In case you didn’t know, the Champion League Final this evening is being held in Madrid. And that set me thinking about the series Mi Madrid that I wrote for BBC Schools Radio last year. One of the 10 episodes ¡Hala Madrid! is all about football, albeit ‘el derbi madrileño’ between Atlético de Madrid and Real Madrid. I love football and it was a joy to write. I particularly enjoyed writing the story in which the Madrid football stadiums argue about who is the best. You can hear it told here and read the (bilingual) transcript here El Estadio Metropolitano will be the stage for tonight’s game and hopefully will see an amazing game, won by the best team! #YNWA
Wish I could claim credit for writing the songs for Mi Madrid as they’re amazing! I’m really glad that the BBC has now made videos for each of them as it makes them even more useful. I sometimes choose one to play whilst kids complete an activity as a timer, or as a way of gaining attention.
I’ve yet to see The Greatest Showman but I love the soundtrack so when I found this video today I was delighted.
This is me in Spanish – Así soy. Below the video I’ve posted the lyrics too. It won’t be a song I necessarily teach the children but it’ll make a pleasant background to activities, and it has such uplifting and important lyrics that I’ll happily tell the children what it means. Unlike Despacito…
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
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!
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…
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?
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.
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.
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 veoI 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)
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yesterday as part of Health Week I shared this video with Y5 who were focusing on ‘exercise for health.’ Although Sergio Ramos’ singing caused great amusement, they loved it and all enthusiastically joined in with the chorus.
If you’ve read the July edition of UKEDmagazine you may have read my article entitled Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning. If you haven’t, you can read the unedited version below or the official version at this link
Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning
A wide variety of people teach languages in Primary schools, probably more than in any other ‘subject’. Whether you’re a class teacher with or without language skills, a reluctant language coordinator or a visiting language specialist (to name but a few possibilities) here are my top ten tips for primary language teaching and learning.
Phonics are vital
It doesn’t matter which language you teach, making the correct sounds of that language is key. Working on phonics from the start builds a strong foundation on which learners can build, enabling them to see new words and say them accurately. Have a look at Rachel Hawkes’ website where there are links to free resources covering French Spanish German and Italian. http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php
Songs and rhymes motivate and teach
A good way to increase confidence in reading and speaking the language is by sharing songs, poems and rhymes. This is also a good way to reinforce phonic knowledge and explore the rhythms of the language. Mama Lisa has songs and rhymes in many languages, often with a sound file giving the correct pronunciation and a translation into English so you know what you’re saying! There are also many songs and rhymes on Youtube on channels such as Basho and Friends or by searching for the artist such as Alain le lait
Using stories – in translation or original language – is another great tool for language learning as they are familiar and often very repetitive. My favourites include Oso pardo, ¿qué ves?,Le navet enorme and Kleiner weisser Fisch as they lend themselves to acting out (even Y6 like acting!) and are easy for learners to adapt into their own stories. For example, Y5 invented stories based on Le navet enorme that included a child who didn’t want to get in the bath and had to be pulled to the bathroom, a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard and a car that broke down and needed to be pushed.
Technology has its place
There are many opportunities for using technology to enhance language learning such as recording, reviewing and refining speaking activities using Audacity or an app like VoiceRecordPro, or performing speeches and role plays using Tellagami, YakitKids, or Puppet Pals. BookCreator app is an excellent tool for creating multimedia books including text, sound, video, hyperlinks, doodles and pictures; incredibly easy to use and suitable for young children as well as those who are less confident with technology. And why not use Build Your Wildself or Switchzoo to create hybrid animals then describe them in the language.
Using technology is also a great way to enable sharing of the great things that go on in language learning. Whether it is via the school website or VLE, tweeted or shared on a class/school blog, celebrating language learning gives it status and also provides an audience and a purpose for learning. Additionally, learners are able to take their learning home with them digitally; the excitement of pupils when we made our first podcast nine or ten years ago was great. “I’m on my Gran’s iPod!” was my favourite comment.
Use anything you can get your hands on
The primary classroom is full of things that can be used and adapted for language learning. Number fans are great for counting and also giving feedback with numbered images for example. Mini whiteboards allow learners to write and correct without committing it to paper as well as drawing images to show understanding of vocabulary or instructions. Unifix cubes can be used for ordering ideas or vocabulary and cushions make great impromptu puppets for speaking or islands for phoneme sorting!
Grammar isn’t a dirty word
Primary learners are very familiar with grammatical terms and enjoy comparing the grammar of other languages, making links and finding differences. Sorting words into boxes according to gender, making human sentences to explore word order and creating verb flowers or spiders are just some ways of making grammar fun and memorable.
Integrate language learning into the curriculum
Language learning shouldn’t be seen as a standalone but, as much as possible, integrated into the primary curriculum. As there is no prescribed content in the KS2 PoS, it’s possible to teach the skills through whatever topic if you use a little imagination. And where full integration is tricky or where a specialist delivers the lesson, a class teacher can always build language into routines such as PE warmups, lining up, the register and so on, even if their knowledge of the language is limited.
Don’t just make cross curricular links, but also cross country and cross cultural links. Making contact with children that speak the language you’re learning is very motivating and gives a real purpose to learning. It also increases learners’ understanding of other cultures as well as considering their own in new ways. The British Council SchoolsOnline is a good place to start the search for partners.
Celebrate all languages
Most of all, celebrate all languages. Many learners already speak more than one language which is a valuable skill. Encourage them to share how to say things in their languages; comparing and contrasting numbers or colours in a variety of languages is a fun activity as learners try to group similar words together.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine
If you’d like to read more of the magazine that includes other articles about language learning including one of target language by @reebekwylie and Progress in MFL by @jakehuntonMFL the links are below.
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!
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!
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.
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.
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
I’ve seen this rhyme before but had forgotten about it. A nonsense rhyme, but with hand actions that require some concentration.
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!
I’m making a list of useful links that parents might use with their children to practice and reinforce their Spanish, and was struck by how many ‘goodies’ there are provided by the BBC. So I thought I’d share! NB I’ve focussed on Spanish but they all come in a variety of languages – see individual sections)
For younger learners (preschool onwards), The Lingo Show started out as a website featuring ‘language bugs’ who teach Lingo a few words in their language. As it was so popular, it became a TV series with episodes featuring Jargonaise (French), Wèi (Mandarin) and Queso who teaches Spanish, and then a second series featuring the German, Welsh and Urdu bugs was made and broadcast in May 2013.
The website has fun activities as well as links to songs that feature. Current languages include Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Sinhala, French, Welsh, English, Italian, Urdu.
Here’s an example of a song featuring Queso from Youtube, and the link to a counting song
The ‘old’ Primary Languages website with ‘animales animados’ and Jhonny (sic) and co was great (and you can still access the archived version minus games here) but I was really excited to be involved in ‘revamping’ the site and rebranding it. It was developed when languages were to be compulsory and the KS2 Framework was THE bible of primary language learning, but it still stands in my opinion. This site was written to be accessible to KS2 pupils and is organized in topics. It includes:
vocabulary with sound files to help pronunciation;
interesting tips and facts about Spanish/French/Mandarin;
links to other helpful resources
There were limitations to the things that could be done e.g. interactivity, ‘free’ writing, games beyond vocabulary recognition level etc. And I sometimes wonder what happened to other ideas and resources that I saw and wrote that have never appeared on the site – including sentence building games, lesson plans. worksheets and notes for parents.
I’ve used the site with Y2 recently and they love the songs – they listen as they work and have started singing along. Sometimes they want to see the words and other times they want to watch without. The tunes are excellent – the composer did a good job of making the words fit in English Spanish French and Mandarin to the same tune!
I’ve signposted it to my colleagues as well as a way that they can ‘do their bit’ to reinforce Spanish learning; non-threatening as it’s all there for them.
3. Bitesize (now the home of Learning Zone)
The ‘repository’ of all the BBC videos used to be the Learning Zone Class clips, but they have moved to Bitesize (actually since I started writing this post!) The Learning Zone is still there in archive form and still works; it just won’t be updated. If you scroll down to Spanish in the Primary section, there are lots of clips of programmes on a variety of subjects:
However, these videos – and others – are now listed on BBC Bitesize. There are categories for Spanish according to the ‘Key Stage’ system:
(NB there are other languages too in all the above sections! French, German, Italian, Mandarin)
These two clips come under KS2 School and are from a series called Adventures Abroad; a playground game called Abuelita ¿Qué hora es? that I’ve played with classes, and a programme about primary school routine in Spain that I know has been used and enjoyed by others who found Papo the parrot particularly amusing.
This is a series of programmes in which a child, Ashleigh, is helped with her Spanish by friends in Spain via video conferencing. It also includes some songs and cultural information. (Also in French and German)
Here’s the trailer…
and here are the episodes:
Something I’ve noticed is that the clips all have a QR code option for sharing which I like! That means that I can make a display of all the QR codes and then learners can access them whenever they wish (as long as they have an iPad or mobile device!); for example, as an extension/further learning for early finishers.
I really like Virtually there. Ashleigh isn’t a KS1 child; I’d say she’s nearly secondary age so it would appeal to older KS2 learners and also KS3 beginners. I also like the mix of ‘live’ episodes and songs; the gender song is one of my favourites.
So, there’s a round up of BBC online ‘stuff’ for primary learners. Hope it’s helpful!