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Top ten tips for Primary Language Learning

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

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.

  1. 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

 

  1. 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

 

  1. Dramatic stories

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Share!

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.

 

  1. 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!

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Make links

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.

 

  1. 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.

You can buy a printed copy of the magazine by clicking here, or

Freely read online by clicking Here

eTwinning National Conference: 5th-7th June: NCTL #eTUK15

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

¡Más vale tarde que nunca!

CG1N4BwW0AE2Jg9 IMG_4558 CG1N38ZWoAAjerf

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.
IMG_4570I 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!

IMG_4529 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 😉 IMG_4527
IMG_4555 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! IMG_4534
IMG_4556 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. IMG_4553

IMG_4540

IMG_4544 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. IMG_4552

IMG_4545

IMG_4551 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. IMG_4561
IMG_4568Lovely to see the LiPS girls, Erszi and Vikki – and Fatima too!
And good to see that selfies live on 😉IMG_4567

You can find out more about the weekend here and via the Storify, photos here and more presentations from the weekend here .

News this week that the NCTL is being sold off so not sure where next year’s conference will be. I’ll miss my pre-dinner early evening break by the lake!

IMG_4560

TeachMeetWMLanguages #tmwml

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
@simonehaughey

@simonehaughey

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!

Las manos – calming Spanish songs and rhymes about hands!

Saturday, March 14th, 2015
Image from wikipeques - click for site

Image from wikipeques – click for site

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!

 SONGS

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!

You can find the lyrics for this song here.

2. Saco una manito

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.

3. Dedos

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.

Envolviendo, desenvolviendo,

estira, estira y pan – pan – pan

envolviendo, desenvolviendo,

estira, estira y pan – pan – pan

zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar

zapatero a remendar los zapatos sin parar

 

5. Arramsamsam

I’ve seen this rhyme before but had forgotten about it. A nonsense rhyme, but with hand actions that require some concentration.

Arramsamsam, arramsamsam

guli guli guli guli guli arramsamsam

Alamis, alamis guli guli guli guli guli arramsamsam

 

6. Con mi dedito

A calm song for saying sí and no, firstly with a finger, then a foot then the head.

  Con mi dedito, digo: si, si

Con mi dedito digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y este dedito se escondió.

  Con mi piecito, digo: si, si 

Con mi piecito, digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y este piecito se escondió

  Con mi cabeza, digo: si, si

Con mi cabeza, digo: no, no

Digo, digo: si, si

Digo, digo: no, no

Y esta cabeza se escondió.

 

7. Manos divertidas

Another song about hands with lots of actions to copy!

  Ya mis manos se despiertan y ten van a saludar,

se sacuden con gran fuerza y después se enrollan de aqui por allá.

  Son mis manos divertidas, siempre salen a jugar

suben por una escalera y después se tiran por el tobogán.

  Ellas tocan la bocina, ellas te van asustar

y después de tanto juego, cuando están cansadas,

te invitan a soñar.

If you’re interested in more traditional action songs, have a look at Diversión con juegos de mano which includes Dos manitas, diez deditos and Los deditos.

RHYMES

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!

#ililc5 Show and Tell – El que busca encuentra

Friday, March 6th, 2015

My idea to share at the Show and Tell was based on a post I wrote in August –

El que busca encuentra

The picture I shared is on that post (in two parts) and below I’ve uploaded it as one image. I’ve also shared another couple that don’t have questions.

el que busca

Mujeres célebres

Grandes científicas

Grandes científicas

IMG_0568 IMG_0569

Grandes genios de la informática (arriba)

Grandes personajes de terror (abajo) – perhaps for next Halloween?

IMG_0566 IMG_0567

Apart from the ideas in the previous blogpost, I was going to suggest that any Where’s Wally?/Où est Charlie?/Wo ist Walter?/¿Dónde está Wally? could be used in a similar way:

1. explain where Wally is using prepositions/positional language.

2. provide descriptions of other characters to be found: could be done as a reading or a listening activity .

3. learners could do the above with a partner, or in small groups

4. learners imagine the life of one of the characters and provide a biography, or put themselves into their shoes and introduce themselves (a little like Janet Lloyd’s ‘In the picture’ activity)

and so on!

(Apologies for taking so long to upload – I’ve suffered severe post -#ililc5 exhaustion this week!)

ModernLanguages, ModernTeaching – Making Links

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

chainMy second session was all about cross curricular language learning; how languages support other areas of the curriculum like literacy and maths as well as how languages can be taught in conjunction with and through other subjects and vice versa.

Making Links – Cross curricular language learning from Lisa Stevens

I mentioned my Pinterest pages; here’s the link to my Roman resources for Spanish. And if you click through the presentation, you’ll find links to things like the music for The Carnival of the Animals, a slideshare of Querido Zoo, links to BuildyourWildself and Switchzoo for making hybrid animals and that cheesy song in Spanish about the planets.

Some resources I showed included:

Habitats matching activity sheets

LAT SP FR ROM NUMBERS 1-31

I also recommended looking at The Iris Project for  Latin/Greek resources, and LightbulbLanguages has some lovely Latin stuff as well as planets linked to maths and science, and much more. And check out TES Resources from Joan Miró resources from Helen Stanistreet and Rachel Hawkes.

I’d also draw your attention to the list of helpful sites and documents in the last few slides for further ideas!

ModernLanguages, ModernTeaching – TopTips for Primary Language Teaching

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Top-Tips200I’ve finally managed to upload my presentations to Slideshare so here is the first. There are links throughout the presentation to useful sites and resources, and I’d especially refer you to the last few slides with helpful links to e.g. LightBulbLanguages and the ALL site. However, I’ve added a few below too.

Rachel Hawkes’ phonics

Music for Los vocales D.I.S.C.O.

Rhabarberbarbara

Jo Rhy Jones phonic activities 

Oso Pardo pdf

Boowa et Kwala – Peut tu marchez comme un canard? Fingerpaint song

Padlet.com – for collecting ideas (online post it notes)

Storybird – make up your own stories using illustrators images. MFL Storybird wikispace

I also mentioned Tellagami, Pic collage and Book Creator app. Check out this post for more details!

I also recommended Julie Prince and Dr Lynn Erler’s book Sounds and Words

Los animales and Little Languages – the story so far.

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

I’m conscious that I haven’t posted since before school started so I thought I’d share something I’ve made this week.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.39.02

At WCPS, Foundation and Key Stage 1 teachers follow the Little Languages scheme of work for Spanish. It’s simple to use, has clear instructions and best of all, builds up from a +/- 10 minute activity/ies in FS to 10- 15 minutes in Y1 and 15-20 minutes in Y2. The activities can be repeated during the week or just done once, and there’s lots of repetition. Sound files are included to support the teachers (none of whom are fluent or confident Spanish speakers) and visuals too.

I’m timetabled to teach two Y2classes this half term which is great, so I’m following the same scheme but making it a bit more in depth and adding my own bits to it! At the same time, I need to ensure that the third class have a similar experience; their teacher is doing their lessons with half a class at a time as the other half go swimming and then the other half when they swap.

The last few weeks have been based around animals.

Week one we sang an adapted version of  Vengan a ver mi granja featuring a kitten (un gatito) and a duckling (un patito). We sang the song with actions then played Patito/Gatito, a game with cuddly toys.

We sent someone out of the room and hid the ‘gatito’. When they returned we had to find ‘gatito’ by listening to the rest of the class repeating its name; the nearer the person got, the louder we said ‘gatito’. One class was really good at the dynamics whilst the other needed a bit of help as they were loud from the start and didn’t leave themselves enough leeway to get louder without screaming! Then we played with ‘patito’. This led to horror when someone hid the cuddly in the class play oven! The next week, we added ‘perrito’ to the game. Very popular and the children recalled the words clearly after so much repetition.

Download wk 1 gatito patito

The next week we moved onto a story about wild animals called ¿Quién soy? in which you see small parts of a wild animal who asks ¿Quién soy? before revealing themself and saying ‘Soy un elefante / un tigre / una jirafa’ etc. Whilst reading the story for the first time, we assigned each animal an action and children showed they understood by doing the action on subsequent retellings. For example, un elefante was arm as a trunk; una jirafa, arm above head like a long neck; un tigre was claws in front; and un león was the same but whilst swishing your hair. They also joined in with ¿Quién soy? and some with the response too. Another game followed in which children mimed an animal and asked ¿Quién soy?, challenging their classmates to guess. Again, plenty of volunteers and lots of language. We also used masks to play a similar game with the images from the story; we looked at the clue images, chorusing ¿Quién soy?, and the child wearing the correct mask jumped up and announced ‘Soy….’  

Their favourite is…

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.38.23

 

… accompanied by puffing out the cheeks (which strangely helped them to say the word!)

To continue the theme I made a simple labelling sheet with 8 animals, three of which they hadn’t met: un mono, una cebra, una serpiente. This led to a really good discussion about how they could work out which animal these words matched.

 

Mono looks like the start of monkey.’

Cebra looks like zebra.’ ‘It starts with a s sound not a z or a c though’

Serpiente sounds like snake because it’s got a sss at the start’ (that followed me reading the word with a very sibilant s!)

Download jungle animals worksheet

This week, the lesson was to be based around Alarma en la jungla. But I couldn’t it. I’m sure I’ve got it so Im not buying another copy until I’ve had a good look, and I couldn’t find a powerpoint or PDF online (that didn’t require me to sign up to something requiring my credit card details!) so I had to find an alternative.

Step forward, Animales salvajesThis is a lovely book that I bought in Spain for 2€ which has a little rhyme giving a clue to the animal hiding behind the ‘plastic page’. Look at the example below!

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRender-2 FullSizeRender

We’d met all but one animal so I planned to read it to the class, sharing the book so that everyone could have a look, emphasising or explaining key words to help them guess. For example, the first animal is described as ‘verde’ and they have a chart of Spanish colours on the wall so that gave them a clue that it wasn’t the elephant! However, I was aware that my colleague in the 3rd Y2 class couldn’t speak Spanish and wouldn’t be able to read the book to the children. So I made a powerpoint with embedded sound for her so she could just show the pictures and turn the pages whilst the text and sound came from the IWB. And I added a question to each slide too ¿Qué es? as it’s a common question that they’ll hear repeatedly.

Download animales salvajes

Except we had two special assemblies so we didn’t use it! However, we’re all ready for next week. And hopefully the sound on the IWB in one of the classes will be fixed as the children are eager for a repeat of Veo a un animal on the BBC Primary Spanish website.

Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 18.25.09Firstly, it’s a guessing song about wild animals.

Secondly, they like the funny pictures and the catchy tune.

And thirdly, they are particularly impressed because I wrote it (and all the other Spanish/French songs, games and vocabulary /information pages on the site)  and this has elevated me to superstardom in their eyes!

We did however have a great game of ‘Secret leader’ in which we all sat in a circle and chanted a word whilst doing an action. We sent a child out and nominated a leader who would change the action whenever they wanted (I changed the word in response to their action as it was the first time we’d played but one child did it themselves so we’ll see what happens next time!). The child returned and had to work out the Secret leader.  “Oh, it’s like ‘Wink-faint’ isn’t it?” said one child which made me think of the days when we used to ‘murder’ each other and die violently and gorily! This class are only 6 years old though 😉 Again, a game with lots of repetition with the action reinforcing the spoken word.

I’ll report back on how we’re progressing at a later date. Hope you enjoy the resources I’ve shared.

El que busca encuentra

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Following on from yesterday’s post, I forgot to say that there is a Facebook page for Muy Interesante Junior that has little snippets from the magazine as well as previews of upcoming editions.

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 21.27.20

…and you can follow @MuyInteresante on Twitter for interesting facts in Spanish in 140 characters or less.

A regular feature of Muy Interesante Junior each month is the El que busca encuentra spread. It’s a bit like Where’s Wally? or ¿Dónde está Wally? (did you know that he’s called Charlie in French, Walter in German and BenJ in Swiss German? Find out more here) in that you have to find people in a very ‘busy’ picture! Here’s a section of the picture.

photo 2

What makes it different is that each edition there is a different theme for the ‘puzzle’; this edition it is “Mujeres célebres.” Alongside the puzzle is a section which gives you the images that you must find along with a couple of sentences about the person. With the new programmes of study in mind, I can see this as a great opportunity to engage learners in short texts as well as increasing their general knowledge, in this case about famous women, and revising and learning structures and vocabulary .

photo 1

For example, the short texts include details about countries of origin, occupations, years of birth and death.

1. You could ask questions about the women based on the facts. For example:

  • ¿Quién es de Francia?  (Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, Juana de Arco, Camille Claudel)
  • ¿Quién es cantante? (María Callas, Edith Piaf)
  • ¿Quién viene de Europa?  (Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, Juana de Arco, Camille Claudel, Emmeline Pankhurst, Madre Teresa de Calcuta)
  • ¿Quién es de un país que habla español? (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Evita Perón, Gabriela Mistral)
  • ¿ Quién ha ganado un Premio Nobel? (Madre Teresa de Calcuta, Gabriela Mistral)
  • ¿Quién nació en el siglo veinte? (María Callas, Indira Gandhi, Edith Piaf, Evita Perón, Madre Teresa de Calcuta, Katherine Hepburn)
  • ¿Quién murió antes de cumplir cincuenta años? (Juana de Arco, Evita Perón, Nefertiti, Amelia Earhart, Edith Piaf)

 

2. You could also use Clare Seccombe’s Tesoro o basura idea and board along with this PDF of the names  (Mujeres célebres) and ask learners to sort words according to given criteria (either with the information, or having found out as much as they can previously):

  • Las actrices son ‘tesoro’; las demás son ‘basura’.   (Edith Piaf, Katherine Hepburn)
  • Las francesas son ‘tesoro’; las demás son ‘basura’.  (Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, Juana de Arco, Camille Claudel)
  • Las que murieron en el siglo veinte son ‘tesoro’; las demás son ‘basura’  (María Calas, Indira Gandhi, Coco Chanel, Edith Piaf, Amelia Earhart, Evita Perón, Camille Claudel, Emmeline Pankhurst, Gabriela Mistral, Madre Teresa de Calcuta)

 

3. You could use the information strips to work on large numbers and dates; say a date and identify the person:

  • mil novecientos siete – nació Katherine Hepburn
  • mil seiscientos noventa y conco – murió Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
  • mil trescientos setenta antes de Cristo  – nació Nefertiti

And what about putting all the women in a timeline and using ordinal numbers to describe their position?

 

4. You could ask learners to find me the word for

For example:

  • The Nobel Prize (El Premio Nobel)
  • opera singer  (la cantante de ópera)
  • her unique voice (su singular voz)
  • the Pharaoh (el Faraón)

 

5. You could ask learners to fill in a form based on the information given: here are some I’ve made

Pen and paper form

Blue clipboard Stars

and then make up simple personal identification sentences about the women, using structures with which they are familiar:

Se llama Gabriela Mistral.

Es de Chile.

Es poeta.

Nació en mil ochocientos ochenta y nueve.

Murió en mil novecientos cincuenta y siete.

Es famosa por ganar el Premio Nobel de Literatura en 1945.

 

6. The information given could be extended with some research;

  • find an image and write a physical description
  • discover specifically where they were born and describe where it is (compass point, size, near to etc)
  • find out a poem written / song sung / film starred in / speech made / dress designed by the person and describe it using adjectives

and not necessarily just in Spanish. What a great way of bringing Spanish into other areas of the curriculum by having the inspiration in Spanish and continue it in English?

 

Of course, you can do activities without even reading the information!

7. You could describe the images of the women in Spanish and ask learners to identify the person from your description – or ask a learner to describe to the class or their partner.

Lleva un vestido negro. (Coco Chanel)

Lleva pantalones , botas y una chaqueta. También lleva una bufanda, un casco y anteojos de aviador. (Amelia Earhart)

Lleva una túnica /un vestido blanco y un tocado blanco y azul. Lleva un cetro de oro. (Nefertiti)

 

8. Or you could play ¿Quién es? (Guess Who?)  with yes/ no / don’t know questions being posed until the correct person is identified.

¿Lleva pantalones? Sí

¿Tiene el pelo rubio? No

¿Es Katherine Hepburn? Sí

You could extend the game to include the entire picture rather than just the 14 featured women – that could be a game that goes on forever!

 

And that brings us back to the ¿Dónde está Wally? element. Each of the women is hidden in the picture and, once they have been found, learners could describe where each is hidden in Spanish too. For example:

  • Madre Teresa de Calcuta está en el primer piso. Está a la izquierda, al lado de la ventana, entre dos chicos que llevan jerseys verdes.
  • Evita Perón está en la planta baja, a la izquierda de la escalera. Está al lado del tobogán.
  • Amelia Earhart está a la derecha en el primer piso. Está al lado de un robot grande.

And for those that need an extra challenge, there’s a list of additional people/items to find in the picture – good for dictionary skills!

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The latest edition of Muy Interesante Junior has ‘Grandes genios de la Informática’ as the theme of El que busca encuentra – time to start thinking where that may lead.

But I’ll leave that for another time 😉

If you have any ideas that I haven’t considered, please share them in the comments!

Dados

Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

It’s very tempting when you can’t go shopping to get the shopping bought to you. I’m being quite restrained but I have been ordering a few things…

One of my recent purchases is pictured below.

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I admit that they’re bigger than I’d envisaged (they’re advertised as and are 1.5 inches/3.8cm but my spatial awareness is not good!)  and some of them aren’t exactly cubes, but they serve the purpose for which they are intended. Which was?

Well, they’re made of foam which will hopefully mean less noise, and their size and colour means that I’ll see where they are, they won’t get mixed up with the school dice and they won’t get lost under/inside books/pencil pots/pencil cases.

And I have several ideas for their use.

Playing board games

Well, obviously! You can make your own using Tools for Educators (see previous post), a template like the ones below or have a look at this site – I particularly like the daisy one!

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Counting/Maths 

So many ways to use dice in this way! Here are a few – I’m sure you’ve got ideas of your own – feel free to add them in the comments!

  • throw one die and say the number
  • throw one die and double it, or multiply by 3 etc
  • throw two dice and add the numbers
  • throw two dice and multiply the numbers
  • throw a dice several times, adding up the numbers are you throw and trying to score a perfect 21.

Here’s a PDF of Maths activities using dice for Kindergarten right up to year 8. Dice-Ideas

I particularly like Make 100/Cien challenges learners to throw dice and make 100 by using any  operation, and also Double half or stay (I shall call it Doblar, dividir por dos o ¡ya! as I am struggling to find a better way of putting it!) which is simlar to 21 but can be played with any number and you can, as the name suggests, double,half or stick with your number.

Counting/Maths games

Activity Village suggests a very simple game called Mountain o Sube la montaña which has the aim of reaching the summit of the mountain first by throwing the numbers in order. So you have to throw 1 to start then 2 and so on. Players say their numbers as they throw the dice so plenty of repetition. Have a look at the site  for more detailed rules and variations.

Here are  the downloadable mats to play the game Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 10.33.15

 

For subtraction, here’s a game I found on eHow.com called Pennies (although could be called cents or Euros instead of peniques 😉 )

This is an ideal game for younger players. Stack 20 pennies in the center of the table. The first player rolls one die and takes the number of pennies shown. Play passes to the next person and continues until the pile is gone. An exact roll is required to take the last of the pennies. The winner is the person with the most pennies.

Language used would be very simple – Tengo 2.  Hay 20 euros.  Tomo 2. Restan 18.

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I like this idea from Activity Village too  called Beat That! (¡Superárlo! or ¡Superar eso!) that reinforces place order and practices 2 , 3 (or more!) digit numbers.

Roll the dice and put them in order to make the highest number possible. If you roll a 4 and an 6, for example, your best answer would be 64. Using 3 dice, a roll of 3, 5 and 2 should give you 532, and so on. Write down your answer, pass the dice, and challenge the next player to “Beat That!”

Play in rounds and assign a winner to each round.

You can also play to see who can get the lowest score!

Mathswire has several games that look at probability – I especially like the Cookies game where you throw two dice and add the numbers to decide which cookie can be packed away – or perhaps eaten! 😉

Download the  Great Cookie Contest Cookie Sheet Mat

A variation on this I’ve played is for outdoor fun using chalk as I shared at #ililc3

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 11.01.20You draw a grid in chalk on the ground with lanes of 10 squares for numbers 2-12 (when I saw it played with Kindy in Switzerland they used 1 which wasn’t fair!!) Pupils choose a lane and they are the ‘caballo’ or ‘caracol’ that will race in that lane. They take it in turns to throw two dice and add the numbers together. That decides who can move forward; so if 2 and 3 are thrown, caballo #5 can take a step forwards. The idea is to “llegar a la meta” first. Lots of number language involved, and it’s an activity
that can easily be played as one activity in a carousel. (There’s a board game called Snail Pace Race that is similar but uses colours)

 

Another probability activity from Maths is fun would be a great way of supporting the Maths curriculum using más probable and menos probable.  Clare Seccombe has done a whole presentation on Supporting Maths through language learning – it’s well worth a look for further ideas! (Sadly now that Slideshare has stopped slide casts the audio is no longer embedded 🙁 )

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Grammar

Six sided dice are great for conjugating verbs as there are six “persons” 1st 2nd and 3rd singular and plural. Throw the dice to decide the person of the verb

1=yo

2=tú

3=él/ella/usted

4=nosótros

5=vosótros

6=ellos/ellas/ustedes

You could combine this with a board game featuring verbs like the one I made below for M and M, my Spanish English students in Switzerland to practice the past tense. Or

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You could also assign parts of speech a number – learners throw the die a number of times and “collect” parts of speech according to their roll and then make a sentence using that combination of words. You could restrict the choice of vocabulary with cards, or allow learners to use dictionaries to make a unique sentence!

1=noun

2=verb

3=adjective

4 = adverb

5=connective

6=free choice

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Speaking

Similar to grammar games, you could play a speaking game as suggested here

The teacher brings a large soft dice to the classroom. Students sit in a circle and take turns rolling the dice. Each time, a student throws the dice. The student who rolls the dice uses the number that shows up on the die to say some things about himself or herself. For example, if the number 2 shows up, the student will have to say two things about himself or herself.

Another variation would be for the student to ask the class the number of questions according to what number shows up on the dice. Equally, you can make the class ask the number of questions according to the number on the dice.

You could also use two dice and challenge learners to make a sentence with that many words, a phrase with that many syllables or think of a word with that many letters. circle_time_picci

 

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Beetle 

Throw the die to win body parts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a beetle you build; it could be a monster, a clown, a person or something completely different. Activity Village suggests Mouse  or Ratón

6 = el cuerpo
5 = la nariz
4 = bigotes
3 = un ojo
2 – una oreja
1 = la cola

Art

Here’s an idea to make a Joan Miró style painting using a die…

roll a miro

 

…and why not have a look at one of these ideas to make a Monster,  a Picasso painting  or a Miró Skyscape.

In fact, you could make anything with components using a dice… or randomise anything in sets of 6 using dice!

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Dressing up

Assign a number to items of clothing with the aim of creating an outfit for a teddy bear, cut out person, or even your partner. You could end up with far too many jumpers and no trousers!

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 12.18.04Directions

You could use dice to decide directions that people should take. You could use the classroom, a map or an assault course!

In it’s simplest form you could just use left and right

a la izquierda – impar (1,3,5)

a la derecha – par (2,4,6)

or you could add todo recto by assigning opposite numbers to each e.g. 1 and 6 = todo recto; 2 and 5 = a la izquierda; 3 and 4 = a la derecha

or even have a different direction for each number, including ‘darse la vuelta’, volver al principio or reaching your destination if you throw a 6.

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And there are so many more things that you  can do!

Here are some links I’ve found that might be of interest.

Juegos de dados games to play with up to 5 dice

Cómo jugar al juego de dados de los diez mil or Reglas para juego de dados 10000

Juego mueve dados online dice game – not really for using my dice, nor a language activity but I thought I’d share as it made my head ache!

 

And then, of course, there are dice that don’t have numbers on them but colours, images or words!  MES Dice games has some ideas that uses vocabulary dice too, and Crazy faces  looks fun too – I might come back to that and write another post on non-number dice! And then there are dice apps…

Plus I love this game!