Mi dragón y yo (David Biedrzycki)

 

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!

And if you’re looking for a story to read that has a message, I liked El dragón que escupía chocolate. And Nattalingo recommends El dragón frío on her blog.

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…

Veo veo ¿a quién ves? – un libro animado con solapas

As I came towards the end of sharing the books I bought in Bilbao at Easter, it dawned on me that I’d bought some lovely books in Barcelona last May and not shared them. Here’s one of them!

I was initially drawn by the title as it reminded me of the game (similar reason why I bought the book I shared a couple of weeks ago, also called Veo Veo ); I explain the game in this post and also here.

However, I was even more excited when I opened the book.

  1. I love a flap book as I find that they offer an extra something when you read them aloud, adding a mystery that needs solving, a secret that needs discovering. And they really engage learners who all want to uncover what lies beneath, a great classroom management tool with young kids as you only get to open the flap if you’re sitting quietly.
  2. It’s on a favourite theme of mine, animals, one that is often revisited in the time learners spend at my school. 
  3. There are twenty animals featured in the book, but each page focuses on 5 of them, with a single sentence leading to the identity of one of those five animals. Therefore the possible answer is limited to one of those five, making it easier for young learners or beginners to offer a suitable answer. 
  4. Each clue is a single sentence followed by ¿Quién soy? and are mostly very simple. Some are simply the noise that the animal makes, others refer to the physical appearance of the animal and others talk about the preferred food of the animal.
  5. Lifting the flaps is fun enough but each opened flap on the page adds to the picture of the next. Hard to describe so I’ve videoed it. Very clever!
  6. I have another book called Animales Salvajes that has much longer clues to the identity of an animal that I’ve used with Y2 and whilst they enjoyed the book, the longer clue went over their heads (although I enjoyed them!) and their guesses were more random based on the images rather than the Spanish. This book would work better for them, but the animals are not specifically jungle animals so I guess I’d have to write my own…
  7. …and writing our own version would be a really simple and fun activity for older learners to share with younger ones. Perhaps one I’ll try out with Y6 as they continue on their learning abut verbs and recap all that they have learned over their years of Spanish.
  8. And finally, there are actually 21 animals in the book with ‘un regalo’ on the final page!

 

Non-fiction to engage reluctant learners.

Continuing my posts on non-fiction texts, here are some suggestions of texts that you might use to engage those hard to please learners who need something a bit different to capture their attention.

Firstly, some DK Readers that I bought a long while ago on Amazon. They come in several levels as you can see below, ranging from one sentence per page plus reinforcing illustrated vocabulary through simple sentences using repetitive language to the inclusion of information boxes and fact files and beyond.

 

The three I have come from the lower levels as they were bought to be accessed pretty independently by learners, and are on topics that I don’t specifically teach so the vocabulary is mostly unknown.

This is taken from El Mundo Marino which belongs in the lowest level ‘prenivel 1 para principiantes’ and I used this with Y1 last year when they were looking at the seaside. I read it to the class, focusing on the names of the things found in the sea rather than the meaning of the phrases. It was then left for reading during the week by anyone that fancied and also as an activity for those who finished quickly. Perhaps you could encourage learners to label a picture of a sea creature using the book as a reference?

The second book is called Gigantes de Hierro and was bought when I had a pupil who was obsessed with vehicles. I now know a little boy who would very much appreciate this book! It contains some great pictures and I found it fun expanding my heavy machinery vocabulary to include un camión de volteo, una aplanadora  and una carretilla elevadora. Of course, it’s good for a bit of role reversal with learner teaching the teacher new words; just proves nobody knows everything! It’s a good book to read with a child or to a group of children, particularly with the onomatopoeia!

And then there’s ¡Insectos! which comes from ‘nivel 2 Lectura asistida’ and has some wonderful photographs of insects as well as interesting information. It’s quite complex as it’s a direct translation of the English version, but not impenetrable. For the page above left I might ask questions such as:

  • What is the name of that insect in English? Use the text to help you if you don’t know.
  • We call it a praying mantis – do you think the Spanish name is similar? Why?
  • What do you think ‘inmóvil’ means? Why?
  • Can you find a word for ‘huge eyes’ in the text? (relying on them knowing ‘ojo’)
  • How do you say ‘Its front legs trap the fly’?
  • Find the words from jump, trap, disappear

I like the fact file at the end too which,if anything, is the most accessible as the facts are so short. I’d have translations of each fact and ask learners to match them up with the Spanish as an extension activity perhaps, or as a little challenge!

If you search DK Readers Spanish on Amazon there are several including El Mundo Marino and Insectos although most come from the USA so beware the postage!


Deportes de riesgo – El vestuario de pegatinasI bought this book at El Prat in Barcelona last year as I was about to embark on sports with a particularly feisty Y6 cohort and needed all the ammunition I could get to keep them with me for the last half term! Every time we learn the vocabulary of sports there are children, usually boys it has to be said, who want to say that they do activities and play games other than the ‘stock’ ones like football, rugby, basketball, swimming and horse riding. And why not? I’m forever encouraging learners to be imaginative and ‘make it up’ in Spanish lessons so I can’t really object when they want to say that they go scuba diving or skateboarding. And this book covers, as the title suggests, some marvellously dangerous and unusual sports. It not only gives the name for the sport, but also talks about the equipment required which fits perfectly with the Light Bulb Languages unit that looks at sporting clothing and equipment to explore the definite and indefinite article. Again I wouldn’t let them use the stickers on the pages but I’d use the stickers on card and cut out to ‘dress’ the sports people, or indeed use the central pages as a picture dictionary which is what I did last time I used it.

There are sports mentioned that I’d never heard of, and it’s always good to find out the technical words in Spanish associated with sports. For example, someone who does el parkour is called un traceur or una trace use (all taken from French which is where it originated), un piolet is an ice axe and climbing chalk is polvo de magnesio

If I can bear it, I might even separate the pages of the book and use the pages as ‘laminas’ with questions associated with each, as well as reading activities to dress the people in the images according to written instructions.

One complaint about this book – there are four female sports people and over thirty male. Girls like dangerous sports too, Usborne!

ISBN – 978-1-4095-7265-7

Buy from Amazon and Ediciones Usborne 


My last collection of books in this post are from Mini Larousse 

I love these books for a variety of reasons:

  • They’re attractive with amusing illustrations that draw you in so can be enjoyed even if you don’t understand a word!
  • The text is in Spanish handwriting which is again novel, adds something to the reading challenge and is a good way to add a bit of culture and ‘authenticity’ as well.
  • The texts are presented in short chunks using bold to pick out key words.

Being a football fan, El fútbol was the first one that I purchased, attracted by the cover that features La Selección winning La Copa Mundial with recognisable drawings of players (although Iker Casillas has strangely got very dark hair and a huge chin!) In fact there are players throughout the book that learners will recognise including Frank Lampard, Bufon, Gerrard and even Gary Lineker.

I like the combination of prose and labeled images, and the balance of images to text is about right to not put off reluctant readers in  UKS2. As with previous books, I’d be happy for learners to access them individually and use the pictures and their knowledge of football in conjunction with language learning skills to read as they wish. To offer some guidance you could produce a list of key words and phrases in English and challenge learners to find the equivalent in spanish, perhaps giving them the page number as a clue.



Caballeros y castillos is a book that Y3 would find interesting  as one of their topics is all about castles and involves organising an imaginary jousting competition, complete with stalls and ‘betting’ on the jousts (from Youtube!) The page able would be useful for finding the names of people involved in the joust, and the one below could be used as the stimulus to design and describe ‘escudos’ (a twist on the Y3 Spanish topic on shape and colour)

And then there’s Los Piratas which is a bit advanced for the KS1 topic on treasure but great for reading for pleasure. Good to see some famous female pirates featured in this book!

You can purchase El fútbol and Los Dinosaurios in this series from Little Linguist.

ISBN – 978-84-15411-16-1 El Fútbol

ISBN – 978-84-15411-14-7 Los Piratas

ISBN – 978-84-15411-18-5 Caballeros y castillos

Other books include El Universo, La Prehistoria, Los 5 sentidos and El Cuerpo Humano.


Any ideas you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

Non-fiction books – Science

Following on from my post on Arts themed non-fiction books, here are some books I have collected that have a scientific theme.

1001 bichitos para buscar con pegatinas

I bought this book in Barcelona last year for our Y1s who study mini beasts. I bought it not as a sticker book – imagine one book of stickers between 61 children! – but as a reference book for them to look for and name mini beasts, and for them to be able to label their science bilingually. I also like the variety of habitats shown including the desert, a cave and a rainforest, places that Y1 may well have not visited. As you can see via the link below, there are other books in the series including one about animals and another about pirates (another Y1 theme!)

Link to purchase

ISBN – 9781474909303


Larousse – Las estaciones


I can’t recall when I bought this book, or from where, but it is one of my favourites for its simplicity and range of information.

The above pages are brilliant for comprehension with learners given a grid with the four seasons and asked to fill it with the weather phrases from the text. It also has some phrases that more able learners like to ‘magpie’ such as no hace ni mucho calor ni mucho frío, estalla una tormenta,  and ráfagas de viento (which I admit was a new one for me too!) as well as using más and menos 

This double page spread covers what happens in spring and could be used for finding the word for… sap, roots, branches, buds, leaves, to sew seeds; and also for looking at the relationship between fruits – manzanas y cerezas (with which learners are familiar) and the trees on which they grow – manzanos y cerezos. And aren’t the illustrations wonderful?

One last double page which would be useful to Y2 who look at life in Antarctica. There’s a similar page for life near the equator where it’s always hot.

It’s listed on Amazon.co.uk at the ridiculous price of £173 but if you go to Amazon.com, the same series are more reasonably priced at $3.95

ISBN – 978-970-22-1445-8


¿Por qué  el Planeta Tierra es tan especial?

Planets is a Y5 theme that I’ve used many times as a cross curricular link with Spanish (see this post for my solar system plate books!), and this book was purchased several years ago, along with others, in Barcelona on a Comenius Regio trip. It was chosen by a non Spanish speaking colleague who felt that she could understand it, could use it and that her class would enjoy looking at it. And so it proved. This book, and another which is at school and that I’ll share another time, sit in the class library for the duration of the topic and are referred to regularly. Learners don’t understand every word but they like the graphics and enjoy the thrill of ‘reading’ in Spanish.

Again, the information is easy to decode as the learners are familiar with information about the planets such as their order, and can work out key vocabulary such as atmósfera, oxígeno, fricción, meteoritos, rayos, gira, respirar and so on. Great practice for huge numbers too!

The book isn’t just about the planets though; it’s about why Earth is so brilliant, and it concludes with several pages about climate change and how we can prevent our planet from becoming less conducive to life.

Buy from Little Linguist

ISBN978-84-261-3805-7


Pregunta al Dr Edi Lupa sobre el Clima

I bought this book from eBay and it’s one of my favourites. The texts are more challenging, and learners need more support to access them but the whole concept is worth the effort. It forms part of a series of books in which Dr Edi Lupa answers the letters of concerned animals on a  number of topics, in this case, the climate. The letter from the animal appears on the left and then the response of Dr Edi Lupa on the facing page. These are often followed by double page spreads that expand on and further clarify explanations.

I particularly like the Glosario at the end which explains some key words simply in Spanish. You could make a great matching up game with this that could be kept as an extension activity for Science lessons. In fact, you could make an activity out of the water cycle explanation above by removing the speech bubble words and asking learners to put them back in the right places so that the process works.

To buy from Amazon

ISBN – 978-84-96609-45-7


So that’s my ‘scientific’ themed books – or the ones I have at home at least! Do you have any favourites that you’d like to share? Leave a comment below if you do!

¡Ponchos!

Original –
http://www.argentina-excepcion.com/en/maps-argentina/maps-argentina-chile/map-ponchos-argentina
Gaucho salteno Find out more about gauchos here.

Thanks to Vicky Cooke for sharing this lovely image this morning and the luxury of a train journey to London and back on which it write this post!

Whilst Intercultural Understanding (ICU) is no longer an explicit section of the Languages Programme of Study, it opens with the following words:

Learning a foreign language is a liberation from insularity and provides an opening to other cultures. A high-quality languages education should foster pupils’ curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world.

I firmly believe that learning a language needs a context to bring it to life, and that context should not be limited to Spain for Spanish, France for French or Germany for German; the latter all the more important to me as I learned German in Switzerland! So I’m always looking for ideas to incorporate an aspect of ‘culture’ into activities. What’s more, learners really enjoy such activities. Clare has some marvellous ones on Light Bulb Languages such distances between Spanish cities to practice large numbers, Moorish tiles to look at shape and colour, Saints days to practice saying the date and so on. In fact there’s a whole section of resources marked ‘Intercultural understanding’ that includes Guatemalan worry dolls, Aztec codices and Mayan maths.

I’m about to start a unit on colour and shape with Y3 and, with a long-ish half term, Y4 are going to finish their topic early too so I’ve been looking for a little something to fill a gap. I was therefore pleased to see Vicky’s post this morning which sparked an idea. Can’t say it was earth shatteringly original but it was a good idea nonetheless (Vicky had it too!)


The above map plus the one on the left show the ponchos worn across Argentina  and I’ve so far thought of the following:

1. Knowledge of Argentina – count the provinces, name them, pronounce them. Countries that border Argentina.
2. Compass points / prepositionsSanta Cruz está en el sur de Argentina. Jujuy está en el norte de Argentina en la frontera con Chile y Bolivia. Entre Ríos está en el este al norte de Buenos Aires. 
3. Colour – giving the name of a place and requiring the colour(s) in response, either in a single word, a phrase or a sentence. Soy de Chubut ¿de qué color es mi poncho? or ¿De qué color es el poncho típico de San Luis? – blanco y naranja/Es blanco y naranja/El poncho típico de San Luis es blanco y naranja.
4. Pattern¿Cómo es el poncho de Salta? Es rojo con una franja negra en el cuello y en el borde. This site gives a description of some in English as well as historical information about ponchos. And here is a more extensive article in Spanish.
5. Combining all the above. Soy de Neuquen. Está en el oeste de Argentina, en la frontera con Chile, al norte de Río Negro, al sur de Mendoza y al oeste de La Pampa. El poncho típico de Neuquén es blanco con puntos azules.

I’ve also found more useful graphics on this subject:

A chart of ponchos in three sections according to their geographical position in Argentina at would be even better for detailed descriptions.
A chart of traditional Mapuche patterns used in ponchos – it would be an interesting challenge to replicate these patterns using graph paper – cross curricular link with maths there!

See also http://matematicas-maravillosas.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/puede-notarse-que-las-figuras-que.html 

A colour wheel giving some of the symbolism of wearing that particular colour.

6. Using the above, design your own poncho using traditional colours and patterns:
Mi poncho es …… El rojo significa ….. Tiene estampa…… Es como el poncho de ….
(A similar activity can be found on Light Bulb Languages for flags/banderas)

Here’s a blank poncho that you might use (or you might just like to draw your own!) NB this poncho is the wrong shape as is this one.
You could also make a mini gaucho out of a lolly stick or old fashioned clothes peg like the chap on the right!

           

 

I’ve saved some links on Pinterest – Argentinian ponchos including the image below.

If you like the original map, I’ve also found maps of Argentina giving animals according to region and mates too as well as a beautiful vintage map of Argentina with images depicting the terrain, industry, dress and wildlife of each area and an info graphic of ‘La Argentina, el país dé los seis continentes’, the slogan of an advertising campaign I’m 1998 that emphasises the diversity of Argentina. Finally, a map of 24 ‘must visit’ places in Argentina. Having never been there, I couldn’t say whether it’s a comprehensive list or whether there are other places to add?

Destinos imperdibles en la Argentina

¡24 destinos únicos en la Argentina!

Non-fiction texts – Arts

Following on from my last post about a couple of non-fiction books I bought in Bilbao, I’ve decided to share some other non-fiction texts that I’ve collected over time. In fact, I’ve concluded that I need to do it in several posts as there are quite a few, so here is part one which includes some ‘arty’ books! By arty I mean to do with the arts not just about artists although there are quite a few that fit that category.

Don Quijote – A Spanish Language Primer

I bought this lovely board book last year to share as part of the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of his death- and that of Shakespeare. It is essentially a word book with the left page in English and the right hand page in Spanish and intended for very young children; however, used in conjunction with this song from BBC Bitesize ClassClips, it gave a stimulus to introduce and discuss the most famous work of Cervantes in a simple and unthreatening way.

Link to purchase: Amazon

ISBN – 978-1-4236-3875-9


Gaudí

This book forms part of a series called Big Names for Small People and my copy is in English although you can buy it in Catalan  (and soon in Spanish – see the link below) I am a great fan of Gaudí and his story is so interesting that I really enjoy sharing this book with young learners porque si as well as in the context of our learning about Gaudí’s artwork when we discuss shape and colour. It’s also particularly useful for looking at timelines, chronology and working out how long ago things happened.

Link to purchase in Spanish: Amazon    Cossetània Edicions for the other books in the series

ISBN – 978-84-9034-414-9

It contains no words, but I also use Trencadís  with the above book. It’s a wonderful sticker book with outlines that you fill in with stickers that are taken from photographs of Gaudí’s original works so children get to be just like Gaudí without the mess of smashed crockery!

ISBN – 978-84-616-3706-5

And finally, before we leave Barcelona, here’s a storybook in English that gives a flavour of the city through the eyes of two dogs called Poppy and Max. Poppy and Max – Holidays in Barcelona is a work of fiction but I thought I’d share it here as it’s in context!

ISBN – 978-84-92745-31-9


Frida Kahlo (Colección Antiprincesas #1)

My final book (for now as I have more at school that I’d like to share!) belongs to a series that has attracted lots of attention and centre round the life and work of Frida Kahlo. It’s completely in Spanish and whilst the chunks are fairly short, it’s not the sort of book that you could expect children to pick up and understand without guidance. I like the small blue boxes that give definitions of key words like surrealismo and revolución, and also the stylised drawings of some of Frida’s works alongside photographs and pictures of her actual work. A fascinating woman!

Below is a video of the book being read in English, and you can see it in Spanish by following this link  and forwarding to about 12 minutes. The link that promises a lesson plan based around the book is broken but I’ve tracked it down to here – it includes some excellent ideas not just based around the book but also around promoting women and being ‘antiprincesas’.

ISBN – 978-987-33-9158-3


I hope this selection of books has been of interest. I’ll share more in my next post, focusing on books with a scientific theme.

‘Curiosidades del Cuerpo Humano’ y ‘Insólitos Animales’

Continuing on my posts about books I bought in Bilbao, we come to a couple of non-fiction texts that I bought at the Día del Libro market.  I was drawn to them as they are colourful, very visual and were also very reasonably priced at €5 (always a consideration when I’m buying several!) Non-fiction texts are less readily available than storybooks and it can be tricky to find ones that are appealing as well as accessible to primary school learners. So I was really pleased to find these. There are four in the series Aula del Saber and I selected these two as I already have books about the planets, and dinosaurs is a topic that y1 cover.

Firstly Curiosidades del Cuerpo Humano, chosen as it supports the Science curriculum as well as containing pages that will be useful for Health Week.  For example, this page will be useful to Y1 who are looking at dental health in Health Week as well as Y4 who look at what happens to our teeth, completing experiments using egg shells and Coca Cola!

Y5 are looking at life cycles and human reproduction so the page above would be interesting. As you can see, even without knowing much Spanish you can understand that the table shows the gestation times of various animals. There are several pages that outline the whole process of reproduction including the female and male reproductive system so it’s perhaps not one to put in the school library but rather a resource to be used in context.

I like that the information is on bite size chunks and that there are lots of diagrams and images to support understanding. This section would be good for finding cognates.


And the second book is Insólitos Animales which has a similar mixture of short texts, diagrams, tables of information and Did you know..? sections.

I’ve selected a few pages that drew my attention.

This one could be the stimulus for a sorting activity, giving learners a list of animals to classify into groups and create simple sentences e.g. Una ballena es un mamífero. Una rana es un anfibio.

Here’s an idea of what a double page spread looks like:

Some interesting vocabulary in the tables below; learners could follow the model and complete for other animals. The short texts could be used for a ‘Find the word for…’ activities as well as simple comprehensions that guide the learner through the text, calling on their existing knowledge of elephants/frogs as well as their linguistic knowledge to respond.

Y4 will finish their unit on animals before the end of term so I think we’ll have a look at this book together! And I’ll let you know any further ideas we have to use it.

In my next post I’ll share some other non fiction texts that I have collected. In the mean time, here are some other of my posts on a similar subject that might interest you:

Muy Interesante Junior

ColoradoLibraries (the West Sussex link no longer works but there are some resources here that are based around animals and their habitats)

¿De dónde viene el yak? my own non fiction text written using Storybird.

 

 

North West Primary Languages Conference 29.06.17

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.

You can find out more and register for the event on the Primary Languages Network site  and there’s an online Flyer too. See you there!

 

 

Lee con Gloria Fuertes

Another post about books I bought in Bilbao.

I’ve long been a fan of Gloria Fuertes, in particular her poem Doña Pito Piturra which I’ve written about before and so has Erzsi Culshaw.

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.

 

Veo Veo (A. Rubio y O. Villán)

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 veo I 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)

  4. 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!)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.