QCA – Page 2 – ¡Vámonos!

Category: QCA

Joe Brown, was the keynote speaker at the Birmingham Primary Languages Conference. Joe is a Primary Language Teaching Adviser at CILT explained his experience and background as a Primary School teacher, teaching abroad (in bilingual German school) and in Inner city London. Joe used an exercise with the following greetings to highlight how many languages were spoken by the pupils at the school where he teaches. He talked about the opportunity that this offered to show respect to others by learning how to greet these children in their own language, giving value to the home language and also the possible discussion of forms of greeting (tu et vous; tu y usted) How many languages can you identify?




Bom dia

Guten Tag












Joe was definite that PLL is NOT just about speaking and listening – there are five strands in the KS2 Framework and all are as important. There is fun in PLL but there is also rigour.
He highlighted the QCA scheme of work, pointing out that it is specifically designed for the KS2 Framework and is freely downloadable or can be purchased for £15.

Joe asserted that every child is interested in language learning – every one can be intrigued by the idea of different languages, giving successful experiences to those who may have struggled in other areas of the curriculum. We want to harness this enthusiasm, embedding language into the curriculum and making sure that language lessons stay as among pupils’ favourite lessons. Joe commented that, in his experience, this enthusiasm is particularly well maintained where there is dialogue between primary and secondary, and where PLL has the support of the Headteacher.

Joe reported on the spread of languages chosen for PLL – 91% doing French, 25% Spanish and 12% doing German. He also pointed to HLTAs playing a big role in some areas.

When pupils re asked about PLL, three words are heard a lot – Joe offered some ideas as to why:

DIFFERENT – incorporating learning styles

EXCITING – working with and extending the children’s interests

FUN – children and teachers see learning experience as motivating

Joe used the following song to discuss how we decode language using KAL and LLS. How did we work out the meaning? What comments might children make? Can actions help us? How co
uld this become a month’s work? Could this cover all five strands of the Framework? For example – intercultural understanding in discussing songs from other countries about the weather. The only clues he gave were in the form of an action for each line.

¡Qué llueva! ¡Qué llueva!

La virgin de la cueva,

Los pájaritos cantan,

Las nubes se levantan,

¡Qué si! ¡Qué no !

Que caiga un chaparrón,

Con azúcar y limón.

Joe then highlighted more resources that are available including the NACELL site and the ELL forum, the various Grids for Learning including East Riding (schemes of work) and Northumberland (interactive stories with resources) and the Training Zone

Joe offered some ideas of brain breaks – using actions like stretch, turn, dance, and then adding adverbs or perhaps negatives. Why not do brain breaks in Spanish? Such activities cover Framework objectives and count towards the recommended time allowance.

Finally Joe highlighted an often forgotten part of the Framework – part 3 which has 8 sections giving guidance on more general matters such as inclusion, progression, assessment, making links, transition. Under inclusion the Framework addresses self esteem, involving parents, social skills such as body language etc.

Joe concluded by offering some ideas on the question – What does good PL look like?

He demonstrated in a whistle stop 10 minutes that, from small beginnings, a unit of QCA can be extended to an end result that can be celebrated.

  • Teach body parts
  • Simon says (listening activity as well as a game)
  • Look at word and point to it
  • Phonemes
  • Apple pie/Sausages/Squeak piggy squeak/Your majesty to practice vocabulary
  • Look at graphemes / orthography – accents / use of gender – engaging children in the written word
  • Tongue twisters – eg Poquito a poquito Paquito empaca poquitas copitas en pocos paquetes.
  • Colours
  • Comparing colours in different languages – not sticking to the language you’re learning
  • Cross curricular – practice using grid references along the corridor up the stairs using numbers and colours for axes
  • Beetle with body parts and colours to produce monsters
  • Talk about the monsters they have created. Using 1st or 3rd person
  • Portraits – look at painters eg Picasso
  • Produce a portrait of self for display labeled in language in simple words then sentences.

A summary of Joe’s Key messages
Framework available
There are 5 strands
Training Zone is there to support
Nacell is there to support
QCA SOW is available and builds on KS2 Framework and 5 strands.
Small steps – giving a broad base of knowledge and enthusiasm for language on which secondary colleagues can build.

The ABC of QCA was presented by Sue Colepio – originally a secondary teacher now in Primary Language teaching and Heidi Gallagher, a Yr 6 class teacher for 2 days and is an PLL AST and Comenius KS2 consultant in East Riding.

The QCA schemes are one way of meeting the goals of the KS2 framework, taking the wider Primary curriculum as a starting point – what’s great is that many of the activities are inspired by things that are already done in Primary and it draws on things kids enjoy. Each unit has three sections – presentation (flashcards, puppets etc), practice (songs rhymes and games to consolidate) and production stages (the QCA scheme seems to recommend a final product to celebrate the things that have been done eg displays, assemblies, presentations to the class, exchange class projects).

Heidi focussed on activities for Four friends / Les quatre amis Unit 5 of QCA – aimed at Year 3, towards end of year. She pointed out that the QCA scheme could be an intimidating document for the reluctant or less confident class teacher, and suggested that a couple of activities be taken from the plans in the first instance and then more built in for the subsequent years.

The unit starts with looking at the story – Heidi would introduce animal names first but that’s a matter of debate – is this too near the topic based approach we’re being encouraged to get away from? Would it be better to introduce story first and allow pupils to pick out the relevant vocabulary ?

Heidi the used the activity montrez-moi ….– as informal assessment – pupils show the card that matches word she says. Also thumbs up, heads down – Pouces – with each child putting their head on the desk and holding up a thumb. Four kids are chosen to represent the animals then they squeeze a thumb- the pupils whose thumbs were squeezed then guess which animal squeezed them. I think this would work better if played like ‘squeak piggy squeak’ with all the class shutting their eyes and one child making an animal noise for the guesser to identify – animal and child’s name.

Classroom language can be linked – using the same four animals, each row or table or child receives an animal image and then instructions are given to the specific animals :
e.g. les moutons, levez-vous
les lapins, asseyez-vous
les souris, regardez-moi

The phonic focus for this unit is ‘ch’ in French (often there is one being reinforced) – makes sound ‘sh’ in French –and the action to accompany is finger to mouth. You could use le manuel phonique (French version of the Jolly Phonics scheme)

The story was presented by Heidi in a Smartboard flipchart, using the background in the resource bank alongside free downloadable animations. As it is read, the activity is to focus on phonics – put finger on lips everytime you hear the ‘ch’ . there’s lots of repetition in the story of phrase such as ‘c’est qui?’ ‘ X voit la belle pomme rouge’ and ‘ j’aime bien manger la belle pomme rouge.’ We did it with the text on the screen but the point was made that it’s best to do the activity without the text so it really is listening activity, then clone the page and add text for later activities. Here’s the link to a downloadable version in Powerpoint – seems to have sound embedded too!

The next activity might be to build a word bank of examples that pupils know already that may have appeared previously e.g. bouche, cache-cache, cheveux or that have appeared in the story / unit e.g. cheval, champs, chercher – perhaps have laminated posters for each phoneme – grapheme link so vocabulary can be added with Post-It or board marker as a reminder – also allows it to be an ongoing activity.

Another activity might be looking at how the animals move – galope, sautille, court, trotinne. Or possibly Répétez si c’est vrai – can be done with thumbs, or lollysticks or on IWB with correct answer hidden under a shape

This unit reinforces a previous phoneme – ‘on’(finger on nose to make pig nose) e.g. mouton, marron.

Another activity to reinforce phoneme – look at word then cover – can you write it? What phonemes can you hear? Will that help you? Perhaps show the picture and pupils say and write the word on a flashboard. This allows instant assessment as you can see who has it, who needs more help etc.

Sue took over, showing us Juan, her little man who shows her linguistic skills – English as her head, French as her body as she has studied and lived there, German and Spanish as her arms as she teaches them and Italian as her feet as it’s hard work to talk to her husband’s family. A lovely activity that could equally be done by pupils and even with cultures with which you / they associate.

Asking us to suspend belief and become Year 3, Sue aimed to look at the three sections of the units, suggesting ways of introducing then practicing and exploiting in a final production. She taught us some greetings in Spanish, using repetition and song. Focusing on silent ‘h??

? in Spanish with the example of Hola, we looked at hospital, hamster, hotel, suggesting from the model how we might pronounce these words. We quickly swapped to German, using Hallo and Auf Wiedersehen with actions like Peekaboo (peek out from hands for Hallo and hiding for Auf Wiedersehen), practicing the ‘au’ phoneme with a mirror and then playing Cabbages – I know the game as Squeak Piggy Squeak! Pupils disguise their voice and a blindfolded volunteer has to guess who it was – a good, fun game to practice vocabulary.

She showed us a clip from Early Start German that introduces Wie geht’s? Gut, Sehr gut, Nicht gut, then we improvised a dialogue from our new language.

I would have liked to have seen some ideas for taking the units away from the suggested activities, but it was interesting, as someone who teaches Spanish, to see how the French units work.

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