This year at Language World I was invited to present some ideas for using technology for collaboration in language learning. I teach primary so the focus was on that age group but there are many ideas and tools that are equally applicable for young and old! In spite of some technical hitches and running out of time as there was so much to share, the ideas were well received and I hope that this will serve as a reminder/update for those who attended, and a snapshot for those who didn’t.
Below is my presentation. Whilst all the links work, the videos don’t I’m afraid but you’ll find some below to give you a taster.
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.
I love visiting IKEA and wondering around the children’s department as my attention is invariably grabbed by something I think I can use. It’s not often that a specific lesson is ‘born’ as I browse, however.
Meet Señor Brócoli. Our eyes met and I was inspired!
I saw his pockets and thought of using him like a food triangle , filling his pockets with play food. And a lesson was formed, which was a bonus as I had a lesson observation looming and this was perfect!
I had adapted a presentation by Rachel Hawkes that she had shared on TES Resources previously for use with Year 4 in their unit on healthy eating but felt that it would work well with Year 6’s unit on food as well. The preceding week had been healthy eating week and we had made Wordles and Tagxedos of healthy eating vocabulary (they only had 40 minutes to find the words, type them in and print them so it wasn’t in great depth!) That was the starting point for the lesson.
We then played ‘ping pong’ with food vocabulary, seeing how long they could keep the rally up.
Having gone over pronunciation, pupils used the vocabulary from slide 3 cut into slips to classify vocabulary according to certain criteria using Tesoro o basura sheet; feminine nouns, plural nouns and finally healthy foods were the treasure.
The next step was to consider what healthy means as it’s not easy to decide definitively. That’s where Señor Brócoli came in. Using plastic play food, pupils ‘fed’ him, placing food in his pockets. The pocket into which they placed their food item corresponded to the frequency with which you should eat it – top pockets are smaller and correspond to a veces, the middle pocket to a menudo, and the bottom pocket to todos los días. The pupils all wanted to take part and say the appropriate phrase in Spanish.
They then classified the food in the triangle (slide 7)
I assigned each table a text from slide 8 to read, and encouraged them to ‘magpie’ useful phrases. They compiled lists together and then shared them with other groups.
The final part of the lesson was to write their own short text using slide 10.
If we had had more time, slide 11 was the extension activity with pupils suggesting food to match the definitions.
Pupils really enjoyed the lesson and didn’t want to go to lunch – and that’s very unusual. And it proved to be an outstanding observation too.
Throughout the lesson pupils RAG-ed their work using the fruit scale – ¿eres un tomate, una naranja o una manzana? That was a hit too; much more appealing than traffic lights!
Señor Brócoli will appear again soon; Year 4 are looking at healthy lifestyles too!
Spanish Playground is a great site packed with ideas, and their latest post is full of ideas for celebrating National Poetry Month – April. (It may not be where you are but I like poetry and any excuse!) I liked their suggestions and was inspired to share a couple of their ideas, and a couple of mine!
I particularly like Idea 6 which suggests using ETTC’s Instant Poetry forms. Once you get the idea of the structure, there’s no need to use the site although I like it for the reminder about structure. I had a go at a few…
A Lune(using the 3 word, 5 word, 3 word structure)
La primavera viene Corderos nacen y flores crecen Hay vida nueva
A 5W, or in Spanish 5Q poem (each lines answer a question who, what, where, when, why)
Pocoyo Juega con Pato, En el campo, Después del cole, Porque sí.
I took a screenshot but you can save the poem as a PDF and also share it via email.
An alternative to this would be to write the words in the shape of the subject as a calligram like the cat one below (from here)
I also like the idea of using Wordle or Tagxedo with poetry, either to create word clouds of existing poems or to give shape to new ones. Here’s an example below that I made using Tagxedo and ‘A Mexican Night before Christmas’
I also wrote about the QCA unit La Primavera and taking part of the Antonio Machado poem La Primavera and rewriting it. This would be a simple activity to do as a celebration of National Poetry Month too. We posted our on a Padlet (was called Wallwisher) wall so we could share it with a wider audience.
I’ve found this post about Spanish poetry by Federico García Lorca, Jorge Guillén and Rafael Alberti (for older learners I’d say!) and these are more suitable for younger learners. And this post about using poetry to look at rhyming is also very interesting, using one of my favourite little poems –
Colita de rana.
Si no sanas hoy,
And to finish off, as a 15 year old I was captivated by Joan Manuel Serrat singing poems by Antonio Machado so Dedicado a Antonio Machado (Cantares)
Today I delivered a day of training entitled ‘Creative and motivational language learning in the primary classroom’ for AQA.
What a lovely hotel and wonderful people!
The materials were prepared well in advance, and things change from day to day let alone from month to month, and I am prone to spontaneity and tangents. Therefore there are a number of things we discussed or I referenced that were not included.
Rachel Hawkes is an absolute genius who I’m certain rarely sleeps or else has her own TARDIS as she can’t possibly have the hours in the day to teach and do all the things she does!
Her ‘Major talk’ was all about speaking – the most undeveloped but most important skill in terms of motivation as our perception of being good at languages hangs on our ability to speak.
If you want to experience the presentation, you will no doubt soon see it on Rachel’s blog, but some key points were-
Key strategies –
building a framework for spontaneous talk
providing opps for planned and unplanned talk
focusing on key structures
providing a range of stimulus materials to respond to
using tech to enhance interactions
Teaching phonics is very important – the first thing that happens in year 7 at Comberton. The phonics aare linked to a gesture and once learned, the pupils are given words to pronounce – it could be people’s names or shopping lists.
Other ideas for geting pupils talking were
using a Morph clip and asking What are they saying? Can you give Morph and Chas some words? Or to give pupils the words and ask them to put them in order.
an iPhone clip that practiced ‘Puedo…….’ and could be used to reinforce ‘¿se puede….?
the Obama reggaeton rap
posing a question eg ¿Tienes hermanos o hermanas? and stipulating ‘tu respuesta debe tener 7 palabras‘ then ¿Cómo puedes contestar con más de 10 palabras
Odd one out connecting triangles
pilla al intruso ; and, one of my favourites,
what isn’t going to happen??? What didn’t happen?
All the clips Rachel used are bookmarked in her account there – RachelHawkes60.