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Archive for the ‘tools’ Category

#PracPed15 – Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Evernote Snapshot 20151016 104158My session at the wonderful Practical Pedagogies conference centred around the use of technology to enhance Primary Language Learning.

Key points I made included:

  • technology is not  just for the pupils but also for the teacher;
  • it is just one tool we have to use;
  • it is not always the best tool for the job.

I went on to suggest online tools as well as apps that might be useful in a range of contexts and situations.

My presentation is below and there is wiki with links to tutorials, examples and ideas that accompanies it. Feel free to ask questions via the contact form or @lisibo on Twitter.

Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning from Lisa Stevens
And thanks to Marisa for sharing her notes (and photographs!) here.

Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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.

  1. 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

 

  1. 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

 

  1. Dramatic stories

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Share!

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.

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Make links

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.

 

  1. 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.

You can buy a printed copy of the magazine by clicking here, or

Freely read online by clicking Here

#ILILC3 Show and Tell – Tools for Educators

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Screen Shot 2012-04-23 at 21.20.01At the ICT Links into Languages Conference aka #ILILC3 Show and Tell, amongst the fun and hilarity over Manx knobs and whether Swiss or Belgian chocolate is better, we did do some ‘serious’ sharing of ideas for language teaching. Others shared how to adapt and play Cluedo, Jenga, Blankety Blank ( I even featured in a question!) and Poker in a language classroom context.

My contribution was to share how to make games and other resources using Tools for Educators.

I’ve shared here previously about some ideas for using them so have a look at Tools for educators – board game maker and Los oficios job activities. You can also have a look at What did you do? game and What did you do yesterday? game, two resources for English teaching that I shared on The Language Point.

And here’s a bonus set of bingo cards for Easter that I’ve just made! Easter bingo

Perhaps if you make some games or resources, you could share them with others. There are a variety of places that you could share, but why not think of sharing with MFL Sunderland, a site run voluntarily by Clare Seccombe which is chockablock with great ideas, most of which have been made by Clare!  She’s launched a 70 Day Challenge to celebrate the 9th birthday of MFLSunderland – could you help her reach the 70 new resources target?

 

Toolboxes

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

These images pretty much sum up my thinking on the use of ICT.

Digigogy Images

Digigogy Images

Inspiration for Motivation – Top Tips for PLL

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Here is the Slidecast of my second presentation from Brighton.

Apologies for the audio cutting out before the end – no idea what happened there!  Perhaps the iRiver overheated!

Apologies to @wizenedcrone for forgetting her real name – it’s Fiona Joyce!!!

And the German site I mentioned was called GenkiGerman.

@digitalmaverick Drew a crowd.

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Every time I have heard Drew Buddie speak, I have been amused, informed and challenged to go away and investigate – and this time was no exception. Drew aka @digitalmaverick delivered a session on Web2.0 tools in his own inimitable style, taking his inspiration from Alan Levine aka CogDogBlog / CogDogRoo and his 50 ways to tell a story. You can find a full list on the CogDogRoo wiki but we only had time to look a few of them including Bubbleshare, Ourstory.com, Animoto and Kerpoof.

With @pj23harry, @jokingswear @orunner and @lisibo tweeting proceedings, it was unsurprising that Twitter was explored in some depth with most of the session attendees signing up for accounts and starting to befriend one another. Drew encouraged us all to write our Twitter names on or name badges so that we would be able to recognise who had a Twitter profile and follow them. This fitted well with the big screen in the hall that displayed all tweets to @iowconference08, the conference Twitter account.

We also had a look at Voki and discussed how it might be used, and touched on Voicethread, before thinking about wikis and blogs. Drew showed people how to sign up for a Blogger blog, and also mentioned NING but as blogs and NING are blocked on IoW, that was something that people had to go away to investigate further.

Although I knew about many of these sites and tools, it was good to be reminded of them and offered ideas for using them. It was also great that people chipped in little bits of information that they had to share, and that included people via Twitter. And of course, the entertainment factor was high, especially as the master computer for the room was at the back and Drew had to keep running up and down the room to operate things until he coopted Paul Harrington into doing it for him ;o)

Comenius West Midlands Primary Languages Conference 23rd June

Thursday, June 26th, 2008


On Monday, Comenius West Midlands held its Primary Languages Conference at the Novotel in Wolverhampton. Sandwiched between keynotes by Joe Brown from CILT that involved song rhyme and lots of action, and Steven Fawkes from ALL who thrilled us with his ‘Banane‘, delegates had to choose sessions from a range including :

  • It’s magic!
  • International Perspective
  • Let’s play – Language games and activities for the playground.
  • Numeracy through Languages
  • Animation
  • Italian for the Primary classroom – a cross curricular approach.
  • Music and songs in the Primary classroom
  • Animation in the languages classroom (double session)
  • Creative use of ICT

A tricky choice for many, judging from the feedback at the end of the day! I for one will be emailing presenters for notes from their sessions as I was presenting and missed out on all of the sessions!

Actually, I didn’t completely miss out as I was able to attend the plenaries and also began the day by acting as ‘roadie’ for Oscar Stringer as he presented a whistle stop double session on animation from idea through planning, modelling, filming, adding finishing touches and publishing. Phew! In a very short time (less that two hours), the participants made short films in French and Spanish which can be viewed below and on his NING network. Just shows what you can do in a short time with good instruction, imagination and a bit of plasticine. ;o)

Find more videos like this on Animation For Education

Definitely inspired me! So much so that, after a quick chat with Oscar, I decided to have a go with my Year 4 class this week. More of that in a later post!

My session was entitled Creative use of ICT and centred on the use of some tools that i thnk are useful to enhance and enable PLL.

The idea had been to introduce delegates to Voki, Voicethread, Audacity and Photostory, explain how I’ve used them in my classroom, and then let delegates have a go at using one of the tools. I’d prepared notes for people that went into everyone’s pack so those who couldn’t attend were able to benefit too, and these pointed to online tutorials for the tools as well as examples from my experience and research. I’d also requested a laptop between two to be provided with a microphone and Internet access, and Audacity and Photostory3 uploaded ready. I’d prepared a Voicethread and Voki account for the day so all outcomes could be saved together for future reference, and I’d also added some examples to get people started.

Best laid plans and all! There were three laptops provided, the speakers didn’t work, and Internet access was at best infuriatingly slow and at worst non-existent (at 20€ per laptop, I hope the orgnisers got a refund!) Anyhow, it left me rather embarrassed as my examples took an age to load (Voki) or didn’t play sound (Voicethread AND Voki at times) – next tie I’ll save them for offline access using Camtasia or similar – and I’ve found that there is a facility on Voicethread now to save for offline access.

However, I did manage to highlight the use of del.icio.us which i hadn’t intended to mention but proved to be one of the most popular ideas with delegates. My account of how I use Audacity led to lots of smiles and there was a general hum of interest as I made a Photostory in three minutes.

I must say was a little disheartened by the first session, especially as I had to repeat it after lunch, but several people came up to me and seemed to be buzzing about something I’d shared, so I went into the repeat feeling a little more confident, especially as I was prepared for the problems this time! The make up of the group was different this time and they asked lots of questions – I think they were the G&T group ;o)

At the end of the afternoon when the evaluations were returned, I was rather surprised, and very pleased as well!- to read several who said things like

“The ICT session was the best bit!’
“Brilliant session on ICT – can you do a whole session on Voicethread and podcasting next time please?”
“the notes were so useful – I’m going to check them out on del.icio.us – and I’m going to tell my staff about it too”

If you want to have the notes, see below. and all the sites / references can be found on my del.icio.us account – http:del.icio.us/lisibo/june22

Creative uses of ICT in the PLL classroom – Get more College Essays

Build your Wild Self

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

I blogged about this great site a while back – but thought I’d mention it again, and post a picture of MY Wildself as I intend to mention it tomorrow when I speak about Using ICT in the Primary Language Classroom for Comenius West Midlands in Wolverhampton, and also as I mentioned it in my post about El Carnaval de los Animales.

So here’s Lisibo – the Rein-pol-conda-ger-guin-peacock (always said I was a bit mixed up )

As I mentioned in my post on Unit 11, my idea is to use the image above as the stimulus for descriptive writing. Pupils could describe

  • the physical attributes of their Wild self
  • the character traits that their Wild self displays
  • the environment in which it lives
  • the food it eats

So – my example would be:

Me llamo Lisibo. Tengo la cabeza de una niña. Tengo las orejas de un oso polar y las cuernas de un reno. Tengo la lengua larga de una anaconda. Tengo los brazos de un tigre y el cuerpo y piernas de un pinguino. Y tengo la cola muy bonita de un pavo real. Soy simpática y cariñosa pero a veces soy feroz. Me gusta el sol aunque tengo que sentarme en un palo de hielo porque mi trasero es de pinguino ;o) Como las hormigas y los gusanos con la lengua, y mi comida preferida es una hamburguesa.

There are probably other things you could add – feel free to add suggestions to the comments below. I like it when you talk back!

Top tips for Primary Language Teaching and Learning.

Saturday, June 21st, 2008


I had the privilege to speak at Tile Hill Wood School and Language College on Thursday evening. I was really pleased to be asked by Ana Neofitou, Head of Languages, who I’ve met a couple of times at Language World and other more local conferences, and Jo Redford who is Assistant Head and who I met in Oxford this year when she introduced The ALL London Show and Tell session in which I participated.

My session was the last of three sessions for Primary teachers in teaching and learning Primary Languages. Previously the group of about 40 teachers had been working in language specific groups and focusing on vocabulary for topics such as sport and animals. My session, entitled Top tips for Primary Languages, aimed to give them an insight into how to deliver PL in an engaging way, making use of free resources and easily acquired skills. I enjoyed expanding on my presentation from Oxford (you can see and listen to it in this slidecast) which I delivered there in 10 minutes – just over an hour was still too short, but I was happier! I just get so excited that I could talk for hours!

Below is the presentation, and also the notes I made for delegates so that there wasn’t too much mad scribbling as I gabbled away! Even as a standalone document, I think you can see what I’m trying to say!

Top tips for Primary Languages

Wordle

Monday, June 16th, 2008
You may have noticed that I’m a fan of ‘pretty things’ – avatars, Flickr photos, widgits etc – and also of words (current favourites include kerpoof as said by Drew Buddie) so when Wordle was recommended in last night’s EdTechRoundup Flashmeeting, and I then saw a post by Langwitches in my Google Reader telling me that ‘Wordle produces ‘beautiful word clouds”, my interest was piqued.
clipped from wordle.net

Wordle is a toy for generating
“word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds
give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently
in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different
fonts, layouts, and color schemes.
The images you create with Wordle are yours
to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them
to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

blog it

I had a little go at making some. You can use your own – or someone else’s del.icio.us username to create a cloud – here’s one for http://del.icio.us/lisibo

and another for http://del.icio.us/whitehousecommon (my school del.icio.us account)

I love these visual representations of my bookmarks as they highlight the most popular tags so clearly(the text size for each word is related to the number of times it appears) and it’s pleasing to see that the focus of my tagging is where I thought it was ;o)

You can also input random words to create a cloud. So I tried pasting my last blog post into the text box and came out with this –

There are some other great examples in the Wordle gallery including:
How to survive a Zombie attack

Here’s a French one – very topical too –
Le Coupe d’Europe

and a Spanish one –
Inteligencia emocional

I think these are great fun and could be used in the classroom as a way of presenting information e.g. new vocabulary such as food and drink, things based on popularity when doing likes and dislikes as well as creating visual poems and stories. And how about inputting some text that children have written and graphically showing them how many times the word ‘said’ or ‘went’ appear – that should bring the point home ;o)

So let’s get Wordle-ing!