Yesterday I had the great pleasure of presenting at the PSB MFL conference via Zoom.
My presentation was entitled More than words with the subtitle Language learning is about more than learning lists of vocabulary. In it, I discussed my ‘idea of what ‘list of ingredients’ for language learning, particularly in the primary context. After discussing OFSTED’s 3 pillars and 3Is, I moved on to present my 7Cs!
And what are my 7Cs? Context Consolidation Confidence Communication Culture Celebration Connection
I was thrilled with the response to my presentation and want to thank all the attendees for their kind words; I was floating on air all day despite an afternoon of stircrazy 10 year olds who’d not been out to play all day followed by parents evening!
If you’re interested in what else I shared, my slides can be viewed below.
What do you think? Have I missed a C? Let me know!
This Tuesday (27th June) I’ll be speaking at the L.E.A.D. TSA Hub Online Primary Languages event. Jo Darley has put together a really interesting programme covering learner autonomy, linguistic thinking, “quality first” teaching for all, literature and culture, and the value of supporting and celebrating languages through global communication.
I’m really excited to be taking part. My presentation will be about the benefits of international links and global communication in the primary classroom. As a primary languages teacher, it will be heavily influenced by the impact of my young linguists but also refer to the effect on the whole school.
It’s a full day, online conference starting at 915 and running until 330. You can join live for the whole day, pop in as you can, or watch it all back later with the recording being available for 30 days after the event. As I’ll be teaching all day (until my session) I’ll be doing the latter!
There are still tickets available at this link if you’re interested. If you’re planning on attending, let me know so I can give you a shout out!
Today at The Language Show it was my pleasure to deliver a presentation entitled A few of our favourite things.
During a packed 45 minutes I highlighted as many of the things that my pupils say they enjoy as I could. I do talk very fast but as is often the case, I had far more to say than there was time to share.
As promised you can find my slides below including links to things I mentioned such as the songs and games. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below. And if you bought a ticket, you can access my presentation (along with many many more!) on catch up. I’m looking forward to doing just that over the next week or so.
I use the LightBulb Languages scheme of work which can be found here
The latest issue (and all past ones!) of Writeaway can be found here The next deadline for submissions is 9th December.
I ran out of time to share about our amazing Erasmus+ project that has certainly been one of the children at WCPS’s favourite things over the last three years. Hopefully one day I’ll get to present a whole session on it (or record one of my own!) but until then, please have a look at the project blog from the point of view of our school here and the whole project blog (which was written by the Greek partners) here.
As I shared earlier this year, bSmall relaunched their Young Language Learner Award this summer after several years break. The award invited young learners to submit a story in a language that they are learning on the theme of ADVENTURE.
I was so excited to be asked to judge the award this year with Catherine from Little Linguist . There were lots of entries, some from individuals and some done in class, in French Spanish and one in German. It was hard to whittle them down to our favourites but we all agreed on the winner and runners up after some discussion!
On Saturday I was once more at InstitutoVicente Cañada Blanch in London for the annual Talleres de español run by the Consejería de Educacción. It had only been 9 months since I was last there as the 2021 edition was postponed thanks to the C word and I was once more privileged to be asked to speak. More of that later!
The day started with a keynote to get you thinking by Crista Hazell who talked about The Joy of Language Learning.
My tweets at the time summarise the bits I particularly liked:
Following this, I attended a marvellously active and fun session led by Eva Rodríguez Moya entitled «JugaÑol: el poder del juego como herramienta de aprendizaje» during which she shared a number of ideas and techniques that are used in her classroom to enable learners to recall and use Spanish as the language of communication. I loved the energy and pace of the delivery as well as the great ideas, and it was good to see that others use gesture as a key way of embedding vocabulary and structures. I will certainly be using “Hola Año x” with my classes – a simple way to keep the class on their toes. I recommend you check out Eva’s presentation when it’s available!
My presentation was entitled A few of our favourite things and highlighted as many of the things that my pupils say they enjoy as I could fit into my time slot! As is often the case, I had far more to say than there was time to share, and below you can find my slides (minus a couple that can’t be shared which unfortunately means you can’t see the videos of my class retelling El Nabo Enorme or reciting Doña Pito Piturra)
I did manage to share that I see myself not a Spanish teacher but as a languages teacher and that whilst the language in which my pupils should have made ‘substantial progress’ by the end of Y6 is Spanish, I am also teaching them how to be language learners which is just as important if not more so. What i ran out of time to share was the range of things that we do to celebrate languages as well as our amazing Erasmus+ project that is just coming to an end. Perhaps I can share that next time… hint hint 😉 You can see the slides anyway.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. I’d be happy to answer!
Thanks to the rail strike I couldn’t stay for the afternoon sessions but I did enjoy a lovely lunch and a good chat with lots of enthusiastic joyful people. at the end of the day, I shared the tweet below which I feel summed up my experience. Here’s to the rainbow unicorns! 🌈🦄
It’s nearly time for the annual ALL (Association for Language Learning) conference Language World. I first attended Language World in Oxford many many years ago and it’s remained an important date each year ever since.
After a year online in 2021, Language World returns to being face to face this year. Taking place in Sheffield at The Quays Hotel, it promises to be two days of discussion, thought and learning and I for one am really looking forward to it.
This year the theme is Language Learning for Social Justice, and sessions relate to the theme of ensuring that ALL learners have access to high quality language learning opportunities, irrespective of age, gender, socioeconomic (dis)advantage, mother tongue or heritage.
The programme looks really interesting and I’m particularly looking forward to sessions by:
Hannah White 5.1 Use the work you do to support EAL pupils in the Primary Languages classroom to create an inclusive curriculum and improve teaching and learning for EAL pupils throughout your school
Eleanor Chettle Cully 1.3 Isn’t it time we moved beyond ‘diversity’? Practical strategies for decolonising the primary MFL curriculum
Marion Devons 8.2 Don’t take me out! Why children with SEND or EAL should stay in your language lessons and how all children will benefit (I feel passionately about this as you can see here.)
and this really interesting looking session 4.1 Inspiring Young Multilingual Activists through Digital Technology and the Arts
In fact, there are so many session that interest me that it’s quite tricky choosing sometimes!
I’ll be speaking on Friday at 215 about “Literature” 3.4 Using ‘Literature’ to support Primary Language teaching and learning This session will consider what is meant by ‘literature’ before moving on to explore how it can be used in the primary languages classroom as a great way to support language learning. Whether as a way into a topic, to support phonics or prosody, as a sample text to be adapted or as a way to support inclusion and challenge insularity, allowing learners to see themselves in their learning, literature is a powerful tool in our toolbox.
Following on from my previous post, I also purchased this book. Whilst not a new publication, it’s new to me and I thought I’d share how I might use it.
This book also features Sandra Boynton’s trademark quirky animals with all the favourites including cows, pigs and the funky chicken!
Here’s the opening of the book that sets up the ‘story.’ What do you think it’s about? I’d encourage learners to use the cover picture, the illustration on p1 and the text to try and work it out. What are the animals on the cover doing? What is the cow doing? I’d expect ‘dancing’ and ‘playing an instrument/singing’ to be included in the responses. Depending on the learners’ knowledge of music/life experiences, they might put the dancing and the fiddle together to mention barn dancing, but some might need a bit of a steer in that direction. You could show a video of some barn dancing to give them an idea!
Next I’d look at the text. Which words can you pick out and suggest a meaning? ‘Aplauden’ (clap/applaud) and ‘danza’ (dance) are the most obvious but watch out for false friends ‘corral’ and ‘pies’! If learners have met body parts they might recognise ‘pies’ and possibly ‘manitas’ from manos (several finger rhymes that my learners have met include the word manitas though) So what are the instructions? Stamp your feet and clap your hands. Again, I’d expect my learners to recognise ‘¿listos?’ as I use it often, but it would be a good opportunity to learn it otherwise. So, are we ready for the barn dance?
The book then continues with instructions to do an action with an animal. Above we have hopping with a bunny, walk with a duck and dance with the mad chickens, clucking all over the place. Below you can see that there are also animal sounds to explore – which animal makes these sounds?
The whole book is one long dance routine and it’s a great text to get learners involved!
Here are some ideas!
Read the text and learners do the actions.
Give learners an animal and they stand up or hold up a picture each time their animal is mentioned.
Match the animal to the action. ¿Brinca o galopa con el conejito? Brinca con el conejito. ¿Y con los pollos locos? Baila con los pollos locos
Match the sound to the animal. ¿Qué dice beee – una vaca o una oveja?
Explore more animal sounds; compare English and Spanish animals; explore other languages. I’ve got a great book called Animals Speak that would be great for this! (This post is about it, and another Sandra Boynton book!)
As learners move around, hold up an animal picture and they change the way they’re moving according to the story.
Follow the instructions and have a barn dance!
Rewrite the instructions replacing the animals with members of the class – baila con Charlie; brinca con Evie; da vueltas con Israel; corre con Mariah etc
Make up a routine with each learner adding a new move to the previous one(s) like Granny’s Shopping – how many moves can you remember and perform?
Work on verbs – lots are -ar so could you work out how to say I jump if given the verb paradigm of a regular -ar verb?
Make your own dance routine using the verbs
Alter the instructions so it’s not brinca CON un conejito (jump/hop WITH a bunny) but brinca COMO un conejito (jump/hop LIKE a rabbit) then write your own sentences for a game that could be played in PE or at break!
Da vueltas con los cerdos, nada con las vacas.
Those are just a few activities that immediately spring to mind – do you have any to add?
In the post this morning I received an exciting package – a new book that I wasn’t expecting until mid September! I love Sandra Boynton books – Moo Baa La la la was one of my sons’ favourite books as toddlers and Azul el sombrero, Verde el sombrerowas a massive hit when I recorded it for KS1 in lockdown (I received several reports and even videos of children exclaiming ¡Ay caramba!) so when I saw that she’d published a new book, I preordered it!
The book is all about emotions. Here’s the opening page that sets up the whole book:
Each page then features an animal and an emotion. Here are the first two pages:
All the emotions go with estar and include enérgico, gruñón and contenta. As you can see from the sample pages and the examples I’ve given, the adjectives are presented in masculine – enojado, enérgico – and feminine – contenta – forms as well as those that are unchangeable – triste, feliz.
I love the illustrations which make the book. All the animals have their own characters and also demonstrate their emotion brilliantly. I also like that there is some more unusual vocabulary like complacido (contented/pleased with yourself) and confundida (confused) which opens up discussion of confounded being another (stronger) way of saying confused.
The final message of the book is that whilst the hope is that everyone is happy, it’s OK if you’re not, you’re amongst friends and that emotions change day to day.
It’s a lovely stand alone book but would also be good to introduce and/or review :-
estar + adjectives
use of muy (and potentially bastante) to qualify the extent of the feeling
masculine and feminine nouns (cerdo and hipopótamo are masculine nouns but are presented in feminine form as the animal is female)
the diminutive -ito/a
Una rana contenta
Having read the book, I’d try some of the following:
Asking the question ¿Cómo estás? and looking for a reply starting Estoy... (I am….)
Ask the question ¿Cómo está (animal)? to use the 3rd person with replies (animal) está (emotion)which requires learners to swap the indefinite artilce in the text for the definite article in their reply e.g. ¿Cómo está la rana? La rana está contenta
Make new sentences about animals and emotions based on pictures (see below for some possible ones!)
Make similes using the structure [adjective] como [animal] e.g. enfadado como un león; hambrienta como una cabra; listo como un búho
¿Cómo están los animales?
I thoroughly recommend the book – and all of Sandra Boynton’s books as they’re great fun but also great to spark ideas and activities.
When bsmall contacted me to say that they were updating their 50 Phrases series and would I like a sneak peek, of course I said yes!
bsmall are a “small but mighty” (love that description!) award-winning independent children’s publishing company that creates and publishes children’s books for sale in the UK and around the world. “We’re on a mission to empower all readers with critical literacy skills, and our books are creative, educational and encourage children to think for themselves.” I’ve written about some of their books before. You can find out about their Hello Languages serieshere, one of their UKS2 parallel text books Los Mellizos del Tiempohere and their I can read series of books here (update – there are a couple of Spanish ones and more French available now £1.99 each from Apple Books)
The 50 Phrases series are currently available in French, Spanish and English, and aim to give children ‘a head start’ with a new language. Over 32 pages, they introduce some common phrases and useful vocabulary for beginner learners including how to introduce yourself, talk about your family and express opinions as well as asking questions about where and what things are, inviting others to play and requesting things. Each double page spread has between 2 and 5 key phrases that are highlighted, adding up to 50 over the whole book, as well as boxes of vocabulary that can be used with those phrases. There is also the suggestion of a game or activity to rehearse those phrases, and also a little bit of grammar is explained throughout. You can see an example below.
Each phrase is written in Spanish and English, and is also written ‘phonetically.’ I’m not a great fan of this ‘how to pronounce it’ guide as it can lead to very odd pronunciation, but I understand that some people find it helpful, particularly as this is intended to be used at home/independently. And that’s where the update comes in about which I am very pleased.
The book now comes with a QR code that gives the reader access to audio files of the 50 Spanish Phrases (and the same for English and French if you purchase those books.) that give a clear native speaker model of the pronunciation. You can see how it works with the sample below.
Links to the English book.
By giving the pronunciation of the key phrases, learners now have access to what they actually sound like which will facilitate more educated understanding of the pronunciation guide and more accurate Spanish pronunciation. So this is a great resource that can be used at home without need for a Spanish speaker to be present!
As I said, I was given a sneak peek as the updated versions are not released until May 3rd but you can preorder the SpanishFrench and English books via the bsmall website.
While you’re on the site, check out some of the other books they publish. My eye was caught by the Hide and Speak books with flaps to lift and the Mix and Match flashcards for practising questions and answers. Or download the Language Learning brochure to browse at your leisure! And make sure you check out the Activity Hub where you can download a copy of the Rights of the Language Learner as well as a beach picture labelled in French and Spanish – perfect for Y2s summer topic.
In these strange times, the online conference is the way to go and thus I sat down at my laptop, coffee in hand and attended the ALL Primary Languages Conference a couple of weeks ago. Nicknamed ‘Acapulco’ by Steven Fawkes (there was a reason but nobody can recall what it was!) the conference was based around five pillars as can be seen from the graphic.
Others have shared their takeaways already, including Nathalie aka Nattalingo, as well as their presentations (Suzi’s is here) and I thought I’d share mine in the form of my sketchnotes. Disclaimer: I had to ‘leave’ early so I’m afraid I didn’t do one for Suzi’s session nor Nathalie’s but you can access their slides at the link above!
Keynote speaker Dr Michael Wardle , OFSTED Lead on Languages “The curriculum needs to be BROAD and AMBITIOUS throughout EACH and EVERY year group.”
Dr Rachel Hawkes, NCELP (and many other good things!) As usual, too much to fit on one page!
Sue Cave talking all things phonics. A strong knowledge of phonics affects all areas of language learning.
Clare Seccombe – learning to walk before you can run is very important! e.g. knowing a small pot of words really well that can then be extended by EFFECTIVE use of a bilingual dictionary.
An excellent conference and really well organised. Not only were the sessions great, the chat was good too with ideas flying so fast it was sometimes hard to keep up with it all! I recommend that you sign up to ALL as there will be future events for members, specifically designed for primary called PHOrum and they will be quality events! You can find out how to join here and also about the other benefits!