multilingual – ¡Vámonos!
 

Category: multilingual

June 2021

I love being in nature, whether it’s running, walking or just loitering. In recent times, this has become all the more important to me, not least as a way of finding peace and calm in a world that seems to have gone bonkers. I don’t think I’m alone in this either! There seems to be an increasing awareness of the value of being outdoors, partly because it’s been the only way to meet until recently but also due to a new habits formed by being ‘locked down.’ With all this in mind, I was so excited to find a tweet today about #30DaysWildMultilingual.

Every year in June, The Wildlife Trusts run the 30 Days Wild challenge – a challenge to do an activity linked to nature, every day, for the whole month, and Multilingualism in Schools decided, in conjunction with their local Wildlife Trust in Sheffield, that they would like to create a language based challenge aimed both at those learning a language at school and those who are growing up multilingual. Each day of June there is a simple challenge linking languages and the natural world that can be completed by children (and adults!) of all ages. They include finding the names for flowers in other languages, counting hops, litter picking and eating outside. Some can even be linked to our topics (likes and dislikes, weather and colours)

I’m really excited by this and will be sharing it with learners at both my schools as an enrichment activity. I recently asked children what sorts of things they would like to do to make language learning better; challenges, and activities in different languages came up so this is serendipitous. The Multilingualism in Schools Twitter account @LostWor_l_ds will tweet an activity a day using the hashtag #30DaysWild and #30DaysWildMultilingual but you can download all 30 challenges from their website or below, and complete as many as you want, whenever you want!

Even if you aren’t able to join in with all the activities, why not choose one to complete with your learners as a one off lesson? For example, why not use the Cloud spotting task as a way to practise using a bilingual dictionary, or as a way of exploring other languages using Google Translate or online dictionaries?

Or learn a song about nature and take it outside to sing (although we’re allowed to sing inside now, it’s far better outside, especially if this lovely weather continues!)

For me, although I teach Spanish at both my schools, language learning is about languages plural, and it’s vital that ALL languages are seen as important, especially those spoken and/or understood by our school and local communities. I really hope that children will use these challenges to share their own languages and also explore others as well as – or even instead of – expanding their Spanish vocabulary. I’m also looking forward to children getting outside and exploring, appreciating the school grounds as well as their local environment.

If you do join in, make sure to tweet @LostWor_l_ds and use the hashtags #30DaysWild and #30DaysWildMultilingual or, if you don’t use Twitter, email lostworlds@sheffield.ac.uk or leave comments on their website.

There’s more to explore on the LostWor(l)ds website – expect another post in the near future!

If you’re interested in the wildlife aspect particularly, it’s also worth checking out your local Wildlife Trust website for details of events near you. I’ve found that my local one – Birmingham and the Black Country – are planning special events (not language related) for the Big Wild Weekend including a camp out, a quiz and talks from experts.

The Bitmojis were a clue…

I once more had the pleasure of presenting at Language World, the annual conference of Association for Language Learning (ALL).
My presentation was entitled Take One Book and was the sequel to the presentation I did at PHOrum in November (you can read about it here) this time choosing a book that was originally written in Italian and has no English translation.

I really enjoyed sharing my ideas of how to use ¡Ojo Oso! and was pleasantly surprised that I managed to finish in time and have time for questions. I experimented with using subtitles/captions during my presentation after comments by Helen Simpson on LiPS made me think about accessibility. I need to watch back the recording of my session (which has just been made available for those who registered for the conference but missed the session) to see exactly how accurate they were but I know that when I spoke Spanish they definitely had trouble as they were set to English! For example un agujero became ‘all alcohol’ and una madriguera became ‘mother together.’

Below you can find a PDF of my presentation. I’ve removed the story slides due to copyright but you can find links to versions of the story read online, as well as to where you can purchase a copy.

At the end there is a link to my Pinterest where I collected together materials for the talk, some of which I didn’t use! You can also access it via this QR code.

http://bit.ly/OjoOso

Perhaps you have ideas that spring to mind? Or you have a book that you could use in a similar way? If you have any comments or questions, do leave a comment below.

Postscript – you can watch the ‘standby/rehearsal’ recording of the session here.

Today is International Mother Language Day, declared by UNESCO in 2002 to “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world.”

International Mother Language Day recognizes that languages and multilingualism can advance inclusion, and the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on leaving no one behind. UNESCO believes education, based on the first language or mother tongue, must begin from the early years as early childhood care and education is the foundation of learning.

This year’s observance is a call on policymakers, educators and teachers, parents and families to scale up their commitment to multilingual education, and inclusion in education to advance education recovery in the context of COVID-19. This effort also contributes to the United Nations International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), for which UNESCO is the lead agency, and which places multilingualism at the heart of indigenous peoples’ development.

This was tweeted by @Glasgowlangs

Follow the hashtag #InternationalMotherLanguageDay or #InternationalMotherLanguageDay2021 on Twitter for more celebrations of the day, and think about how you can contribute to the safeguarding the linguistic diversity of our world.

Thanks to Russel Tarr for capturing me telling a  story!

My session at #PracPed18 was entitled Tell me a story! You can find the Slideshare below.

In it, I shared some ideas about the use of stories and books in the languages classroom. Beginning by discussing why you would use stories, we moved on to choosing books, and then some ideas of how you could use stories in the classroom to enhance language learning. Finally we talked about how to write your own stories; this part was a little shortened so I have added some notes below. You’ll also find links to some helpful posts and bookmarks below. I hope those that attended found the session helpful, and those that didn’t feel able to ask questions! Please feel free to leave a comment on the post if you have questions or comments!

Helpful links:

Pictocuentos website – stories told with widgets to support understanding.
The German Project – German stories online
 Talk for Writing – accompanying storytelling with actions and storymaps.
Link to resources for El artista que pintó un caballo azul as a text to discuss diversity.
The book I mentioned that was recommended and demonstrated by Nathalie Paris at Language World was called Poux by  Stephanie Blake– check out the sketchnote of her session here, and follow her book blog and podcast here for more great book ideas!
My primary language book collection, classified by language type and theme.

The Storybird wiki   has been shut down but you can access the links etc here. mostly Spanish with a couple of German ones.

My Storybirds mostly Spanish with a couple of German ones.

ALL Literature Wiki

Pinterest links to research on Storytelling and stories in language learning

Pinterest board of online stories

Blogposts on books on ¡Vámonos! – lots of posts including book reviews, ideas for using stories and how to write your own!

Thanks for your participation and questions.
Photo credit – Russel Tarr

Notes:

Slide 18 – I skipped this one in my presentation as time was flying. This week, Merriam Webster shared a “time machine’ dictionary that tells you the words that were put into the dictionary during the year of your birth. I wrote a story using just nouns from my birth year, shared via tweet. This gave me the idea of giving children a list of words and challenging them to write a story with those words. A good way for more advanced pupils to practice verbs. I will share further when I have developed that thought!

Rewriting a familiar story. Photo credit – Russel Tarr

Acronyms:

GPS – grammar punctuation and spelling

PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education

ICU – Intercultural Understanding

Key Stage 1 – children aged 5-7

Key Stage 2 – children aged 7-11 (languages are a compulsory part of the curriculum in English state schools)

WBD – World Book Day (April 23rd)

I’ve bought a few books over the summer that I wanted to share in short posts as I prepare to go back to school next week.

The first is called I LOVE YOU.

It’s a simple story in English about Little Badger and his teacher, Ms Giraffe who teaches him her favourite words. “They sound different all around the world but they mean the same thing” she says and proceeds to teach them how to say I love you in several languages.

Little Badger is so inspired by this that he spends all his free time that day telling inanimate objects, nature and his family that he loves them in Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German and English.

The thing I love most about this story is that Little Badger is excited about language learning and wants to use it. He might go over the top but he takes his learning away from school, practises it and shares it with others. Whilst I might be a little shocked if a child jumped out of their seat in my lesson, hugged me and declared that they loved me, I really want to inspire that sort of passion in the children I teach. So this year I’m going to try and be just like Ms Giraffe – very kind and very clever (as she is described) and very inspiring!

via GIPHY

I bought this book in The Works where it cost £2 but is also part of a 3 for £5 offer in store and 10 for £10 online.

You can also buy it from Little Linguist 

ISBN 978-1-912076-88-8

Here’s the story being read for you too!

 

With World Book Day coming up next week, I found this video that gives reasons for why reading is important. It’s in Spanish and has no commentary; all the reasons are written in the slides. Some slides contain too much to read before they change but did you know that you can change the speed of a Youtube video? If you click on the Settings cog, you can alter the speed (see below) I’d recommend 0.75 speed the audio doesn’t sound too distorted although 0.5 is OK as this has music rather than speech.

I’m still working on my plan for this year – two years ago I use a Roald Dahl book in Spanish as my inspiration and last year, we focused on the Mr Men and Little Misses as we were looking at illustrators. However, you can see the pins I’ve collected on my WBD Pinterest board, and I’ll post my idea as soon as it’s developed.

I’ll leave you with some quotations about reading; my favourites are 2 and 6.

IMG_4621A little bit delayed by end of term madness…

On June 16th I travelled to London for a day long conference organised by UnderstandingModernGov on the subject of Primary Languages – “Successfully implement the new Primary Modern Foreign Languages curriculum”. It was great to see Janet, Sylvie, Nadine and Julie, and to meet all the delegates to spend a day exploring how we can effectively plan, manage and deliver languages to primary aged pupils.

My part of the day was all about using technology; you can see the presentation below, and you can also access links to tutorials etc here.

I sketch noted all the sessions as you can see below.

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Policy to practicality – Janet Lloyd

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Phonics and Literacy – Julie Prince

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Develop an innovative approach to Primary Language Teaching – Sylvie Barlett-Rawlings with Nadine Chadier


Additionally, you can see what Janet said on her blog.

And here’s the Storify of tweets from the day!

I’ve just received an email from the British Council Schools Online sharing these two resources (as well as mentioning the benefits of hosting/sharing a native language assistant) for primary language learning.

Our free Sharing lives, sharing languages activity packs are aimed at children aged 7-11 who are new to learning languages. They can be used in the classroom or with your partner school.

Encourage your pupils to greet one another in a different language with our Hello Everyone!activity pack

We heard it in the playground activity pack introduces children to numbers one to six in a different language through the context of playground games.

The activities are very simple and there plans are mostly language agnostic so you can decide on the language to be used dependent on skills or the language of a partner school. I’ll be suggesting to staff at WCPS that they use these activities as part of our whole school project through eLanguages in which each class has a different country on which to focus in the lead up to the World Cup finals in June.

I particularly like the playground games idea. Why not look at sites like  Traditional children’s games from around the world or this site that shares German games or this blog post or this one too. You might find some ideas in this PDF or on TES resources or Streetplay you’re looking for Spanish ideas. And what about these 3 programmes from BBC School Radio with dance based on playground games from around the world?

*This is one of a series of posts about some of my favourite story books for Primary Language Learning*

When my boys were little, one of their favourite books was Moo Baa La la la; in fact, I can still quote it verbatim as I read it so many times! So I was pleased to see that there was Spanish version Muu. Bee. ¡Así fue!

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This simple rhyming book introduces the noises that animals make as well as animal names. I was pleased when I read it that it still (mostly!) rhymes in Spanish and that it features lots of animals that make different noises in Spanish. Or, as it’s come to be put in my classroom

“Animals speak other languages too!”

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When we use this in class, after the initial reading learners want to join in with the animal noises – it is fun after all pretending to be a snorting rhino! – so I pause at the appropriate moment to allow for this before continuing. The final page  also invites the reader/learner to share what they say so can lead into a game of ‘Adivina que animal soy‘; learners take it in turns to pretend to be an animal by making the noise and the rest of the class have to work out which animal they are. This could be done with more ‘control’ by assigning learners animals in advance or giving them a mask. And a (noisy!) follow on activity could be for everyone to be assigned an animal from the story e.g un cerdo, una oveja, una vaca, un pato, un caballo, un perro; and their task is to find the rest of their family by making the animal noise  and listening out for others doing the same.

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As I mentioned above,  “animals speak other languages’ was the conclusion that was reached when we read this book, and when I presented at the ALL North East Spanish Day at Gosforth High School I was given this book which reinforces just that!

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Whilst this isn’t a book in the language that I teach (mostly Spanish) I love sharing this as, to me, language learning is about more than one language. It’s about exploring and making connections, and sparking interest as well as celebrating diversity. This book has the English in the corner, and then one or two ‘featured’ languages on each page  i.e. the ones that animals say in their speech bubbles as well as a section in the opposite corner which shows another three languages.

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And in case you have trouble pronouncing the animal sounds, there is a glossary on the inside covers written “phonetically” to give you some help! My aim in using this book would not be to teach animal noises in 30+ languages but to look at similarities between the different languages, to consider whether we’d know which animal made that noise if we hadn’t got the picture to help us, and why, and to perhaps look at the home languages of learners in the group.

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The idea that animals speak different languages just like humans seems to appeal to children; I wouldn’t be surprised if there were pupils of mine across the world these holidays addressing animals in their ‘native language’ 🙂

And if you want a French book with animal noises – and nice touchy feely patches for stroking ‘if you sit nicely!’ – there’s  Le Réveil de la ferme in which a little sheep dog goes around the farm greeting all his farmyard friends. He introduces them in a pair of rhyming sentences and then says Bonjour ………. before the animal responds with their call in French. At the end, he says goodbye to them all in a double page spread with all the animal calls in French (great as a reference point!)

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