reading – Page 2 – ¡Vámonos!
 

Category: reading

With World Book Day coming up next week, I found this video that gives reasons for why reading is important. It’s in Spanish and has no commentary; all the reasons are written in the slides. Some slides contain too much to read before they change but did you know that you can change the speed of a Youtube video? If you click on the Settings cog, you can alter the speed (see below) I’d recommend 0.75 speed the audio doesn’t sound too distorted although 0.5 is OK as this has music rather than speech.

I’m still working on my plan for this year – two years ago I use a Roald Dahl book in Spanish as my inspiration and last year, we focused on the Mr Men and Little Misses as we were looking at illustrators. However, you can see the pins I’ve collected on my WBD Pinterest board, and I’ll post my idea as soon as it’s developed.

I’ll leave you with some quotations about reading; my favourites are 2 and 6.

 

On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.

Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)

 


It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story

Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:

Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.

Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?

Le daría el nombre …..  – I’d call it……

Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives

Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?

Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..

Viviría …………. – It would live….

and so on.

Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.

For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:

There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.

In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:

Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.

And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!

And if you’re looking for a story to read that has a message, I liked El dragón que escupía chocolate. And Nattalingo recommends El dragón frío on her blog.

There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!

Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!

Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…

Continuing my posts on non-fiction texts, here are some suggestions of texts that you might use to engage those hard to please learners who need something a bit different to capture their attention.

Firstly, some DK Readers that I bought a long while ago on Amazon. They come in several levels as you can see below, ranging from one sentence per page plus reinforcing illustrated vocabulary through simple sentences using repetitive language to the inclusion of information boxes and fact files and beyond.

 

The three I have come from the lower levels as they were bought to be accessed pretty independently by learners, and are on topics that I don’t specifically teach so the vocabulary is mostly unknown.

This is taken from El Mundo Marino which belongs in the lowest level ‘prenivel 1 para principiantes’ and I used this with Y1 last year when they were looking at the seaside. I read it to the class, focusing on the names of the things found in the sea rather than the meaning of the phrases. It was then left for reading during the week by anyone that fancied and also as an activity for those who finished quickly. Perhaps you could encourage learners to label a picture of a sea creature using the book as a reference?

The second book is called Gigantes de Hierro and was bought when I had a pupil who was obsessed with vehicles. I now know a little boy who would very much appreciate this book! It contains some great pictures and I found it fun expanding my heavy machinery vocabulary to include un camión de volteo, una aplanadora  and una carretilla elevadora. Of course, it’s good for a bit of role reversal with learner teaching the teacher new words; just proves nobody knows everything! It’s a good book to read with a child or to a group of children, particularly with the onomatopoeia!

And then there’s ¡Insectos! which comes from ‘nivel 2 Lectura asistida’ and has some wonderful photographs of insects as well as interesting information. It’s quite complex as it’s a direct translation of the English version, but not impenetrable. For the page above left I might ask questions such as:

  • What is the name of that insect in English? Use the text to help you if you don’t know.
  • We call it a praying mantis – do you think the Spanish name is similar? Why?
  • What do you think ‘inmóvil’ means? Why?
  • Can you find a word for ‘huge eyes’ in the text? (relying on them knowing ‘ojo’)
  • How do you say ‘Its front legs trap the fly’?
  • Find the words from jump, trap, disappear

I like the fact file at the end too which,if anything, is the most accessible as the facts are so short. I’d have translations of each fact and ask learners to match them up with the Spanish as an extension activity perhaps, or as a little challenge!

If you search DK Readers Spanish on Amazon there are several including El Mundo Marino and Insectos although most come from the USA so beware the postage!


Deportes de riesgo – El vestuario de pegatinasI bought this book at El Prat in Barcelona last year as I was about to embark on sports with a particularly feisty Y6 cohort and needed all the ammunition I could get to keep them with me for the last half term! Every time we learn the vocabulary of sports there are children, usually boys it has to be said, who want to say that they do activities and play games other than the ‘stock’ ones like football, rugby, basketball, swimming and horse riding. And why not? I’m forever encouraging learners to be imaginative and ‘make it up’ in Spanish lessons so I can’t really object when they want to say that they go scuba diving or skateboarding. And this book covers, as the title suggests, some marvellously dangerous and unusual sports. It not only gives the name for the sport, but also talks about the equipment required which fits perfectly with the Light Bulb Languages unit that looks at sporting clothing and equipment to explore the definite and indefinite article. Again I wouldn’t let them use the stickers on the pages but I’d use the stickers on card and cut out to ‘dress’ the sports people, or indeed use the central pages as a picture dictionary which is what I did last time I used it.

There are sports mentioned that I’d never heard of, and it’s always good to find out the technical words in Spanish associated with sports. For example, someone who does el parkour is called un traceur or una trace use (all taken from French which is where it originated), un piolet is an ice axe and climbing chalk is polvo de magnesio

If I can bear it, I might even separate the pages of the book and use the pages as ‘laminas’ with questions associated with each, as well as reading activities to dress the people in the images according to written instructions.

One complaint about this book – there are four female sports people and over thirty male. Girls like dangerous sports too, Usborne!

ISBN – 978-1-4095-7265-7

Buy from Amazon and Ediciones Usborne 


My last collection of books in this post are from Mini Larousse 

I love these books for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re attractive with amusing illustrations that draw you in so can be enjoyed even if you don’t understand a word!
  • The text is in Spanish handwriting which is again novel, adds something to the reading challenge and is a good way to add a bit of culture and ‘authenticity’ as well.
  • The texts are presented in short chunks using bold to pick out key words.

Being a football fan, El fútbol was the first one that I purchased, attracted by the cover that features La Selección winning La Copa Mundial with recognisable drawings of players (although Iker Casillas has strangely got very dark hair and a huge chin!) In fact there are players throughout the book that learners will recognise including Frank Lampard, Bufon, Gerrard and even Gary Lineker.

I like the combination of prose and labeled images, and the balance of images to text is about right to not put off reluctant readers in  UKS2. As with previous books, I’d be happy for learners to access them individually and use the pictures and their knowledge of football in conjunction with language learning skills to read as they wish. To offer some guidance you could produce a list of key words and phrases in English and challenge learners to find the equivalent in spanish, perhaps giving them the page number as a clue.



Caballeros y castillos is a book that Y3 would find interesting  as one of their topics is all about castles and involves organising an imaginary jousting competition, complete with stalls and ‘betting’ on the jousts (from Youtube!) The page able would be useful for finding the names of people involved in the joust, and the one below could be used as the stimulus to design and describe ‘escudos’ (a twist on the Y3 Spanish topic on shape and colour)

And then there’s Los Piratas which is a bit advanced for the KS1 topic on treasure but great for reading for pleasure. Good to see some famous female pirates featured in this book!

You can purchase El fútbol and Los Dinosaurios in this series from Little Linguist.

ISBN – 978-84-15411-16-1 El Fútbol

ISBN – 978-84-15411-14-7 Los Piratas

ISBN – 978-84-15411-18-5 Caballeros y castillos

Other books include El Universo, La Prehistoria, Los 5 sentidos and El Cuerpo Humano.


Any ideas you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Following on from my last post about a couple of non-fiction books I bought in Bilbao, I’ve decided to share some other non-fiction texts that I’ve collected over time. In fact, I’ve concluded that I need to do it in several posts as there are quite a few, so here is part one which includes some ‘arty’ books! By arty I mean to do with the arts not just about artists although there are quite a few that fit that category.

Don Quijote – A Spanish Language Primer

I bought this lovely board book last year to share as part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death- and that of Shakespeare. It is essentially a word book with the left page in English and the right hand page in Spanish and intended for very young children; however, used in conjunction with this song from BBC Bitesize ClassClips, it gave a stimulus to introduce and discuss the most famous work of Cervantes in a simple and unthreatening way.

Link to purchase: Amazon

ISBN – 978-1-4236-3875-9


Gaudí

This book forms part of a series called Big Names for Small People and my copy is in English although you can buy it in Catalan  (and soon in Spanish – see the link below) I am a great fan of Gaudí and his story is so interesting that I really enjoy sharing this book with young learners porque si as well as in the context of our learning about Gaudí’s artwork when we discuss shape and colour. It’s also particularly useful for looking at timelines, chronology and working out how long ago things happened.

Link to purchase in Spanish: Amazon    Cossetània Edicions for the other books in the series

ISBN – 978-84-9034-414-9

It contains no words, but I also use Trencadís  with the above book. It’s a wonderful sticker book with outlines that you fill in with stickers that are taken from photographs of Gaudí’s original works so children get to be just like Gaudí without the mess of smashed crockery!

ISBN – 978-84-616-3706-5

And finally, before we leave Barcelona, here’s a storybook in English that gives a flavour of the city through the eyes of two dogs called Poppy and Max. Poppy and Max – Holidays in Barcelona is a work of fiction but I thought I’d share it here as it’s in context!

ISBN – 978-84-92745-31-9


Frida Kahlo (Colección Antiprincesas #1)

My final book (for now as I have more at school that I’d like to share!) belongs to a series that has attracted lots of attention and centre round the life and work of Frida Kahlo. It’s completely in Spanish and whilst the chunks are fairly short, it’s not the sort of book that you could expect children to pick up and understand without guidance. I like the small blue boxes that give definitions of key words like surrealismo and revolución, and also the stylised drawings of some of Frida’s works alongside photographs and pictures of her actual work. A fascinating woman!

Below is a video of the book being read in English, and you can see it in Spanish by following this link  and forwarding to about 12 minutes. The link that promises a lesson plan based around the book is broken but I’ve tracked it down to here – it includes some excellent ideas not just based around the book but also around promoting women and being ‘antiprincesas’.

ISBN – 978-987-33-9158-3


I hope this selection of books has been of interest. I’ll share more in my next post, focusing on books with a scientific theme.

Another purchase on my travels to Bilbao was this book entitled Veo Veo.
It’s a really simple board book about two ‘lunas’ or moons that go for a walk to the park and play I spy. I liked it for the simplicity of the languages, for the repetition and also for the simplicity of the images.

So how would I use it?

  1. A book to read as the introduction to a guessing game: a number of images on the board and the leader says Veo Veo to which everyone answers ¿Qué ves tú? (the refrain in the book) before someone guesses which picture has been chosen. This limits the number of vocabulary items that need to be known to play the game.
  2. As a variation on the above, the leader could say what letter the item begins with Empieza con … or say what colour it is Es (de color) …. or give other simple clues.
  3. As above but using the whole rhyme that I shared in a previous post some time ago. (Sadly at the time of writing the link to the East Riding materials in the post is broken and I haven’t managed to track down if they are still in existence. EDIT: Now updated as I’ve found it!) It’s a call and response with the leader saying the parts in red and everyone else responding with the blue words before someone guesses.
    Veo veo I see, I see,¿Qué ves? What do you see?Una cosita. A thingY ¿qué cosita es? And what thing is it?Empieza con la ……. It begins with ………

    ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? What can it be? (x 3)

  4. It could even lead into a Wake up Shake up style activity or PE warm up using the MiniDisco video below; I can see my KS1 classes enjoying being letters and waggling their fingers (and their bottoms!)
  5. Getting away from the song/game Veo Veo, I also thought that the book would be a good stimulus for some writing.
    The story has the ‘lunas’ seeing two items, one on top of each other, then on the next double page, a third item has been added underneath, and then another so that by the end there are five items:

    Una estrella sobre un pez.

    Un pez en la nube azul.
    La nube sobre un ciempiés.
    El ciempiés sobre un iglú.To limit vocabulary, you could provide a number of labeled images that pupils could cut out and stick in a tower as in the book. At the most basic level they could label the items and at the next level describe using simple prepositions like en and sobre in the style of the book: [noun] [preposition] [noun]
    A little more complex would be to add some time conjunctions primero, luego, después, finalmente etc to sequence the items.
    And to add extra difficulty pupils could choose their own items to arrange and describe, perhaps not restricting themselves to placing them on top of each other but also placing them a la izquierda or a la derecha, al lado de, entre etc to introduce further positional prepositions, and adding a verb to the sentence; for example, Hay un sacapuntas debajo del arco iris or La silla está al lado de la naranja.
  6. The texts from the above activity could be used for listening activities with pupils sat back to back, reading out their description for the other pupil to draw before comparing images at the end.
  7. Another listening activity would be with the teacher describing a stack of items (as in the book) from a bank of given images and pupils arranging the images according to the description. Or it could be a reading activity involving drawing or sticking the items.
  8. Or if you’re feeling adventurous and have a big space, what about giving instructions to place larger items in a tower (being careful of H&S of course!); this might be a good idea for a smaller group or club.
  9. An added challenge for pupils would be to make the items rhyme with each other; for example
    Una vaca debajo de una butaca.
    Un payaso en un vaso.
    Un sartén sobre un tren.
    There’s a PDF of rhyming words in Spanish here which is helpful as it gives meanings, and this post gives a download of some rhyming cards as well as more suggestions on rhyming word activities. More advanced learners could use Buscapalabras, but the meanings are not givens it’s hard for a (near) beginner to choose suitable words for their sentence.
  10. And finally, why not have pupils making their own books – using an app like BookCreator if you want to use technology or a mini book if you want to go ‘analogue’ – using all of the above, and perhaps having the own characters.

So, there are my ideas. Have you got any to add? Leave a comment below.

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.

And thanks to Marisa for sharing her notes (and photographs!) here.

IMG_5969Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 15.40.04I had the joy and pleasure of going to France last week for the Practical Pedagogies conference at International School of Toulouse. It’s not every day you get to go on a course that involves a ‘plane journey, and I was wondering about the wisdom of my exploits as I sprinted from one side of Brussels Airport to the other with 20 minutes to make my connecting flight thanks to high winds delaying my incoming flight… I made it, and it was well worth the travel and the late night.

What a conference! Why? Well, there were many reasons!

    1. The welcome received at IST was wonderful. The staff went out of their way to help us. For example, I tweeted that I was having plug adaptor woes (mine didn’t have a ‘top hole’ so wouldn’t go in the socket, the one loaned by the hotel wouldn’t work either as my plug wouldn’t go into it…) and within minutes I was presented with a working adaptor and was able to charge my ‘phone (thanks also to Chris Mayoh who seemed to have a case full of adaptors that he was lending out!)
    2. The organisation. Never have I been to such a well organised conference. Things ran to schedule, the gaps between sessions meant that you always had time for coffee even if you stayed behind to ask a question at the end of the previous one, and I never felt the vertigo I often feel as I rush from one place to another without breathing.
    3. The company. What a great bunch of people! I laughed until I cried at points and enjoyed the friendship offered by those I already knew, those who I’d only previously known online, and those who were completely new acquaintances. Fun and games involving hats, Lycra, yards of beer and bowling alleys spring to mind.
    4. Ewan McIntosh. That man has been so pivotal in my thinking and development as a teacher and learner, right from when he was still a language teacher and spoke at Language World at Oxford Uni. He will forever be known in my house as ‘the man who made Mum buy a Nintendo DS’ for which my sons are very grateful. Every time I hear him speak or read his blog he challenges me to think and consider what I do, how I teach and how I can best facilitate learning. And he is also very human and it’s great to talk to him. Loved this description of him:

And  5. The variety of sessions was amazing! Covering any subject you could name plus cross curricular ones as well as technology and even ukelele playing. It was very hard to select just 7 (I was told I had to choose my own session) but I did.
To sum it up in a tweet:

  I tried to sketch note all the sessions I attended, only failing twice as I couldn’t draw during the Drama workshop and it was hard during the AIM one as I needed to use my hands to gesture (and I’m also rubbish at drawing hands!) Anyway, I’ve uploaded my notes below.

Ewan McIntosh - opening keynote @ewanmcintosh @notosh

Ewan McIntosh – opening keynote @ewanmcintosh @notosh

 

Novel departures - Estelle Ash and Isobel Patrick (IST) @estelleash @isobel_patrick

Novel departures – Estelle Ash and Isobel Patrick (IST) @estelleash @isobel_patrick

 

Boosting language acquisition through a FUN reading program - Patricia Burgaud and Joanne Allcock

Boosting language acquisition through a FUN reading program – Patricia Burgaud and Joanne Allcock

 

Stimulating writing using technology to encourage reluctant readers - Julian Wood @Ideas_Factory

Stimulating writing using technology to encourage reluctant readers – Julian Wood @Ideas_Factory

 

Immersive Learning - Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh @notosh

Immersive Learning – Ewan McIntosh @ewanmcintosh @notosh

 

Practical Straegies for teaching EAL students - Nick Fretwell (IST) @Nick_Fretwell

Practical Straegies for teaching EAL students – Nick Fretwell (IST) @Nick_Fretwell

All in all, an amazing time during which I’ve learned a lot and laughed a lot too. I hope there’s a #PracPed16 – or 17 if Russel needs longer to recover 😉 – already planning what I might offer to present! (This year’s offering is in the next post!)

If you want to find out more, check out Russel Tarr’s reflections on the event, and notes etc are here

PS I think that every good school needs a ‘crime scene’ in the foyer complete with police tape, forensics suit and evidence. Talk about capturing the imagination!

My idea to share at the Show and Tell was based on a post I wrote in August –

El que busca encuentra

The picture I shared is on that post (in two parts) and below I’ve uploaded it as one image. I’ve also shared another couple that don’t have questions.

el que busca

Mujeres célebres

Grandes científicas

Grandes científicas

IMG_0568 IMG_0569

Grandes genios de la informática (arriba)

Grandes personajes de terror (abajo) – perhaps for next Halloween?

IMG_0566 IMG_0567

Apart from the ideas in the previous blogpost, I was going to suggest that any Where’s Wally?/Où est Charlie?/Wo ist Walter?/¿Dónde está Wally? could be used in a similar way:

1. explain where Wally is using prepositions/positional language.

2. provide descriptions of other characters to be found: could be done as a reading or a listening activity .

3. learners could do the above with a partner, or in small groups

4. learners imagine the life of one of the characters and provide a biography, or put themselves into their shoes and introduce themselves (a little like Janet Lloyd’s ‘In the picture’ activity)

and so on!

(Apologies for taking so long to upload – I’ve suffered severe post -#ililc5 exhaustion this week!)

My second session at #ililc4 was entitled Something old, something new and concerned the new 2014 curriculum.

My presentation is below, and I’ll explain briefly what I said as I couldn’t attach the notes without making the Slideshare look ugly!

And there are lots of links ideas and resources at bit.ly/oldlisibo (should have thought out that URL more carefully!)

As I explained on the day, when you have to submit your idea so far in advance and aren’t entirely sure how your idea will pan out, it is quite tricky to come up with a witty/apposite title. My choice of Something old Something new was mainly because I envisaged sharing some old ideas and some new ones plus some borrowed from others. However, as I came to think in more detail I began to think more about weddings!

Primary languages have had a bit of a torrid love life, being loved and then rejected by the primary curriculum, nearly getting up the aisle in 2010 but being jilted at the last moment when all was going so well. So I set out to explore the ‘prenuptial agreement’ (or Languages Programmes of Study at KS2), how we can make this ‘marriage’ work, how to convince those that are nervous about married life and how we’ll keep the spark alive.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 14.09.01

So I began by looking at the Programmes of Study, highlighting parts of the  document that I found interesting.

Purpose of study – Intercultural Understanding is still really important – it’s a vital part of language learning. Providing learners with building blocks AND mortar is key if they are to be able to express what they want in the foreign language. And ‘great works of literature’ doesn’t mean Don Quijote de la Mancha, A la recherché du temps perdu or Mein Kampf at Year 3; poetry is great literature and we regularly use an extract tom Machado in Year 5 as stimulus for writing.

Aims – It’s about a balance and variety of things; a breadth of experience that leads to progression. No arguments there!

The lack of detail in the Attainment target section could be seen as a bit disconcerting but doesn’t give much guidance. However, I’m hanging on to my Key Stage 2 Framework which is still a great document; follow that and you can’t go far wrong. Measuring progress in terms of I can statements is also helpful, and there’s been a great discussion on Primary languages forum this week on what we should be looking for in terms of skills progression. (Want to join in? Join the forum or ask to join the Sharing Primary Languages wikispace)

Subject content – I highlighted that whilst it says ‘substantial progress in one language’, this does not mean that looking at other languages is precluded; in fact, I’d positively encourage it as making links between languages  is a vital language learning skill. We discussed how a balance of skills can be achieved when some are more comfortable with speaking activities than the written word which seems more ‘serious’ and permanent. And we mentioned ‘the grammar question’ – it’s not such a bad thing! Nor is looking at languages such as Greek and Latin; very useful for understanding the formation of languages as I discovered on my year abroad at Universitat de les Illes Balears. Finally in this section we thought about laying those foundations for KS3. I referred back to a presentation I’d made at Language World called Bricklaying for Beginners and how bricks need mortar, and how it’s not a wall that needs demolishing at KS3; reinforcing but not knocking down!

I then took each  ‘pupils should be taught to..’ statement and split them into listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar, suggesting ideas and activities that might meet them.

There are lots of links on the wiki to many of the ideas but here are some comments:

  • ‘joining in’  is very important and builds confidence as does repetition e.g storytelling, reciting rhymes and poems
  • making links between graphemes and phonemes is important to enable increased fluency e.g. listening out for phonemes in songs/rhymes, sorting words, reading with your Spanish/French/German glasses so you view graphemes not as you would in your own language
  • confidence with phonics is vital to teacher and learner; syllables and stress patterns too – hence my pupils’ love of stress punching!  (a post about this and ‘animal symphony’ will follow shortly)
  • books are brilliant – not just fiction though! Non fiction is very popular with boys and also is great for linking to other curricular areas: going back to my analogy, this ‘marriage’ is about give and take! If you can’t find suitable books, make your own as with my Storybird ¿De dónde viene el yak?
  • learners can decode more complex texts without knowing every word if you provide them with the confidence to do so, embed language learning skills and discuss how languages work  from the very start.
  • writing doesn’t have to be in a book; whiteboards, post-it notes, mini books, Padlet, labels, paper chains, posters, your partner’s hand; they all count!
  • structuring and scaffolding is fine – trapdoors are great as starters as is making human sentences and physically rearranging words. The Human Fruit machine with 3+ learners holding a large dice with 6 images of nouns/adjectives/verbs etc on them and spin is a great way of making make random sentences and exploring how you can substitute words in existing sentences to make new ones!
  • I loved grammar at school; I liked the logic of it all and the patterns. So why not exploit that and make verb flowers, grammar songs and raps, dice games and so on. Use highlighters/colour to clarify grammar ( I lived by my red=accusative, green=nominative and blue=dative when learning German) be it nouns, adjectival placement, verb endings/groupings or spelling.
  • Use activities that are used in other areas of the primary curriculum; learners up level sentences in Literacy all the time so why not in the foreign language? Word pyramids starting with a word and extending to a complex sentence at the base? And card sorting activities too.

So that’s the session in a (pretty big) nutshell!

(Written whilst lying flat on my back in pain so please excuse typos!)

*This is one of a series of posts about some of my favourite story books for Primary Language Learning*

One of my favourite occupations in Spain or France – and now Switzerland/Germany – is sitting on the floor of bookshops, supermarkets and any other likely looking shop, poring over children’s books. I could – and often do – spend hours searching for gems that I can use in the classroom. I consequently have a large collection of books but many are either out of print or “don’t exist” in searches as I bought them in supermarkets. De quelle couleur est ta culotte (shared earlier this week) is one such out of print book – you can get it but it costs a week’s wages! Two of today’s books belong to another category – they ‘exist’ (obviously as I have copies!) but can’t be found for love nor money! However, I’m still going to share them as the ideas can be used with other books of a similar vein, or with homemade presentations instead of a commercial book.

Image 9

I found ¿De qué color es Elmo? in a shop in Benalmadena about eight years ago and it instantly became a favourite, particularly with Nursery/Reception. The book poses the question ¿De qué color es Elmo?  and each double page spread offers a suggestion as to his colour on the left hand page with the response on the right hand page indicating that another character is that colour as well as an object in the picture, before finally suggesting the correct colour on the final page!

Image 10The book is popular for a number of reasons

It’s repetitive – it’s easy to respond to the question with a loud ¡NO! however old you may be! Or join in with the suggested colour when I pause ¿Es Elmo….? by looking at the colour of the writing!

Sesame Street is always a winner as the characters are so friendly. Many younger learners don’t know the English names for all characters but they do know Elmo! And those that recognise Big Bird are quite happy to accept that he’s called Paco Pico, or that Grover is called Coco!

The pictures are clear and interesting. Once we’re familiar with the book we look for other objects in the pictures that are the colour suggested. For example, the house – la casa – is suggested on this page. Then we turn the page and look in other pictures. And then we start looking around the room for more ideas. Sometimes we play “Traeme algo ….” – this worked really well when the age of my pupils spanned 1 – 3 years as the little ones were happy looking and pointing whilst the older ones needed a bit more challenge! As a follow on activity we might build up a collage of images in the different colours, like mini mood boards with a character at the centre of each. Older learners might label them.

Image 8

 

Someone recently said on a forum that they didn’t like little books as not everyone can see them in a class situation and that is true (although it’s a good way of staying warm as everyone squishes up close…) However, there is a very limited supply of big books, particularly in other languages. To get around this problem, I photographed each double page and blew it up to A3 size and laminated it, making my own ‘big book’. If I had had a projector in the room, I’d have simply projected the images from my computer onto it, straight from the photogallery  (the quick answer) or in a presentation (the longer lasting solution!) Lots of classrooms have visualisers now so why not use that to show the book? (Alex shares here how you can use a USB webcam as a  really cheap visualiser!)

As I said, I bought this book years ago along with another called ¿Qué oye Epi?, a lovely story about what Epi (Ernie!) can hear as he sits by his window. Unfortunately that book went missing and I can’t replace it. Fortunately I had ‘blown it up’ into a display so can hopefully find where that is (I’m a bit of a hoarder!) and use it again.

Image 11

Another book I have that is good for very little ones is Descubre y aprende los colores con Fido. I found this in a discount bookshop in Spain along with Descubre y aprende los números con Fido for 2,95€. I’m sure that there are many equivalent books out there!

Each double page focuses on a colour – verde, azul, rojo, amarillo and marrón (not an obvious choice for me but it works!) – and has a number of things to do.

Image 13

  • three examples of e.g. brown things (adjective after noun isn’t something I’d point out but sometimes a bright spark points it out for me!)
  • ‘point to the colour’ on the colour grid
  • turn the wheel to find the e.g. brown object
  • other labelled items that ‘go with’ the object on the wheel – in this case, things in the garden around Fido’s kennel.

This book works best with small groups of children or as a book for independent learning although you could use a visualiser to share it with a whole class, inviting individuals to point/turn the wheel whilst everyone else watches on the screen.

 

Image 7My final book (for now as I haven’t found them all yet!) on the subject of colour is Harold y el lápiz morado. Harold is a little boy (in a onesie!)  who decides one night, after much thought, to go for a walk in the moonlight. But there’s no moon… so he draws one with his purple crayon. And then he draws the path and the adventure begins as the purple crayon brings Harold’s thoughts to life.

Image 6Whilst it has lots of words in it and I wouldn’t necessarily read it all to the class in one go, I love the idea of “taking a line for a walk” (not quite in the same way as Paul Klee!) guided by your imagination! Added to that, it’s very visual as the drawings are clear you can follow what’s happening without understanding every ward. So I’d read it as an experience of listening to a story in Spanish, deciphering meaning from pictures, gestures and tone of voice. And then we might take our own lines for walks to see where they might take us! Perhaps we might even take it in turns to add an image to the story that could then be narrated in Spanish by the teacher (or that convenient native speaker in my class!)

Harold y el lápiz morado is available from Abebooks and Amazon

 

¡Vámonos! ©2020. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by WordPress. Theme by Phoenix Web Solutions