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Archive for the ‘primary languages’ Category

En mi pueblo… (preparation)

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Year 6 at WCPS are currently working on the unit Mi pueblo and are working towards writing a paragraph about what there is and isn’t in their town/local area.

In the first lesson, they were given a set of pictures and words for places in the town and asked to match them up without any help. They used their knowledge of English (and French and Polish!) plus their skills of deduction to work out the majority and then the last was decided upon by process of elimination! We discussed their tactics and then recapped the definite and indefinite article that we’d covered before Christmas when talking about sport. In the same lesson, pupils were given a further sheet of images and words to match up.

In the second lesson we used hay and no hay to talk about what there is and isn’t in our town. We joined sentences with simple conjunctions such as y and pero before moving on to use sin embargo, también, tampoco and además.

Last week we moved on to extending our sentences by 1. using singular and plural nouns, 2. using muchos/muchas and 3. adding adjectives as well as using reference materials to find more places in the town. This meant that we reviewed the position and behaviour of adjectives in Spanish, something that we’ve ‘done’ lots of times.

Some of the work is below:

These two boys really impressed me with their grasp of adjectival agreements.




This was written by a native Spanish speaker – imaginative but with some interesting spelling mistakes.

And these two young ladies amused me with their use of adjectives!

(Someone else suggested ‘en mi pueblo hay un castillo joven y una pastelería ocupada’)

This is in preparation for creating a town triarama over the next two lesson based on their paragraphs. I’ll post some examples when they’re finished. A bit of carrot and stick as well as a good way of producing work for display…

 

I’m a Primary Language Teacher; help me out here!

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

babcockOn Wednesday I took part in the Babcock 4S conference at Horsley Park in Surrey. My presentation entitled I’m a Primary Language Teacher; help me out here! was well received and can be found below.

The main points were:

  • primary language learning lays important foundations
  • language learning is cyclical with topics being revisited but it is a continuum; it shouldn’t start again from scratch at Ks3.
  • teaching primary languages can be lonely but there is support out there.
  • PoS objectives need to be split into manageable chunks or stepping stones.
  • pupils need to become increasingly independent; phonics and language learning skills from comparing and contrasting languages help this.
  • it’s not just about vocabulary; grammar is needed (receptive and later productive) as cement otherwise it’s just a pile of bricks.
  • intercultural understanding is vital.
I’m a Primary Language Teacher – help me out here! from Lisa Stevens
I sketch noted the other sessions and will share them as soon as I have a moment to tidy them up a bit!

Show and Tell @ Talleres de español 2016

Sunday, June 19th, 2016

CiMOMHAWkAABteHToday I attended the Talleres de español at Instituto Cañada Blanch in Portobello, having been asked to facilitate a couple of Show and Tell sessions as part of the Primary strand in the morning. Having got up very early and had several mishaps and an emergency phone call on the way, I have to admit to being a little frazzled by the time I arrived and then there were technical issues, fortunately resolved fairly promptly and well before my session.

I opened proceedings sharing a ‘super lesson’ on colours that I delivered to Y3. Below is my presentation from today.

Los Colores – a lesson from Lisa Stevens

 

You can find the poem in Clare Seccombe’s anthology along with many other rhymes songs and poems.

As well as this, I mentioned various other ideas and links:

Rachel Hawkes’ website – advice resources and more!

LightbulbLanguages resources – not just Primary Spanish either!

Languages in Primary Schools Facebook group – if the link doesn’t work, when on Facebook search for ‘Languages in Primary Schools’ and it will appear. Then all you have to do is request to join. (A tip – if like many teachers, you have very high privacy settings, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’re a teacher so check your ‘other’ folder in Messages a day after your request!)Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 13.59.09

I shared Erzsi’s ‘phonic balloons’ picture (see right) and here’s her blog

Link to La Roja Baila

 

And then others shared their ideas! Here’s a summary of them:

  1. A activity using handkerchiefs to review colours with younger children.
  2. Using the clothes that children are wearing to review colours – of course, easier if they don’t wear uniform but not impossible even if they do…
  3. Using the works of Miró to talk about colour, shape and prepositions. Rachel Hawkes (see above) and Helen Stanistreet (link) have produced some brilliant resources for this.
  4. ‘La manzana envenada’ ( a game where there are a number of words/phrases on the board, one of which is declared ‘la manzana envenenada’ whilst one pupil is out the room. The object of the game is not to eat/say the word/phrase that is poisoned as the game will end. Erzsi explains how she plays it here. We also talked about how it’s good to get pupils asking questions as they’re much more skilled at answering them than posing them!
  5. I loved ‘dictado chillado’ although it was very noisy! In pairs, learners write a sentence or phrase in Spanish on a post it. It could be anything to do with a topic, or you could say it must include a certain phoneme. Ours were very random! The teacher then muddles up the phrases and hands one to each pair. Everyone then stands against the wall on two sides of the classroom (left/right or back/front) opposite another pair. The idea is to shout your phrase to your partner pair who write it down. I thought my partner pair were yelling ‘Vivo lejos de José’ but they in fact saying Mi conejo se llama José. Either I yelled better than them or it was pair work that won the day as they got ‘Me gusta mucho Gerard Pique’ straight away!

I do feel bad that I’ve failed to sketchnote a session today, especially after my sketch noting was mentioned in by both of the people who introduced me,  but I’ll try and make up for it later with one of the whole day perhaps! In the meantime, you can see some of them in my Flickr album.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session I attended run by Canela Fina, and I think that all conferences should end with an educational wine tasting!

¡Muchas gracias a la Consejería de Educación y la Junta de Castilla y León para un muy buen día!IMG_9995

Babcock 4S Modern Languages Conference – Lisibo Talks 2

Saturday, June 11th, 2016

On Wednesday 22nd June I’ll be in Surrey speaking at a Modern Languages conference organised by Babcock4S.

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As you can see from the flyer above, the conference is entitled The Future of Language Learning and features keynotes by Janet Lloyd and Joe Dale that ‘book end’ three seminar slots.

If you check out the conference website you’ll get a basic overview – more details can be obtained from the following PDF Programme of the day. You’ll see that there are sessions addressing assessment, transition, cooperative learning, technology and specific languages led by a wide variety of speakers including Dan Alliot and Suzi Bewell, and convened by Carine Jacquel and Helen Myers.

My session is entitled “I’m a primary language teacher. Help me out here!”

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, “Some are born Primary language teachers, some become Primary language teachers and some have Primary language teaching thrust upon them” How can all three scenarios lead to confident successful teachers and learners, demonstrating significant progress by the end of KS2? We’ll explore how to plan for progression (in the long and short term), share sources of support and inspiration and discuss how to best meet the challenges of the Languages Programmes of Study.

It’s not too late to sign up (which you can do here) for a day of inspiration and networking.

 

 

 

Talleres de español – Lisibo Talks 1

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Lisibo will be very busy over the next two weeks with three talks in the space of 8 days. Bit like buses 😉

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Following on from Language World and the success of the Show and Tell, Jesús from the Consejería de Educación asked if I could facilitate one at the annual Talleres de Español. Unfortunately my partner in crime Clare is unavailable so I’m going it alone. However, I hope that there will be participants who want to share their ideas, celebrate their successes and suggest suitable resources during the session so I don’t end up talking for the entire 50 minutes.

The programme offers sessions in the morning tailored specifically to Primary and Secondary colleagues followed by general sessions and cultural workshops after lunch (which is always very special!) I’m speaking at both of the morning sessions which means I can’t attend the parallel Primary sessions (hoping someone will take notes for me – any volunteers?) but am spoilt for choice in the afternoon.

Click to download the programme

 

I spoke at the Talleres in 2011 – you can read all about it here and it will be wonderful to return to Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch. And I always enjoy meeting others and discovering new ideas! Why not join me?

Above is the flyer and below are the details of each session and the presenter bios.

And here’s how to register:

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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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!

 

 

 

Christmas in Mexico

Monday, December 21st, 2015
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My ‘angelito’ from Chignahuapan, home of the glass ‘esferas’ that hang on ‘arboles’ around Mexico.

Want to know about Christmas in Mexico?

Here are some useful links:

Why Christmas? offers a simple description including key events.

Read this article to find out about Christmas in Mexico, including the unique Noche de los rabanos in Oaxaca.

Find out about Christmas in Mexico here and then ‘turn the page’ to compare it with the celebrations in Spain. In which ways are they different?

Mexican Christmas recipes anyone?

And here’s a cute video with some facts and singing!

This article explains the importance of the poinsettia to Aztecs who called it cuetlaxochitl which means “mortal flower that perishes and withers like all that is pure.”

Here’s a story about The Legend of the Poinsettia:

And another story, this time about Las Posadas.

This site has links to lots of articles if you want to explore more, but I’ll leave you with a couple of Mexican Christmas songs.

The song that is sung during posadas:

A short radio programme with some suggestions of carols from the childhood of Betto Arcos en Veracruz, including  Los peces en el río

And how could I not include Feliz Navidad?

 

Do you teach Primary Spanish?

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

british-council-logo-2-color-2-page-001-hrAn exciting opportunity for anyone whose primary school teaches Spanish.

If you’re interested, please respond to Vicky Gough at the address below.

 Support for Spanish in your primary school!

The British Council has lots of positive experience in delivering language lessons to pupils remotely. We are planning to pilot a programme that would enable schools to have a native speaker teacher live from one of our teaching centres in Argentina for one or two sessions a week to support the school in the teaching of Spanish.

For this pilot we are looking for two or three primary schools, preferably at different stages in their development of languages at primary level, to help us develop this offer for schools in the UK. This is likely to involve one or two weekly sessions for a 5 or 6 week period in the Spring term.

If you are interested and can meet the requirements below, please send an email to vicky.gough@britishcouncil.org by December 14, giving details about how Spanish is taught in your school.

Technical requirements:
· Videoconferencing equipment which works on H323 or SIP protocol and can connect with external equipment via a SIP or public IP address
· Videoconferencing equipment must be connected to a projector or display that is big enough for the whole class to see
· 2MB dedicated upload/download speed, preferably on a fibre optic dedicated connection

Other requirements
· Support of the Head teacher
· A teacher who can be present in the classroom during sessions (either a Spanish teacher or the class teacher)
· Spanish teacher/class teacher to be available for a 20-minute weekly coordination meeting outside the regular session/s
· A school representative to attend a planning meeting at the start of the pilot and an evaluation meeting at the close

#PracPed15 – Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Evernote Snapshot 20151016 104158My session at the wonderful Practical Pedagogies conference centred around the use of technology to enhance Primary Language Learning.

Key points I made included:

  • technology is not  just for the pupils but also for the teacher;
  • it is just one tool we have to use;
  • it is not always the best tool for the job.

I went on to suggest online tools as well as apps that might be useful in a range of contexts and situations.

My presentation is below and there is wiki with links to tutorials, examples and ideas that accompanies it. Feel free to ask questions via the contact form or @lisibo on Twitter.

Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning from Lisa Stevens
And thanks to Marisa for sharing her notes (and photographs!) here.