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.
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.
Today is International Children’s Book Day and I’ve got a new book!
It’s called Presiona aquíand 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…
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.
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!
I shared the Chocolate rhyme previously but I think it’s worth sharing again as it’s been so popular with Y2. And, as this post shows with ‘mariposa’, any other four syllable word works. It would work with cucuracha, elefante or even Barcelona! The clapping is the same as for Double double this this in English so pupils find it less tricky than you’d think!
In July I was asked to join with Afónica (a sound production company specialising in fiction and documentary in English and Spanish) to write a pitch for an audio programme, aimed at KS2 learners of Spanish (7-11 year olds), to be broadcast by the BBC. In August we discovered that our idea featuring a Spanish boy, Quique and his new friend Charlie who has moved to Madrid from England, had been chosen. And that’s where some really hard work began, writing ten 15 minute episodes in which Quique and Charlie explore Madrid, discussing culture and language as well as visiting some iconic places like the Retiro Park, the Rastro market and the Real Madrid football stadium, and meeting some of their neighbours. Those scripts were then recorded in Madrid by some wonderful actors, some songs were added (wish I could claim that I’d written them as they are brilliant but I’m not that talented!)and Nicolas of Afónica worked his magic, putting it all together. And at 330am (UK time) tonight, episode 1 will be broadcast on Schools Radio. I am so excited; I may even be awake at 330am I’m that excited. However, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night as each episode will be uploaded to the website and available as soon as it has been broadcast. What’s more, you can listen to the separate ‘chunks’ already by going to the Mi Madrid Schools Radio website and accessing the Clips section The idea is that the broadcasts can be listened to as an entire episode but also in chunks and that they are used to support the teaching of Spanish at KS2, particularly to students who have already learned some Spanish and are now 9-11 years old. The programmes are predominantly in Spanish with some English used to clarify and explain. Charlie asks questions that the students may well be wanting to ask – about Spanish life as well as the Spanish language – and Quique and especially his mum, Sofía, answer them. I tried to include as many quirky facts and interesting words as I could get away with because that was what grabbed my attention as a young learner, and I hope that this comes through as you listen. Here’s the episode schedule so you can see what’s coming up. I am really proud of this project and hope that lots of teachers and learners enjoy it. I’m also really pleased that Clare Seccombe of Light Bulb Language fame, has written the Teacher’s Notes to accompany the series as I know they will be amazing. They will be available very soon I hope, and will give ideas on how to use the audio as well as notes on what happens in each episode, vocabulary, and some visuals that will support the content. Please let me know if you listen, if you enjoyed it and how you used it. My favourite episode to write was Episode 8 ¡Hala Madrid! although Episode 6 Masterchef was a close second. I’ll tell you which I think has turned out best when I’ve heard them all but please leave a comment about your favourites too! SaveSave
My husband often has to travel abroad with his work and, knowing my love of books, has been trained to look put for things I might like to use in the classroom. This last week, as usual, he texted me from the airport to ask about books I might like. Only he wasn’t in Spain or Germany, Switzerland or Austria, countries that speak languages I teach (or love!); he was in Lithuania.However, I am always up for a challenge and when he sent a picture of the front of the book, I decided I liked his choice and said ‘why not?’ I think he fell in love with the covers too as he bought me two.
And so I met Kakė Makė! I couldn’t understand a word of the books, but I immediately loved the bright pictures and quirky character of Kakė Makė that comes through the illustrations.
From the pictures I decided that Kakė Makė ir Netvarkos Nykštukas was about Kakė Makė getting up to mischief, and making an incredible mess, and an elf taking her toys away. Kakė Makė then follows the elf and tries to get the toys back by completing some tasks including a maze and fighting a monster. I also worked out that Kakė Makė is a nickname and the girl’s real name is Kornelija
I’ve since found this video that tells the story in English – and I wasn’t far off! It seems that Kakė Makė translates as GooGoo MooGoo!
And then I looked at Kakė Makė ir didelė Tamsa and concluded that it’s about a shadowy monster that scares Kakė Makė and her friends, and Kakė Makė sets off to find it, capture it in a bag and dispose of it. * What do you think? Here’s a video of the story with no narration!
I think that, as a language teacher, it’s good sometimes to put yourself into the place of a learner who has very limited or no understanding (as was my case) of the language being presented. Not only does it help you to understand the level of panic that can arise when faced with a page of unfamiliar and apparently unintelligible words, but it also clarifies how you have to rely on all the clues you can find to help you.
Pictures – very helpful here
Cognates – virtually non existent; I found laberintas and bibliotekininke
Punctuation like capital letters for names – I worked out that Tamsa is the name of the monster and Pipiru is the dog. So some help but not a great deal!
Knowledge about stories – there’s usually an opening before a build up to a problem, the problem gets fixed and there’s a conclusion.
I also looked at the text and noticed a couple of things:
Kakė Makė is written Kakėi Makėi a couple of times, both times at the start of a sentence, and once Kakės Makės; what do those suffixes mean? I wonder if it’s to do with subject/object of the sentence? Or possession?
Speech is denoted by – – as in Spanish, and quotations by ,, ” which I found interesting.
I’m fascinated by the diacritical marks and accents. I want to know how they work! Does it alter the sound of the letters as in French, or the stress pattern as in Spanish? And is Lithuanian like Swedish (which I’m trying to learn on Duolingo)
I’m still not sure how, if at all, I’ll use them in my classroom but I’ve certainly enjoyed ‘reading’ them and exploring the world of Kakė Makė which, judging by my online searches, is quite extensive in Lithuania with product endorsements, themed parties, toys and much more! There’s an app you can download or you can play online (although cleaning her teeth isn’t the most exciting activity ever..) You can even be her friend on Facebook! I’m holding out to meet a Lithuanian speaker to help me read it properly!
*(After working this out, I did resort to GoogleTranslate to find out that the title means Kake Make and Big Darkness so I think I’m on the right lines!)
A brilliant opportunity has come to my attention via the LiPS group on Facebook. If you’re interested in art and/or languages and you live in or near Coventry, or can get there on 28th September by 4pm, I’d say register. And as the blurb says, it’s not just for language teachers – it;’s for any KS1/2 staff member. And if you do go, please report back as I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to attend as it’s just my thing! (Really hope they repeat it on a day i can attend!)
Teaching Modern Foreign Languages through Art Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
Thursday 28 September, 4.00-5.30pm
Suitable for all Key Stage 1 & 2 teachers and teaching assistants.
Knowledge of a MFL isn’t necessary.
Includes a tour of the new Picasso exhibition
Explore, consider and learn how to use art when teaching modern foreign languages in this cross-curricular workshop.
Finding inspiration from our newest exhibition Picasso: Linocuts from the British Museum, language expert Anna Grainger* will draw on her 20 years of experience to discuss ways in which non-specialists (so don’t worry, you don’t need to be able to speak a foreign language to take part) can use artworks to think about vocabulary, history and culture. This workshop also includes a special private view, tour of the exhibition, and an opportunity to learn more about the Coventry Primary Languages Hub.
*Notes on the speaker: Anna has taught languages for 20 years and is currently a specialist MFL teacher and international coordinator at Alderman’s Green Primary School in Coventry. The school has recently been awarded the British Council’s prestigious International School Award in recognition of its work to bring the world into the classroom.
Booking essential, please contact Nicky McIntosh on 024 7623 4271, firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve just come back from a lovely holiday in Bayern during which I tried hard to use my German – with some success including a heated discussion with a woman in Königssee about passports and plenty of food discussions.
As usual I found myself drawn to bookshops (and dirndls but I resisted those!) and made a few purchases as you can see:
Elefanten-Sommeris a lovely PixiBuch about a little girl called Lina and her elephant, Rufus. They ‘trumpet’ together and are happy until Rufus does something naughty…
And Kasper Mütze is a PixiBuch that contains two stories about Kasper Mütze – Kasper Mütze hat Geburtstag and Kasper Mütze hat Besuch. Each page is very simple and rhymes, the phrases are quite repetitive which is great for me – and for my planned German club who will all be beginners.
Und heut ist Montag – I love Eric Carle books and I’m familiar with this one in English and Spanish so when I saw it in the bargain bin for 2€50 I snapped it up! Days of the week, food and animals – lots of possibilities. And it can be sung too!
And then I saw this book Ich bin das ganze Jahr vergnügt in Salzburg when I was sheltering from torrential rain in a Buchhändlung. Lots of rhymes and songs for different times of the year, some with actions (like In dem Walde steht ein Haus) and others with music. I particularly liked the two above; on the left, a poem with the days of the week, and on the right a poem I could use to introduce a Christmas tradition from Switzerland called Räbechilbi.
Finally, at the airport I found two magazines that I thought might be interesting to children – and me!
National Geographic Kidsis very colourful and has a variety of lengths of text in it as well as quizzes and interesting facts. I particularly like the bilingual facts signalled with the two flags which allow you to compare German and English, and also Check diese kuriosen Fakten. I’m very tempted to enter the competition too – think I might need to find a child to enter for me though…
And Dein Spiegel is the children’s version of the famous Der Spiegel. It’s more complex than National Geographic Kids but there are short news items like the one about the boys in England wearing skirts to school as well as longer articles about Sport, Natur, Kultur, Menschen, Wirtschaft and Politik. I’m hoping that I might learn something about the upcoming elections by reading the section below right. And then there’s the jokes page. Some are a bit complex for me but I like the two below left – my trumpet playing son particularly likes the one about the violin and cello!
I might have spent far more money but tried to restrain myself!