Teaching the time is a trying task in any language; I’ve been comparing notes with my Y3 colleagues who have been battling through the time with their classes in Maths lessons as I’ve been working on it with Y5 in Spanish. And back in the day when I taught KS3 and 4 it was also a challenge as I invariably had to ‘remind’ them of how to tell the time full stop! It seems that, for some, the time is viewed much as the gif above – wobbly wobbly and hard to pin down.
So this year I put on my thinking cap and considered what might make it easier. Active things like TimeBallet help with hour and half past, possibly quarter past/to, but tends to get too complicated/fall apart for many with minutes. Singing songs like Uno dos tres ¿Qué hora es? works for the question form and hour/half past. Using mini clocks works for some but I wanted something a bit more supportive. So I decided we’d all make a prop to help them.
Cue the purchase of lots of paper plates and split pins, and the sharing of my gel pens, felt tips and fine liners. The idea – not very original perhaps but quite effective – was to make a personalised plate clock with key phrases on it to support learners as we rehearsed the time.
I demonstrated how to make it but also wrote a set of instructions (in 4 screenshots below and downloadable in one document from here) for the learners to follow after the demonstration, along with providing a larger image plate clock diagram between two so that the writing was clearer.
By putting the hours hand on top of the minute hand, I hoped to emphasise that the hour always comes first, and we wrote the verb Es la/Son las on it to remind learners how the sentence started. And by writing the hours and minutes in separate colours that corresponded to the colour of the hand was another attempt to make it clearer which phrase to use.
Everyone enjoyed making the clocks although some were a little wonky and needed a bit of ‘Sra Stevens magic’ before functioning correctly, and we’ve used them in two lessons now. On the whole, once we got over fiddling with the hands constantly and concentrated, it seemed to help some learners, and it was good to see them being used, much as they use the Maths equipment in numeracy lessons, to help children work out the answers to write in their books as well as in speaking work. Turn the hands to show the time then read the Spanish if the question is in English, or turn the hands so that they match the phrase in Spanish to work out where to draw the hands on a blank clock. Plus the children are all desperate to take them home which I’ve promised they can do once we’ve finished the unit.
There are some other good ideas on how to teach time here from Erzsi and Clare.
I’ve used the clock mini book idea in previous years with success as a self differentiating assessment activity: pupils have to choose six times to demonstrate their understanding and confidence at telling the time so they need to choose carefully those that they know. Might yet do it this year…
If you have any ideas to add, feel free to leave a comment!
It’s very tempting when you can’t go shopping to get the shopping bought to you. I’m being quite restrained but I have been ordering a few things…
One of my recent purchases is pictured below.
I admit that they’re bigger than I’d envisaged (they’re advertised as and are 1.5 inches/3.8cm but my spatial awareness is not good!) and some of them aren’t exactly cubes, but they serve the purpose for which they are intended. Which was?
Well, they’re made of foam which will hopefully mean less noise, and their size and colour means that I’ll see where they are, they won’t get mixed up with the school dice and they won’t get lost under/inside books/pencil pots/pencil cases.
So many ways to use dice in this way! Here are a few – I’m sure you’ve got ideas of your own – feel free to add them in the comments!
throw one die and say the number
throw one die and double it, or multiply by 3 etc
throw two dice and add the numbers
throw two dice and multiply the numbers
throw a dice several times, adding up the numbers are you throw and trying to score a perfect 21.
Here’s a PDF of Maths activities using dice for Kindergarten right up to year 8. Dice-Ideas
I particularly like Make 100/Cien challenges learners to throw dice and make 100 by using any operation, and also Double half or stay (I shall call it Doblar, dividir por dos o ¡ya! as I am struggling to find a better way of putting it!) which is simlar to 21 but can be played with any number and you can, as the name suggests, double,half or stick with your number.
Activity Village suggests a very simple game called Mountain o Sube la montaña which has the aim of reaching the summit of the mountain first by throwing the numbers in order. So you have to throw 1 to start then 2 and so on. Players say their numbers as they throw the dice so plenty of repetition. Have a look at the site for more detailed rules and variations.
For subtraction, here’s a game I found on eHow.com called Pennies (although could be called cents or Euros instead of peniques 😉 )
This is an ideal game for younger players. Stack 20 pennies in the center of the table. The first player rolls one die and takes the number of pennies shown. Play passes to the next person and continues until the pile is gone. An exact roll is required to take the last of the pennies. The winner is the person with the most pennies.
Language used would be very simple – Tengo 2. Hay 20 euros. Tomo 2. Restan 18.
I like this idea from Activity Village too called Beat That! (¡Superárlo! or ¡Superar eso!) that reinforces place order and practices 2 , 3 (or more!) digit numbers.
Roll the dice and put them in order to make the highest number possible. If you roll a 4 and an 6, for example, your best answer would be 64. Using 3 dice, a roll of 3, 5 and 2 should give you 532, and so on. Write down your answer, pass the dice, and challenge the next player to Beat That!
Play in rounds and assign a winner to each round.
You can also play to see who can get the lowest score!
Mathswire has several games that look at probability – I especially like the Cookies game where you throw two dice and add the numbers to decide which cookie can be packed away – or perhaps eaten! 😉
A variation on this I’ve played is for outdoor fun using chalk as I shared at #ililc3
You draw a grid in chalk on the ground with lanes of 10 squares for numbers 2-12 (when I saw it played with Kindy in Switzerland they used 1 which wasn’t fair!!) Pupils choose a lane and they are the ‘caballo’ or ‘caracol’ that will race in that lane. They take it in turns to throw two dice and add the numbers together. That decides who can move forward; so if 2 and 3 are thrown, caballo #5 can take a step forwards. The idea is to “llegar a la meta” first. Lots of number language involved, and it’s an activity
that can easily be played as one activity in a carousel. (There’s a board game called Snail Pace Race that is similar but uses colours)
Another probability activity from Maths is fun would be a great way of supporting the Maths curriculum using más probable and menos probable. Clare Seccombe has done a whole presentation on Supporting Maths through language learning – it’s well worth a look for further ideas! (Sadly now that Slideshare has stopped slide casts the audio is no longer embedded 🙁 )
Six sided dice are great for conjugating verbs as there are six “persons” 1st 2nd and 3rd singular and plural. Throw the dice to decide the person of the verb
You could combine this with a board game featuring verbs like the one I made below for M and M, my Spanish English students in Switzerland to practice the past tense. Or
You could also assign parts of speech a number – learners throw the die a number of times and “collect” parts of speech according to their roll and then make a sentence using that combination of words. You could restrict the choice of vocabulary with cards, or allow learners to use dictionaries to make a unique sentence!
4 = adverb
Similar to grammar games, you could play a speaking game as suggested here
The teacher brings a large soft dice to the classroom. Students sit in a circle and take turns rolling the dice. Each time, a student throws the dice. The student who rolls the dice uses the number that shows up on the die to say some things about himself or herself. For example, if the number 2 shows up, the student will have to say two things about himself or herself.
Another variation would be for the student to ask the class the number of questions according to what number shows up on the dice. Equally, you can make the class ask the number of questions according to the number on the dice.
You could also use two dice and challenge learners to make a sentence with that many words, a phrase with that many syllables or think of a word with that many letters.
Throw the die to win body parts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a beetle you build; it could be a monster, a clown, a person or something completely different. Activity Village suggests Mouse or Ratón
6 = el cuerpo
5 = la nariz
4 = bigotes
3 = un ojo
2 – una oreja
1 = la cola
Here’s an idea to make a Joan Miró style painting using a die…
Juego mueve dados online dice game – not really for using my dice, nor a language activity but I thought I’d share as it made my head ache!
And then, of course, there are dice that don’t have numbers on them but colours, images or words! MES Dice games has some ideas that uses vocabulary dice too, and Crazy faces looks fun too – I might come back to that and write another post on non-number dice! And then there are dice apps…
Being stuck with my foot up is giving me plenty of time to read, think and play with my tech, and this morning a combination of the three inspired this post!
I was pinning away on Pinterest when I came across this ‘Pin’
I followed the link and as I looked at the article, I started thinking “How could I use this?”
So I started making a list
1. Compare the sweets eaten in France and UK. Are they the same?
2. Look at the names of the sweets e.g. les bouteilles de Coca, les bonbons au caramel. Could you understand these names without seeing the pictures? Test it by giving learners the images and the words separately and see if they can match them. Or ask “Qu’est-ce que c’est ‘Bottle’ en français?”
3. Look at ordinal numbers “le bonbon en première position est…?” “Dans quelle position est la fraise Tagada?” “Quelle est le bonbon en huitième place?”
4. Discuss likes and dislikes – “Tu aimes les bouteilles de Coca?” ” Tu préfères les Dragibus ou les Chamallows?” “Quel bonbon aimes-tu?” Encourage use of connectives e.g. “Je n’aime pas le Reglisse mais j’aime beaucoup les Schtroumpf”, “J’aime les Chamallows mais je préfère les bouteilles de Coca.”
5. Conduct a survey. You could use the French sweets or find out about the learners’ likes and dislikes by asking for example “Tu préfères quel bonbon?”
6. Make a bar graph of the results and discuss “Combien d’enfants aiment les bonbons au caramel?”
7. You could use the above graph to talk about plus / moins (more and less) “Les Schtroumpf sont plus ou moins populaires que le nounours à la guimauve?” “Quel est le bonbon plus populaire?”
8. Talk about the colours of the sweets. I also found these really colourful lollipops that would be good.
Or you could use a packet of Smarties and count how many of each colour you get in each tube. (More opportunity to use plus/moins que)
9. Learners invent their own sweets! This could lead to recipes, labelling colours and shapes, craft as they could make them out of clay/playdough, coloured paper, and even trying to sell them to their peers using persuasive language “Mes bonbons sont délicieux” “Oui, mais les sucettes sont plus savoureux” and so on10. And finally, as healthy lifestyles are important, perhaps linking sweets to thinks we should and shouldn’t eat, and foods that “bon pour la santé” Perhaps use a food triangle to add foods in the correct proportions with sweets at the very top! There are Spanish examples on my Pinterest Or you could make a poster like this Spanish one using Moins and Plus. And here are a few examples in French.
Click to download.
A collage of food.
This made me laugh!
I looked for a similar article in Spanish but couldn’t find one. However, I did find this video of Spanish sweets and chocolate
I also came across this article that gives a list (and description) of types of sweets in Spanish and information on how to start a sweet shop!
And this board – Postres y dulces de España – on Pinterest so check it’s not blocked in school before you rely on using it in your lesson! It shows an example of a pastry or sweet from many regions and cities of Spain. Mouthwatering!
Whilst I didn’t find the 10 most popular sweets in Spain, I found some dangerous ones – Los 21 dulces más peligrosos (from USA so I hadn’t heard of lots of the sweets) talks about the sugar/fat/carbohydrate content of various sweets as well as hidden nuts and so on, and also this article on Halloween sweets
And I did find some popular Mexican ‘dulces’ (not quite the same as it includes all sorts of sweet treats not just sweets/candy)
And here’s my session on Making links across the curriculum.
I didn’t get to share my Pinterest pages as they were blocked by the firewall, but here’s the link to my Roman resources for Spanish. If you click through the presentation, you’ll find links to things like the music for The Carnival of the Animals, a slideshare of Querido Zoo, links to BuildyourWildself and Switchzoo for making hybrid animals and a cheesy song in Spanish about the planets.
Reading Los mellizos del tiempo got me thinking about integrating language learning in the Primary curriculum. As I mentioned in my previous post, it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. So I had a bit of a look around and came up with the following ideas, resources and links that might be of use to anyone who wants to do just that!
Egipto para niños – collection of fairly simple texts on a number of areas of Egyptian life including the Pyramids, food, manners and mummies as well as a bit of geography. This text is in fairly short chunks too. And Blog de los Niños has some short chunks of information, particularly about Egyptian gods and the meanings of the various crowns.
Here are some longer texts about various Egyptian ‘misterios’ including the Mummy of Pyramid KV22.
Historia Simple has some short-ish historical summaries of the various phases of the 2500 year long Egyptian era including a section on the Pyramids. There’s also some information on El Historiador.
And of course there’s Wikipedia – you can translate the pages back and forth between languages so you could have some fun with picking out key items of vocabulary.
Slideshare has some presentations for ideas and information including this lovely one from some young learners which is beautifully simple and asks some good questions on slide 4 that could be used for investigation.
And this blog has two simple presentations by Dora la Exploradora and friends, and Hello Kitty covering some of the basics of Egyptian geography and history in words and image.
However, my favourite find is from Junta de Andalucia. This site is a one stop shop about Egyptians, written in simple language and presented in short paragraphs with lots of visuals, making it really accessible. There is a dictionary of key terms as well as the facility to click on highlighted words for an immediate ‘pop up’ definition. Lots of interactive maps and also a hieroglyphics maker within the site also make it a great place for young learners to find out about Egypt. There’s also a webquest that guides learners through the site, posing questions that can be explored and investigated. (There’s another more complex webquest here along with other Egyptian resources shared on the Tiching site.)
A close second goes to a resource from Gobierno de Canarias that takes an interactive look at the Pyramids with extra information, again simply presented, appearing as you click on specific areas of the pyramid.
Videos are another source of information that can often be more accesible than just text.
And then there are these cartoons, the first from a series called Érase una vez.. and the second from a series called Martín Martín.
And here’s another I’ve just found which is a short video about the Egyptian pyramids:
You might also like to try the Barrio Sésamo approach with this video in which Lola visits the Pyramids or this video which presents images and name of the animals of Egypt before moving on to images of buildings and then some short snippets of information about Egyptian life.
You know how I love a good kitschy song! Here’s one called Momias de colores by Rockolate. When my hand is feeling better, I might try to subtitle the video using Amara or at least write them down!
(see also Fátima una momia responsable below under Stories for another song)
(see also Stories below!)
Perhaps with older, more advanced learners you could use some of the definitions from this ‘Glosario’ for a match the word to the definition. You could choose key words like Faraon, Esfinge, Obelisco, Momia, Papiro, Sarcófagos, Vasos canopos and so on.
And this vocabulary list gives you the Spanish word with the Arabic equivalent. Could provide an interesting language comparison activity.
And here’s an online hieroglyphics tool. Would be fun to write some words in hieroglyphics and ask learners to decode before they write their names. Or they could write key Egyptian vocabulary in hieroglyphics for display as well as in Spanish for a multi lingual display!
The Egyptian system of counting and adding etc was very developed and you can find out all about it here (in more detail than I think I need to know but if you like Maths…)
This site has lots of writing at the top (useful information!) but the really ‘useful’ part for learners is the chart with the Egyptian number glyphs and the puzzles underneath, both for whole numbers and also for fractions. I foresee lots of fun with setting maths problems for each other… There are a few more maths problems here.
A document explaining that Egyptian numbers are not positional so you can write the units, tens, hundreds etc in any order! Un sistema aditivo – el egipcio
And of course there are all sorts of things you can do at a very simple level such as sequencing and using geometrical shapes when making Egyptian jewellery, and making pyramids.
I found this free video story about Egypt called El pendiente de la princess: Cuento de Egipto. Sadly it doesn’t go full screen but the man telling the story speaks clearly and fairly slowly so it could be used for a true/false activity or perhaps a multiple choice activity.
However, I found two more promising possibilities!
2. This PDF (rita_ladrones) has links to useful sites (some I’d already highlighted above before I found this!) and also some activity worksheets. Whilst the middle sheet on characters in the book would be hard without reading it, the first sheet (matching words with images and writing your name in hieroglyphics) needs no knowledge of the book, and I think that the third sheet which is a sequencing activity could also be done without reading the story, and actually gives a very simple synopsis of what happens!
3.Then I discovered that there is an online version of the CD rom of activities about the book, complete with Teachers Notes (in Spanish!) There are various activities including finding synonyms and antonyms, sequencing text and a wordsearch – see below image for contents. Some activities are quite challenging for primary learners; however, a bit of challenge can be a good thing!
Fátima, una momia muy responsable
Fátima una momia muy responsable is a lovely story about an Egyptian mummy called Fátima who wants to be a tour guide and keeps scaring people! She builds up a great collection of hats and torches by doing it, but one day…
It’s a narrated version of a book that has been used in many Spanish primary schools.
Some ideas for using the story –
act out the story
talk about colours and sizes describing the hats that Fátima collected / was gifted
pretend to be Fátima and give a tour of a pyramid
one of the class blogs I discovered had a song on it about how Fátima dances which would be great fun, whatever your age! You can access the words here or here, and here is a recording of young learners singing it!
I love ‘being a magpie’ and collecting ideas, and here are some classes in Spanish primaries that have done an Egyptian topic and shared their ideas.
Mis cosillas de Educación Infantil – this link takes you to the posts for the entire project. I particularly like the concept map that they made which includes lots of important vocabulary organised systematically. I think that having a map of what is already known that is added to as time passes and more information is gathered is a great way of documenting learning and progress, especially if learners post questions that they’d like to investigate and see them answered as they explore and investigate!
E.I. 5 años Carlos Ruiz have been doing an Egyptian topic too and this is the first of a number of posts on what they have done. If look in the archive, there are further posts documenting their work throughout noviembre and diciembre 2012 including the sequencing activity referenced in the Maths section above and an interesting post giving instructions on making ‘papiros’.
La Clase de la Bruja Maruja have done a project on Egyptians too and have published some of their work as well as links on their blog. Of particular use I think are the simple worksheets they used that could easily be used in the primary language classroom. I also love the fact that they’ve been using the wonderful Woodlands site by Mandy Barrow using GoogleTranslate to put it into Spanish!
So, I hope you’ve find the above useful. I know that there are many more things that could be done; for example, I haven’t even started on the possibilities for art projects! If you have any ideas or resources, please leave a comment – it’s good to share! And even if you haven’t, leave a comment! Its good to know that people are reading!
I wholeheartedly believe that learning a language shouldn’t be a ‘bolt on’ but part of the curriculum as a whole, and I am therefore always on the look out for new ideas.
I found this short video clip on Youtube earlier and it started me thinking. Again!
Whilst I’m not sure that this is something that could be done at the moment given the weather reports I’m seeing, it’s certainly an interesting idea and it could be completed using the second clip. Just use a stopwatch and count for 10 or 60 seconds then complete the sum to find out how hot it was when that film was recorded.
I’ve blogged before about teaching Maths in Spanish and I also taught Maths in Spanish during my last observation at WCPS. I can’t believe I didn’t blog it but I’ve uploaded the plan and resources below.
Since then I’ve found a few more things that look quite useful.
¿Quién quiere pizza? is a series of lessons by Cynthis Lanius on fractions. It’s also available in English. Each ‘lesson’ gives a short explanation then poses four or five multiple choice questions. Answer the questions and then receive your score at the bottom of the page including the correct answers.
Cynthia also offers some counting activities in Spanish that you could easily use with much younger learners, counting things, saying which is more, and completing sequences. And finally, a more advanced type of Maths linked to Science – in La tina caliente learners work on interpreting graphs
In El Dilema de Dude you must rescue Dude the dog from the roof by solving sums in Spanish. Every sum solved takes your helicopter closer to Dude. You can choose which operation you wish to practice – or you can choose a mix – and also the level at which you play.
And then there’s a brilliant Science activity that involves labelling. In Diagramando a la ciencia learners see a diagram and then have to label it for themselves. Included are things like parts of a plant, the layers of the earth and parts of a fish. Good resources to use to reinforce learning.
This week is My Money Week in many schools across the country including my own.
For the first time this year, I’ve been asked to contribute some ideas for Spanish activities. I’ve done them in the past but it’s a sign of the increasing willingness – and excitement – on the part of some of my colleagues that I was specifically asked this time.
So off I popped to do some research and found a site called MamutMatemáticas where I found some resources for all sorts of mathematics in Spanish!
There are free resources for each topic as a sample – there are five for Dinero (see below) and I could have just used those. However, for £2 I downloaded a 52 page PDF offering ideas and worksheets on recognising coins, adding up, giving change, c to € and vice versa, prices and solving word puzzles.
So, in conjunction with the euro coins that are lying in the Maths cupboard, year4 are next week going to do some Spanish maths. Again. (I need to tell you about my excursion into CLIL but that’s for another day…)
The instructions won’t make much sense without the PDF but I’ll share them if anyone buys it!
I also found a number of sites that might help with the week –
My current fascination with Youtube continues! There will be no doubt be more posts later in the week with more of my discoveries, but here is the first ‘joya’.
The ideal for Primary Language Learning (PLL) is that the learning is embedded in the curriculum.
During my browsing, I discovered some lovely little videos of tables in Spanish. Some are chants and some are drills, ranging from 47 seconds to 1 minute 55, but all have captured the interest of my 6 year old – ‘I don’t know my tables’ – as well as 9 year old who is a maths whizz.
They cover the 2 to 10 times tables, multiplying by up to 10.
See what you think! My particular favourite is ‘tabla del 5’ but I’ve embedded all the videos in a custom player (fancy eh?!)