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!
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.
Teaching the time is a trying task in any language; I’ve been comparing notes with my Y3 colleagues who have been battling through the time with their classes in Maths lessons as I’ve been working on it with Y5 in Spanish. And back in the day when I taught KS3 and 4 it was also a challenge as I invariably had to ‘remind’ them of how to tell the time full stop! It seems that, for some, the time is viewed much as the gif above – wobbly wobbly and hard to pin down.
So this year I put on my thinking cap and considered what might make it easier. Active things like TimeBallet help with hour and half past, possibly quarter past/to, but tends to get too complicated/fall apart for many with minutes. Singing songs like Uno dos tres ¿Qué hora es? works for the question form and hour/half past. Using mini clocks works for some but I wanted something a bit more supportive. So I decided we’d all make a prop to help them.
Cue the purchase of lots of paper plates and split pins, and the sharing of my gel pens, felt tips and fine liners. The idea – not very original perhaps but quite effective – was to make a personalised plate clock with key phrases on it to support learners as we rehearsed the time.
I demonstrated how to make it but also wrote a set of instructions (in 4 screenshots below and downloadable in one document from here) for the learners to follow after the demonstration, along with providing a larger image plate clock diagram between two so that the writing was clearer.
By putting the hours hand on top of the minute hand, I hoped to emphasise that the hour always comes first, and we wrote the verb Es la/Son las on it to remind learners how the sentence started. And by writing the hours and minutes in separate colours that corresponded to the colour of the hand was another attempt to make it clearer which phrase to use.
Everyone enjoyed making the clocks although some were a little wonky and needed a bit of ‘Sra Stevens magic’ before functioning correctly, and we’ve used them in two lessons now. On the whole, once we got over fiddling with the hands constantly and concentrated, it seemed to help some learners, and it was good to see them being used, much as they use the Maths equipment in numeracy lessons, to help children work out the answers to write in their books as well as in speaking work. Turn the hands to show the time then read the Spanish if the question is in English, or turn the hands so that they match the phrase in Spanish to work out where to draw the hands on a blank clock. Plus the children are all desperate to take them home which I’ve promised they can do once we’ve finished the unit.
There are some other good ideas on how to teach time here from Erzsi and Clare.
I’ve used the clock mini book idea in previous years with success as a self differentiating assessment activity: pupils have to choose six times to demonstrate their understanding and confidence at telling the time so they need to choose carefully those that they know. Might yet do it this year…
If you have any ideas to add, feel free to leave a comment!
On Friday 26th June I attended the Entrust Primary Languages Conference in Stafford, organised and led by Lorna Harvey. Entitled ‘We’re on our way’, the day began with an excellent keynote from Clare Seccombe aka @valleseco and genius behind LightBulbLanguages.
Sharing a title with the conference, Clare shared her ideas on the journeys involved in primary language learning – for the child, the teacher and as a nation. I love how Clare can express her ideas so well in images. I’ve tried to capture some of them in my sketch note below.
There were a number of workshops during the day – I attended one on a cluster of schools who use a ‘language investigators’ approach to language learning in Y1-2 and 3-4 before focussing on one language in Y6. My sketch note is below along with a few images.
Plan for Y1-2
I loved the pizza/paella Italian/Spanish numbers!
The day was very much a celebration of a project between Stafford and Burgundy, and I’d been asked to speak after lunch about a similar partnership in which I’d been involved, between Birmingham and Barcelona. It was wonderful to prepare my presentation as it sparked so many amazing memories and caused me to reflect on where we’ve gone since the (official) end of the partnership. Below you can see my presentation (although without the video clips I’m afraid) and Clare kindly sketch noted it for me.
I gave two presentations today, one on Top Tips for Primary Language Learning and the other on cross curricular language teaching. It was lovely to meet the people in my sessions – thanks for joining in and participating in my songs games and activities.I’m currently trying to upload my presentations to Slideshare as they won’t upload directly here, but until then, here are a few of the video clips I shared today!
Ana y Enrique – Los planetas
This version has pictograms too!
And then there was the soundtrack to our Sumo phonics
And the amusing German tongue twister/ story about Barbara and her rhubarb bar
And if you want to know what it means… http://youtu.be/l3_tRPRt9x8
Hope that’s whetted your appetite. More when I get home as the Internet is straining 😉
It’s now February so it’s time for the next instalment of the ICT Links into Languages Conference commonly known at #ILILC. Inexplicably pronounced like a symptom of chicken pox, it is the place to be for language teachers.
With two days of seminars and workshops plus a Saturday evening Show and Tell, there’s plenty for everyone irrespective of language or phase taught, experience or confidence. Joe Dale will open this year ‘Capturing the zeitgeist’ with what’s new in the world of technology in MFL and someone called Lisa Stevens is closing the conference ‘Cooking on gas’ (other fuels are available).
I am always very excited to attend ILILC as it’s the only conference I managed still to attend when I was in Switzerland, I have been to every single one (I think there should be some kind of commemorative badge for us?) and I can literally say ‘been there, got the Tshirt!’ I wonder what colour it will be this year… (orders to @elvisrunner asap!)
If you haven’t already booked, do have a look at the Links into languages SouthEast site to find out more. Too many I’d like to attend, including one whilst I’m presenting (about Twitter) which always happens! You can see the programme and abstracts by scrolling to the bottom of the page (the programme is at the bottom of this post too) and also links to posts from previous years!
I’d especially encourage you to attend if you aren’t going to Language World in Newcastle in March as it is too far away. Several of the sessions will be repeated there so you can get a preview 😉
See you there – for inspiration, discussion, running and cupcakes!
Introducing Pacca Alpaca, a language learning app for little people!
I’ve been working with Anamil Tech on the Spanish dimension of this app and am pleased to say that it is now available in the iTunes and GooglePlay stores where it has already received a review!
It was lovely to work with Nicole again after the success of The Lingo Show which she created and produced (I did the Spanish on that too!) as I knew that the concept would be fun and interactive.
Pacca is a funny quirky and very inquisitive alpaca who travels on a magical carousel from his home in the Andes to explore, learning languages on the way as well as exploring his new environment. In this first instalment, he pops off to Australia!
Here’s what the ‘blurb’ says:
Pacca Alpaca – Australia!
Pacca Alpaca – Australia is a multilingual app aimed at children aged two to six and designed to encourage them to learn new languages and understand the world around them as they embark on an Australian adventure with Pacca the alpaca.
Pacca’s adventure unfolds in his home in the Andes Mountains, as he spots a new destination from afar and flies off in his magical carousel to investigate. When he lands with a bump in Australia, a local host greets him and takes him on a tour of the country. Along the way, the two play games, meet other animals and learn about shapes, colours and numbers. While they play, children can earn rewards as they complete challenges and learn new words in their chosen language – French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic or English.
The app is the first in a series of adventure apps following Pacca and his friends on their travels across the globe, so watch this space for the next installment!
Things I like about it:
Pacca is a lovely character; very friendly and fun
you can complete the activities in several languages using the same app
there are no advertisements/pop ups/in app purchases
the language is clearly spoken by a child (the Spanish voice actor was a delight; a really sweet little girl from Canarias and it was a shame I didn’t actually get to meet her!) which I think is important in an app aimed at little ones
it’s fun to play the games and you are rewarded with souvenirs for the carousel
all the vocabulary you’ve learned is stored in your suitcase and can be reviewed when you wish
you can start again and recollect all the souvenirs when you’ve finished – and in another language if you want
you discover a new country/culture as you learn e.g. aboriginal style artwork is used for the colours, famous landmarks are shown
there’s the promise of more adventures to different places!
It’s not a free app – it costs £2.49 – so having it on a class set of iPads would need some negotiation but I’ll definitely add it to my list of apps that I recommend to parents/grandparents who want ideas for engaging children in learning outside of the classroom as well as putting it on my iPad for individual/paired play.
copy of Spanish calendar tabs for 2015 – (you’ll need to reduce it to half size I discovered unless you print it straight from the site in which case it’s the correct size!)
felt tip pens
LOTS of patience!
I gave each child a net on thin card and asked them to decorate each pentagon to form a background. Some chose a pattern, some tried to draw a suitable picture for the month, others just coloured.
Then they cut out the net – I’d made all the bits to cut really obvious by using dashed lines but still children cut off the tabs!
They cut each month out and stuck one month per pentagon onto the net.
Then the fun began! You need to fold all the pentagons inwards, and all the tabs too.
Sticking it all together starts off easy as you make a basket shape with the base but gets more and more fiddly as you have less space to grip and hold flaps so that they bond. My advice is to make sure the you do a tab or two at a time and hold them until they are firmly stuck. The last few joins will be more flimsy as you can’t apply pressure but if you try to leave a pentagon with several flaps, you should be able to just tuck them in and hope for the best!
Here’s my finished example:
I’ve since discovered this preprinted dodecahedron calendar calendario-deca-2015 on the same site – it wasn’t there last week! However, I prefer my version as this has capital letters for the months and days and having battled with children all term to stop ‘correcting’ the date that is written on the board when they copy it into their books, I’m not going down that road!
And there is also a Calendario rombico calendario-rombico-2015 which looks interesting! You need to follow the instructions here to make it!
Whilst the bottom strip on the calendar tabs is not needed, it fits beautifully with the unit we’re studying as we’re in the middle of discussing festivals and dates, and the calendarios will be great for practising saying the date in Spanish after Christmas break. However, having spent my lunch hour ‘rescuing’ a large pile of them, I don’t want to see another one for a while!
I’m making a list of useful links that parents might use with their children to practice and reinforce their Spanish, and was struck by how many ‘goodies’ there are provided by the BBC. So I thought I’d share! NB I’ve focussed on Spanish but they all come in a variety of languages – see individual sections)
For younger learners (preschool onwards), The Lingo Show started out as a website featuring ‘language bugs’ who teach Lingo a few words in their language. As it was so popular, it became a TV series with episodes featuring Jargonaise (French), Wèi (Mandarin) and Queso who teaches Spanish, and then a second series featuring the German, Welsh and Urdu bugs was made and broadcast in May 2013.
The website has fun activities as well as links to songs that feature. Current languages include Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, German, Sinhala, French, Welsh, English, Italian, Urdu.
Here’s an example of a song featuring Queso from Youtube, and the link to a counting song
The ‘old’ Primary Languages website with ‘animales animados’ and Jhonny (sic) and co was great (and you can still access the archived version minus games here) but I was really excited to be involved in ‘revamping’ the site and rebranding it. It was developed when languages were to be compulsory and the KS2 Framework was THE bible of primary language learning, but it still stands in my opinion. This site was written to be accessible to KS2 pupils and is organized in topics. It includes:
vocabulary with sound files to help pronunciation;
interesting tips and facts about Spanish/French/Mandarin;
links to other helpful resources
There were limitations to the things that could be done e.g. interactivity, ‘free’ writing, games beyond vocabulary recognition level etc. And I sometimes wonder what happened to other ideas and resources that I saw and wrote that have never appeared on the site – including sentence building games, lesson plans. worksheets and notes for parents.
I’ve used the site with Y2 recently and they love the songs – they listen as they work and have started singing along. Sometimes they want to see the words and other times they want to watch without. The tunes are excellent – the composer did a good job of making the words fit in English Spanish French and Mandarin to the same tune!
I’ve signposted it to my colleagues as well as a way that they can ‘do their bit’ to reinforce Spanish learning; non-threatening as it’s all there for them.
3. Bitesize (now the home of Learning Zone)
The ‘repository’ of all the BBC videos used to be the Learning Zone Class clips, but they have moved to Bitesize (actually since I started writing this post!) The Learning Zone is still there in archive form and still works; it just won’t be updated. If you scroll down to Spanish in the Primary section, there are lots of clips of programmes on a variety of subjects:
However, these videos – and others – are now listed on BBC Bitesize. There are categories for Spanish according to the ‘Key Stage’ system:
(NB there are other languages too in all the above sections! French, German, Italian, Mandarin)
These two clips come under KS2 School and are from a series called Adventures Abroad; a playground game called Abuelita ¿Qué hora es? that I’ve played with classes, and a programme about primary school routine in Spain that I know has been used and enjoyed by others who found Papo the parrot particularly amusing.
This is a series of programmes in which a child, Ashleigh, is helped with her Spanish by friends in Spain via video conferencing. It also includes some songs and cultural information. (Also in French and German)
Here’s the trailer…
and here are the episodes:
Something I’ve noticed is that the clips all have a QR code option for sharing which I like! That means that I can make a display of all the QR codes and then learners can access them whenever they wish (as long as they have an iPad or mobile device!); for example, as an extension/further learning for early finishers.
I really like Virtually there. Ashleigh isn’t a KS1 child; I’d say she’s nearly secondary age so it would appeal to older KS2 learners and also KS3 beginners. I also like the mix of ‘live’ episodes and songs; the gender song is one of my favourites.
So, there’s a round up of BBC online ‘stuff’ for primary learners. Hope it’s helpful!