I am very pleased to have been asked to speak at the North West Primary Languages Conference in Warrington in June. This is the annual conference run by Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network and this year the theme is Progress with Primary Languages.
The keynotes will focus on the identifying progress, phonics, using technology and the wonders of primary language learning, and there will also be sessions on singing and dancing, speaking and listening and reading and writing as well as an exhibition.
I’m excited to be sharing ‘keynote’ duties with Sue Cave, Daniel Alliot and Therese Comfort, and I’m looking forward to the ‘Spotlight’ sessions too which I believe will share some of excellent practice from the PLN teachers.
The National Curriculum Language programme requires learners to:
discover and develop an appreciation of a range of writing in the language studied
and the KS2 section specifically states that pupils should be taught to:
explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language
I’m trying to include more whole class poems that we read and recite together in light of this and also as a way of supporting the English curriculum which requires learners to recite poetry.
So when I saw a series of books called Lee con Gloria Fuertes I decided to purchase a couple. It was hard to decide which to choose but I settled for one on nature and one on weather.
Below are my favourite poems from the books. The first is a list of wishes entitled Todos contra la contaminación which fits well with the eco focus at both my schools and would work well as a reading/drawing activity with learners choosing a line or two to illustrate. The second poem is called Gatos constipados and is about two poorly cats who get thrown out for coughing too much!
There are lots more books in the series so I may well purchase more in the future.
You can find more poems specifically for children by Gloria Fuertes here and others here. In this post there are a number of downloads of her poems along with links to other Gloria Fuertes poems including here (poems about time) and here (poems about professions). You can find a PDF of more of her work here plus here which also has a reading guide.
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.
As I reported in February, at this year’s Language World conference in March I was asked to be Resident Sketchnoter and record all the fun and excitement as well as as many sessions as I could possibly attend. It was a challenge as I normally go back to my sketch notes later to ‘pretty them up’ but in this case the sketch was immediately posted on the display board so I had to just go for it! I was really pleased that people took time to look at the display and there was a buzz of discussion and excitement as people paused to discuss what they’d seen. My hand was really struggling by the end of Saturday but it was all worth it!
I’ve deliberately delayed posting them until ALL had done so (although they were all tweeted as I finished them!) and today I received notification that they are now uploaded and ready to view! And they’ve kindly made them into a PDF!
If you want to access any of the other sessions at the conference, many of the presentations have been uploaded to the ALL site Friday and Saturday, and you can read more about it here (also more sketch notes) and here. If you were there and have any reflections, please leave a comment and I can update the post!
Another of my purchases in Bilbao was Las vacaciones which comes from a series called Colección Pictogramas described the publisher, CEPE (Ciencias de la Educación Preescolar y Especial) as forming part of a series “para favorecer la integración de los alumnos con n.e.e. [Necesidades Educativas Especiales], sobre todo los que presentan dificultades lectoras y/o de comprensión” (to support the integration of students with SEND, especially those who have difficulties with reading and/or comprehension.)
I was drawn to the book as it has a very simple text and is on the subject of holidays and the seaside which one of the topics covered by Y1 at my school. However the thing that drew me most was that the text is accompanied by pictograms, small images to support understanding of the text.
At both of my schools we use pictograms or widgets for visual timetables to support all pupils in following the flow of the day as well as on key rings for individual pupils who use them to communicate. At one of my schools we use Communication in Print (now called InPrint3) just as Las Vacaciones does to support reading and comprehension across the curriculum. I’ve used it in RE lessons to retell stories from the Bible and Quran with success but have found it more fiddly with Spanish as it doesn’t recognise the words. A while back Clare Seccombe talked about finding a Spanish version and when I bought the book, I had this in mind but couldn’t find the name of it. Fortunately, she wrote a post about it a few days ago!
Pictotraductor will enable me to translate resources to support my pupils, but also to support non specialists who deliver Spanish lessons, much as the resource below helped the Y1 teachers to use the story of Ricitos de Oro until they discovered the Pictocuentos version (and subsequently enjoyed Caperucita Roja and El Patito Feo!)
And here is a video version of the story using pictograms as the characters and activities using pictograms that I found on this blog that shares resources for ‘Educación Especial’. In this post he recommends using Adapro or AraWord (with the library of images from ARASAAC), both of which are freely downloadable from SourceForge. I do think that Pictotraductor looks easier to use as you don’t have to be at a specific computer but you need to be online to use it whereas the options above are downloaded programmes on your computer so could be done on a train for example.
I wish I’d bought more of the series of books but I’ve found the website and catalogue online so will perhaps get more when I’m next in Spain or persuade someone to take delivery and post them to me 😉
One of the books I bought in Bilbao was Un bicho extrañoby Mon Daporta, a book which first came to my attention at Language World last year during the Show and Tell when Jesús from the Consejería shared it.
It’s a charming book that fits in well with the work we’re currently doing in Y4 about describing our faces and body parts. I love the video below of the story being told using a picture onto which body parts are stuck/removed as the story develops. And the wonderful thing is, the Consejería have produced a series of activities to use the book as well, including activities for pre and post reading. Some lovely ideas, and the instructions are bilingual too so no need to worry if you’re not fluent in Spanish!
I’ve also found this Slideshare that discusses ideas for using the story, and culminates with making your own version of the book using felt, buttons, ribbons etc.
On my trips to Spain I’m always in search of a bargain! I’ve recently not had much luck finding ‘Poundland’ type shops, nor the equivalent of a Swiss brocki but this time I came across a 1 euro shop down one of the Siete Calles in Bilbao. Disappointingly there were no books, and unfortunately I was down to my last few euros. However, I did find some bargains.
Firstly some vocabulary jigsaws. Following on from a tip from Eleanor Abrahams-Burrows at ILILC a few years back, I bought some blank ones from Wilko (also available from Flying Tiger) and made some bespoke vocabulary jigsaws for early finishers/take home Spanish bags/ to reinforce grammar points.
I was pleased to find these ‘rompecabezas’ in the shop and at 1 euro 20 I bought one of each. I’ll use them in much the same way as my homemade ones; let’s see which is the most popular. Additional activities that you could do once the jigsaws are complete:
put the vocabulary in alphabetical order
read and practice pronunciation
make a list of the words you find most interesting
make a puzzle for a friend with the words
classify the words – could be by colour, size, like/dislike, manmade/natural
find the word for… with a partner
My second purchase was a pack of cards. I’ve got lots of decks of cards already, but this my first ‘baraja española.’ As you can see, they are not the same as the ‘baraja francesa’ with which we may be more familiar. There are four ‘palos’ or suites – oros (coins), copas (cups), espadas (swords) y bastos (sticks) – of 12 cards each. The different ‘palos’ are also distinguished by the number of breaks in the line around the edge of the card: oros -0; colas – 1; espadas – 2; bastos -3. And, in contrast to the 52 card ‘baraja francesa’, there are only 48 cards in the ‘baraja española’ as, whilst there are three ‘figuras’ – rey (king), caballo (horse) and sota (jack) – there is no card marked 10.
I was pleased to purchase these from a cultural point of view as well as to be used when we’re working on numbers/counting etc
Here’s a post with some ideas on how playing cards can be used in language learning.
And some traditional Spanish card games that are played with the ‘baraja española’ are explained in this post. Some are played with a 40 card deck (which omits the 8 and 9) One such game, and probably one of the simplest too is Siete y media which is explained in Spanish here (to change it to English, click on English in the left hand menu!) but is basically a game in which the aim is to get cards totally 7 ½ points and no more, with number cards being worth face value and ‘figuras’ are worth half. A simple game that could easily be played in class with basic language:
te toca a ti – it’s your go
otra carta por favor – another card please
me planto – I’m sticking here (no more cards)
me paso – I’ve gone bust (my total is over 7 ½)
gano – I win!
¿jugamos otra vez? – shall we play again?
You many not want to add an element of betting for counters or points, but if you do…
apuesto… puntos/fichas – I bet …. points/counters.
I usually use decks of cards for activities such as :
pick a card and say its value in Spanish
pick two cards and add their values
playing 21 (very like Siete y media but with higher numbers so harder to play when pupils can only say up to 10!)
pick a card and saying the number bond to make ten, fifteen or twenty
pick two cards; what’s the difference?
pick two cards and multiply the numbers
higher, lower (in the style of Play your cards right!)
Do you have any favourite card games that you think could be used in the language classroom?
I was privileged to be invited to speak at the recent SW London Primary Languages conference organised by the Merton and Kingston Primary MFL Network. I had attended and spoken at a previous conference three years ago and was eager to attend another as it had been such a positive experience (Tube and a stinking cold not withstanding!)
This year I was asked to speak on Sketchnoting and I began the conference by doing some! Here are my sketchnotes of the sessions prior to mine, delivered by the ever inspiring Sue Cave and Kati Szeless.
My presentation was very similar to the one on Slideshare below, but this time I had a go at a bit of live sketch noting and switched the order around a little to give people more of a feel of the HOW before I talked about the WHY. Thanks to Sue Cave for taking the photo at the top and the one below! I hope that people found it helpful; I certainly had some lovely initial feedback and quick chats immediately afterwards!
As promised, here are some of the trioramas made by Y6 at WCPS on the subject of Mi pueblo. The pupils were very excited about making them and whilst one class did a better job than the other, there were some excellent examples created. Each classroom has a (static) Spanish display and I’ve added some of the trioramas to the border of them. I was going to attach them like a row of houses but decided that it was batter with the writing flush to the wall and the townscape facing the floor so that they could be read!
Why spend the time making them?
Yr6 needed a bit of motivation!
It encouraged them to do their best work and take pride in presentation in a way that writing in their books doesn’t.
Their work is now on display, or has been taken home (I took photos of them all to stick in books.)
Others within school have commented on the work; again this would not to be true if it were in their books.
It celebrates all the work that they have put in over the previous few weeks.
Year 6 at WCPS are currently working on the unit Mi pueblo and are working towards writing a paragraph about what there is and isn’t in their town/local area.
In the first lesson, they were given a set of pictures and words for places in the town and asked to match them up without any help. They used their knowledge of English (and French and Polish!) plus their skills of deduction to work out the majority and then the last was decided upon by process of elimination! We discussed their tactics and then recapped the definite and indefinite article that we’d covered before Christmas when talking about sport. In the same lesson, pupils were given a further sheet of images and words to match up.
In the second lesson we used hay and no hay to talk about what there is and isn’t in our town. We joined sentences with simple conjunctions such as yand pero before moving on to use sin embargo, también, tampoco and además.
Last week we moved on to extending our sentences by 1. using singular and plural nouns, 2. using muchos/muchas and 3. adding adjectives as well as using reference materials to find more places in the town. This meant that we reviewed the position and behaviour of adjectives in Spanish, something that we’ve ‘done’ lots of times.
Some of the work is below:
These two boys really impressed me with their grasp of adjectival agreements.
This was written by a native Spanish speaker – imaginative but with some interesting spelling mistakes.
And these two young ladies amused me with their use of adjectives!
(Someone else suggested ‘en mi pueblo hay un castillo joven y una pastelería ocupada’)
This is in preparation for creating a town triarama over the next two lesson based on their paragraphs. I’ll post some examples when they’re finished. A bit of carrot and stick as well as a good way of producing work for display…