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Archive for the ‘rhymes’ Category

Las manos – calming Spanish songs and rhymes about hands!

Saturday, March 14th, 2015
Image from wikipeques - click for site

Image from wikipeques – click for site

Ever since #ililc5 when Janet Lloyd introduced us to this French song for gaining attention and restoring quiet in the classroom, I’ve been searching for a Spanish equivalent. So far I’ve not found one but it got me thinking about using songs and rhymes to create calm.

I have to admit that I tend to use them to either create excitement and action – see posts about La Vaca Lola and Choco Choco la la, two of my favourite songs, or to teach vocabulary – for example, see these posts on Yo quiero ser by Nubeluz or La finca del Tío Ramón and Hojas Hojas that I subtitled using Amara. However, I began to use this song to start all my lessons in KS1 at the start of the year and noted that as well as signalling the start of the Spanish lesson, it focused us all and calmed everyone down.

Part of the appeal is the routine, but I also think that the actions help. And as I was searching, lots of the songs and rhymes I found were either about or used your hands so I thought that warranted a post!

 SONGS

I came across some lovely songs that I think would certainly work for restoring calm, focusing attention and creating a ‘brain break’ during class:

1. El pourri de las manos

I love this collection of songs which could be used separately or as a whole! Each is only about 40 seconds long and all can be sung/acted on the carpet as well as in seats. Some helpful (opposites) vocabulary too – content/triste, arriba/abajo, abre/cierra, allí/allá.

I also like the way that it starts very calm and then gets a little more animated but not too much!

You can find the lyrics for this song here.

2. Saco una manito

This is one of the songs included in the above video – I think the ‘band’ will be very popular, and it’s still very chilled with the saxophone and calm actions!

Saco una manito. La hago bailar, / I take out one hand. I make it dance.
La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again.
Saco la otra manito. La hago bailar, / I take out the other hand. I make it dance.
La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again.
Saco las dos manitos. Las hago bailar, / I take out two hands. I make them dance.
Las cierro, las abro y las vuelvo a guardar. / I close them, I open them, and I put them away again.

3. Dedos

A very very simple song in which you touch each finger together one after the other then all together.

Palmas con un dedo, palmas con el otro, doy con el más largo, luego con el otro,

viene el más pequeño…

¡Y luego con todos!

Éste dedo es la mama,éste otro es el papa,el más grande es el hermanocon la niña de la mano,

el chiquito va detrás.

Todos salen a pasear 

 

4. El zapatero

This song about a shoemaker is the Spanish equivalent of Wind the bobbin up with arm rolling forward and back, pull, pull and then ‘pan pan pan’ as you gently hammer the shoe.

Envolviendo, desenvolviendo,

estira, estira y pan – pan – pan

envolviendo, desenvolviendo,

estira, estira y pan – pan – pan

zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar

zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar

 

5. Arramsamsam

I’ve seen this rhyme before but had forgotten about it. A nonsense rhyme, but with hand actions that require some concentration.

Arramsamsam, arramsamsam

guli guli guli guli guli arramsamsam

Alamis, alamis guli guli guli guli guli arramsamsam

 

6. Con mi dedito

A calm song for saying sí and no, firstly with a finger, then a foot then the head.

  Con mi dedito, digo: si, si

Con mi dedito digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y este dedito se escondió.

  Con mi piecito, digo: si, si 

Con mi piecito, digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y este piecito se escondió

  Con mi cabeza, digo: si, si

Con mi cabeza, digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y esta cabeza se escondió.

 

7. Manos divertidas

Another song about hands with lots of actions to copy!

  Ya mis manos se despiertan y ten van a saludar,

se sacuden con gran fuerza y después se enrollan de aqui por allá.

  Son mis manos divertidas, siempre salen a jugar

suben por una escalera y después se tiran por el tobogán.

  Ellas tocan la bocina, ellas te van asustar

y después de tanto juego, cuando están cansadas,

te invitan a soñar.

If you’re interested in more traditional action songs, have a look at Diversión con juegos de mano which includes Dos manitas, diez deditos and Los deditos.

RHYMES

Continuing on the original thought of bringing the class together, this might work as I’ve yet to find a class that don’t want to wiggle their bottoms given half a chance!

Mis manos hacen clap clap clap

Mis pies hacen stamp stamp stamp

Mi boca hace la la la

Cintura hace cha cha cha

Other rhymes using your hands include Los dedos de las manos and there are several more here including Dedo pulgar (the Spanish version of Tommy Thumb) and Cinco ratoncitos in which one less finger or ‘ratoncitos’ comes out each time to play! And the ever helpful Spanish Playground has some other suggestions too.

I was going to talk about clapping rhymes but I think I’ll save that for another post as they aren’t really very calming 😉

I’ll try some of these out in class and let you know what happens.

PS Over the last two weeks Y2 and I have been exploring world dance and this week we did some ‘flamenco’ arm work. There was utter concentration so perhaps that’s another avenue to explore!

Stafford Primary Languages Conference – Tip Top Language Learning

Friday, March 28th, 2014

As promised, my presentation from Stafford last week! A quick whip through some of my favourite activities with a view to inspire and also keep everyone awake after lunch 😉

Links –

Rachel Hawkes’ phonics

Music for Los vocales D.I.S.C.O.

Rhabarberbarbara

Jo Rhy Jones phonic activities 

Oso Pardo pdf

Boowa et Kwala – Peut tu marchez comme un canard? Fingerpaint song

Padlet.com – for collecting ideas (online post it notes)

Storybird – make up your own stories using illustrators images. MFL Storybird wikispace

I also mentioned Tellagami, Pic collage and Book Creator app. Check out this post for more details!

Again, if I’ve forgotten to upload something that I promised, please let me know!

 

Something old, something new #ililc4

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

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!)

Something old, something new. from Lisa Stevens

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!)

¡Chocolate!

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 22.12.19Chocolate by John Loo

As if we’re not fed up enough of it by now, I thought I’d share a few simple activities on the theme of chocolate!

Here’s a video of a song called Uno, dos, tres, chocolate

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 21.56.23

 

It’s a variation on my favourite rhyme –

Uno dos tres CHO

Uno dos tres CO

Uno dos tres LA

Uno dos tres TE

Bate, bate, chocolate

Bate, bate, chocolate

Actions – count on your fingers for the first 4 lines then rub hands together to mix the hot chocolate with the molinillo. I like this rhyme as it’s simple, has actions and allows a bit of cultural explanation about chocolate originating as a drink in South America and being brought over to Europe by explorers.

If you want to show children what it looks like, here’s a short video clip

And then there’s this game that was introduced to me by Garry Mills at ILILC

It can also be played in pairs as a clapping rhyme.

Try it – it’s quite tricky and great for coordination!

 

And if you fancied making something, why not try some thick Spanish ‘chocolate caliente’ (here’s a recipe) and even more adventurous – some churros (recipe)

Imagiers on Youtube

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

I subscribed to the channel belonging to Imagiers a while ago.

Originally, I saw the traditional songs below –

Today I saw that there was new series – Les comptines de Gros nez. This is a series of 63 French rhymes / songs ‘sung’ by a cartoon blue man with a big red nose. For example –

Alternatively, you could use Les comptines de la souris –

Also on Imagiers are many vocabulary videos like the one below –

There are thousands of videos on the channel – some are more advanced grammar and so on, others are simpler vocabulary presentations. And some are not French at all – eg there are several clips about Helsinki!

Veo veo

Friday, February 19th, 2010

At the ELL Local Support Group (LSG) last week, we were talking about short activities that needed minimal preparation and could be used for the ‘little and often’ model.

One of the activities discussed was I spy…

In Spanish there is a lovely little rhyme that goes with the game – check out the East Riding site for sound files, instructions and words. A good game for playing with kids who have a wider vocabulary, but also for discrete groups of words eg food, sports, colours. You could change it to ‘tengo tengo’ (I have..) and play with items in a bag even.

Veo veo I see, I see,

¿Qué ves? What do you see?

Una cosita. A thing

Y ¿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)

I also came across this catchy sung version of the rhyme – here I’ve chosen the kiddies version rather than the tropical island and bikinis! Lyrics below.


Veo veo ¿qué ves? una cosita ¿y qué cosita es?

empieza con la “A”, ¿qué será?, ¿qué será?, ¿qué será?, alefante

no no no eso no no no eso no no no es así

con la “A” se escribe amor, con la a se escribe adiós

la alegría del amigo y un montón de cosas más

Veo veo ¿qué ves? una cosita ¿y qué cosita es?

empieza con la “E”, ¿qué seré?, ¿qué seré?, ¿qué seré?, eyuntamiento

no no no eso no no no eso no no no es así

con la “E” de la emoción estudiamos la expresíon

y entonando esta canción encontramos la verdad

Veo veo ¿qué ves? una cosita ¿y qué cosita es?

empieza con la “I”, ¿qué serí?, ¿qué serí?, ¿qué serí? invidia

no no no eso no no no eso no no no es así

con la “I” nuestra ilusión va intentando imaginar

cuan insolita inquietud una infancia sin maldad

Veo veo ¿qué ves? una cosita ¿y qué cosita es?

empieza con la “O”, ¿qué seró?, ¿qué seró?, ¿qué seró? oscuela

no no no eso no no no eso no no no es así

no no no eso no no no eso no no no es la hora del final

Veo veo ¿qué ves? una cosita ¿y qué cosita es?

empieza con la “F”, ¿qué seraf?, ¿qué seraf?, ¿qué seraf?, final

si si si eso si si si eso si si si es así

si si si eso si si si eso si si si llegó el final

cha cha cha

photo from Look Into My Eyes on Flickr

QCA Spanish Unit 14 – Yo soy músico

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

yo soy músico

Here comes part three of my reflections on the units I’m currently using in KS2 Spanish. If you’ve read the other parts on Units 5 and 11, you’ll recall that I’ve taught the units to half of the school and am now teaching the parallel classes until the summer break. So the current groups are probably getting a better deal as I refine and adapt from the first run, but may not finish the unit in its entirety as the end of term leads to much lesson disruption!

As with Units 5 and 11, Unit 14 has an opening stimulus from which the unit stems. In this case, a song. Based on the well known children’s song, I am the Music Man, Yo soy músico has proved popular with Year 5. The QCA Unit which can be downloaded from here in PDF and RTF, gives the lyrics – you just have to sing it! Helen Myers has recorded a music only version – clever lady!- which can be found here, and if you want to hear how it sounds with a class in full voice, check out the WCPS Spanish podcast in the right hand column – although I’m sure you’ve all subscribed to it in iTunes ;o)

At the top of the post is the Powerpoint I made to go with the song. Note that it has two parts. The first half is in the first person singular – Yo soy músico, which is the version used in the first instance when the teacher (or volunteer class member!) is the Music Man. The second part is in the first person plural – Somos músicos – as the class join in with the whole song and we all become Music Men. I used animations having listened to Nick Mair talking in Oxford about boys learning best when there is action and movement in the graphics. There is an initial disadvantage as the class comment on the guitar playing pig etc mid-song, but after the first view, this stops and it really helps memorisation.

Scheme of work for Year5 spanish summer yo soy musico

Looking at the medium term plan above, you can see that the objectives for the first lesson are to express simple opinions about music. This proved popular as we listened to some different types of music and decided if we liked them or not. In a previous unit on free time we had learned the phrase la música pop / rock / clásica and most recalled the phrase – and the accompanying action –

  • la música – hands on ears like you’re listening to music then ..
  • …pop – makes your hands pop from fists to spread fingers whilst making your eyes wide
  • …rock – rock from side to side
  • …clásica – conduct an orchestra
  • …heavy – mosh!! (a clear favourite I must say!)

We added jazz (jazz hands) and folclórica (play a guitar) which took some explaining as few knew what it was! Several pupils commented on the use of cognates – and when one asked what tecno music would be, another piped up that ‘it’d be la música tecno, silly’

I expressed an opinion in Spanish about the music using facial expression then encouraged the class to offer their own opinion in Spanish. Again, the phrase was not unfamiliar but, for some, had to be dragged from memory banks!

We then sang the song which soon involved the whole class. The first couple of times, everyone sang all the instruments to learn and fix the words – and of course we did actions for those who are kinaesthetic learners (and to keep everyone awake!). Having looked at pronunciation of the words we had a quick look at accents – why do música / saxofón / batería have accents – I explained it using people’s names – when we see a name in English we know (usually!) how to say it as there are stress patterns – it’s AlexANder not AlEXander and accents help show us how to say words. Pupils completed a simple sheet to finish the lesson – labelling and also trying to use their LLS to work out what six instruments were in English. Some of the words were obvious and others needed a bit of thought – but a few did work out los platillos are cymbals by thinking of plates!

instruments lesson 1 – Get more College Essays

Next lesson began with a recap of vocabulary and game of Simóm dice. Then we sang the song, firstly using Soy músico but with each table alloted the flashcard of a musical instrument to represent. This led to hilarity as the ‘piano’ table worked out that they had to stand up and sit down every verse – as you can guess I chose this table carefully!! We looked at the words of the opening to the song and used Sé tocar… and then Toco ….. to say which instruments we could and couldn’t play – an ‘on the ball’ pupil suggested ‘toco regular el piano’ and ‘no toco la guitarra muy bien’ as answers – not bad eh? It’s really encouraging when pupils ‘play around’ with language because they’re trying to express themselves more accurately.
We then looked at the second half – Somos músicos, venimos de Madrid etc’ and discussed how this might differ in meaning from the first half.

We went on to recap our opinions about music genres and this time tried to add some simple reasons for the opinion – because it’s slow, because it’s boring, because it has rhythm etc. Pupils made up sentences in groups adding all the bits from the two lessons to see how long a sentence they could make using connectives such as ‘y’ and ‘porque’.

types of music flashcards

At the start of the next lesson we recapped our opinions and started to present them in written form on graffiti wall posters – the word ‘graffiti’ made eyes sparkle although it was somewhat controlled graffiti! Whilst the class worked on this, I worked in the corner with my laptop and and microphone to record members of the class expressing their opinions about music – this was the start of WCPS Spanish podcast. The look of wonder on pupils’ faces when they heard their voice comin gout of my laptop and then the IWB was great – one lad, Zach, commented ‘But I sound really Spanish!’. (Pictures of posters to follow!)

Next we listened to some Spanish music and Latin American music, comparing and contrasting the instruments heard. I borrowed a CD from the library that had a vast array of South American music types on it, and I took in some of my own music – Tomatito, Heroes del Silencio, Joan Manuel Serrat, Los Nikis, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz, Operación Triunfo. We listened and decided which instruments we heard, and gave opinions on the singers / groups.
Then I role played buying a CD – using a ActivPrimary flipchart (in Box of Goodies as can’t upload to .DocStoc). In pairs with one as customer and one as assistant, the customer had to

  • say they wanted to buy a CD
  • express their opinion about a type of music and say which type they prefer
  • agree to buy an item., and we recorded some examples (see podcast!)

The roles were swapped so that everyone got to play each character. We recorded some examples for the WCPS Spanish podcast as well. This time I’m going to add discussing buying an MP3 file to this bit ;o)

Having looked at accents and stress patterns as well as considering types of music, looking at the rhythm, especially the rhythm of words made perfect sense and we spent a good while clapping out phrases and trying to copy rhythms in the next session. At times it was rather haphazard, freestyle clapping but there were signs of promise from some who managed to copy accurately and understood the use of dynamics to mark stress. ‘Guess the phrase from the rhythm’ was a popular game – it’s amazing how much concentration it takes to clap a simple phrase!

The last few sessions were given over to Year 5 producing their own rap/song in Spanish. I allowed them free rein over this with the proviso that it had to be in Spanish (obvious to me but you’d be surprised!) As a whole class we discussed how the task might be tackled and we came up with a start for those who couldn’t think of a way in, then it was up to the groups to do their bit!
There were several things to note from these lessons for next time.

  1. Some groups needed more support than they were given – perhaps more time working together as a whole class before setting groups off on their own.
  2. Groupings are key, and all the ‘musical’ kids ended up in two groups – they would’ve been better perhaps split up to help those whose rhythm was a bit off!
  3. When recording pupils’ final productions, don’t put your iRiver anywhere near the drums! Sadly, a couple of good outcomes are drowned out by the percussion.

I’ll upload those that will not damage eardrums to the podcast and/or Box of Goodies as soon as this post is finished ;o)
There were a couple of groups that tried to sing their performances to tunes from The Sound of Music – good idea, I thought. Some stuck to opinions on music, others tried to work in vocabulary from other units such as Personal introduction vocabulary and sporting likes and dislikes.

The other Year 5 class are very different to the first group and I expect this half term to pan out differently to the previous one. I think this time we’ll look at the pre-performance interview suggested in the QCA Unit and perhaps try to adapt a song rather than write rap. I’ll keep you informed!

NOTE – if you’d like ideas on this Unit in french, check out Talkabout Primary MFL where Jo Rhys Jones has spookily just blogged about the same unit!

Fun with Spanish

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008


I love singing and enjoy using song in my lessons. I’ve written before about the values of using song, rhyme and rhythm to aid learning whilst having fun. Although I’m not averse to making up my own songs, I’m always on the lookout for more songs to add to my repertoire.

In the summer I purchased a CD from Early Learning Centre called Fun with Spanish.
It has traditional songs from Spain (such as Tengo una muñeca) and England (such as Polly put the kettle on) sung in the original language but also translated into the other language. This is good as the tunes are familiar and the gist of the song already known to the pupils, meaning they have no hang ups about meaning.

The CD costs £5 – quite reasonable I think! And if you want to use it, here are the animated presentations I’ve made to go with the traditional English songs in Spanish plus the concluding rap.

Uno_ dos_ tres_ cuatro_ – Get more documents

El barco zarpó – Get more documents

Lingo rap – Get more documents

Me pongo de pie – Get more documents

Polly pon agua a hervir – Get more documents

En la parada – Get more documents

Rhymes and coordination.

Monday, March 10th, 2008

Inspired by Jo Rhys-Jones post on Minibeasts, and her suggestion of some suitable French videos on Youtube to support it, I went in search of some Spanish equivalents – then got sidetracked!

Having followed Jo’s links to Papillons, (complete with operatic French version of Anything I do, I do it for you), I decided to search for Spanish butterflies – mariposas. I came across a clip of ‘Mariposas de Asturias‘ which is very similar (the music is more relaxing!)

Then my search took me off in a different direction when I came across a video clip called Mariposas Silenciosas. Not about butterflies, but a game that can be played in small groups to improve concentration, coordination, and also provide a bit of calm!

Then I investigated Luis Pescetti further and found more videos that I thought might be interesting. Keeping to the minibeasts theme, how about Cienpies about a centipede-

This is followed by an action rhyme with nonsense words – a bit like Gingangoolie (not sure if that’s how you spell it as I’ve never tried writing it down!) – with simple actions that get faster and faster. Amazing how muddling it can be to do simple actions fast! And here’s another – Aiepothis time, the rhyme is said in different voices depending on the speed, starting as an elephant, very low, and finishes higher!

Another rhyme along a similar vein, but this time with ‘proper’ Spanish words – in this case a traditional Spanish rhyme – Palmas, higos y castañas.

Also on a minibeast theme, scroll down to the seventh song on this page for La canción de la pulga about a flea that jumps on a dog, bites it and then has a full tummy!

In fact, having found lots of his videos on Youtube, I then went to his website http://www.luispescetti.com/ and discovered lots more too see and do. Words and (very usefully) mp3 files for songs as well as videos and jokes. Well worth investigating. From a quick look, I can see a Spanish version of London Bridge is falling down, as well as Un kilómetro a pie (referred to in a previous post on Active learning) and a lovely song called Mocos about bogies!!

And on that note, I’ll leave you to explore for yourself!

Phonics music and rhythm.

Monday, February 25th, 2008

What do the Kaiser Chiefs, The Bangles and the Pink Panther have in common? Not much you might think, but all provide the backing to French songs demonstrated today by Steph Hopkins at her conference Creating a compelling curriculum.

In a session entitled Phonics, music and rhythm – developing confident speaking, Steph talked of the enhancement of creativity, engagement, independence and communication skills achieved through the use of song and rhyme in the MFL classroom. Citing Heather Rendell and the work of Leigh McClelland and Rachel Hawkes at Comberton Village College as her starting point, Steph quoted research pointing out that a child cannot read aloud effectively in another language if they cannot decode single words using phoneme –grapheme links. Starting from that point, Steph showed us some examples of synthetic phonics in French – complete with very amusing animations – which she has used in her classes.

Steph went on to talk about the rhythms of French, clapping phrases to enable the cadences of the language to be more apparent, and to enable good intonation as well as pronunciation. I’ve always found this effective in PLL as it is something with which pupils are familiar from literacy. I liked the use of ‘encore’ by the pupils to ‘boss around’ the teacher that Steph cited – shows that they have engaged with the task.

And then to the Kaiser Chiefs! With one of her groups in need of practice of the French alphabet, Steph put it to a karaoke track of Everyday I love you less and less by the boys from Leeds – and off we went! Next up, the verb etre to the theme tune of Pink Panther, followed by Eternal Flame by The Bangles for the verb avoir, complete with lines about brown rabbits and mischievous hamsters :o) Certainly works as I’m sitting blogging on the train humming Je suis, Tu es, Il est, elle est, on est etc – and we were also shown video evidence of a class singing – and dancing! You can download powerpoints of these songs from here on Steph’s blog ( I know that Chris Fuller uses song in his Spanish classes – he blogged a lovely video of one of his classes singing the verb ir to Kumbya – and here’s another group recording it on their mobiles!)

Pigloo then made an appearance with a couple of exercises to complete as we listened to the little penguin’s take on YMCA Moi j’aime skier – ordering a text, grouping words from the song and a gapped text with all –er verbs missed out. A comment was made that there was more interest in learning the dance than the lyrics, but, as Steph pointed out, if you’re watching it enough times to learn the dance, something must be going in of the lyrics!

Some great ideas that can easily be adapted for use in any classroom – I feel the need to raid my record collection for inspiration!