I’ve just got back form London and the Language Show at Kensington Olympia. A lovely couple of days catching up with people, finding out about university courses and qualifications for Stevens Junior, visiting stands and learning from others – and then some more catching up with people!
Below are sketchnotes of the seminars I attended – minus the EU one as I only attended half of it! I was travelling light and using my mini notebook plus a limited palette of black pen and six coloured highlighters so apologies that they are a little more squashed and monotone than normal!
Joe Dale’s session on Using tecnology. Sadly had to leave early as I was in pain! You can access Joe’s whole presentation here
Wendy Adeniji talking Mastery at GCSE.
The Show and Tell was full of great ideas that I quickly tried to note down. Didn’t catch all names I’m afraid! Do tell me and I’ll add them.
The lovely Catherine Cheater sharing about The Primary French Project. A great resource – that’s free! – and a wonderful presentation.
The Primary Show and Tell was also amazing, packed with great ideas about word classification, poetry, story telling, heritage language teaching and facilitating pupil understanding through framing.
Wednesday morning saw me gazing at the sea, then moving swiftly past Butlins to speak at University of Chichester MFL Conference. I had a lovely day attending sessions in the morning and sharing some ideas about using technology and stories in the languages classroom.
Below are my sketchnotes of the sessions I attended, starting with Elaine Minett’s upbeat introduction to the conference, talking about challenges being seen as opportunities, followed by an idea packed session about using poetry by Concha Julian of the Consejería de Educación and finishing with Lynne Brackley’s session on using drama based activities in languages. I enjoyed using my dramatic skills in both of the latter sessions!
If you get the opportunity next year, I can thoroughly recommend attending as the conference was varied with sessions for primary, secondary as well as cross phase sessions, and they were delivered by a variety of people including PGCE students, teachers and representatives of organisations like the British Council, the Consejería de Educación and Language Angels. I enjoyed seeing Catherine on the Little Linguist stand once more (and buying a new book!) as well as visiting other stands including Institut Français and European Schoolbooks.
One of the sessions I attended at Language World was given by Sue Cave. Entitled Language Detectives, it shared a project that Sue and a colleague had devised, originally for a day long workshop for more able primary linguists, based around children using their detective skills to decode unknown languages. Sue described it as ‘a morning of training in preparation for an afternoon trying to thwart a multilingual gang of criminals.’
The session referred to and worked on the Language Learning Skills (LLS) and Knowledge about Language (KAL) strands of the KS2 Framework (NB is still a very useful document!) We discovered that gesture is important but that it works best in conjunction with words, eye contact and prior knowledge, and I discovered that I’m not as good as charades as I thought I was. (Sorry Vicky!) We also discovered that knowledge of word classes as well as how to use a bilingual dictionary are skills that a good detective needs, and that listening to the sounds and intonation of a language is also helpful.
Having undergone our (very swift!) training, we used our skills to thwart the gang who spoke Spanish, Welsh, German and Italian, stopping them before they stole a valuable item!
Sue has very generously shared not her presentation but all the resources on her excellent website on the Sharing Good Practice section (scroll to the bottom)
One idea (of the many!) that I particularly liked was the Language Detective certificates that Sue gives out when a child makes a discovery about language and shares it with the class. Sue has generously shared her certificates in the Teaching and Learning section of the Sharing Good Practice page. As I teach Spanish not French, I’ve made some of my own that you can download from the link below.
Thanks for an inspiring session Sue, I know I’m not the only one who went away with my mind buzzing!
And thanks to Yvonne too for my ‘lucky dip’ magnifying glasses that fit the theme perfectly and will be put to sue immediately!
I shared the Chocolate rhyme previously but I think it’s worth sharing again as it’s been so popular with Y2. And, as this post shows with ‘mariposa’, any other four syllable word works. It would work with cucuracha, elefante or even Barcelona! The clapping is the same as for Double double this this in English so pupils find it less tricky than you’d think!
In July I was asked to join with Afónica (a sound production company specialising in fiction and documentary in English and Spanish) to write a pitch for an audio programme, aimed at KS2 learners of Spanish (7-11 year olds), to be broadcast by the BBC. In August we discovered that our idea featuring a Spanish boy, Quique and his new friend Charlie who has moved to Madrid from England, had been chosen. And that’s where some really hard work began, writing ten 15 minute episodes in which Quique and Charlie explore Madrid, discussing culture and language as well as visiting some iconic places like the Retiro Park, the Rastro market and the Real Madrid football stadium, and meeting some of their neighbours. Those scripts were then recorded in Madrid by some wonderful actors, some songs were added (wish I could claim that I’d written them as they are brilliant but I’m not that talented!)and Nicolas of Afónica worked his magic, putting it all together. And at 330am (UK time) tonight, episode 1 will be broadcast on Schools Radio. I am so excited; I may even be awake at 330am I’m that excited. However, you don’t need to get up in the middle of the night as each episode will be uploaded to the website and available as soon as it has been broadcast. What’s more, you can listen to the separate ‘chunks’ already by going to the Mi Madrid Schools Radio website and accessing the Clips section The idea is that the broadcasts can be listened to as an entire episode but also in chunks and that they are used to support the teaching of Spanish at KS2, particularly to students who have already learned some Spanish and are now 9-11 years old. The programmes are predominantly in Spanish with some English used to clarify and explain. Charlie asks questions that the students may well be wanting to ask – about Spanish life as well as the Spanish language – and Quique and especially his mum, Sofía, answer them. I tried to include as many quirky facts and interesting words as I could get away with because that was what grabbed my attention as a young learner, and I hope that this comes through as you listen. Here’s the episode schedule so you can see what’s coming up. I am really proud of this project and hope that lots of teachers and learners enjoy it. I’m also really pleased that Clare Seccombe of Light Bulb Language fame, has written the Teacher’s Notes to accompany the series as I know they will be amazing. They will be available very soon I hope, and will give ideas on how to use the audio as well as notes on what happens in each episode, vocabulary, and some visuals that will support the content. Please let me know if you listen, if you enjoyed it and how you used it. My favourite episode to write was Episode 8 ¡Hala Madrid! although Episode 6 Masterchef was a close second. I’ll tell you which I think has turned out best when I’ve heard them all but please leave a comment about your favourites too! SaveSave
My husband often has to travel abroad with his work and, knowing my love of books, has been trained to look put for things I might like to use in the classroom. This last week, as usual, he texted me from the airport to ask about books I might like. Only he wasn’t in Spain or Germany, Switzerland or Austria, countries that speak languages I teach (or love!); he was in Lithuania.However, I am always up for a challenge and when he sent a picture of the front of the book, I decided I liked his choice and said ‘why not?’ I think he fell in love with the covers too as he bought me two.
And so I met Kakė Makė! I couldn’t understand a word of the books, but I immediately loved the bright pictures and quirky character of Kakė Makė that comes through the illustrations.
From the pictures I decided that Kakė Makė ir Netvarkos Nykštukas was about Kakė Makė getting up to mischief, and making an incredible mess, and an elf taking her toys away. Kakė Makė then follows the elf and tries to get the toys back by completing some tasks including a maze and fighting a monster. I also worked out that Kakė Makė is a nickname and the girl’s real name is Kornelija
I’ve since found this video that tells the story in English – and I wasn’t far off! It seems that Kakė Makė translates as GooGoo MooGoo!
And then I looked at Kakė Makė ir didelė Tamsa and concluded that it’s about a shadowy monster that scares Kakė Makė and her friends, and Kakė Makė sets off to find it, capture it in a bag and dispose of it. * What do you think? Here’s a video of the story with no narration!
I think that, as a language teacher, it’s good sometimes to put yourself into the place of a learner who has very limited or no understanding (as was my case) of the language being presented. Not only does it help you to understand the level of panic that can arise when faced with a page of unfamiliar and apparently unintelligible words, but it also clarifies how you have to rely on all the clues you can find to help you.
Pictures – very helpful here
Cognates – virtually non existent; I found laberintas and bibliotekininke
Punctuation like capital letters for names – I worked out that Tamsa is the name of the monster and Pipiru is the dog. So some help but not a great deal!
Knowledge about stories – there’s usually an opening before a build up to a problem, the problem gets fixed and there’s a conclusion.
I also looked at the text and noticed a couple of things:
Kakė Makė is written Kakėi Makėi a couple of times, both times at the start of a sentence, and once Kakės Makės; what do those suffixes mean? I wonder if it’s to do with subject/object of the sentence? Or possession?
Speech is denoted by – – as in Spanish, and quotations by ,, ” which I found interesting.
I’m fascinated by the diacritical marks and accents. I want to know how they work! Does it alter the sound of the letters as in French, or the stress pattern as in Spanish? And is Lithuanian like Swedish (which I’m trying to learn on Duolingo)
I’m still not sure how, if at all, I’ll use them in my classroom but I’ve certainly enjoyed ‘reading’ them and exploring the world of Kakė Makė which, judging by my online searches, is quite extensive in Lithuania with product endorsements, themed parties, toys and much more! There’s an app you can download or you can play online (although cleaning her teeth isn’t the most exciting activity ever..) You can even be her friend on Facebook! I’m holding out to meet a Lithuanian speaker to help me read it properly!
*(After working this out, I did resort to GoogleTranslate to find out that the title means Kake Make and Big Darkness so I think I’m on the right lines!)
I’ve just come back from a lovely holiday in Bayern during which I tried hard to use my German – with some success including a heated discussion with a woman in Königssee about passports and plenty of food discussions.
As usual I found myself drawn to bookshops (and dirndls but I resisted those!) and made a few purchases as you can see:
Elefanten-Sommeris a lovely PixiBuch about a little girl called Lina and her elephant, Rufus. They ‘trumpet’ together and are happy until Rufus does something naughty…
And Kasper Mütze is a PixiBuch that contains two stories about Kasper Mütze – Kasper Mütze hat Geburtstag and Kasper Mütze hat Besuch. Each page is very simple and rhymes, the phrases are quite repetitive which is great for me – and for my planned German club who will all be beginners.
Und heut ist Montag – I love Eric Carle books and I’m familiar with this one in English and Spanish so when I saw it in the bargain bin for 2€50 I snapped it up! Days of the week, food and animals – lots of possibilities. And it can be sung too!
And then I saw this book Ich bin das ganze Jahr vergnügt in Salzburg when I was sheltering from torrential rain in a Buchhändlung. Lots of rhymes and songs for different times of the year, some with actions (like In dem Walde steht ein Haus) and others with music. I particularly liked the two above; on the left, a poem with the days of the week, and on the right a poem I could use to introduce a Christmas tradition from Switzerland called Räbechilbi.
Finally, at the airport I found two magazines that I thought might be interesting to children – and me!
National Geographic Kidsis very colourful and has a variety of lengths of text in it as well as quizzes and interesting facts. I particularly like the bilingual facts signalled with the two flags which allow you to compare German and English, and also Check diese kuriosen Fakten. I’m very tempted to enter the competition too – think I might need to find a child to enter for me though…
And Dein Spiegel is the children’s version of the famous Der Spiegel. It’s more complex than National Geographic Kids but there are short news items like the one about the boys in England wearing skirts to school as well as longer articles about Sport, Natur, Kultur, Menschen, Wirtschaft and Politik. I’m hoping that I might learn something about the upcoming elections by reading the section below right. And then there’s the jokes page. Some are a bit complex for me but I like the two below left – my trumpet playing son particularly likes the one about the violin and cello!
I might have spent far more money but tried to restrain myself!
I am very pleased to have been asked to speak at the North West Primary Languages Conference in Warrington in June. This is the annual conference run by Janet Lloyd’s Primary Languages Network and this year the theme is Progress with Primary Languages.
The keynotes will focus on the identifying progress, phonics, using technology and the wonders of primary language learning, and there will also be sessions on singing and dancing, speaking and listening and reading and writing as well as an exhibition.
I’m excited to be sharing ‘keynote’ duties with Sue Cave, Daniel Alliot and Therese Comfort, and I’m looking forward to the ‘Spotlight’ sessions too which I believe will share some of excellent practice from the PLN teachers.
One of the books I bought in Bilbao was Un bicho extrañoby Mon Daporta, a book which first came to my attention at Language World last year during the Show and Tell when Jesús from the Consejería shared it.
It’s a charming book that fits in well with the work we’re currently doing in Y4 about describing our faces and body parts. I love the video below of the story being told using a picture onto which body parts are stuck/removed as the story develops. And the wonderful thing is, the Consejería have produced a series of activities to use the book as well, including activities for pre and post reading. Some lovely ideas, and the instructions are bilingual too so no need to worry if you’re not fluent in Spanish!
I’ve also found this Slideshare that discusses ideas for using the story, and culminates with making your own version of the book using felt, buttons, ribbons etc.
I was privileged to be invited to speak at the recent SW London Primary Languages conference organised by the Merton and Kingston Primary MFL Network. I had attended and spoken at a previous conference three years ago and was eager to attend another as it had been such a positive experience (Tube and a stinking cold not withstanding!)
This year I was asked to speak on Sketchnoting and I began the conference by doing some! Here are my sketchnotes of the sessions prior to mine, delivered by the ever inspiring Sue Cave and Kati Szeless.
Sketchnote of Sue Cave‘s talk on “Grammar Moves” (actively learning grammar) at SW London Primary Languages Conference.
Sketchnote of Kati Szeless‘ session at SW London Primary Language Conference on encouraging non specialist staff to support and get involved in language learning. I can now count to 10 in Hungarian!
My presentation was very similar to the one on Slideshare below, but this time I had a go at a bit of live sketch noting and switched the order around a little to give people more of a feel of the HOW before I talked about the WHY. Thanks to Sue Cave for taking the photo at the top and the one below! I hope that people found it helpful; I certainly had some lovely initial feedback and quick chats immediately afterwards!