TalkaboutPrimaryMFL – ¡Vámonos!
 

Category: TalkaboutPrimaryMFL


Following a request this afternoon at the meeting of the Birmingham Primary Language Coaches for a forum on which they could meet, discuss and share, a new NING has been born!

Birmingham Primary Languages, as the blurb suggests, is a place for those involved in – or soon to be involved in – teaching languages in Primary schools to discuss, share ideas and resources, offer and receive help and advice, and generally keep in contact with what’s going on across the city.

Over the next week or so, I’ll be explaining what’s what on the site but I’ve started off the forum with an easy question to get the ball rolling.

So, if you’re involved in Primary Languages in the Birmingham area, please join and start sharing and asking questions. If you want to make any suggestions, you can leave me a message on my page on the site (click my icon) or a private message by clicking the envelope below my name on my page. or you can always leave me a comment here.

Don’t forget, if you’re involved in Primary Languages anywhere in the country, Talkabout Primary MFL is a must-join-NING! ;o)


This weekend really is turning into ‘catch-up’ time as I blog things that I really should have mentioned over the last few weeks when they were ‘hot off the press’ but didn’t due to time etc etc!

Talkabout Primary MFL, as I’ve told you before, is a Ning network started by Jo Rhys-Jones as ‘an interactive network for those teaching (or considering teaching) foreign languages in Primary school; a place to share your worries/successes with supportive colleagues.’
When I joined in June last year, there were 10 members – now there are 203 and counting! I’m so pleased that word is out that it’s the place to be for ideas, support and discussion. I certainly make sure that I tell everyone about it when I speak – in fact, joining Talkabout is one of my Top Tips!

Well, now Talkabout has gained a Wikispace! A wikispace is like a word processing document to which lots of people can contribute and share. There are so many people contributing great ideas, writing blog posts, sharing resources and experience, offering advice and support, that things could easily be missed. As Jo explains in her post that announces the arrival of the wikispace,

I’m hoping it will help organise the blog posts as this network grows bigger, and although documents can be uploaded directly, just adding a hyperlink saves space. I am also hoping that any members, particularly those who are members of groups, might like to add/edit their own group pages, simply by ‘joining’ the space. You do NOT have to join the wiki to view it – so to see what I’m trying to describe, click the link below. I’ve only just started adding things – so the more people who volunteer to ‘join’ and add things themselves, the jollier! This space is for YOU to use.

So why not pop along and check it out! And contribute! The more the merrier!

Note to self – that includes you!

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!

As I’m coming to the end of my reports, I thought I’d point you to some other places where you can find out about the Primary Language Show.

In his usual efficient way, Joe Dale has published the show notes and audio of his sessions in Manchester on his blog – Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom.
Si if you want to find out about ICT…so what (free tools that you can use to enhance all four skills in the MFL classroom) or Podcasting from Idea to iTunes, pop along to Joe’s blog. In fact, if you wnat the answer to just about any ICT related question, you’ll probably find it there! Also worth checking out are Joe’s pictures from Manchester – see if you can spot me!

Another colleague with whom I met up in Manchester was Jo Rhys-Jones of Talkabout Primary MFL fame. We spent the two days swapping notes on sessions so I was glad to see that Jo had followed up her promise to tell us more about one of the sessions that had intrigued me most, all about Minibeasts. As the mother of two small boys, minibeasts are something about which I have learned much in the last few years, and Jo reports back on Linda Owen’s session at PLS in which Linda described a spiralling scheme of work covering Reception to Year6. Jo has added has added some of her own ideas too – well worth a read.

The CILT website declared the show ‘absolutely outstanding’ , quoting Lorna HarveyCounty Advisor for Primary MFL in one of our neighbouring LAs, Staffordshire. ‘I got such a lot out of it, as usual. I really appreciate the opportunity to hear from so many people with so much expertise, and this has a real impact on my work.’

I’d agree with Lorna.
Anyone else got anything to share from PLS that I’ve missed? Perhaps an idea that you’ve had, a short report on a session or a comment on the event overall? Feel free to leave comment below.


Tomorrow I’m off to the Primary Language Show in Manchester. It’s the first time I’ve been able to go for both days and, although I’ll miss the conference dinner (booked out by the time school decided I could go) and am not staying over but travelling in both days from home (don’t fancy hotel rooms at the moment), I am really looking forward to it. As CILT proclaimed today –

The 12th annual CILT Primary Languages Conference takes place this Friday 29 February and Saturday 1 March at the Manchester Conference Centre, and is the biggest event of the year for all those involved in or interested in primary languages.

With language learning due to be in all English primary schools by 2010, and 70% of primary schools already providing some form of language teaching, interest in the show is growing each year and both days of the conference are now fully booked.

With sessions on a wide variety of topics related to PLL including the use of ICT and story, football and dance, there’s something for all interests, and it will be hard to choose which sessions to attend.

I’m hoping to meet up with Jo Rhys Jones and other members of Talkabout Primary MFL for coffee and cake – we might even let Joe Dale (who is speaking on podcasting) join us as the token male if he behaves :o) So there will no doubt be plenty of blogging going on after the weekend – keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Although the conference is fully booked ( I applied four weeks ago and the plenary sessions on Friday and also the dinner were fully booked then) you can still attend the resources exhibition for FREE! So if you’re coming, why not leave a comment or contact me via Twitter.
Hope to see you there!

Tablas en español.

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My current fascination with Youtube continues! There will be no doubt be more posts later in the week with more of my discoveries, but here is the first ‘joya’.

The ideal for Primary Language Learning (PLL) is that the learning is embedded in the curriculum.

During my browsing, I discovered some lovely little videos of tables in Spanish. Some are chants and some are drills, ranging from 47 seconds to 1 minute 55, but all have captured the interest of my 6 year old – ‘I don’t know my tables’ – as well as 9 year old who is a maths whizz.

They cover the 2 to 10 times tables, multiplying by up to 10.

See what you think! My particular favourite is ‘tabla del 5’ but I’ve embedded all the videos in a custom player (fancy eh?!)

For more ideas on using Maths in PLL, check out Jo Rhys-Jones’ post on Talkabout Primary MFL.

I love Widgits!

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Following an email exchange initiated by Chris Fuller today about making posts from our blogs appear on Talkabout Primary MFL, Jo Rhys Jones (creator of this NING network) sent Chris and I off to http://www.widgetbox.com/widgit/rssscroller to acquire a widgit that could be put on our personal pages of the network. Thus, anyone popping by to say ‘hello’ will see what we have blogged recently. Worked a treat as you can see here


This got me thinking as one of the attractions of blogging to me (shallow as I am!) is what Leanne Simmonds calls ‘the bling’ – that is, the bits and bobs that make your blog look attractive. As you may have noticed, I have a few bits and bobs in the right hand column. Looking at it, there’s a mixture of things for the reader (like my Box of Goodies and my del.icio.us tabs) and things for me (such as the visitor counter) and the odd thing that serves no purpose but to amuse (like Bart’s blackboard hidden at the bottom.)

Having added my widgit to my page, I decided to have a nose around Widgitbox to see what I could find. I discovered that Jo has made a Talkabout Primary MFL widgit which I have now installed on the right, as has Natalia Garcia at Nodehill Middle SchoolJoe is not the only clever MFL teacher there obviously! ;o) – for the Spanish Club she runs. In fact, if you go to the Spanish Club blog, there are a wide variety of widgits belonging to the other Nodehill blogs in the left hand column. So, not to outdone, I’ve made one for Vámonos
– in fact, it’s a Blidgit (a blog widgit) and you can subscribe to it, or add it to your blog through the My Blidgit button on the right.

Whilst I was there, I also added Las portadas de hoy which shows the front page of today’s Spanish newspapers and also a site translator – although I’m not a great fan of online translators, Google Translation seems to be quite good – but it’s on trial! I toyed with adding Sticky Spanish as the idea looked good ,bu the preview showed no content so I didn’t!

More exploring seems advisable to keep my ‘bling’ quota sufficiently high, but there’s a small child complaining of hunger so must go.

UPDATE – in fact, I’ve removed the site translator and replaced it with a (far superior?) link to Google Translation!


I spent today in Gloucester at an eTwinning event entitled Working on the Internet with partner schools across Europe . The event was led by Baldev Singh so when I was asked following the Nottingham PDW by the British Council to attend the event as an eTwinning Ambassador and talk about my experiences of eTwinning, I jumped at the chance. As I blogged previously, I had wanted to attend all three of the workshops at the Nottingham event, so the prospect of learning something from Baldev was exciting. And sure enough, I did!

After giving us an overview of how ICT and technology has impacted our world and how it can be used to develop the international dimension, we had a go at using Photo Story 3 to make presentations on a theme of our choosing. I was itching to have a go as I helped other people with their presentations, and I managed to grab a few minutes to make a quick slideshow about ‘Healthy food’. I was really pleased to learn that Photo Story 3 is downloadable free and as soon as I got home I downloaded it – another thing to play with at the weekend ;o) It was really simple to use and you can see the result of my ten minutes (promise you it was that quick!).

Throughout the day we talked about a myriad of tools such as Voicethread, Voki, Animoto, OneTrueMedia, Flickr, and many more as well as mentioning various projects including Voices of the World and Chris Fuller’s Euro08 project – possibly not a good time to talk about footy :o( as looked at the possibilities for eTwinning. I talked to one delegate about a collaborative music project and another about their existing partnerships and how it might be developed. It was good to be able to go beyond my brief too as people asked about my PLL experiences too and I was able to point a couple of people towards online support networks such as Talkabout Primary MFL.

All in all, a successful day for all – and I must have done a half decent presentation as I’ve been asked to go back!

Enjoy the video!

Visit Talkabout Primary MFL

A few months I became a member of Talkabout Primary MFL – and what a good decision that has proved to be!

Set up by Jo Rhys-Jones ‘This is an interactive network for those teaching (or considering teaching) a foreign language in a Primary school; a place to share your worries/successes with supportive colleagues. Please let us know what works (or doesn’t) for you.’

I have contentedly made myself at home on the site, joining in discussions, discovering new resources, making friends and blogging about a number of things including European Day of Languages, the Rugby World Cup and teaching Primary Languages without a voice (my first ever blog post!!) And I will continue to do so.

I’m starting my own blog because I’ve always wanted to have a blog, and also due to the fact that NING is blocked at school. As one of the intentions of doing this is to support my colleagues as they begin to teach Spanish at WCPS, it’s important that they can gain access to the support when they need it.

However, I would thoroughly recommend joining Talkabout Primary MFL as you will discover a supportive network of people with a mixture of experience in relation to PLL , offering and discussing lots of ideas and resources to support and inspire.

So why not click on the badge in the sidebar and find out for yourself!

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