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Category: primary languages

A visit to Foyles

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Yesterday I was in London for the annual ALL Council meeting, this year held at the Institute of Education. I deliberately set out early so that I could visit Foyles on Charing Cross Road as it now houses Grant and Cutler on the 4th floor.  To be honest I could easily have spent far longer than the 40 minutes I had on 4th floor alone, and there are several other floors that were calling to me as well, including the cafe!
However, 40 minutes was all I had and I spent it browsing books with several purposes.

  1. Seeing if I could find anything to inspire my boys with their language learning
  2. Looking for things for my own language development.
  3. Looking for new and interesting materials to use in my teaching.

Given that Sohn#1 had just bought all his books for uni, and didn’t really know what he wanted as a gift, coupled with the extortionate price of Swedish and Norwegian books, I failed to find him anything. Hijo#2 has just purchased all the books on list for A level French and I couldn’t find any Spanish text books that a) we didn’t already have or b)I thought were worth buying for him to self study so I didn’t buy anything for him specifically either. However, that’s OK as it reminded me of my copy of Harry potter á l’école des sorciers as well as reminding me to look out some Spanish texts from my past to lend to #2, and #1 has just had some books for the history part of his course.

So on to purpose 2 – my language development.
I can speak 6 languages with varying success from fluency to basic conversation, but I only really use two on a regular basis at the moment, teaching Spanish and speaking English. I don’t like to neglect the others so I made some purchases, partly to motivate me and also to keep my brain in tune!

I studied Catalan at university (a loooong time ago) and, having not used it for many years, ten years ago I rediscovered my ability to speak it during a partnership between my school and a school in Barcelona. Since then I’ve not lost my love of speaking it once more, and over the summer I did a FutureLearn course on Getting to know Catalonia which reignited my need to read in Catalan.I’m eagerly awaiting for a promised FutureLearn course on Ramon Llull but in the meantime I purchased a dual language anthology of poems. I don’t read enough poetry and I find it particularly exciting to ‘hear’ the rhythm of the language as I read.  

Since living in Switzerland I’ve been learning German; I’ve (nearly) stopped beating myself up about not having learned more while I was there and can certainly understand and often say far more than I think I can. Duolingo keeps me ticking over, although phrases such as Mein Kopf ist nicht aus Beton and Dies ist eine heilige Eule aren’t that useful on a day to day basis, and I’ve fortunately not had to declare that Eine Wespe ist in meiner Hose. However, I think it’s time I did some reading too. I have a collection of children’s books (see here  here and here) including Mr Men books thanks to my MFL Besties Secret Santa, and Sohn#1 has left some of his books at home but I thought I’d try something a little less challenging before I embark on Kafka and Brecht! So I chose this dual text compilation of short stories to build my confidence as I can cross reference and check my understanding. I find that sort of exercise really helpful as I pick apart how sentences are constructed; I haven’t really been taught about sentence structure and word order so it’s quite interesting finding patterns for myself!

Then I decided that I’d like a couple more PixiBuch as I love them – they’re small and also only £1.50. These overlap with my purpose 3 – to find new and interesting materials for teaching as I will use them when I start the long awaited and long postponed German club. Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot is a traditional German fairy tale and Du bist bei mir: Gute-Nacht-Gebete contains some lovely goodnight rhymes that sound marvellous in my head (where my accent is beautiful and perfectly German!)

One of the SDP objectives for both schools at which I teach is reading. At both schools, staff are being asked to ensure that there are times in each day when children can read, and also a time for the teacher to read to the pupils.  Children need to be exposed to a variety of texts and their vocabulary grows the more they read and/or are read to. Therefore, I had a look for some suitable texts that I could share. I have a number of Mr Men books in Spanish and bought a couple more. The stories are familiar to the children so, in conjunction with the illustrations, they can follow. However, I’m a little concerned that they are quite wordy so was looking for something else too. 

First I found this lovely book of fairytales. Each is just two pages long and starts with a page of ‘pictogramas’ that are used to tell the story in rebus form i.e. words are replaced with a picture. I’m looking forward to sharing them with Y3 – and the younger children when I get the opportunity as I’m pretty sure that they’ll soon be joining in with the story, ‘reading’ the images. 

Then I found a couple of boxes of ‘100 Cuentos Cortos‘ that contain 50 cards, each with a short story on either side. The stories are very short – some only a paragraph long – so there’s little time for children to get discombobulated by not understanding every word, and there’ll be time to repeat them more slowly a second time to allow a greater chance of comprehension. The vocabulary is simple, and the illustrations are clear and give a good idea of the story. There are a variety of themes including weather, animals, different seasons and festivals, and some are based around traditional tales. I’ll probably use these with Y4 and possibly Y5.

 

Finally I bought another dual language book for Y6 – El Principito. After the first few chapters that set the scene which will take longer than one session, the chapters are very short meaning that one can be read each lesson. The beauty of the dual text is that I can read the Spanish version then leave the chapter in both Spanish and English for children to read before the next lesson to clarify doubts, ensure understanding and, for some, dissect the texts. 

 

Perhaps I’m being overly hopeful about how well this will go, but they do say to Aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

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!

 

Wednesday morning saw me gazing at the sea, then moving swiftly past Butlins to speak at University of Chichester MFL Conference. I had a lovely day attending sessions in the morning and sharing some ideas about using technology and stories in the languages classroom.

Below are my sketchnotes of the sessions I attended, starting with Elaine Minett’s upbeat introduction to the conference, talking about challenges being seen as opportunities, followed by an idea packed session about using poetry by Concha Julian of the Consejería de Educación and finishing with Lynne Brackley’s session on using drama based activities in languages. I enjoyed using my dramatic skills in both of the latter sessions!

If you get the opportunity next year, I can thoroughly recommend attending as the conference was varied with sessions for primary, secondary as well as cross phase sessions, and they were delivered by a variety of people including PGCE students, teachers and representatives of organisations like the British Council, the Consejería de Educación and Language Angels. I enjoyed seeing Catherine on the Little Linguist stand once more (and buying a new book!) as well as visiting other stands including Institut Français and European Schoolbooks.


A post about my sessions will follow later!

My very intense teaching week ends on Thursday evening, freeing up a week day to spend as I wish,  and I was once more glad that I don’t teach on Fridays as it meant that I could attend a delightful day in London learning all about the Primary Latin Course. An early start and a cramped train journey both ways didn’t even dampen my excitement to find out about it (on the way) and enthusiasm to start sharing it (on the way back).

I could explain myself what the Primary Latin Course is but their blurb does it far better!

[The Primary Latin Course] has been designed working with UK primary teachers to help schools deliver Latin and Roman civilisation – without the need for any background in Latin. The course provides a gentle introduction to the Latin language for pupils in Years 3 – 6, aiming to establish reading fluency of simple sentences. Language learning is fully integrated into an immersive cultural and archaeological course set in ancient Herculaneum. The course is driven by photographs and evidence from the ancient site for pupils to explore and investigate.

All our materials are hosted online and available for free. There are Latin stories with clickable vocabulary and embedded audio, interactive reconstructions, online games, downloadable worksheets, activities and teacher’s guides.

During the day, delegates were taken through a couple of chapters of the course, experiencing learning Latin using the course, noticing and commenting on things about the language, admiring  the amazing illustrations predominantly coming from actual things found in Herculaneum and marvelling at the quality and wealth of content available – for free! Will and Laila were excellent hosts, aided by Hannah and Tony amongst others, and the day was delivered in partnership with the Museum of London who allowed us access to their Romans exhibition as well as an artefact handling session. It was quite mind blowing knowing that I was touching things that were about 2000 years old!

As usual I sketch noted as much as I could and the outcomes are below. I hope they’re helpful!

Here are some links from the notes that I want to underline – and also so you can click them!

Hands Up Education

The Primary Language Course

Museum of London – Roman London (permanent exhibition)

Museum of London – London Docklands – Roman Dead (26/05/18-28/10/18)

Romans Revealed

Classics for All – an organisation that champions Classics in schools who offer grants

The Hellenic Book Service

Strigils and an oil phial

It was a high quality day and  I’d thoroughly recommend you attending if you get the opportunity. I’ve been inspired to start a Latin Club at school – well, potentially at both schools! I’m looking forward to learning more as I explore the site and also to learning with the pupils. Watch this space for more news. And if you have any advice, leave me a message below!

 

 

 

 

This year at Language World I was invited to present some ideas for using technology for collaboration in language learning. I teach primary so the focus was on that age group but there are many ideas and tools that are equally applicable for young and old! In spite of some technical hitches and running out of time as there was so much to share, the ideas were well received and I hope that this will serve as a reminder/update for those who attended, and a snapshot for those who didn’t.

Below is my presentation. Whilst all the links work, the videos don’t I’m afraid but you’ll find some below to give you a taster.

Link to BetsyBelle’s webinar Out of this World on using apps in the Primary Language Classroom. Highly recommended viewing especially if you’re interested in the how as much as the why.

I was asked to present an idea at the Primary Spanish Show and Tell at Language World in Hinckley last week.

The idea of the Show and Tell is that there are a variety of ideas presented, and on this occasion my fellow presenters were Anne Poole, who presented some fun games that can be played in any language, and Jesús Hernández from the Consejería de Educación who, accompanied by his trusty guitar, presented a few songs as well as activities to accompany a couple of posters that we were all gifted. Jesús also shared news of a new ‘revista’  for Primary Spanish that will be published by the Consejería with ideas like the ones that Jesús shared.

My part of the session focused on how we celebrated World Book Day this year at Whitehouse Common. You can see my part of the presentation below – the whole presentation will be available soon on the ALL website.

I’m happy to share the materials to use with the book, but I can’t share the scanned book as that would break copyright.
Para qué sirve un libro matching

Para qué sirve un libro matching answers

Para qué sirve un libro ideas
Here’s the Sketchnote of the whole session too!

Primary Spanish Show and Tell
It’s hard to sketch note whilst presenting, singing and playing games but I did it!

A little later than planned, and with huge apologies, here are my presentations from the East Midlands Primary Languages Conference held on Nottingham on 5th December!

Más vale tarde que nunca.  Mieux vaut tard que jamais! Besser spät als gar nicht.

Firstly, my presentation on Crosscurricular links:

And here’s the presentation on Technology for collaboration:

It was a pleasure to speak, and I was also able to attend a few other sessions which are sketchnoted below.

A marvellous keynote by the ever effervescent John Rolfe.

An inspiring session by Chris Henley about being BRILLIANT – finding my WHY? and being Ms Different.

A Taste of Spain delivered by Carmen Santos from the Consejería de Educación in Manchester – loved making – and eating – my brocheta de fruta!

And Elaine Minett charing her Healthy Eating resources based around the story ¡Hoy no, Claudio!

Presiona aquí

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via GIPHY

Today is International Children’s Book Day and I’ve got a new book!

It’s called Presiona aquí and it’s by Hervé Tullet. It’s the Spanish version of Press here and I bought it to share with FKS and KS1, although I’m sure some of Y3 would also enjoy it!

The book starts with a single yellow dot and asks the reader to ‘presiona aquí y da vuelta a la página.’ Magically, another yellow ‘círculo’ appears on the next page, and there follow lots more pages with lots more instructions and lots more ‘círculos’ – grandes y pequeños; amarillos, azules y rojos. I like the simplicity of the illustrations as well as the text, and I think it would be a fun book to share on the carpet with children coming up to press buttons, or in small groups as a special treat. You can children enjoying it in the trailer for the English version below. In our Y2 Spanish scheme (based on Little Languages) they look at sequencing and this would be a great addition to the activities that include counting and sequencing buttons, shapes and any little things we can find (dinosaurs, cars, fruit…)

I mentioned that I thought Y3 would enjoy it, and with that in mind I’ve been thinking about what we could do as a follow up activity. When we were working on colours before Easter and talking about colour mixing I (perhaps rashly) said that we could do some painting in Spanish towards the end of the summer term when we’ll be looking at shape and colour once more. This would be a lovely way to introduce or revisit some shape and colour vocabulary, and I can see us creating our own versions of the book as a story board, perhaps diversifying into other shapes depending on what action the ‘reader’ does. Or perhaps we could use the same approach, an action leading to the appearance of a new item to create Miró-esque art? Still a developing thought…

 

After I’d started writing this, I discovered that there are  a couple of videos of the book too – see below – so it would be possible for class teachers who are non specialists to borrow my book and share it with their class. This video actually uses the book but lasts more than ten minutes and the presenter doesn’t just read the story but offers comments too. I wonder if Nursery and Reception would manage to sit still for that long, and worry that the ‘extras’ might put off the non-specialist teacher presenting as they don’t know what’s being said? The video below would be my choice as, although it doesn’t feature the book and the instructions are worded slightly differently, it is much simpler and lasts just over 5 minutes.

Hervé Tullet has lots of other lovely books too – I think I may need to get ¡Mézclalo bien! is this one is a hit…

ISBN 978-1-4521-1287-9

Link to buy ¡Presiona aquí¡ from Book Depository

More Hervé Tullet books in Spanish

There’s a very simple free worksheet on TES resources to accompany the story and here are some ideas of how to use the book including a fun activity called Fizzy colours.

EDIT – I’ve now found a Pinterest board of ideas here.

And I’ll definitely be trying this activity out in the summer – Press Here movement game

as well as making the chatterbox from this post.

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One of the sessions I attended at Language World was given by Sue Cave. Entitled Language Detectives, it shared a project that Sue and a colleague had devised, originally for a day long workshop for more able primary linguists, based around children using their detective skills to decode unknown languages. Sue described it as ‘a morning of training in preparation for an afternoon trying to thwart a multilingual gang of criminals.’

The session referred to and worked on the Language Learning Skills (LLS) and Knowledge about Language (KAL) strands of the KS2 Framework (NB is still a very useful document!) We discovered that gesture is important but that it works best in conjunction with words, eye contact and prior knowledge, and I discovered that I’m not as good as charades as I thought I was. (Sorry Vicky!) We also discovered that knowledge of word classes as well as how to use a bilingual dictionary are skills that a good detective needs, and that listening to the sounds and intonation of a language is also helpful.

Having undergone our (very swift!) training, we used our skills to thwart the gang who spoke Spanish, Welsh, German and Italian, stopping them before they stole a valuable item!

Sue has very generously shared not her presentation but all the resources on her excellent website on the Sharing Good Practice section (scroll to the bottom)

One idea (of the many!) that I particularly liked was the Language Detective certificates that Sue gives out when a child makes a discovery about language and shares it with the class. Sue has generously shared her certificates in the Teaching and Learning section of the Sharing Good Practice page. As I teach Spanish not French, I’ve made some of my own that you can download from the link below.

Spanish Language Detective certificates 

Thanks for an inspiring session Sue, I know I’m not the only one who went away with my mind buzzing!
And thanks to Yvonne too for my ‘lucky dip’ magnifying glasses that fit the theme perfectly and will be put to sue immediately!

PS here are my notes too!

*This is a book review as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2018 #MCBD2018*

The Marvellous Mexican Misunderstanding is a delightful book about a little boy called Adri who  overhears his Mum and Aunt Chiquita talking about the Day of the Dead and gets completely the wrong end of the stick. He asks his sister Tani lots of questions about the Aztecs, the Day of the Dead but she mischievously decides to use his ignorance of the festival as a way of teasing him, and confirms his fears.  Over the seven days leading up to Day of the Dead, every visitor and every event seems to confirm his fear that he is going to die; the Dad brings him a skeleton costume for Halloween, the neighbour brings ‘pan de muerto’, his Mum makes his favourite food. On the eve of Day of the Dead, Adri writes letters to his family and prepares himself. Will the misunderstanding be unravelled or will Adri’s fear come true? You’ll have to read and find out!

The illustrations by Nefeli Malie are wonderful – bright and childlike, and coupled with the lovely prose by Evi Triantafyllides, they tell the story of Adri in a clear and appealing way, at the same time exposing readers to aspects of the Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) festival. And the book is not just a story. There’s a dictionary of Spanish and English terms related to the story as well as questions posed as ‘Mexican mysteries’ about the text that highlight facts about Mexico.  The book itself forms part of the first ‘parcel’ offered by Worldwide Buddies.

Worldwide Buddies is a series of fictional, educational stories with characters from different countries around the globe that allow children to imagine a more beautifully complex world. Stories are designed to promote cultural awareness and introduce little ones to the diverse realities and wonders of the world, early on.

“A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding” is the first story of the series and will become available for purchase through their website in a couple of weeks: www.worldwidebuddies.com

Alongside the story, readers can also purchase a story box with additional games, toys and activities that accompany the book. You can find out more on their website or via Facebook or Instagram.

As Worldwide Buddies will start accepting orders for the books ($18) and story box ($35) soon. As they are based in the USA, I asked Evi if the book and story box will be available in the UK, and she confirmed that yes, delivery will be possible to the UK too.

As a teacher of Spanish to young children, I love this book as it is amusing and gently makes fun of Adri’s misunderstanding to reveal the wonder of the Day of the Dead festival, explaining how it is a happy festival and a time to remember those who have passed away. I’ll certainly be sharing it with my learners next year in the run up to November 1st. It also leads into a pertinent discussion about our fears often that fit well with the  SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural) agenda here. I look forward to reading more Worldwide Buddies books!

Details about #MCBD2018:
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. View our 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/mcbd2018-medallion-level-sponsors/
View our 2018 MCBD Author Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Scholastic Book Clubs: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/27/18 at 9:00pm EST.
You can join the conversation and win one of 12-5 book bundles and one Grand Prize Book Bundle (12 books) that will be given away at the party! http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/twitter-party-great-conversations-fun-prizes-chance-readyourworld-1-27-18/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

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