Today I attended the Talleres de español at Instituto Cañada Blanch in Portobello, having been asked to facilitate a couple of Show and Tell sessions as part of the Primary strand in the morning. Having got up very early and had several mishaps and an emergency phone call on the way, I have to admit to being a little frazzled by the time I arrived and then there were technical issues, fortunately resolved fairly promptly and well before my session.
I opened proceedings sharing a ‘super lesson’ on colours that I delivered to Y3. Below is my presentation from today.
Languages in Primary Schools Facebook group – if the link doesn’t work, when on Facebook search for ‘Languages in Primary Schools’ and it will appear. Then all you have to do is request to join. (A tip – if like many teachers, you have very high privacy settings, you’ll be asked to confirm that you’re a teacher so check your ‘other’ folder in Messages a day after your request!)
I shared Erzsi’s ‘phonic balloons’ picture (see right) and here’s her blog
And then others shared their ideas! Here’s a summary of them:
A activity using handkerchiefs to review colours with younger children.
Using the clothes that children are wearing to review colours – of course, easier if they don’t wear uniform but not impossible even if they do…
Using the works of Miró to talk about colour, shape and prepositions. Rachel Hawkes (see above) and Helen Stanistreet (link) have produced some brilliant resources for this.
‘La manzana envenada’ ( a game where there are a number of words/phrases on the board, one of which is declared ‘la manzana envenenada’ whilst one pupil is out the room. The object of the game is not to eat/say the word/phrase that is poisoned as the game will end. Erzsi explains how she plays it here. We also talked about how it’s good to get pupils asking questions as they’re much more skilled at answering them than posing them!
I loved ‘dictado chillado’ although it was very noisy! In pairs, learners write a sentence or phrase in Spanish on a post it. It could be anything to do with a topic, or you could say it must include a certain phoneme. Ours were very random! The teacher then muddles up the phrases and hands one to each pair. Everyone then stands against the wall on two sides of the classroom (left/right or back/front) opposite another pair. The idea is to shout your phrase to your partner pair who write it down. I thought my partner pair were yelling ‘Vivo lejos de José’ but they in fact saying Mi conejo se llama José. Either I yelled better than them or it was pair work that won the day as they got ‘Me gusta mucho Gerard Pique’ straight away!
I do feel bad that I’ve failed to sketchnote a session today, especially after my sketch noting was mentioned in by both of the people who introduced me, but I’ll try and make up for it later with one of the whole day perhaps! In the meantime, you can see some of them in my Flickr album.
I thoroughly enjoyed the session I attended run by Canela Fina, and I think that all conferences should end with an educational wine tasting!
¡Muchas gracias a la Consejería de Educación y la Junta de Castilla y León para un muy buen día!
My school decided that this year we’d have a Roald Dahl theme for World Book Day on March 3rd. Children came to school dressed as characters from Roald Dahl books – so lots of Oompa Loompas, Matildas, BFGs and Willy Wonkas not to mention a Fantastic Mr Fox appearing around every corner – and lessons were to have a similar theme. Serendipitiously I had purchased a copy of La Maravillosa Medicina de Jorge during my recent trip to Mexico so a plan began to form.
I had originally thought about a dictionary lesson in which children looked up ingredients for there own ‘medicine’ and wrote a list. Suitably purposeful and fun at the same time. Looking at the timetable I realised that I had Year 5 and 6 on WBD so thought I would ‘up’ the challenge. So I did. And I’m really pleased that they rose to said challenge!
Below are details of what we did. There was too much for one lesson; in fact, to do each activity justice I’d say you’d need at least two and a half hours, if not three. One class had 30 minutes…
The lesson began with me reading a chapter of the book – in Spanish of course. The chapter, entitled El maravilloso plan, is near the start of the book and is the one in which Jorge/George considers what to do about his intolerable grandma. He toys with the idea of blowing her up or using snakes or rats to scare her but, realising that he doesn’t have the means to do that, he spies her medicine and hatches a plan. It concludes with a rhyme in which he excitedly shares his plan. It lends itself well to dramatic reading and has illustrations that help with understanding, plus there are quite a few cognates. Additionally, it’s three pages long so manageable!
1. Listen to and follow a chapter
I copied the text* so that children (in pairs) could follow as I read and also displayed the appropriate image for the section on the whiteboard. I stopped after each section to ensure that they were following the story, and also used lots of actions and acting to ‘animate’ the story. It certainly engaged the classes as there was no chatting during the reading, and they were so engrossed that when I reached the part where Jorge/George jumps on the table and actually did it, they were rather shocked. Did get a few cheers afterwards!
If we’d had more time… I’d have done a ‘find the word for..’ activity, both in English and Spanish.
2. Read aloud a rhyming section
I read the last section then we went back and looked at it again. I decided that the first section was all we could attempt in the time we had. I read each line and the class repeated, then we read it again together. Then the class read it to each other in pairs or threes. It was a real test of their phonic knowledge as they’d only heard it three times, and had four minutes to rehearse before I asked if anyone wanted to have a go at reading it aloud to the class. There were between three and eight volunteers in each class who bravely stood and read it together, some with incredibly good pronunciation that made me want to jump up and down and squeal! I think the children were impressed too, especially as two of the classes had heard their native speaking classmate reading it aloud and hearing that it’s quite tricky to get your mouth around it even when it’s your first language!
If we’d had more time… I’d have worked on more of the rhyme and had groups rehearsing a section for a whole class poem recitation! Fits well with the school literacy policy and current focus on poetry.
3. Listen to a recipe and put it in order
Moving on, I’d created my own ‘maravillosa medicina‘. I cut the instructions into strips and gave each group (threes) a set. As they listened to me reading the recipe, they put the recipe into order. They did this very successfully without much problem. Before we checked our answers using the PPT, I asked children if they could guess any of the ingredients. They were successful with shampoo and got close to engine oil (¾ said petrol), understood that paper was included and knew that ‘comida de gatos’ had something to do with cats! We went through the recipe and discussed what the instructions meant.
If we’d had more time… we could have done another sorting activity with pictures of the ingredients as an extra challenge, or a ‘fill the gap’ activity with the text if we were feeling extra adventurous.
4. Write your own ‘maravillosa medicina’
Using some of the vocabulary from my ‘receta’, I made some colour coded cards to guide recipe writing. Green = ingredients orange = quantities and blue = instructions/verbs. Each table had a pack of words and we discussed how to form phrases using an orange and a green card, or a sentence using a blue, then orange then green card. Children then made up their own recipes for ‘una maravillosa medicina’ on a copy of the final slide. Some chose to work in pairs but others preferred to write their own recipe although they formed sentences together. They worked at a variety of levels: the minimum was to write a list of ingredients. Next level was to specify quantities as well as ingredients. The next level was to give instructions by adding a verb. Some children decided to aim even higher and add sequencing words such as primero, después, entonces etc. I was really pleased to see that the dictionaries were used very intelligently by which I mean, there were very few children who tried to look up every single word. That’s progress as I find that some pupils are so eager to please that they try to write overly complicated phrases rather than following the structure and adding ‘glittery bits’ as I call them!
We ran out of time in the lesson to do this part – most classes had about 20 minutes but the vast majority went for it and there was some great work. I asked everyone to finish their medicine for next lesson and I’ve promised to award prizes for the best entry in each class. To help, we looked at how to use wordreference.com
If we’d had more time… we’d have spent time making and sharing phrases with the cards before starting to write the recipes. We’d also have spent more time in class on writing the recipes. It’s always risky letting children take work home to finish…
Next week I will share the completed medicines but I hope that you get a feel for what we did in this post. I enjoyed the lesson and I’m pretty sure that the pupils did too as there was no one off task in any of the four classes, and there was a buzz of discussion about ingredients and how to construct correct sentences throughout the day. I only wish we’d had more time.
So, I wonder what the theme will be next year?
* As I photocopied one chapter of the book only, this was not a breach of copyright. Schools have a CLA license and, as I own the book, it is acceptable as detailed below. The illustrations in the presentation come from that chapter too. For more information see http://www.copyrightandschools.org
PS I did dress up as a Roald Dahl character, but not from George’s Marvellous Medicine. Can you work out who I am? (I’m the one in mortal danger!)
I had to go to IKEA to buy a chair for my son and, as well as the obligatory meatballs and scented candles, I always end up buying something to use in the classroom. I now own every puppet that IKEA has produced and a large number of their cuddly toys not to mention various storage solutions (boxes and pop up tubs) and stationary items. So what could I possibly discover this time?
An insect hat
I bought a bunch of artificial Gerbera daisies (my favourites) to use in teaching colours to Y3. No brown, grey or black but every other colour I need. They’ll make a change from flashcards 😉
I have a set of 5 Tolsby frames as each of my schools have five tables of 6 pupils in each class. I use them for instructions when we have a carousel activity but thought that these postcards would be good to give them Spanish specific table names. The fruit and vegetable ones will be great with year3/4 as we look at fruit words in both year groups, and the animals for year 4/5. The animal ones in particular will be good for phonics too – conejo, pájaro, zorro, ardilla, reno (or is it a ciervo?) I’ll put the words for the fruits over the English word for the fruit ones I think.
And then there’s this hat. Would go well with work on mini beasts or describing animals (as we are currently doing in year 5) or just as a prop to go with the moustache and beard I bought last time I went. I was very tempted by the bat cape but restrained myself. This time…
No doubt I’ll have to visit IKEA again soon so watch out for more ideas. I’m already planning a lesson involving scented candles 😉
On Friday I decided it was time for the annual trip to buy gingerbread for the tree – and a gingerbread house too as my domestic goddess status doesn’t extend that far.
I always get excited when I approach the children’s section but this time I nada surprise as I met the LATTJO collection mid way around. What an exciting development!
This little video showcases the new range
IKEA have started a collaboration with world class storyteller DreamWorks Animation highlighting the power and importance of play. DreamWorks Animation brings the LATTJO world to life through more than 25 short animated stories that celebrates and expands the imaginative world of the LATTJO characters.
Well, first of all I saw the Jenga-like stacking game with coloured bricks adding to the fun. I know that Jenga is used widely in language teaching – see Eleanor, Amanda and Erzsi‘s blogs! – and this could well add another dimension to its use.
Then I came across these cones – great for directions, target practice with a bean bag (for practising colour, number, counting up the score etc)
And then I saw these number ‘sleeves’. The suggestion was to put them around bottles of water to make skittles which is a great idea.
I immediately thought of using them as arm bands and making human ‘skittles’, not to be knocked down but for counting activities. For example, give a sum in Spanish/French/German and the answer has to stand up, or children have a pile of cards with word problems in Sp/Fr/Ger that they have to assign to the correct ‘skittle’
Getting away from the dressing up and LATTJO, I made it to the children’s department where I found some great cushions. I bought the sunshine one and I’m going to use as an incentive/ to reward excellent work. Impress Sra. Stevens and make her smile like the sun, and you get to sit on the cushion next lesson. I may yet add the cloud to my collection for excellent ideas, but, as with everything, it’s where to put it between lessons!
My final inspiration came in the shape of these piglets. Can you guess my thoughts…?
Indeed. Los tres cerditos. (Their Mummy is available too!)
Oh, one last idea – these GLON templates for a house, some flats, a church-like building and a mosque-like building look great for describing the town, particularly thanks to the variety of building shape that accommodates the shapes the children I teach see around them!
I hope I’ve managed to communicate my excitement. I didn’t buy all the items but I may well do over time. I do have the moustache and beard, brain hat, sunshine cushion and two sets of the number sleeves though!
If you’ve read the July edition of UKEDmagazine you may have read my article entitled Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning. If you haven’t, you can read the unedited version below or the official version at this link
Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning
A wide variety of people teach languages in Primary schools, probably more than in any other ‘subject’. Whether you’re a class teacher with or without language skills, a reluctant language coordinator or a visiting language specialist (to name but a few possibilities) here are my top ten tips for primary language teaching and learning.
Phonics are vital
It doesn’t matter which language you teach, making the correct sounds of that language is key. Working on phonics from the start builds a strong foundation on which learners can build, enabling them to see new words and say them accurately. Have a look at Rachel Hawkes’ website where there are links to free resources covering French Spanish German and Italian. http://www.rachelhawkes.com/Resources/Phonics/Phonics.php
Songs and rhymes motivate and teach
A good way to increase confidence in reading and speaking the language is by sharing songs, poems and rhymes. This is also a good way to reinforce phonic knowledge and explore the rhythms of the language. Mama Lisa has songs and rhymes in many languages, often with a sound file giving the correct pronunciation and a translation into English so you know what you’re saying! There are also many songs and rhymes on Youtube on channels such as Basho and Friends or by searching for the artist such as Alain le lait
Using stories – in translation or original language – is another great tool for language learning as they are familiar and often very repetitive. My favourites include Oso pardo, ¿qué ves?,Le navet enorme and Kleiner weisser Fisch as they lend themselves to acting out (even Y6 like acting!) and are easy for learners to adapt into their own stories. For example, Y5 invented stories based on Le navet enorme that included a child who didn’t want to get in the bath and had to be pulled to the bathroom, a teacher stuck in the PE cupboard and a car that broke down and needed to be pushed.
Technology has its place
There are many opportunities for using technology to enhance language learning such as recording, reviewing and refining speaking activities using Audacity or an app like VoiceRecordPro, or performing speeches and role plays using Tellagami, YakitKids, or Puppet Pals. BookCreator app is an excellent tool for creating multimedia books including text, sound, video, hyperlinks, doodles and pictures; incredibly easy to use and suitable for young children as well as those who are less confident with technology. And why not use Build Your Wildself or Switchzoo to create hybrid animals then describe them in the language.
Using technology is also a great way to enable sharing of the great things that go on in language learning. Whether it is via the school website or VLE, tweeted or shared on a class/school blog, celebrating language learning gives it status and also provides an audience and a purpose for learning. Additionally, learners are able to take their learning home with them digitally; the excitement of pupils when we made our first podcast nine or ten years ago was great. “I’m on my Gran’s iPod!” was my favourite comment.
Use anything you can get your hands on
The primary classroom is full of things that can be used and adapted for language learning. Number fans are great for counting and also giving feedback with numbered images for example. Mini whiteboards allow learners to write and correct without committing it to paper as well as drawing images to show understanding of vocabulary or instructions. Unifix cubes can be used for ordering ideas or vocabulary and cushions make great impromptu puppets for speaking or islands for phoneme sorting!
Grammar isn’t a dirty word
Primary learners are very familiar with grammatical terms and enjoy comparing the grammar of other languages, making links and finding differences. Sorting words into boxes according to gender, making human sentences to explore word order and creating verb flowers or spiders are just some ways of making grammar fun and memorable.
Integrate language learning into the curriculum
Language learning shouldn’t be seen as a standalone but, as much as possible, integrated into the primary curriculum. As there is no prescribed content in the KS2 PoS, it’s possible to teach the skills through whatever topic if you use a little imagination. And where full integration is tricky or where a specialist delivers the lesson, a class teacher can always build language into routines such as PE warmups, lining up, the register and so on, even if their knowledge of the language is limited.
Don’t just make cross curricular links, but also cross country and cross cultural links. Making contact with children that speak the language you’re learning is very motivating and gives a real purpose to learning. It also increases learners’ understanding of other cultures as well as considering their own in new ways. The British Council SchoolsOnline is a good place to start the search for partners.
Celebrate all languages
Most of all, celebrate all languages. Many learners already speak more than one language which is a valuable skill. Encourage them to share how to say things in their languages; comparing and contrasting numbers or colours in a variety of languages is a fun activity as learners try to group similar words together.
This article first appeared in the July 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine
If you’d like to read more of the magazine that includes other articles about language learning including one of target language by @reebekwylie and Progress in MFL by @jakehuntonMFL the links are below.
The first weekend of June saw the annual National eTwinning Conference take place at NCTL in Nottingham. Once more it was a weekend of learning, laughter and (can’t think of another L) celebrating the wonders of collaboration across boundaries.
I spoke once more about Twitter – Are you a Twit or a Tweep? You can see my presentation here – twitter nottingham – if you’re interested! And there’s an eTwinning guidance document as well: TwitterGuidelines (thanks to Erszi for the photograph!)
During the weekend, I continued to sketch note the sessions.
Below are my sketch notes interspersed with pictures and comments on the sessions!
Happy 10th birthday eTwinning! The cake was delicious too!
Dinner the first night in our regions – odd grouping but it meant that I got to chat with Helena. And special thanks to Kevin for being such an amazing sunshade when the setting sun got in our eyes 😉
Really brilliant to see – and hear – Ewan McIntosh once more. A very important person in my ‘learning journey’, both as a language teacher and an eTwinner. A very thought provoking presentation – I think I’m captured the main points in the sketch note but you can check out the NoTosh website for more details!
An important thought that I wanted to capture!
Ewan’s workshop ‘Diving Deep into Learning’ introduced us to Guy Claxton’s 3Rs and 3Cs, and also to ‘The Squid.’ Too much to take in at once, especially as the very first session had overrun so the session was truncated, but the materials are accessible from the NoTosh site!
And then on to Action Jackson – The Power of Motivation. Lots of the session was really common sense that isn’t often considered or applied, but it was an empowering and sometimes emotional session! Certainly believed I. Am. Amazing.
Coming back after lunch, Action Jackson did a short reprise – this slide sums up what he was saying.
And then onto the wonderful Sugata Mitra who presented via video link about the future of learning. Interesting ideas about the future of teaching and learning, particularly about the role of the teacher, and moving away from subject boxes.
Final session of the day was John Rolfe (standing in for Vicky Gough) and Joanna Speak talking about British Values and International Work. The conclusion they reached – and many of us concurred- was that British Values aren’t anything new, and actually are values that are held by many, not just the British! Great ideas and good to hear how Joanna’s link with Tabasco has developed.
Robin Hood and Maid Marion joined us for dinner!And Vikki Bruff was highly commended for her eTwinning project using Skype.
Lovely to see the LiPS girls, Erszi and Vikki – and Fatima too!
And good to see that selfies live on 😉
You can find out more about the weekend here and via the Storify, photos here and more presentations from the weekend here .
On May 6th I made the trip across Birmingham in rush hour traffic to attend TeachMeetWM organised by the irrepressible and absolutely bonkers Simone Haughey at her school Robin Hood Primary. I sadly missed the choir singing and the start of proceedings thanks to a staff meeting and the traffic, but I arrived in the end to be greeted by delicious Chinese food saved for me by Sim and lots of friendly faces including John Rolfe and AnaPaula Booth from the British Council, and the staff of Robin Hood who are obviously well used to Simone as they didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked if they had a couple of hula hoops I could borrow!
There were many great presentations on the night including a couple via video, and you can see what you missed by looking at the Storify of the tweets at the end of the post. However, my presentation is below as promised for those who were there. How I managed to explain it all in 7 minutes I do not know but I avoided being attacked with a cuddly toy! Do leave a comment if you have questions!
Ever since #ililc5 when Janet Lloyd introduced us to this French song for gaining attention and restoring quiet in the classroom, I’ve been searching for a Spanish equivalent. So far I’ve not found one but it got me thinking about using songs and rhymes to create calm.
I have to admit that I tend to use them to either create excitement and action – see posts about La Vaca Lola and Choco Choco la la, two of my favourite songs, or to teach vocabulary – for example, see these posts on Yo quiero ser by Nubeluz or La finca del Tío Ramón and Hojas Hojas that I subtitled using Amara. However, I began to use this song to start all my lessons in KS1 at the start of the year and noted that as well as signalling the start of the Spanish lesson, it focused us all and calmed everyone down.
Part of the appeal is the routine, but I also think that the actions help. And as I was searching, lots of the songs and rhymes I found were either about or used your hands so I thought that warranted a post!
I came across some lovely songs that I think would certainly work for restoring calm, focusing attention and creating a ‘brain break’ during class:
1. El pourri de las manos
I love this collection of songs which could be used separately or as a whole! Each is only about 40 seconds long and all can be sung/acted on the carpet as well as in seats. Some helpful (opposites) vocabulary too – content/triste, arriba/abajo, abre/cierra, allí/allá.
I also like the way that it starts very calm and then gets a little more animated but not too much!
This is one of the songs included in the above video – I think the ‘band’ will be very popular, and it’s still very chilled with the saxophone and calm actions!
Saco una manito. La hago bailar, / I take out one hand. I make it dance. La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again. Saco la otra manito. La hago bailar, / I take out the other hand. I make it dance. La cierro, la abro y la vuelvo a guardar. / I close it, I open it, and I put it away again. Saco las dos manitos. Las hago bailar, / I take out two hands. I make them dance. Las cierro, las abro y las vuelvo a guardar. / I close them, I open them, and I put them away again.
A very very simple song in which you touch each finger together one after the other then all together.
Palmas con un dedo, palmas con el otro, doy con el más largo, luego con el otro,
viene el más pequeño…
¡Y luego con todos!
Éste dedo es la mama,éste otro es el papa,el más grande es el hermanocon la niña de la mano,
el chiquito va detrás.
Todos salen a pasear
4. El zapatero
This song about a shoemaker is the Spanish equivalent of Wind the bobbin up with arm rolling forward and back, pull, pull and then ‘pan pan pan’ as you gently hammer the shoe.
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
estira, estira y pan – pan – pan
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar
I’ve seen this rhyme before but had forgotten about it. A nonsense rhyme, but with hand actions that require some concentration.
Continuing on the original thought of bringing the class together, this might work as I’ve yet to find a class that don’t want to wiggle their bottoms given half a chance!
Mis manos hacen clap clap clap
Mis pies hacen stamp stamp stamp
Mi boca hace la la la
Cintura hace cha cha cha
Other rhymes using your hands include Los dedos de las manos and there are several more here including Dedo pulgar (the Spanish version of Tommy Thumb) and Cinco ratoncitos in which one less finger or ‘ratoncitos’ comes out each time to play! And the ever helpful Spanish Playground has some other suggestions too.
I was going to talk about clapping rhymes but I think I’ll save that for another post as they aren’t really very calming 😉
I’ll try some of these out in class and let you know what happens.
PS Over the last two weeks Y2 and I have been exploring world dance and this week we did some ‘flamenco’ arm work. There was utter concentration so perhaps that’s another avenue to explore!