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¡Llegó la vuelta al cole!

Thursday, September 1st, 2016


However you feel about it, it’s time to go back to school in England. Some went back this week, others (like me) start next Monday. I can’t believe that i’ve not posted all summer but in a way that’s a good thing as it means I’ve relaxed and not thought about ‘work’. Having said that, as much as I love my holidays, I do enjoy my job (mostly) and am looking forward to going back. Not sure I’ll be as quick to jump out of bed as Pocoyo come Monday morning though…

¡Feliz vuelta al cole!

“Llegó la vuelta al cole.
Oh, Oh, Oh.
Sé que será divertido estar con mis amigos y profes otra vez, empieza un nuevo reto una nueva aventura hay tanto que aprender.
Sé que será divertido”

Christmas in Spain

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Loving this short summary of key events over the Christmas/New Year season in Spain!

Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds

Xmas in Spain12 grapes, coal and red underwear? Watch this video to understand Christmas in Spain in 30 seconds! 😉 #XmasInSpain ⛄

Posted by Spain.info on Thursday, 17 December 2015

Some other related posts:

El pequeño petirrojo 2.0

Los Reyes Magos

A few years ago I posted a different Christmas carol in Spanish in the run up to Christmas – the 10th day was Fum Fum Fum and you can go back through the previous 9 days from there.

A lovely retelling of the Christmas story in Spanish and in video form too

A bit of Bublé singing Feliz Navidad or a version on iPods/iPads/iPhones

The story (in Spanish) of how Father Christmas thought about moving Christmas to July

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

Semana Santa en Sevilla – Tio Spanish

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

I found this video via Pinterest – a short video that explains Semana Santa in Sevilla using animation and real footage. You can switch on the subtitles to have the English appear across the bottom  although the two finger puppets explain well with key words appearing behind them.

I also like these images (and more) found on their Pinterest page Semana Santa Cultura Española and also Semana Santa Sevilla

jueves santo

viernes santo

el paso

There’s a whole channel of videos like this explaining Spanish festivals as well as other channels from the same source. Something to explore whilst I’m sofa bound with my fractured ankle ;

Cuerdas

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 10.59.55I saw this short film or ‘cortometraje’ shared yesterday on Facebook and I can’t get it out of my head so I thought I’d share it with you.

Cuerdas is the winning short film in the Premio Goya 2014 and tells the story of how life changes for María when a new and special child joins her school. It’s heartwarming (and heartbreaking) ; a lesson in seeing things as a child, finding solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems, and being a good friend. Even if you don’t speak Spanish it’s easy to understand and you can’t fail to miss the message!

It struck a chord with me as I have a gorgeous nephew who I’d like to think is treated as María treats her new friend.

And because, at a deeper level, it reminded me of the times when someone has metaphorically tied their hands and/or feet to mine and made me move when I couldn’t of my own volition, who has included me in their ‘games’ when I had nothing to contribute and been sad when I wasn’t there.

We all need a helping hand sometimes, don’t we?

As the Youtube video seems to have been removed, Hopefully this video will work!

¡Chocolate!

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 22.12.19Chocolate by John Loo

As if we’re not fed up enough of it by now, I thought I’d share a few simple activities on the theme of chocolate!

Here’s a video of a song called Uno, dos, tres, chocolate

Screen Shot 2014-01-04 at 21.56.23

 

It’s a variation on my favourite rhyme –

Uno dos tres CHO

Uno dos tres CO

Uno dos tres LA

Uno dos tres TE

Bate, bate, chocolate

Bate, bate, chocolate

Actions – count on your fingers for the first 4 lines then rub hands together to mix the hot chocolate with the molinillo. I like this rhyme as it’s simple, has actions and allows a bit of cultural explanation about chocolate originating as a drink in South America and being brought over to Europe by explorers.

If you want to show children what it looks like, here’s a short video clip

And then there’s this game that was introduced to me by Garry Mills at ILILC

It can also be played in pairs as a clapping rhyme.

Try it – it’s quite tricky and great for coordination!

 

And if you fancied making something, why not try some thick Spanish ‘chocolate caliente’ (here’s a recipe) and even more adventurous – some churros (recipe)

The history of the Spanish language

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I’ve just come across this short video about the Spanish language via Pinterest.

It explains how Spanish came to be, condensing 2000 years into 3 minutes and shows why Spanish is such an important world language. Well worth a watch, whether as a tool for promotion or persuasion or out of interest.

Uso de nuevas tecnologías

Monday, January 14th, 2013

An excellent video from Junta de Andalucia about the use of technology.

It advises children –

  • ask an adult e.g. your parents to help you find suitable sites
  • don’t give out your personal details
  • playing with your friends, reading and playing sport is fun too
  • be selective about what you play/watch
  • your imagination is the best game

A worthwhile message and a great video to teach good online behaviour in a fun – and different – way!

There are other videos in the series – watch out for more posts in the near future!

Spanish Angry Olympics – parte 2

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

What should the Angry family do today? DECISIONS! DECISIONS!

Grammar for today? how to say ‘should’ using DEBER and the conditional tense.

Nanas de la cebolla

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Another of the poems suggested by Joaquín Moreno in his presentation about poetry in Spanish teaching and learning was Nanas de la cebolla by Miguel Hernández.

He played us the poem sung by Joan Manuel Serrat – here it is below, along with a perfomance of it in spoken form and also the words.

Spoken version

Nanas de la cebolla

La cebolla es escarcha
cerrada y pobre:
escarcha de tus días
y de mis noches.
Hambre y cebolla:
hielo negro y escarcha
grande y redonda.

En la cuna del hambre
mi niño estaba.
Con sangre de cebolla
se amamantaba.
Pero tu sangre,
escarchada de azúcar,
cebolla y hambre.

Una mujer morena,
resuelta en luna,
se derrama hilo a hilo
sobre la cuna.
Ríete, niño,
que te tragas la luna
cuando es preciso.

Alondra de mi casa,
ríete mucho.
Es tu risa en los ojos
la luz del mundo.
Ríete tanto
que en el alma al oírte,
bata el espacio.

Tu risa me hace libre,
me pone alas.
Soledades me quita,
cárcel me arranca.
Boca que vuela,
corazón que en tus labios
relampaguea.

Es tu risa la espada
más victoriosa.
Vencedor de las flores
y las alondras.
Rival del sol.
Porvenir de mis huesos
y de mi amor.

La carne aleteante,
súbito el párpado,
el vivir como nunca
coloreado.
¡Cuánto jilguero
se remonta, aletea,
desde tu cuerpo!

Desperté de ser niño.
Nunca despiertes.
Triste llevo la boca.
Ríete siempre.
Siempre en la cuna,
defendiendo la risa
pluma por pluma.

Ser de vuelo tan alto,
tan extendido,
que tu carne parece
cielo cernido.
¡Si yo pudiera
remontarme al origen
de tu carrera!

Al octavo mes ríes
con cinco azahares.
Con cinco diminutas
ferocidades.
Con cinco dientes
como cinco jazmines
adolescentes.

Frontera de los besos
serán mañana,
cuando en la dentadura
sientas un arma.
Sientas un fuego
correr dientes abajo
buscando el centro.

Vuela niño en la doble
luna del pecho.
Él, triste de cebolla.
Tú, satisfecho.
No te derrumbes.
No sepas lo que pasa
ni lo que ocurre.