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La risa – Gloria Fuertes

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¡Ja ja ja!

I’ve just bought a new book called Los Mejores Versos de Gloria Fuertes and, having a flick through, wanted to share a few of the ‘versos’ with you over the next few days.

The first is this one entitled La risa (Laughter)

Here’s a link to me reading the poem.

I like this poem as I love laughing! I like the simple rhyming couplets too and thought that this might be a poem that children could recite for the Express yourself in Lockdown competition run by the British Council, Association for Language Learning and the cultural and linguistic bodies of the United Kingdom that I’ve just shared.

Perhaps they could create a happy mask to wear as they record the poem, or make an avatar using an app. Or they could speak behind a powerpoint of things that make them laugh and smile?

Related to the poem, you could look at these sayings and expressions in Spanish about smiling and laughing.

Another poem will follow tomorrow!

¡Hasta luego!

Approximate translation:
Welcome is the laughter that leaves joy wherever it goes.
Come, laughter and her cousin, the smile.
To laugh is like eating (it feeds more than meat.)
One must laugh hourly (as humbly prescribed.)
What a laugh, Auntie Felisa, ruffling your Tshirt.
(Laughing is very good for the chest!)
Whoever goes laughing goes better than by car;
Whoever laughs by day, sleeps well at night.

Speaking a language confidently and coherently is an important part of the curriculum in the United Kingdom. However, the impact of Covid-19 has meant that many pupils have had fewer opportunities to speak the languages they are learning.  Therefore, the Association for Language Learning, the British Council and the cultural and linguistic bodies in the United Kingdom have combined efforts to devise an exciting event entitled ‘Express Yourself in Lockdown’.

This will be an opportunity to showcase language learners’ enjoyment of a language that they are learning or that is normally used in their home community from home (except for English*!). 

Language learners can prepare:

  • A short poem in the target language (written by themselves or by another author)
  • A short presentation on any theme e.g. climate change, equality, why I love languages
  • A short sketch
  • A short dialogue

This can be a solo or joint performance but should be no longer than 90 seconds in total and should be recorded in landscape mode. The participants will record themselves delivering their performance, however participants who are under-16 should use either PowerPoint slides/Bitmoji/other pictures or video imagery rather than showing their faces.

Teachers can then upload the performances to a teacher or school Twitter, Instagram or YouTube account with the hashtag #CelebrateSpeaking and the language chosen (e.g. #French) by 28 February 2021. [*If your pupil speaks EAL, they may enter in English BUT you must add #EAL so it’s clear!] Don’t forget to tag @Schools_British  on Twitter or @BritishCouncil  on Instagram when sharing your entry.

You can find out more about the initiative (including helpful tips!) here http://bit.ly/36lnGYz

Icons made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

At one of my schools, I spent the lesson before the half term break focusing on a poem written by Clare Seccombe from her brilliant new resource Poesía. As well as working on the meaning and using them to further the children’s understanding, I also invited children to read along with me as I read, and then, if they wished, to record it and submit it as part of their Teams Assignment for that week. We’ll see how many I receive!

One young lady at my other school decided to record her rewritten version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar 🐛 – El Monstruo Muy Hambriento – and agreed for me to share it. You can see and hear it below. I was gobsmacked at her accent given that we have been learning remotely since Christmas and she has had no live lessons, just a couple of videos of me reading La Oruga Muy Hambrienta.

Over the next few days I’ll be sharing some other poems that you might use for the challenge. Don’t forget, adults can join in too!

In November I had the unexpected pleasure of speaking at PHOrum, an online twilight for Primary language teachers run by Sue Cave and Association for Language Learning (ALL) . PHOrum stands for Primary Hubs Online and is a response to maintaining community of support and development for primary languages in the current climate. The inaugural meeting had sessions by Steven Fawkes, Eleanor Chettle Cully and me! You can read about my part of it here.

The Spring meeting is fast approaching on February 25th 16:00-17:30 via Zoom. Along with a ‘roadshow’ of updates and information from Steven Fawkes, there will be two further presentations:

Language acquisition and development in a primary language lesson
Carlota will share the process of acquisition of a language and ideas to carry on in a lesson. How to start with vocabulary and simple structures and develop skills to understand a text , comprehension questions, classroom language and be able to follow basic communication, at the same time, make the learners feel that they are being challenged and are successful in their task. Language in Primary should be real and useful. The examples will be in Spanish but applicable to other languages.
Carlota Cámara Suarez is Subject Development Lead and Spanish Teacher at Gladstone Primary Academy and Thomas Deacon Juniors

Memory methods in KS2 MFL
Kirsty will talk about how gestures, memory tags, routines and songs can help motivate primary language learners and improve their retention of vocabulary and phonics. Kirsty will relate this to her teaching in y3-6 giving practical examples of action songs and vocabulary learning methods that can be applied to a variety of topics in the primary classroom. She will touch on her experience of teaching EAL pupils and what motivates them to learn.
Kirsty Williams is Lead Teacher for EAL and Primary MFL at Castle Newnham School, Bedford and runs the local ALL Primary Hub. She has taught French for over 15 years in KS2, KS3 and KS4.

Both sound very interesting and I’m hoping that the staff meeting at school that week is on Tuesday not Thursday!

If you’re a member of ALL, the session is free and you can book here. If you’re not yet a member, why not investigate becoming one – it’s worth it!

At this time of year, I’m normally gearing up for my annual ‘weekend away’ at Language World. It’s taken me to York, Lancaster, Leicester, Rugby, Nottingham, London, Newcastle, Manchester, Loughborough and of course, Oxford where Language World and I first ‘met.’ This year, things are a little different as I won’t physically be going anywhere as the conference is coming to me in my home via the wonders of video conferencing. And it can come to you too if you sign up!

Language World is the annual conference and training event of the Association for Language Learning (ALL).
The theme of Language World 2021 is “A rich curriculum for ALL”.

As the blurb on their site says:
“Schools are currently exploring how they can offer rich, exciting education for all their pupils. Ofsted encourages schools to make positive decisions to preserve or develop richness of experience along with breadth and depth of curriculum – for example, giving pupils the opportunity to learn a number of foreign languages and arts subjects, recognising local ambitions.  We look forward to sharing ideas and best practice from among our languages community about these kinds of curricular aspects, and about learning that goes deeper into content, motivates learners of Languages, culture and communication, and is broader than the exam specifications.”


Keynote speakers this year include:

  • President of ALL (2020-22), Kim Bower;
  • Dr. Michael Wardle, Language Lead for OFSTED;
  • international expert on CLIL and Professor of Languages Education and Classroom Learning at university of  Edinburgh, Professor Do Coyle
  • Professor of Applied Linguistics at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, Professor Li Wei

Im particularly looking forward to hearing from Professor Li Wei on Friday talking about Multilingualism, Language Learning and Social Cognition and then from Jane Driver on Saturday talking about Using CLIL and MFL strategies to maximise the curriculum for EAL learners.

And then there are the talks and presentations from which you can choose. Each session is 30 minutes long with a 20 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes for questions. Easier for concentration but challenging when you’re planning a session and always have too much for 45 minutes…

Some sessions that caught my eye as a primary languages practitioner include:

  • Promoting intercultural understanding through cross curricular and extra-curricular activities in the primary classroom – lots of practical ideas led by Bernadette Clinton and Raquel Tola Rego
  • A recipe for success! Creating a bespoke scheme of work – Clare Seccombe
  • Engaging, enriching, inclusive: ensuring a primary MFL curriculum which delivers for SEND pupils – Eleanor Chettle Cully
  • Celebrate your bilingual learners and promote linguistic diversity in your school with an International Mother Tongue Day project – Hannah White

As usual, I have a problem! The first two are at the same time as each other AND I’m speaking at the same time! And the second two are also concurrent. I’m hoping that with the online nature of the conference we might be able to catch up… but I’m not sure so don’t quote me on it!

Decisions decisions!

Other sessions I’m looking forward to:

  • What does an anti-racist, decolonised MFL curriculum look like?
  • Embedding languages into the curriculum: practical examples from Scotland and Wales
  • Teaching Phonics – Mapping, Method and Moving on

Another innovation this year is that some 30 minute slots split into 3 mini talks and I’m looking forward to many of those too including Dr Judith Rifeser talking about Nurturing intercultural understanding and celebrating pupils’ diverse and multilingual voices through creative projects, Bryn Llewellyn sharing Learning Languages on the Move – Developing Language Vocabulary using Physically Active Learning Approaches, Helen Stokes talking about Making connections between languages with translation skills: for easier transition between KS2 and 3 and How MFL teaching can boost whole school literacy led by Clare Caio.

So much that it’s hard to choose! You might even want to ‘attend’ my session entitled Take One Book in which I’ll explore how to make full use of a storybook (a different one from the one I shared at PHOrum!) You can find further details on the Language World 2021 website and the programme can be found here.

Register here.

I am very much looking forward to a new experience and whilst I’d rather we were meeting together as usual, I’m excited for the new format and will still be wearing LiPS themed clothing and sketchnoting!

Wondering why the LiPS? Check out Languages in Primary Schools group on Facebook!

Find out about my experiences at previous Language Worlds by following the links below!

Reflections on Language World 2008
Absorbing Language Learning 2009
Language World 2010 and various posts following including Raising Global Awareness and Creativity talks as well as sessions by Clare DoddLiz Black Cynthia Martin Oh, and my session – Bricklaying for beginners!
Language World 2011 – my session Entitled to enjoy Primary Languages and many other sessions by Chris HarteJan Lewandowski and Liz Fotheringham
Language World 2014 overview     Session on apps
Language World 2015 in sketchnotes
Language World 2016 in sketchnotes  Session on Sketchnoting
Language World 2017 in sketchnotes
Language World 2018 in sketchnotes My session Using Technology for collaboration 
Sue Cave’s session – Language Detectives Primary Show and Tell
Language World 2019 – The Sketchnotes My session on Supporting learners’ understanding and enjoyment of stories in the primary languages classroom.
I was briefly at Language World 2020 but didn’t blog it as it coincided with a particularly stressful time – including lockdown beginning a few days later!

image shows 5 coloured people icons standing behind a clipboard with the word survey on it and a green tick.

Last night I attended a webinar hosted by ALL London with the British Council to launch the Language Trends survey for 2021.

Language Trends is a yearly report that discusses the state of language learning in England and is written by Ian Collen of Queens University, Belfast. It’s a really important report on language learning at primary and secondary level in England that is published and read at high level by government and policy makers. The more responses they get, the better the picture of language learning across the country as it is informed by the results of a survey sent to schools.

British Council written in dark blue capital letters to the right of four turquoise dots in a square.

The Language Trends survey 2021 is being emailed to schools this week. It’ll be sent to the public email of your school – often the HT or enquiry@ Last year, it was notable that the responses tended to come from schools in more ‘affluent’ areas statistics wise (eg lower than average FSM) so it would be good to have a wider breadth of data this time. Ian Collen, the author of the report, wants to hear all about what’s going on in primary schools. One of last year’s finding was that “Primary Languages are embedded in policy but not in practice.” Therefore, if you ARE putting policy into practice, this is an opportunity to share all the wonderful things that are going on.

If you are asked to fill it in, please do! If you aren’t, email the Head and ask them to do it, or offer to do it for them! It’ll take you about 15 minutes. The deadline is 29th January which is very soon!!

If you’d like to read last year’s report, you can find it (and other research into language learning in the UK) on the British Council website Language Trends 2020 or it’s below in PDF,

In these strange times, the online conference is the way to go and thus I sat down at my laptop, coffee in hand and attended the ALL Primary Languages Conference a couple of weeks ago. Nicknamed ‘Acapulco’ by Steven Fawkes (there was a reason but nobody can recall what it was!) the conference was based around five pillars as can be seen from the graphic.

Others have shared their takeaways already, including Nathalie aka Nattalingo, as well as their presentations (Suzi’s is here) and I thought I’d share mine in the form of my sketchnotes.
Disclaimer: I had to ‘leave’ early so I’m afraid I didn’t do one for Suzi’s session nor Nathalie’s but you can access their slides at the link above!

Keynote speaker Dr Michael Wardle , OFSTED Lead on Languages
“The curriculum needs to be BROAD and AMBITIOUS throughout EACH and EVERY year group.”
Sue Cave talking all things phonics.
A strong knowledge of phonics affects all areas of language learning.
Clare Seccombe – learning to walk before you can run is very important!
e.g. knowing a small pot of words really well that can then be extended by EFFECTIVE use of a bilingual dictionary.

An excellent conference and really well organised. Not only were the sessions great, the chat was good too with ideas flying so fast it was sometimes hard to keep up with it all! I recommend that you sign up to ALL as there will be future events for members, specifically designed for primary called PHOrum and they will be quality events! You can find out how to join here and also about the other benefits!

IMAGO Conference Centre
Friday 22nd-Saturday 23rd March 2019

This last weekend I have attended the annual ALL conference, Language World, in Loughborough. It’s been as inspiring and thought provoking as usual and it’s been lovely to see friends old and new. Given the current political atmosphere, and the issues facing languages in particular, it was great to find that a spirit of optimism prevailed and that there was a resolve to ride the storm together and come out the other side stronger amongst speaking and delegates alike.

Once more I was asked to be ‘official Sketchnoter’ which basically involves sketchnoting (which I’d do anyway!) but in real time to be posted as soon as the session was completed on a display board outside the main conference room as well as on Twitter. A little more intense and stressful than doing it in my notebook and tidying it up and making it pretty later! Still, I enjoy the challenge and it was again good to eavesdrop on people admiring the sketchnote display without knowing I’d done them.

Opening address by Jane Harvey, President of ALL
https://www.all-languages.org.uk/
Ellie Johnson talks about SEND in the MFL Classroom.
Vicky Cooke talks about the skills of the primary linguist.
Michael Wardle, HMI MFL Lead talking about the new OFSTED framework for inspections.

Clare Seccombe aka @valleseco talks Goosebump Moments
lightbulblanguages.co.uk
Professor David Crystal – I could listen to him for hours!
Lots of links to look up here!
Noelia Rivas and Sara Montero talk CLIL in their primary language classrooms.
www.networkforlanguageslondon.org.uk/resources/
http://francaispourloulous.blogspot.com/

Dr Rachel Hawkes of The Cam Academy Trust and Co-Director of NCELP
https://ncelp.org/rachel-hawkes-speaks-at-the-all-language-world-conference/
Sue Cave talking about Creative Writing in KS2
https://www.cavelanguages.co.uk/
Clare Mouat of SCILT talking about engaging parents families and communities in primary language learning.
https://www.scilt.org.uk/

Below are links to all of my sketchnotes in PDF form plus one containing them all at the end. Hope you find them helpful!

Friday 22 – Saturday 23 March 2019 at Imago, Loughborough

Language World 2019: Speaking up for Languages

Now that the holidays are drawing to a close, and thoughts turn to work once more, it’s a good time to think about how the next year will pan out in terms of teaching and learning. You might be considering how to move forward with your appraisal targets, looking to discover new ideas or simply seeking to refresh yourself with some camaraderie and inspiration.

I’ve found that Language World is a perfect place to do all three of those things, and I’d encourage you to consider attending. As the website says:

The Association for Language Learning’s annual conference and CPD event offers a packed programme with speakers from across the languages sector which attracts up to 250 participants a day, with a large number coming from primary and secondary schools.
– It’s an exhibition: a large and varied exhibition showcasing the latest in language learning resources and support
– It’s a real boost to your teaching: a great way to recharge your batteries – a two day shot of ideas, advice, debate and inspiration
– It’s a celebration: get together with other language teachers from around the UK, and around the world…… at Language World!


The programme is always strong but this year it includes plenary sessions from Heather Fearn, Ofsted Language lead, Suzanne Farrell, ASCL and Dr Rachel Hawkes who always inspires and enthuses me. I’m particularly excited that ALL Patron, Professor David Crystal, OBE, will be delivering the Mary Glasgow Plenary keynote entitled 25 years of not (yet) having a House of Languages. I’m  really looking forward to what he has to say, and also hoping that I can sketchnote his thoughts whilst listening too!


It includes sessions for all phases of learning with a strong primary languages thread that has sessions from Vicky Cooke, Nadine Chadier, Clare Seccombe, Sue Cave, Eleanor Chettle Cully, Sara Montero, Noelia Rivas and me to name but a few! I’m also looking forward to a session on SEND in the MFL classroom, on supporting EAL learners and how to include families in language learning.

I’ll be speaking on ways of supporting learners’ understanding and enjoyment of stories in what I hope will be an interactive and fun session with lots of delegate participation! In addition, I’ll be ‘official sketchnoter’ for the third year, trying hard to capture sessions as I listen ready to be displayed on a huge board for all to see. No pressure, eh?

Hopefully all that has whetted your appetite! There’s an Early Bird offer that runs until Friday 11th January so you have one week from publication of this post to book for the lowest price possible. Do have a look at the website for further details; the link to book is at the bottom of the page or you can click here to save you having to scroll!

Looking forward to meeting you there and celebrating all that is great about teaching and learning languages.

You can find out about my experiences in previous years in the following posts (I wasn’t blogging for my first couple of Language Worlds and I missed 2012 and 2013 as I was living in Switzerland!)

Reflections on Language World 2008
Absorbing Language Learning 2009
Language World 2010 and various posts following including Raising Global Awareness and Creativity talks as well as sessions by Clare Dodd, Liz Black Cynthia Martin Oh, and my session – Bricklaying for beginners!
Language World 2011 – my session Entitled to enjoy Primary Languages and many other sessions by Chris Harte, Jan Lewandowski and Liz Fotheringham
Language World 2014 overview     Session on apps
Language World 2015 in sketchnotes
Language World 2016 in sketchnotes Session on Sketchnoting
Language World 2017 in sketchnotes
Language World 2018 in sketchnotes My session Using Technology for collaboration Sue Cave’s session – Language Detectives Primary Show and Tell

#LW2018 Sketchnotes

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This time last week I was mid sketch note at Language World 2018, the Association for Language Learning annual conference. After a jam-packed, fun filled inspirational weekend, my mind was spinning with ideas and coupled with the last week of term, it’s taken this long for me to get my head together and get posting! So here goes a blog-fest over the next few days!I was thrilled to be asked to be Language World’s official Sketchnoter for a second year. Armed with pens, pencils and paper, I ‘live sketch noted’ each session I attended, before the finished product was whipped away to be displayed for everyone to see. I was pleased to see that there were lots of people looking at the notes as the conference went on, and it was really amusing to hear people talking about them in the dinner queue, not knowing that I’d done them!

I took photos of (most of) the sketch notes before they were displayed, but below are my sketchnotes or visual notes that ALL have now scanned and published on their site.

Opening of Language World 2018 – AnnaLise Gordon

 

The Language Magician – #LMagic Steven Fawkes (Too much to fit onto one sheet!)

 

The Mary Glasgow Plenary – Language Futures and the future of Language Learning.
Dr Rachel Hawkes
(Again far too much to squash onto one page!)

 

Primary Spanish Show and Tell
It’s hard to sketch note whilst presenting, singing and playing games but I did it!

Planning for progression and transition. Liz Black once more filled my head with brilliant ideas!

 

The amazing things you can do with just a handful of books.
Nathalie Paris aka @nattalingo

 

The official launch of The LANGUAGE MAGICIAN

You can view all of Friday’s sketchnotes in one place by downloading this  – Friday PDF

Saturday morning Opening Plenary including the Primary and Secondary Language Teacher of the Year awards
AnnaLise Gordon

 

Putting pen to paper.
Clare Seccombe talks writing! (I learned from yesterday and used a big piece of paper for this one!)

 

A celebration of languages.
Danielle Dion-Jones

 

Language Detectives
Sue Cave

 

Lights! Camera! iPads!
Joe Dale

 

Embedding languages across the curriculum.
Richard Tallaron

 

Closing comments by AnnaLisa Gordon and Jane Harvey.

You can view all of Saturday’s sketchnotes in one place by downloading this – Saturday PDF

I loved sketch noting the conference. I hope that those who attended enjoy the reminder of sessions you attended and that those who didn’t get a flavour of what they ‘missed.’ I’ll certainly be having a look at Clare’s notes too as there were several clashes that meant I couldn’t attend sessions I would’ve chosen (Nigel Pearson for the second year running was speaking at the same time as me for example!)

You can also catch up with the Twitter buzz from the conference via this Storify .

 

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ALL on Youtube

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Did you know that the Association for Language Learning (ALL) has a Youtube channel? I didn’t until today when I attended the ALL Council meeting and discovered that not only did an ALL channel exist but that one of the first videos on it features me talking about sketchnoting!

There are currently a number of playlists and numerous really interesting videos. Most of them are really short, getting the message cross succinctly which is always a bonus. One of the playlists is full of videos recorded at Language World 2017 that cover things like what ALL does, how it supports language teachers and learners through networking and CPD, why you’d want to attend Language World and why languages are beneficial in the workplace.

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 .

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