One video I found particularly interesting – as a teacher and also as the parent of a child who’s just started studying German at university – is entitled UK LINGUA – the students viewpoint in students discuss the transition from learning languages at school to learning languages at university. I’ve embedded it below.
I’d really encourage you to take a look at the channel, particularly if you’re not sure about what ALL does! You can find the channel here .
I’ve just come back from a lovely holiday in Bayern during which I tried hard to use my German – with some success including a heated discussion with a woman in Königssee about passports and plenty of food discussions.
As usual I found myself drawn to bookshops (and dirndls but I resisted those!) and made a few purchases as you can see:
Elefanten-Sommeris a lovely PixiBuch about a little girl called Lina and her elephant, Rufus. They ‘trumpet’ together and are happy until Rufus does something naughty…
And Kasper Mütze is a PixiBuch that contains two stories about Kasper Mütze – Kasper Mütze hat Geburtstag and Kasper Mütze hat Besuch. Each page is very simple and rhymes, the phrases are quite repetitive which is great for me – and for my planned German club who will all be beginners.
Und heut ist Montag – I love Eric Carle books and I’m familiar with this one in English and Spanish so when I saw it in the bargain bin for 2€50 I snapped it up! Days of the week, food and animals – lots of possibilities. And it can be sung too!
And then I saw this book Ich bin das ganze Jahr vergnügt in Salzburg when I was sheltering from torrential rain in a Buchhändlung. Lots of rhymes and songs for different times of the year, some with actions (like In dem Walde steht ein Haus) and others with music. I particularly liked the two above; on the left, a poem with the days of the week, and on the right a poem I could use to introduce a Christmas tradition from Switzerland called Räbechilbi.
Finally, at the airport I found two magazines that I thought might be interesting to children – and me!
National Geographic Kidsis very colourful and has a variety of lengths of text in it as well as quizzes and interesting facts. I particularly like the bilingual facts signalled with the two flags which allow you to compare German and English, and also Check diese kuriosen Fakten. I’m very tempted to enter the competition too – think I might need to find a child to enter for me though…
And Dein Spiegel is the children’s version of the famous Der Spiegel. It’s more complex than National Geographic Kids but there are short news items like the one about the boys in England wearing skirts to school as well as longer articles about Sport, Natur, Kultur, Menschen, Wirtschaft and Politik. I’m hoping that I might learn something about the upcoming elections by reading the section below right. And then there’s the jokes page. Some are a bit complex for me but I like the two below left – my trumpet playing son particularly likes the one about the violin and cello!
I might have spent far more money but tried to restrain myself!
On a recent flying visit to Switzerland I found myself in Orell Füssli at the airport and made a couple of purchases.
Firstly I had a good rummage in the Pixi Bücher ‘bubble.’ (Should’ve taken a photo of it as I can’t find one anywhere!) For those unfamiliar with Pixi Bücher, they are tiny (about 10cm square) paperback books that cost about 1 euro 50 or 1.90 CHF. There are a variety of types including stories, information books and sticker books.
I was immediately drawn to Eins zwei drei Tier as it has an amusing cover and on opening it, I decided that it would be a good buy for my upcoming German club at school as it’s very simple. Each page has four characters on it; on the first page, three people are followed by a wolf; on the next, three wolves by a pig and so on. Each image is accompanied by a word, the third of which rhymes with the fourth which is the name of the animal. Some are names, some adjectives and some prepositions. Hopefully this image explains it if you don’t get the idea.I thought it would be good to read the book then give learners a list of the animals and see if they could predict the name of the animal in fourth place each time the next time I read it.
My other purchase was a set of cards called Tierbabys. I thought that they were Top Trumps with statistics on, and had envisaged using them to rehearse numbers and the like in the context of animals, but they’re actually for playing Happy Families, with four animals in each of eight ‘families’ grouped by environment in which they’d be found. Interesting from a vocabulary point of view – how do you say foal in German? And calf? What does junge mean? And küken? And also good for rehearsing the question “Hast du…” as well as manners – Danke to say thanks, Es tut mir leid to say sorry you haven’t and so on. So not quite what I’d envisaged but still useful. And the baby animals are very cute too!
We’re off to Germany on holiday this summer so I expect to add more to my collection ready for September and my long planned German club at school!
Now that term is at an end I have finally got around to uploading my presentation to Slideshare and writing this post!
As I said previously, it was a very successful day and I hoped that what I had planned to share would live up to that which had gone before! There were lots of encouraging noises made as I was speaking and also some lovely messages afterwards so I think there were at least a few nuggets of gold!
On Thursday, I had the privilege – and it really was a privilege – of delivering one of the keynotes at the Primary Languages Networkconference in Lymm. It was a day jam packed with ideas and demonstrated the power and value of a community of teachers and learners, bouncing ideas of each other and sharing their light bulb moments. And celebrating those ideas too.
I did my best to sketch note all the sessions, including the Spotlight sessions, and you can see them below. I would recommend that you follow the PLN blog to keep abreast of all the fantastic ideas that spring out of the network (This post was inspired by the day), and even consider joining for further support and inspiration!
Thanks to Janet for inviting me – I had a wonderful day! You can see some of the highlights in the video at the bottom of the post!
Details of my session will follow in the next post!
Keeping it Primary – the wonderful Therese Comfort shared what makes Primary language learning so special, with special stickers from La Petite Souris/El Ratoncito Pérez/ die Zahnfee.
How to identify progress – Dan Alliot talked about what progress looks like in primary language learning, and challenged us to flip the triangle so it’s not always point first!
Embedding phonics in Language Learning – Sue Cave challenged us to pronounce Hungarian words using phonics to support us, talking us through the 7 stepping stones to ‘code breaking’ and sharing ideas of how to practice and reinforce phonics in French.
Throughout the day there were Spotlights – shorter presentations of one or two ideas each from PLN associates and also exhibitors. I’ve tried to capture them all in the above – some with more success than others (spot the pig that looks suspiciously like a cow!) Ideas included songs for EDL, games, purposeful writing activities using technology, AR dragons, using actions and creating raps and poems.
I spent this past weekend in Nottingham at the 12th eTwinning UK National Conference held at The DeVere Jubilee Conference Centre – always the NCSL to me though! The name of the venue might have changed but the sense of community, fun and learning never varies, and once more I came away inspired, energised and still laughing at onions, pants and Bollywood Maori dance moves.
The theme this year was inclusion and below are my sketchnotes from the sessions I attended. Lots to reflect on and many ideas forming already.
A couple of years ago I was asked to help produce some lesson plans for around celebrating and exploring diversity and enabling everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination.*
As part of this I did some research into books in Spanish that would be suitable for this purpose.
One of the plans I wrote was around families all being different and getting away from mum, dad and 2 kids = a family. At the time I did not use a book as the basis of the resources I made, but I’ve since found this book that I think is a lovely resource that I’d like to use next time we look at families. I envisage choosing a few chapters to read and discuss as a five-ten minute segment, perhaps in conjunction with RE/PSHE that I often teach as well as Spanish.
Mi familia es de otro mundo literally means My family is from another world, but actually means My family is out of this world in the sense of being amazing. The book tells the stories of seven children, each one with a family to share, each family different.
There’s Juli whose parents have split up and spends part of the week with each, Lu who has two Dads who get married with her as ring bearer, Santi who looks nothing like his parents as they adopted him as a baby, Sol and Matu who are test tube babies, Vale who has an Argentinian Dad and a Chinese Mum so has two cultural identities, Leo whose Dad died when he was small so it’s just him and his Mum – and Negro the dog, and Fran who has what he calls una familia enredadera, literally a tangled family with parents who have split up and have new partners and/or children.
Each story is told very simply in short paragraphs of a very sentences with a longer information box that clarifies or explores some of the ideas and issues raised. The book concludes with more family models including grandparents as prime carers, parents whose jobs mean that they don’t see their children for months on end, surrogate mothers, extended families. foster families and globetrotting families with children born in a variety of countries.
I really like some of the images that are used to explain families, in particular the idea of some families not fitting on a family tree but rather a family climbing plant!
The book concludes as below. In English:
Every family has a way of living, of sharing, of celebrating, of arguing, of loving. There are no two the same.
Sometimes because of that when we compare our family with another we think “My family is from a different world!” Or when someone sees something in a family that is a bit odd to them they whisper “Every family is a world (or each family to their own)”
But in fact, there is only on world, this one, where there’s room for all families.
This is a message that I think is really important as we look to encourage children to value diversity and to understand that our life is much richer by learning about and from others’ experiences. We might not share their beliefs and we may find some of their ways a little odd but we all live on the same planet, have the same basic needs and, in the words of Jo Cox, “we have far more in common than that divides us.”
I’ll share more of my ideas of how we can do this in other ways too in future posts. Other books that might interest you along the same lines:
The other book I purchased at Foyles belongs to the series Sabelotodo which translates as Knowitall or Smartypants.
I was torn between two books, this one and one about dinosaurs. In the end I chose this one as the other book I bought was about dinosaurs. You can see a couple of images from the dinosaur one at the bottom of the post.
I liked this series as it’s very child friendly with bright images and short chunks of information on a theme for each double page spread along with a ¿Sabías que…? strip of interesting facts. The pictures draw you in and contain such great incidental language; I particularly like the exclamations at the gladiator fight!
Así eran los Romanos covers Roman life, society, the army, Roman inventions such as the baths, food, Roman emperors and Roman gods.
I’m sure that it would be well read if I were to lend it to Y4 – particularly as we have a bulge year with 3 instead of 2 classes at one of my schools! I wonder how long it would take them to find these interesting facts…
Y4 study the Romans at both my schools and I developed a whole unit linking their Spanish with the topic several years ago. I was sure I’d shared it but it seems I was mistaken; I shared (at length!) about The Egyptians
On my trip to London on Tuesday I paid a flying visit to the fourth floor of Foyles where all the language books are found. Although I was limited in the time I could spend there – 25 minutes! – and I imposed a spending limit on myself too, I still managed to come away with a couple of books.
Mi dragón y yo is a very simple book about a boy who doesn’t want an ordinary pet and dreams of having a dragon. He sets out to explain what kind of dragon he would like. He talks about what it would not be like first before saying all the things it would be able to do, all the things he’d do with it and how he would train it. It’s written in the conditional
– me gustaría, tendría, le daría, le enseñaría – but I don’t see that as a problem as the illustrations make it clear, and in fact the conditional is sometimes easier to decode as the infinitive that you’d look up in the dictionary is easier to identify (usually!)
It’s a great book to read as part of a topic on pets and could lead to pupils rewriting the story
“Algunos niños quieren un perro. A otros les gustaría un gato. Yo quiero….” inserting their own animal before going on to describe it:
Sería ………. – It would be ………. This could be colour and character.
Tendría……….. – It would have …………… Here they would describe the pet; a tail? a big head?
Le daría el nombre ….. – I’d call it……
Le enseñaría a …. – I’d teach it to….. Add some verb infinitives
Le compraría … – I’d buy it ….. Clothes? Food? Toys?
Comería… y bebería……. – It would eat…. and drink ………..
Viviría …………. – It would live….
and so on.
Very simple and easily done with some dictionary skills and a bit of imagination, and easy to extend with some conjunctions, negatives and so on.
For younger learners you might just read the story and invite them to draw or colour their own dragon then describe it orally using colours and size or in written form by labelling it or filling in a gapped sentence. Here are some dragon templates you might use:
There are lots of other dragon ideas and resources around.
In a quick search I found many other dragon stories including several on Youtube. I’ve pinned a lot of them onto a Pinterest board Dragons but a few highlights are below:
Ramón el Dragón is a lovely song about a dragon called Ramón (obviously). It rhymes and has a very simple chorus, telling the story of Ramón’s very simple life. You can see the lyrics on screen but can read it as a class poem using the lyric sheets here.
And I like this story about El cumpleaños del dragón as it is simple, is in Spanish with English subtitles and has a message about having tantrums!
There are lots of ideas too; Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network shared some excellent ideas based around How to train my dragon for world Book Day last year. Erzsi Culshaw shared some clothes peg dragons to celebrate San Jordi. And Ruth Kidd has shared some lovely French triaramas of her Y5s describing dragons on the Languages in Primary School group. In fact, if you search ‘dragon’ on LiPS you’ll find several more ideas!
Hope you found that helpful. It certainly kept me occupied during a rainstorm!
Oh, and I almost forgot! I saw another book that I was really tempted to buy. It’s a lift the flap book about dinosaur poo! Perhaps another time…
However, I was even more excited when I opened the book.
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.
It’s on a favourite theme of mine, animals, one that is often revisited in the time learners spend at my school.
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.
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.
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!
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…
…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.
And finally, there are actually 21 animals in the book with ‘un regalo’ on the final page!