to not wallow like a hippo. I’m not ignoring the problems; they’re sometimes fairly important and need addressing. However, if I focus solely on them, my life is frankly miserable and unpleasant.

I make another choice, the choice to (try to) find solutions, and if not solutions, work arounds, compromises and ways to make difficulties less burdensome. I don’t have an answer to everything, in fact, I have answers to very few things but I do my best.

We follow a PSHE programme called SUMO at one of my schools, and one of the principles is not to be Doris Day (which is counterintuitive as I grew up wanting to be her so badly!) and claim “Que será, será.  Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours you see.” As a teacher I know that the near future is mine but the longer future belongs to my pupils (and to my children), and my role is to prepare and equip them for it. We teach our pupils to question and find solutions to their problems, to talk to one another, to celebrate successes and share and support one another in hard times. Surely if we model misery and moaning that sets the wrong example?

Don’t get me wrong, I have a whinge with the best of them from time to time, especially when I’m tired but all the time? I’ve written before about this in a post called Transformers and Reepsiepie added to my Optimist Prime/Negatron analogy by talking about Radiators and Drains; in every staffroom, workplace and social media site, there are those who drain all positivity and life. I want to sit next to the radiator! Increasingly I am choosing not to spend long periods of time on Twitter for just this reason, and likewise I have left groups on other social media platforms as their negativity was dragging me down.

I haven’t left Languages in Primary Schools though as, just like the marvellous Talkabout Primary MFL used to be, it is a place of celebrating all that is going well, sharing ideas, and helping out people with queries, worries and emergencies. The members are realistic about the task we face – and who couldn’t do with more time to teach their subject, less last minute changes of plan, decreased paperwork, 100% attention and more energy and time to do all we’d like to do – but it’s a place full of radiators who, when the going is tough, share their experience, and to continue the analogy, warmth with others. And isn’t that far better than pointing out all the things that the person did wrong, or adding to their woes with a list of your own?  I’d like to think that this website is a radiator too.

For me, life can sometimes be uphill struggle which may surprise some who only ever see a smiling bouncy Lisibo, but it’s true. Sometimes that bounce is an act of will and only happens because I’m working hard at it, like a swan madly swimming under the water. My decision to choose joy is a lifestyle, and lifesaving, choice.

I write a Grateful blog each day in which I write things for which I am grateful; last year it was things that made me smile. Sometimes I don’t get it written and published because I’m tired but the thought is still there. I’d encourage you to do the same.

Yes, life is challenging and teaching is hard for a variety of reasons, but there are so many joys too. I could focus on the fact that yesterday I was on break duty, I didn’t get my lunch eaten and Y6 took advantage of my good nature, there was staff meeting, I didn’t get to teach the classes I was supposed to and I got an impatient email asking me to do something that I’d already said I’d do which isn’t due until next week anyway. I’d rather list my joys: I spent lunchtime yesterday dancing around the dining hall with pupils as they ate their Christmas lunch, singing at the top of my lungs and getting very hot. In the afternoon, we watched Y1 and 2 perform their play. We opened Christmas cards from partner schools in Finland, Spain and Poland, and borrowed a Polish pupil from his class to read us the latter. He glowed with pride! A whole stream of Reception children (who I have never taught) walked past me as I was photocopying and smiled, and quite a few responded to my ¡Buenos días! with a cheerful ¡Hola! A colleague helped me find my mislaid iPad case; a volunteer student stayed inside with a child at playtime so I could go to the toilet and get a cup of tea. At some point, a child stuck a sticker to my jumper – no idea who did it but it made me smile. A child saw two others about to have a fight and intervened before it escalated, sending someone to fetch me in case. I was met with groans of disappointment when I said there was no Spanish next week. I sang in the staff meeting.  We hatched a plan for the teachers to sing a song in the end of term concert.

And that’s just one day.

You may also like this post on a similar theme:

Ser optimista

UkEdChat guest blog post.

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 20.53.57At about 1130am on Friday I was contacted and asked by UKEDChat if I wanted to write a guest blog post about the impact Brexit could/will have on language learning. I didn’t write it straight away for several reasons not least that I didn’t actually have time until very late that night to think. When I did, I wrote my personal reflection on the events and implications.

The post can be found on the UKEdChat website and the text is reproduced below:

My husband woke me this morning and asked if I wanted to know the result. I should’ve been known by his voice but when he said ‘It was Leave by 52% to 48%’ it hit me like a ton of bricks and I burst into tears.

My first thought was my friends and pupils and how some of them would now feel.

I am a language teacher and many of my friends and colleagues across the country are ‘native speakers’ e.g. French/Spanish/German nationals who teach their native language. Others fell in love and moved here to be with their partners. Some have lived in this country for many years and have never felt the need to go to the (not inconsiderable) expense of officially become British.  Many have British partners, children who have grown up here and consider themselves part of this country, working, paying taxes, contributing to their communities. They could not vote. You can read what one felt here.

The Referendum may have been about whether we stay in the EU or not, but the waters were unfortunately muddied by the issue of immigration.  As I turned on social media, my fears were confirmed. I wasn’t in school but I know that several children were aware of what a ‘Leave’ verdict could mean for their families.

My job as a language teacher isn’t just about teaching words, structures and grammar. It’s about a context for that language, be it in Spain or South America, France, Belgium, Senegal. It’s about culture, lifestyle, food that may be different to ‘our’ ways. It involves encouraging discussion of our differences to help us understand more about ourselves, and then the joy of seeing things from someone else’s perspective, celebrating that we’re not all identical.

Through eTwinning, Comenius, Comenius Reggio and Erasmus +, all funded by the EU, my school has changed over the last ten years to be the globally minded place that it is now.  Teachers have visited colleagues in Europe, we’ve received visitors and much work has been done online, via Skype and vieo conferencing.

So what will Leave mean?

My initial reaction was posted at 8:15am

This morning I am distraught. Can’t put it into words but can I just say to my many friends who now feel unwelcome in the country that is their home – I love you. Farage, Gove, Johnson et al do not speak for me and my family. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that as long as I have breath I’ll still be championing cooperation, understanding, compassion and celebrating diversity. “We have more in common with each other than things that divide us.

Taking my eldest son to a university open day gave me time to think and reflect. My conclusion?

My task hasn’t really changed. I will still teach Spanish the same way I always did. I will still see Intercultural understanding as a vital part of my role. I will still find ways to bring other countries into my classroom. It will be harder as there is uncertainty about what will happen to the wonderful programmes like eTwinning. As a school we will still celebrate the languages and cultures of our pupils as we did whilst people were voting in another building on our site. My son and others intending to study languages at university may find their year abroad harder to fund without Erasmus funding. I might get asked more often ‘why do we learn Spanish; everyone speaks English!’ but my answer will remain the same. If anything, I see my role as even more important than before. My son reminded me of the postcard that was on the shelf at the bottom of our stairs at home featuring the words of Nelson Mandela:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

His point was that, given the number of treaties, agreements and the like that the United Kingdom  now need to renegotiate, language skills will be all the more important, a point born out by experience.

The Leave vote doesn’t mean that we are no longer European.  I am European, speaking several languages, having lived in three European countries and that hasn’t changed. Time will tell the full implications for languages and the global dimension; statements from The British Council and ALL make me more optimistic.  So whilst my tears have ceased, my determination has not and, judging by the comments on social media and in person, nor has that of my fellow linguists!

We may need to work harder for opportunities but …

La Maravillosa Medicina de Jorge – #WBD2016

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

IMG_1397My school decided that this year we’d have a Roald Dahl theme for World Book Day on March 3rd. Children came to school dressed as characters from Roald Dahl books – so lots of Oompa Loompas, Matildas, BFGs and Willy Wonkas not to mention a Fantastic Mr Fox appearing around every corner – and lessons were to have a similar theme. Serendipitiously I had purchased a copy of La Maravillosa Medicina de Jorge during my recent trip to Mexico so a plan began to form.

I had originally thought about a dictionary lesson in which children looked up ingredients for there own ‘medicine’ and wrote a list. Suitably purposeful and fun at the same time. Looking at the timetable I realised that I had Year 5 and 6 on WBD so thought I would ‘up’ the challenge. So I did. And I’m really pleased that they rose to said challenge!

Below are details of what we did. There was too much for one lesson; in fact, to do each activity justice I’d say you’d need at least two and a half hours, if not three. One class had 30 minutes…

The lesson began with me reading a chapter of the book – in Spanish of course. The chapter, entitled El maravilloso plan, is near the start of the book and is the one in which Jorge/George considers what to do about his intolerable grandma. He toys with the idea of blowing her up or using snakes or rats to scare her but, realising that he doesn’t have the means to do that, he spies her medicine and hatches a plan. It concludes with a rhyme in which he excitedly shares his plan. It lends itself well to dramatic reading and has illustrations that help with understanding, plus there are quite a few cognates. Additionally, it’s three pages long so manageable!

FullSizeRender_opt1. Listen to and follow a chapter

I copied the text* so that children (in pairs) could follow as I read and also displayed the appropriate image for the section on the whiteboard. I stopped after each section to ensure that they were following the story, and also used lots of actions and acting to ‘animate’ the story. It certainly engaged the classes as there was no chatting during the reading, and they were so engrossed that when I reached the part where Jorge/George jumps on the table and actually did it, they were rather shocked. Did get a few cheers afterwards!

If we’d had more time… I’d have done a ‘find the word for..’ activity, both in English and Spanish.

2. Read aloud a rhyming section

I read the last section then we went back and looked at it again. I decided that the first section was all we could attempt in the time we had. I read each line and the class repeated, then we read it again together. Then the class read it to each other in pairs or threes. It was a real test of their phonic knowledge as they’d only heard it three times, and had four minutes to rehearse before I asked if anyone wanted to have a go at reading it aloud to the class. There were between three and eight volunteers in each class who bravely stood and read it together, some with incredibly good pronunciation that made me want to jump up and down and squeal! I think the children were impressed too, especially as two of the classes had heard their native speaking classmate reading it aloud and hearing that it’s quite tricky to get your mouth around it even when it’s your first language!

If we’d had more time… I’d have worked on more of the rhyme and had groups rehearsing a section for a whole class poem recitation! Fits well with the school literacy policy and current focus on poetry. 

IMG_14023. Listen to a recipe and put it in order

Moving on, I’d created my own ‘maravillosa medicina‘. I cut the instructions into strips and gave each group (threes) a set. As they listened to me reading the recipe, they put the recipe into order. They did this very successfully without much problem. Before we checked our answers using the PPT, I asked children if  they could guess any of the ingredients. They were successful with shampoo and got close to engine oil (¾ said petrol), understood that paper was included and knew that ‘comida de gatos’ had something to do with cats! We went through the recipe and discussed what the instructions meant.

Download la receta

If we’d had more time… we could have done another sorting activity with pictures of the ingredients as an extra challenge, or a ‘fill the gap’ activity with the text if we were feeling extra adventurous.


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4. Write your own ‘maravillosa medicina’

Using some of the vocabulary from my ‘receta’, I made some colour coded cards to guide recipe writing. Green = ingredients  orange = quantities and blue = instructions/verbs. Each table had a pack of words and we discussed how to form phrases using an orange and a green card, or a sentence using a blue, then orange then green card. Children then made up their own recipes for ‘una maravillosa medicina’ on a copy of the final slide. Some chose to work in pairs but others preferred to write their own recipe although they formed sentences together. They worked at a variety of levels: the minimum was to write a list of ingredients. Next level was to specify quantities as well as ingredients. The next level was to give instructions by adding a verb. Some children decided to aim even higher and add sequencing words such as  primero, después, entonces etc. I was really pleased to see that the dictionaries were used very intelligently by which I mean, there were very few children who tried to look up every single word. That’s progress as I find that some pupils are so eager to please that they try to write overly complicated phrases rather than following the structure and adding ‘glittery bits’ as I call them!

Download medicina cards

We ran out of time in the lesson to do this part – most classes had about 20 minutes but the vast majority went for it and there was some great work. I asked everyone to finish their medicine for next lesson and I’ve promised to award prizes for the best entry in each class. To help, we looked at how to use wordreference.com 

If we’d had more time… we’d have spent time making and sharing phrases with the cards before starting to write the recipes. We’d also have spent more time in class on writing the recipes. It’s always risky letting children take work home to finish…

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Next week I will share the completed medicines but I hope that you get a feel for what we did in this post. I enjoyed the lesson and I’m pretty sure that the pupils did too as there was no one off task in any of the four classes, and there was a buzz of discussion about ingredients and how to construct correct sentences throughout the day. I only wish we’d had more time.

So, I wonder what the theme will be next year?

* As I photocopied one chapter of the book only, this was not a breach of copyright. Schools have a CLA license and, as I own the book, it is acceptable as detailed below. The illustrations in the presentation come from that chapter too. For more information see http://www.copyrightandschools.org

copyright rules

PS I did dress up as a Roald Dahl character, but not from George’s Marvellous Medicine. Can you work out who I am? (I’m the one in mortal danger!)

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Practical Pedagogies Conference 2015

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 15.38.53I always get excited when people invite me to speak at conferences but I was very excited when Russel Tarr (created Classtools.net and was famously attacked by Gove for using Mr Men to help teach History resulting in a mass Mr Men Twitter avatar protest in solidarity!) asked me if I’d like to speak at a conference he was planning in Toulouse. A trip to France? Don’t mind if I do! And when he told me who else was speaking, I was even more excited and also perhaps a little daunted when I saw who else was speaking!

Practical Pedagogies takes place at the International School of Toulouse on October 15th and 16th and is

A high-impact training conference for classroom teachers by classroom teachers.
Two days of inspiring keynotes70+ workshops and networking activities: only 150 Euros!

 

I’m very much looking forward to the conference as there are so many different sessions under the umbrella theme of “Creativity, internationalism and innovation in the classroom” that it was very hard to choose which I’d like to attend. The programme is packed with goodies as you can see! And Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh @notosh  who is keynoting and also delivering workshops always inspires and challenges!

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My session will be about using ICT in the Primary Language Classroom:

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There are threads for

  • Pedagogy, Personal and Professional development including sessions by Miles Berry (@mberry), David Rogers (@daviderogers), Bill Lord (@Joga5) and Marisa Constantinides (@marisa_c);             
  • Computing including sessions by Miles Berry (@mberry) and Chris Mayoh (@chrismayoh);
  • Drama, Music and Design and technology including a session that I want to attend on Using drama games and activities across the curriculum led by G. Fearnehough (@gfearnehough), Curriculum Leader for Drama at IST, and E. Renou (@emmanuelrenou31), Modern Foreign Languages teacher at IST;
  • History including a session about collaboration between History and Geography (and beyond!) led by Russel Tarr, author of ActiveHistory, and Matthew Podbury, author of GeographyPods.
  • Science which offers diverse sessions on data logging, helping EAL learners and using SOLO taxonomy;
  • English and Literacy with sessions led by Julian Wood (@ideas_factory), and staff from IST about using picture and story books to work creatively and cross curricularly (hopefully I’ll get to attend one or both);
  • Mathematics with sessions on using Lego and Geogebra;
  • Assessment and reporting with a session entitles Marking:Is it really worth it?;
  • Tech tools including sessions by Dave Stacey @davestacey and John Sutton @HGJohn;
  • CAS (Creativity, action, service) and TOK (theory of knowledge);

and of course

  • Languages that features people I know like Isabelle Jones (@icpjonesand those who I have yet to meet like Dico Krommenhoek (@dico_kr). Oh, and me! I’m very much looking forward to finding out more about AIM and how IST use a FUN reading programme to boost comprehension and expression with their upper primary language learners.

There’s still time to register if you’d like to attend. It costs 150 euros (very reasonable) and if you can get a cheap flight it’s not much more expensive than two days of INSET!

And if you can’t attend in person, you can follow on Twitter! You can follow the Twitter account @pedagogies and the conference hashtag is

 

#pracped15

 

It’d be great to see some of you there and if not, converse via Twitter. And of course I’ll share my thoughts (and sketch notes!) on my return!

 

Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

If you’ve read the July edition of UKEDmagazine you may have read my article entitled Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning. If you haven’t, you can read the unedited version below or the official version at this link

Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

A wide variety of people teach languages in Primary schools, probably more than in any other ‘subject’. Whether you’re a class teacher with or without language skills, a reluctant language coordinator or a visiting language specialist (to name but a few possibilities) here are my top ten tips for primary language teaching and learning.

  1. Phonics are vital

It doesn’t matter which language you teach, making the correct sounds of that language is key. Working on phonics from the start builds a strong foundation on which learners can build, enabling them to see new words and say them accurately. Have a look at Rachel Hawkes’ website where there are links to free resources covering French Spanish German and Italian. http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php

 

  1. Songs and rhymes motivate and teach

A good way to increase confidence in reading and speaking the language is by sharing songs, poems and rhymes. This is also a good way to reinforce phonic knowledge and explore the rhythms of the language. Mama Lisa has songs and rhymes in many languages, often with a sound file giving the correct pronunciation and a translation into English so you know what you’re saying! There are also many songs and rhymes on Youtube on channels such as Basho and Friends or by searching for the artist such as Alain le lait

 

  1. Dramatic stories

Using stories – in translation or original language – is another great tool for language learning as they are familiar and often very repetitive. My favourites include Oso pardo, ¿qué ves?, Le navet enorme and Kleiner weisser Fisch as they lend themselves to acting out (even Y6 like acting!) and are easy for learners to adapt into their own stories. For example, Y5 invented stories based on Le navet enorme that included a child who didn’t want to get in the bath and had to be pulled to the bathroom, a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard and a car that broke down and needed to be pushed.

 

  1. Technology has its place

There are many opportunities for using technology to enhance language learning such as recording, reviewing and refining speaking activities using Audacity or an app like VoiceRecordPro, or performing speeches and role plays using Tellagami, YakitKids, or Puppet Pals.  BookCreator app is an excellent tool for creating multimedia books including text, sound, video, hyperlinks, doodles and pictures; incredibly easy to use and suitable for young children as well as those who are less confident with technology. And why not use Build Your Wildself or Switchzoo to create hybrid animals then describe them in the language.

 

  1. Share!

Using technology is also a great way to enable sharing of the great things that go on in language learning. Whether it is via the school website or VLE, tweeted or shared on a class/school blog, celebrating language learning gives it status and also provides an audience and a purpose for learning. Additionally, learners are able to take their learning home with them digitally; the excitement of pupils when we made our first podcast nine or ten years ago was great. “I’m on my Gran’s iPod!” was my favourite comment.

 

  1. Use anything you can get your hands on

The primary classroom is full of things that can be used and adapted for language learning. Number fans are great for counting and also giving feedback with numbered images for example. Mini whiteboards allow learners to write and correct without committing it to paper as well as drawing images to show understanding of vocabulary or instructions. Unifix cubes can be used for ordering ideas or vocabulary and cushions make great impromptu puppets for speaking or islands for phoneme sorting!

 

  1. Grammar isn’t a dirty word

Primary learners are very familiar with grammatical terms and enjoy comparing the grammar of other languages, making links and finding differences. Sorting words into boxes according to gender, making human sentences to explore word order and creating verb flowers or spiders are just some ways of making grammar fun and memorable.

 

  1. Integrate language learning into the curriculum

Language learning shouldn’t be seen as a standalone but, as much as possible, integrated into the primary curriculum. As there is no prescribed content in the KS2 PoS, it’s possible to teach the skills through whatever topic if you use a little imagination. And where full integration is tricky or where a specialist delivers the lesson, a class teacher can always build language into routines such as PE warmups, lining up, the register and so on, even if their knowledge of the language is limited.

 

  1. Make links

Don’t just make cross curricular links, but also cross country and cross cultural links. Making contact with children that speak the language you’re learning is very motivating and gives a real purpose to learning. It also increases learners’ understanding of other cultures as well as considering their own in new ways. The British Council SchoolsOnline is a good place to start the search for partners.

 

  1. Celebrate all languages

Most of all, celebrate all languages. Many learners already speak more than one language which is a valuable skill. Encourage them to share how to say things in their languages; comparing and contrasting numbers or colours in a variety of languages is a fun activity as learners try to group similar words together.

This article first appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine

If you’d like to read more of the magazine that includes other articles about language learning including one of target language by @reebekwylie and Progress in MFL by @jakehuntonMFL the links are below.

You can buy a printed copy of the magazine by clicking here, or

Freely read online by clicking Here

We’re on our way – Staffordshire Primary Languages conference: 26th June 2015

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

keep-calm-we-re-on-our-way-10On Friday 26th June I attended the Entrust Primary Languages Conference in Stafford, organised and led by Lorna Harvey. Entitled ‘We’re on our way’, the day began with an excellent keynote from Clare Seccombe aka @valleseco and genius behind LightBulbLanguages.

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Sharing a title with the conference, Clare shared her ideas on the journeys involved in primary language learning – for the child, the teacher and as a nation. I love how Clare can express her ideas so well in images. I’ve tried to capture some of them in my sketch note below.

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You can read Clare’s presentation for yourself here – We’re on our way!

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There were a number of workshops during the day – I attended one on a cluster of schools who use a ‘language investigators’ approach to language learning in Y1-2 and 3-4 before focussing on one language in Y6. My sketch note is below along with a few images.

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IMG_4687Plan for Y1-2 IMG_4688I loved the pizza/paella Italian/Spanish numbers!
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The day was very much a celebration of a project between Stafford and Burgundy, and I’d been asked to speak after lunch about a similar partnership in which I’d been involved, between Birmingham and Barcelona. It was wonderful to prepare my presentation as it sparked so many amazing memories and caused me to reflect on where we’ve gone since the (official) end of the partnership. Below you can see my presentation (although without the video clips I’m afraid) and Clare kindly sketch noted it for me.

We had a brilliant presentation from pupils about their experiences as well as a culinary lesson based on tasting and making mustard. Great fun and with clear language goals too!

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I finished the day by presenting about using technology to enhance language learning. You can see my presentation below and access the notes, tutorials etc here.

Enhancing Primary Language Learning using Technology from Lisa Stevens

A great day – not much tweeting as I was too busy sketching or making mustard as was Clare, but here’s the Storify of the tweets anyway.

A great day – thanks Lorna!

PS Clare’s workshop – Be a crafty language teacher is explained here too!

eTwinning National Conference: 5th-7th June: NCTL #eTUK15

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

¡Más vale tarde que nunca!

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The first weekend of June saw the annual National eTwinning Conference take place at NCTL in Nottingham. Once more it was a weekend of learning, laughter and (can’t think of another L) celebrating the wonders of collaboration across boundaries.
IMG_4570I spoke once more about Twitter – Are you a Twit or a Tweep? You can see my presentation here –  twitter nottingham – if you’re interested! And there’s an eTwinning guidance document as well: TwitterGuidelines (thanks to Erszi for the photograph!)

During the weekend, I continued to sketch note the sessions.

Below are my sketch notes interspersed with pictures and comments on the sessions!

IMG_4529 Happy 10th birthday eTwinning! The cake was delicious too!
Dinner the first night in our regions – odd grouping but it meant that I got to chat with Helena. And special thanks to Kevin for being such an amazing sunshade when the setting sun got in our eyes 😉 IMG_4527
IMG_4555 Really brilliant to see – and hear – Ewan McIntosh once more. A very important person in my ‘learning journey’, both as a language teacher and an eTwinner. A very thought provoking presentation – I think I’m captured the main points in the sketch note but you can check out the NoTosh website for more details!
An important thought that I wanted to capture! IMG_4534
IMG_4556 Ewan’s workshop ‘Diving Deep into Learning’ introduced us to Guy Claxton’s 3Rs and 3Cs, and also to ‘The Squid.’ Too much to take in at once, especially as the very first session had overrun so the session was truncated, but the materials are accessible from the NoTosh site!
And then on to Action Jackson – The Power of Motivation.  Lots of the session was really common sense that isn’t often considered or applied, but it was an empowering and sometimes emotional session! Certainly believed I. Am. Amazing. IMG_4553

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IMG_4544 Coming back after lunch, Action Jackson did a short reprise – this slide sums up what he was saying.
And then onto the wonderful Sugata Mitra who presented via video link about the future of learning. Interesting ideas about the future of teaching and learning, particularly about the role of the teacher, and moving away from subject boxes. IMG_4552

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IMG_4551 Final session of the day was John Rolfe (standing in for Vicky Gough) and Joanna Speak talking about British Values and International Work. The conclusion they reached – and many of us concurred- was that British Values aren’t anything new, and actually are values that are held by many, not just the British! Great ideas and good to hear how Joanna’s link with Tabasco has developed.
Robin Hood and Maid Marion joined us for dinner!And Vikki Bruff was highly commended for her eTwinning project using Skype. IMG_4561
IMG_4568Lovely to see the LiPS girls, Erszi and Vikki – and Fatima too!
And good to see that selfies live on 😉IMG_4567

You can find out more about the weekend here and via the Storify, photos here and more presentations from the weekend here .

News this week that the NCTL is being sold off so not sure where next year’s conference will be. I’ll miss my pre-dinner early evening break by the lake!

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Cooking on gas – #ililc5

Saturday, March 7th, 2015
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Thanks for the drawing, @catairf 🙂

I was rather gobsmacked when Zena asked me to do the closing keynote at #ililc5. An offer I couldn’t refuse but daunting nonetheless. Especially as there was no ‘theme’ this year so I could talk about ‘anything’ according to my instructions!

As Christmas came and passed and I still hadn’t really been inspired, I grew more concerned. It wasn’t until mid January that a seed of an idea formed in my head. I’d been prepared to talk about Cupcakes and Smiles at TeachMeet BETT, a short presentation on education being about ‘feeding’ minds but also celebrating and rewarding learning, and that we did it for those ‘smiles’ that happen when the lightbulb goes on, when the unexpected happens, when you’re speechless at something a child has said and so on. There was no time for my presentation then – although I still shared my cakes. I was a bit annoyed as lugging a few dozen cupcakes from Birmingham and around London on the train and Tube is no fun and nor is being told off for daring to ice them in the presence of Sir Ken Robinson but that’s the way it works. Still, I liked the idea of cupcakes and when there were queries as to why I made cupcakes for TeachMeetBETT but not ILILC, the idea began to germinate.
Over the next few weeks I still wasn’t entirely sure what I’d say but a thought here and there occurred to me. Stupidly I didn’t write them down and I’m sure some ‘got away’. However, with help from my husband John (who must be fed up of my food/language analogies!) who told me to get a grip (and a notepad), Cooking on gas (other fuels are available) grew.

Ready to start?

On the day, armed with new shoes and an assortment of cupcakes, I shared my thoughts about language teaching and learning with the remnant that had managed to survive to the (not so bitter) end. And it was recorded! (I’d forgotten about that part until I was standing there.) You can watch it here.
As my presentation was in Keynote and delivered from my own MBP, the slides don’t show up in the recording but are all synced and appear alongside (thank you to the lovely Matt for doing that!) I’ve added the videos that you can’t see but can hear at the bottom of this post; I know that the Intermarché one about Les fruits et légumes moches has already proved helpful to more than one person!
I summarised some of the main messages right at the end (go to 45 minutes) if you don’t have time for the whole thing, and I’ve also added a Storify of the tweeting that was going on during the presentation; I certainly found it interesting to see what people had taken from my words and thoughts. And I was gobsmacked by the sketch notes too. Thank you Clare, Simone, Jane, Rachel and Catrin, and Alex, Jonathan and Ceri who had a cupcake in their ILILC5 summary sketch notes too. (If I’ve missed any, apologies and please tell me; I’ve been in a bit of stupor all week!)
It’s very different when you’re sharing your personal thoughts, reflections and passions; it made me feel very vulnerable so I’m really glad that people picked up on and identified with the key messages I wanted to share.

Start at 1.10 until 1.30 for the key bit:

PS At 23 minutes, I start talking about my language hero, and whilst I think I communicated that she was special, I didn’t share all that I might have done as time was pressing and I was getting choked up. So in my next post, I’ll tell you all about Luz Sánchez-Richardson, my language hero!

#ililc5 – Are you a Twit or a Tweep?

Friday, March 6th, 2015

twitter-312464_1280Here is the presentation and notes for my introduction to Twitter session at #ililc5.

I’d delivered a similar presentation before at the National eTwinning Conference in July but since then, new possibilities have arisen and these have been added. For example, you can now send video directly from the Twitter app (record it and send) rather than going via another app, and there is also the possibility of group DMs. Additionally, I’ve added a page of links to other useful material as well as making the ideas more language centred.

I hope those that attended found it useful – I know at least one started tweeting so that’s success in my book!

 

#ililc5 Show and Tell – El que busca encuentra

Friday, March 6th, 2015

My idea to share at the Show and Tell was based on a post I wrote in August –

El que busca encuentra

The picture I shared is on that post (in two parts) and below I’ve uploaded it as one image. I’ve also shared another couple that don’t have questions.

el que busca

Mujeres célebres

Grandes científicas

Grandes científicas

IMG_0568 IMG_0569

Grandes genios de la informática (arriba)

Grandes personajes de terror (abajo) – perhaps for next Halloween?

IMG_0566 IMG_0567

Apart from the ideas in the previous blogpost, I was going to suggest that any Where’s Wally?/Où est Charlie?/Wo ist Walter?/¿Dónde está Wally? could be used in a similar way:

1. explain where Wally is using prepositions/positional language.

2. provide descriptions of other characters to be found: could be done as a reading or a listening activity .

3. learners could do the above with a partner, or in small groups

4. learners imagine the life of one of the characters and provide a biography, or put themselves into their shoes and introduce themselves (a little like Janet Lloyd’s ‘In the picture’ activity)

and so on!

(Apologies for taking so long to upload – I’ve suffered severe post -#ililc5 exhaustion this week!)