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.
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…
Another purchase on my travels to Bilbao was this book entitled Veo Veo. It’s a really simple board book about two ‘lunas’ or moons that go for a walk to the park and play I spy. I liked it for the simplicity of the languages, for the repetition and also for the simplicity of the images.
So how would I use it?
A book to read as the introduction to a guessing game: a number of images on the board and the leader says Veo Veo to which everyone answers ¿Qué ves tú? (the refrain in the book) before someone guesses which picture has been chosen. This limits the number of vocabulary items that need to be known to play the game.
As a variation on the above, the leader could say what letter the item begins with Empieza con … or say what colour it is Es (de color) …. or give other simple clues.
As above but using the whole rhyme that I shared in a previous post some time ago. (Sadly at the time of writing the link to the East Riding materials in the post is broken and I haven’t managed to track down if they are still in existence. EDIT: Now updated as I’ve found it!) It’s a call and response with the leader saying the parts in red and everyone else responding with the blue words before someone guesses. Veo veoI see, I see,¿Qué ves? What do you see?Una cosita. A thingY ¿qué cosita es? And what thing is it?Empieza con la ……. It begins with ………
¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? ¿Qué será? What can it be? (x 3)
It could even lead into a Wake up Shake up style activity or PE warm up using the MiniDisco video below; I can see my KS1 classes enjoying being letters and waggling their fingers (and their bottoms!)
Getting away from the song/game Veo Veo, I also thought that the book would be a good stimulus for some writing.
The story has the ‘lunas’ seeing two items, one on top of each other, then on the next double page, a third item has been added underneath, and then another so that by the end there are five items:
Una estrella sobre un pez. Un pez en la nube azul. La nube sobre un ciempiés. El ciempiés sobre un iglú.To limit vocabulary, you could provide a number of labeled images that pupils could cut out and stick in a tower as in the book. At the most basic level they could label the items and at the next level describe using simple prepositions like en and sobre in the style of the book: [noun] [preposition] [noun]
A little more complex would be to add some time conjunctions primero, luego, después, finalmente etc to sequence the items.
And to add extra difficulty pupils could choose their own items to arrange and describe, perhaps not restricting themselves to placing them on top of each other but also placing them a la izquierda or a la derecha, al lado de, entre etc to introduce further positional prepositions, and adding a verb to the sentence; for example, Hay un sacapuntas debajo del arco iris or La silla está al lado de la naranja.
The texts from the above activity could be used for listening activities with pupils sat back to back, reading out their description for the other pupil to draw before comparing images at the end.
Another listening activity would be with the teacher describing a stack of items (as in the book) from a bank of given images and pupils arranging the images according to the description. Or it could be a reading activity involving drawing or sticking the items.
Or if you’re feeling adventurous and have a big space, what about giving instructions to place larger items in a tower (being careful of H&S of course!); this might be a good idea for a smaller group or club.
An added challenge for pupils would be to make the items rhyme with each other; for example Una vaca debajo de una butaca. Un payaso en un vaso. Un sartén sobre un tren.
There’s a PDF of rhyming words in Spanish here which is helpful as it gives meanings, and this post gives a download of some rhyming cards as well as more suggestions on rhyming word activities. More advanced learners could use Buscapalabras, but the meanings are not givens it’s hard for a (near) beginner to choose suitable words for their sentence.
And finally, why not have pupils making their own books – using an app like BookCreator if you want to use technology or a mini book if you want to go ‘analogue’ – using all of the above, and perhaps having the own characters.
So, there are my ideas. Have you got any to add? Leave a comment below.
Another of my purchases in Bilbao was Las vacaciones which comes from a series called Colección Pictogramas described the publisher, CEPE (Ciencias de la Educación Preescolar y Especial) as forming part of a series “para favorecer la integración de los alumnos con n.e.e. [Necesidades Educativas Especiales], sobre todo los que presentan dificultades lectoras y/o de comprensión” (to support the integration of students with SEND, especially those who have difficulties with reading and/or comprehension.)
I was drawn to the book as it has a very simple text and is on the subject of holidays and the seaside which one of the topics covered by Y1 at my school. However the thing that drew me most was that the text is accompanied by pictograms, small images to support understanding of the text.
At both of my schools we use pictograms or widgets for visual timetables to support all pupils in following the flow of the day as well as on key rings for individual pupils who use them to communicate. At one of my schools we use Communication in Print (now called InPrint3) just as Las Vacaciones does to support reading and comprehension across the curriculum. I’ve used it in RE lessons to retell stories from the Bible and Quran with success but have found it more fiddly with Spanish as it doesn’t recognise the words. A while back Clare Seccombe talked about finding a Spanish version and when I bought the book, I had this in mind but couldn’t find the name of it. Fortunately, she wrote a post about it a few days ago!
Pictotraductor will enable me to translate resources to support my pupils, but also to support non specialists who deliver Spanish lessons, much as the resource below helped the Y1 teachers to use the story of Ricitos de Oro until they discovered the Pictocuentos version (and subsequently enjoyed Caperucita Roja and El Patito Feo!)
And here is a video version of the story using pictograms as the characters and activities using pictograms that I found on this blog that shares resources for ‘Educación Especial’. In this post he recommends using Adapro or AraWord (with the library of images from ARASAAC), both of which are freely downloadable from SourceForge. I do think that Pictotraductor looks easier to use as you don’t have to be at a specific computer but you need to be online to use it whereas the options above are downloaded programmes on your computer so could be done on a train for example.
I wish I’d bought more of the series of books but I’ve found the website and catalogue online so will perhaps get more when I’m next in Spain or persuade someone to take delivery and post them to me 😉
On my trips to Spain I’m always in search of a bargain! I’ve recently not had much luck finding ‘Poundland’ type shops, nor the equivalent of a Swiss brocki but this time I came across a 1 euro shop down one of the Siete Calles in Bilbao. Disappointingly there were no books, and unfortunately I was down to my last few euros. However, I did find some bargains.
Firstly some vocabulary jigsaws. Following on from a tip from Eleanor Abrahams-Burrows at ILILC a few years back, I bought some blank ones from Wilko (also available from Flying Tiger) and made some bespoke vocabulary jigsaws for early finishers/take home Spanish bags/ to reinforce grammar points.
I was pleased to find these ‘rompecabezas’ in the shop and at 1 euro 20 I bought one of each. I’ll use them in much the same way as my homemade ones; let’s see which is the most popular. Additional activities that you could do once the jigsaws are complete:
put the vocabulary in alphabetical order
read and practice pronunciation
make a list of the words you find most interesting
make a puzzle for a friend with the words
classify the words – could be by colour, size, like/dislike, manmade/natural
find the word for… with a partner
My second purchase was a pack of cards. I’ve got lots of decks of cards already, but this my first ‘baraja española.’ As you can see, they are not the same as the ‘baraja francesa’ with which we may be more familiar. There are four ‘palos’ or suites – oros (coins), copas (cups), espadas (swords) y bastos (sticks) – of 12 cards each. The different ‘palos’ are also distinguished by the number of breaks in the line around the edge of the card: oros -0; colas – 1; espadas – 2; bastos -3. And, in contrast to the 52 card ‘baraja francesa’, there are only 48 cards in the ‘baraja española’ as, whilst there are three ‘figuras’ – rey (king), caballo (horse) and sota (jack) – there is no card marked 10.
I was pleased to purchase these from a cultural point of view as well as to be used when we’re working on numbers/counting etc
Here’s a post with some ideas on how playing cards can be used in language learning.
And some traditional Spanish card games that are played with the ‘baraja española’ are explained in this post. Some are played with a 40 card deck (which omits the 8 and 9) One such game, and probably one of the simplest too is Siete y media which is explained in Spanish here (to change it to English, click on English in the left hand menu!) but is basically a game in which the aim is to get cards totally 7 ½ points and no more, with number cards being worth face value and ‘figuras’ are worth half. A simple game that could easily be played in class with basic language:
te toca a ti – it’s your go
otra carta por favor – another card please
me planto – I’m sticking here (no more cards)
me paso – I’ve gone bust (my total is over 7 ½)
gano – I win!
¿jugamos otra vez? – shall we play again?
You many not want to add an element of betting for counters or points, but if you do…
apuesto… puntos/fichas – I bet …. points/counters.
I usually use decks of cards for activities such as :
pick a card and say its value in Spanish
pick two cards and add their values
playing 21 (very like Siete y media but with higher numbers so harder to play when pupils can only say up to 10!)
pick a card and saying the number bond to make ten, fifteen or twenty
pick two cards; what’s the difference?
pick two cards and multiply the numbers
higher, lower (in the style of Play your cards right!)
Do you have any favourite card games that you think could be used in the language classroom?
As promised, here are some of the trioramas made by Y6 at WCPS on the subject of Mi pueblo. The pupils were very excited about making them and whilst one class did a better job than the other, there were some excellent examples created. Each classroom has a (static) Spanish display and I’ve added some of the trioramas to the border of them. I was going to attach them like a row of houses but decided that it was batter with the writing flush to the wall and the townscape facing the floor so that they could be read!
Why spend the time making them?
Yr6 needed a bit of motivation!
It encouraged them to do their best work and take pride in presentation in a way that writing in their books doesn’t.
Their work is now on display, or has been taken home (I took photos of them all to stick in books.)
Others within school have commented on the work; again this would not to be true if it were in their books.
It celebrates all the work that they have put in over the previous few weeks.
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!