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Something old, something new #ililc4

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

My second session at #ililc4 was entitled Something old, something new and concerned the new 2014 curriculum.

My presentation is below, and I’ll explain briefly what I said as I couldn’t attach the notes without making the Slideshare look ugly!

And there are lots of links ideas and resources at bit.ly/oldlisibo (should have thought out that URL more carefully!)

Something old, something new. from Lisa Stevens

As I explained on the day, when you have to submit your idea so far in advance and aren’t entirely sure how your idea will pan out, it is quite tricky to come up with a witty/apposite title. My choice of Something old Something new was mainly because I envisaged sharing some old ideas and some new ones plus some borrowed from others. However, as I came to think in more detail I began to think more about weddings!

Primary languages have had a bit of a torrid love life, being loved and then rejected by the primary curriculum, nearly getting up the aisle in 2010 but being jilted at the last moment when all was going so well. So I set out to explore the ‘prenuptial agreement’ (or Languages Programmes of Study at KS2), how we can make this ‘marriage’ work, how to convince those that are nervous about married life and how we’ll keep the spark alive.

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So I began by looking at the Programmes of Study, highlighting parts of the  document that I found interesting.

Purpose of study – Intercultural Understanding is still really important – it’s a vital part of language learning. Providing learners with building blocks AND mortar is key if they are to be able to express what they want in the foreign language. And ‘great works of literature’ doesn’t mean Don Quijote de la Mancha, A la recherché du temps perdu or Mein Kampf at Year 3; poetry is great literature and we regularly use an extract tom Machado in Year 5 as stimulus for writing.

Aims – It’s about a balance and variety of things; a breadth of experience that leads to progression. No arguments there!

The lack of detail in the Attainment target section could be seen as a bit disconcerting but doesn’t give much guidance. However, I’m hanging on to my Key Stage 2 Framework which is still a great document; follow that and you can’t go far wrong. Measuring progress in terms of I can statements is also helpful, and there’s been a great discussion on Primary languages forum this week on what we should be looking for in terms of skills progression. (Want to join in? Join the forum or ask to join the Sharing Primary Languages wikispace)

Subject content – I highlighted that whilst it says ‘substantial progress in one language’, this does not mean that looking at other languages is precluded; in fact, I’d positively encourage it as making links between languages  is a vital language learning skill. We discussed how a balance of skills can be achieved when some are more comfortable with speaking activities than the written word which seems more ‘serious’ and permanent. And we mentioned ‘the grammar question’ – it’s not such a bad thing! Nor is looking at languages such as Greek and Latin; very useful for understanding the formation of languages as I discovered on my year abroad at Universitat de les Illes Balears. Finally in this section we thought about laying those foundations for KS3. I referred back to a presentation I’d made at Language World called Bricklaying for Beginners and how bricks need mortar, and how it’s not a wall that needs demolishing at KS3; reinforcing but not knocking down!

I then took each  ‘pupils should be taught to..’ statement and split them into listening, speaking, reading, writing and grammar, suggesting ideas and activities that might meet them.

There are lots of links on the wiki to many of the ideas but here are some comments:

  • ‘joining in’  is very important and builds confidence as does repetition e.g storytelling, reciting rhymes and poems
  • making links between graphemes and phonemes is important to enable increased fluency e.g. listening out for phonemes in songs/rhymes, sorting words, reading with your Spanish/French/German glasses so you view graphemes not as you would in your own language
  • confidence with phonics is vital to teacher and learner; syllables and stress patterns too – hence my pupils’ love of stress punching!  (a post about this and ‘animal symphony’ will follow shortly)
  • books are brilliant – not just fiction though! Non fiction is very popular with boys and also is great for linking to other curricular areas: going back to my analogy, this ‘marriage’ is about give and take! If you can’t find suitable books, make your own as with my Storybird ¿De dónde viene el yak?
  • learners can decode more complex texts without knowing every word if you provide them with the confidence to do so, embed language learning skills and discuss how languages work  from the very start.
  • writing doesn’t have to be in a book; whiteboards, post-it notes, mini books, Padlet, labels, paper chains, posters, your partner’s hand; they all count!
  • structuring and scaffolding is fine – trapdoors are great as starters as is making human sentences and physically rearranging words. The Human Fruit machine with 3+ learners holding a large dice with 6 images of nouns/adjectives/verbs etc on them and spin is a great way of making make random sentences and exploring how you can substitute words in existing sentences to make new ones!
  • I loved grammar at school; I liked the logic of it all and the patterns. So why not exploit that and make verb flowers, grammar songs and raps, dice games and so on. Use highlighters/colour to clarify grammar ( I lived by my red=accusative, green=nominative and blue=dative when learning German) be it nouns, adjectival placement, verb endings/groupings or spelling.
  • Use activities that are used in other areas of the primary curriculum; learners up level sentences in Literacy all the time so why not in the foreign language? Word pyramids starting with a word and extending to a complex sentence at the base? And card sorting activities too.

So that’s the session in a (pretty big) nutshell!

(Written whilst lying flat on my back in pain so please excuse typos!)

A beginner’s guide to iPads in the Primary Language classroom #ililc4

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

My first session at #ililc4 was aimed at beginner users of iPads in the Primary classroom.

My presentation is below, and under that I’ll briefly recap the session.

You can find helpful links, ideas and tutorials at bit.ly/lisiboipad

Beginners guide to iPad in the Primary Language Classroom from Lisa Stevens

After looking at some of the pedagogy behind using iPads in the classroom, we watched a video from Cedars School that outlined some of the reasons that such technology is so helpful. And then it was on to the iPad itself.

We talked about how to take screen shots (hold down on/off switch and home key) how to add websites to your iPad as a bookmark and also with an icon so they appear as an app (use ‘box with arrow coming out of it’ icon and Add to home screen) as well as how to add images to the camera roll (hold finger and Save image) as well as copy and paste images and text (hold finger and Copy; hold finger where you wish to put it and Paste) I also explained how to add accents to letters by holding the letter until a popup menu of accented letters appear and then sliding to the option you want, and how to add different keyboards in General – International – Keyboards – add new keyboard then scroll between them using the globe icon next to the space bar when typing thus avoiding auto correction of your Spanish into English for example.

I shared how you might project the iPad in the classroom using Apple TV, Reflector / AirServer or a VGA/HDMI adaptor, and we discussed the advantages/disadvantages of each (I demonstrated the importance of having two options as Reflector wasn’t working so my adaptor was essential!) I also explained a variety of ways to get things off your iPad using email, Dropbox and Foldr for example. We might also have discussed Showbie but it was for beginners!

Then we talked apps – we looked at some specific language apps like Mindsnacks French for French vocabulary learning,  Lectura Mágica for phonics in Spanish and Wortzauberer for German spelling/phonics. There are lists on the wikispace of specific language apps.

I made my love of generic apps very clear however as they are so much more versatile and can be used across the curriculum so it’s easier to justify any cost.

We looked at Popplet as a mind mapping tool, useful for vocabulary lists, sharing plans for units, mapping ideas, planning work. We discussed how you can add images from the camera roll or take a picture as well as text, and how to change the colour of the bubbles, and then how to export it as a jpg or pdf via email or to the camera roll as a jpg.

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Then we explored Tellagami (which was behaving contrary to reports that morning and unlike Popplet which kept crashing!) an app that allows you to make an talking avatar using text to speech (not so good for languages other than English) or by making up a recording of up to 30 seconds. I explained how I use it in the classroom to record pupils speaking as it allows me to record their task and review it later, and is also very motivating for them, allowing them to rehearse and refine their speaking. I also warned that it is quite addictive making Tellagami avatars so to make sure that the objective of the exercise is clear to learners – to speak Spanish (in my case) not to make a beautiful avatar! We also  had a quick look at Morfo Booth, another tool that encourages speaking, and I demonstrated how you could animate a picture – the result was rather scary I have to say!photo

Then I shared my favourite app, BookCreator. So versatile and useful, not just for writing stories but for all kinds of writing – making speaking word books, dictionaries and glossaries, information books, stories, explanations and so on. The ability to add text, sound, videos (directly from the camera roll), hyperlinks to URLs and also the ability to merge books to make a collaborative book makes it a really powerful tool, not just for language learning. And in BookCreator version 3 you can even draw and write on your book using the pen tool! I’ve talked about how I’ve used this app with Year 3 to write their own ebooks previously, and I’ll be sharing more at Language World in April in Lancaster in a session with Joe Dale and Helen Bates. Books can be shared in a  variety of ways and can be easily shared as a PDF. However, this does not allow for audio/video to function and you need either an i-device or Chrome and the app Readium to read the books as fully functional eBooks at present.

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And that was it as it was time for tea!

I also wanted to share Pic Collage, Puppet Pals HD and Sock puppets but we ran out of time so here are a few notes!

I’ve used Pic Collage a lot recently to encourage learners to write in Spanish; some of my pupils have only had 6 weeks of Spanish so far and their repertoire to write is limited. They used PicCollage to make a poster using what they knew (and bits that they’d found in the front of their exercise books – impressed me!) They enjoyed it and felt confident, and they were proud to see their work projected onto the IWB.

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Puppet Pals HD (with Director’s Pass) and are great digital storytelling apps, taking my use of puppets to a different level. Both allows you to make ‘puppet shows’, SockPuppets with socks and Puppet Pals HD with characters within the app.  In Puppet Pals you can also add your own characters from images from camera roll, cutting them out as well as backgrounds. In SockPuppets you can change your voice, higher or lower according to the level you set for each puppet.

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And the final slide said – it’s not the technology that’s important, it’s what you do with it as this video demonstrates!

Reflections on #ililc4

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 21.07.15After a week in which my exhaustion was overcome by the enthusiasm of my learners, I’m finally getting around to posting about #ililc4, the cause of said exhaustion.

I love #ililc. Every year, I look forward to it, and it’s especially special as I’ve flown back from Switzerland the last two years to speak there. #ililc1 there was the possibility of us moving to Switzerland; #ililc2 it was the first time I’d been ‘home’ since I moved to Switzerland and last year at #ililc3 I was about to announce my return to the UK when I was offered a job that threw a spanner in the works – therefore, I’ve ended up rather emotional each time. And that’s why I love this conference so much. It’s about far more than the things we learn about language teaching and learning; it’s about looking after each other, supporting one another and encouraging people to keep going when they feel like giving up. It’s for hugs, pats on the back and hand squeezing; listening and sharing, laughing and crying; for pep talks and words of wisdom. And in the past it’s even been for providing ‘exiles’ with essential supplies of paracetamol and Horlicks (I can never thank you enough for that!)

No big dramas this year (thankfully!) so a much more even keel was held and I enjoyed ‘spreading the love’ with much squealing and hugging (apologies if I squished you too hard or squawked just a little too loud)

And so to the reason we were there. I admit to taking very few notes as I was too engrossed in listening and tweeting. So here’s a Storify of my tweets, and i’ll try to summarise other bits!

Joe Dale’s keynote was packed as usual with facts and figures, great thoughts, funny pictures and plenty to give pause for thought. I need to watch the re-run and pause it to catch it all I fear!

Then I did my session on A beginner’s guide to iPads in the Primary language classroom (see my next blog post!) – seemed to go down well!

After a swift cup of tea, it was off to Clare Seccombe’s session on mini books.  WOW! You wouldn’t think that there were so many types of mini book. Like Clare, I love books and appreciate her sharing “It’s a book!”, a story that I bought in German. I tweeted madly, taking pictures of the different types of book, and was left wanting to make books for the rest of my life. Find out more here

A lunchtime presentation on This is Language was interesting. Not necessarily useful in a primary context but fun to have a look at the videos and activities designed for GCSE learners of French Spanish and German. I discovered that my ability to type fast in French is very suspect! 

Next was MFL PE Rap and ICT with Dominic Traynor aka Spanish Bootcamp. Dominic shared how he has a dual role as PE and Spanish teacher, and how he combines the two. I loved playing some of the games he uses like La batalla de cojos that involves hopping whilst trying remove your opponents’ ‘tails’ (bands tucked into their waistbands) and Cabezazos (heading a beanbag); I even used Palmadas (throw a beanbag in the air and count to a specific number in Spanish before you catch it) in assembly this week! He also recommended Memrise which is something I spoke about a couple of years ago at various Teachmeets but had stopped using, It seems to have developed more now and it’s possible for teachers to write their own courses. 

Final session of the day – Don’t worry be ‘appy with Rachel Smith aka @lancslassrach. Subtitled – The Power of One; 1 iPad, 1 classroom; 1 teacher, Rachel talked about her experiences of using one iPad in there language classroom. She recommended several apps that interested me including Pass the parcel and Shake and Boom for games playing, and  StopGo for timed activities. Have a look at her presentation or my tweets for more ideas.

The evening Show and Tell was good as ever with really interesting and practical ideas from many people including ClareRachel, Nina Elliot and Sam. Simone shared about her Chinese New Year celebrations at school – including a real live horse (at school, not the SAT!), Helen sang beautifully and advertised ALL (join if you haven’t already!) Dom shared a game called Mot de passe when you have to communicate a person, place or thing to someone using single words, Eleanor talked about using physical actions for punctuation and accents, Glennis talked about my beloved Tellagami, Chris talked Teachmeet, Garry talked about Sporcle.com and Simone and John sang (anyone got a video? Mine didn’t record!)

Day two started at 8.50am – and I was speaking! Find out more in my blog post on Something old, something new – coming soon!

After coffee, off I popped to see Isabelle Jones talking about Pinterest, a very addictive site. As I tweeted, it’s not all about cake pops, shoes and wedding dresses, and as Isabelle shared, it’s very useful for collaborating with others in collecting ideas and resources for language teaching and learning. Much oohing and aching followed her presentation as we were given time to play and pin whether online or using the app, following one another and discovering that those in other sessions were pinning too – multitasking they called it 😉

Jo Rhys Jones was my next session (wish i got to see her more – must try harder!) talking about Big ideas for tiny schools, or extreme differentiation for little people. I was glad that someone else gets an idea/motif and runs with it as her use of gnomes rivalled the wedding photos in my presentation. Although most of us aren’t teaching mixed age classes, everything that Jo said was good practice for differentiating in a same age class. Her ideas of progression in terms of skills was particularly helpful, e.g. word to word+adjective to short phrase to sentence to extended sentence. And Pigloo and Tchic et Tchac too 🙂

My final session (well, ¾ of the session) was Flipping the classroom with Sadie McLachlan. Loved the videos that have been made by the department to facilitate learning and interesting to see how Flipping is working for them as we continue (slowly) to flip lessons at Welford. A bit trickier for me as I don’t set homework and can’t make participation compulsory, but ideas can be adapted! Find out more at fliplearningmfl.blogspot.com

Then home, happy and exhausted.

However, that wasn’t the end really as I read Clare’s keynote on the train and promptly welled up, tears streaming down my face much to the bemusement of those around me. I could identify well with all that Clare said and although I wasn’t there, I felt that I was. Heavens only knows what state I’d have been in if I were – perhaps it’s better I’d left as I had another weep when I watched it back on the recording. Well said Clare.

I am looking forward to more fun, more sharing and more inspiration next year at #ililc5 – but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to interacting with the #mfltwitterati on Twitter and hopefully in person.

GlobaNova_ILoveYouMap_Pink-1800Presentations and handouts

List of blog posts (as of 14th Feb) about ILILC4

 

Are you coming to #ililc4?

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 14.35.33Now in its fourth year, ILILC (ICT Links into Languages Conference) takes place at University of Southampton on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February. Offering something for language teachers of all ages (and language enthusiasts too!) it is not to be missed. So much so that for the last two years I’ve flown in from Switzerland to attend.

The theme this year is Putting the Pedagogy in the Technology – very important message that I’ve been banging on about for ages, inspired many years ago by Ewan McIntosh saying “It’s not about the tech but about the teach.”

The two keynote speakers, Joe Dale and Clare Seccombe,  are always worth a listen and the list of speakers is impressive:

Amanda Salt Chris Fuller – Davis Riley – Dominic McGladderyDominic TraynorEleanor Abrahams Garry MillsIsabelle JonesJames GardnerJo Rhys-JonesLisa StevensRachel SmithSadie McLachlanSamantha BroomSuzi BewellTom Hockaday

The programme will be on the Languages South East website very soon but I know that people are talking about all sorts of things including SOLO, flipped learning, mini books, mobile learning, apps, Flubaroo, Triptico and much much more!

As you may have noticed from the above, I shall be speaking.

My sessions are entitled A beginner’s guide to using iPads in the Primary classroom and Something old, something new… 

Shall I reveal more? Perhaps in another post…

Can I encourage you, if you possibly can, to join us in Southampton for what is always a brilliant conference at which I learn tons, have a shedload of fun and make new friends that support me throughout the year.

There’s also a Show and Tell on the Saturday night at which people can share their ideas, activities, games and songs in an informal manner so if you’re local and can’t make it for the whole conference, pop along! Sign up on the wikispace!

Find out more here

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