December 2007 – ¡Vámonos!

Month: December 2007

Whilst playing on Youtube, I came across this clip from Sesame Street and thought it was worth sharing as I think I’ll be using it next time we look at fruit vocabulary. I think it would make a good introduction and go down well with any of the classes I teach – Nursery would enjoy it as much as Year6. Or am I kidding myself because I love it?
See what you think!


It’s taken me longer than I expected, but here’s the rest of the input from the Birmingham ELL RSG on November 20th – Let’s get active! – giving ideas on activities for the PLL classroom that get the kids actively involved in learning language.

I’ve already blogged about some games and a song – Jean Petit qui danse – that were suggested by Sara Vallis and also shared my input on using parachutes and also some action songs such as Le fermier dans son pré and El granjero (you’ll find the files in my Box of Goodies on the right hand side of the blog.)

So, all that’s left is to tell you what the ‘experts’ (i.e. the advisors!) said!

Paul Nutt – whose exact title currently eludes me and Google ;o) – started the session by reading us a passage in French about hobbies and pasttimes. It was in the form of a letter and was not a simple text, but the activities he suggested made it accessible to younger learners who had some understanding of French.

The first activity involved us being split into groups and each group being given the name of a pasttime. Our task was to listen for our activity (my group had ‘le rugby’)and stand up each time it was mentioned, with everyone standing up for ‘les passetemps’.

The next time we listened we were given cards with the vocabulary items written on them. Our task was to hold up the appropriate word when we heard it. To make things a little more complicated, we rotated the person who held up the card so sometimes there were a number of hands grabbing for cards!

Following on from this, we were challenged to put the words into alphabetical order against the other teams.

By this time, we had heard the text and the vocabulary items a number of times, and our next task was to write as many of the hobbies and pasttimes in English as we could recall -the cards were taken away at this point so no cheating was allowed :o(

The final part of the activity involved different cards, this time with phrases as well as vocabulary items, from which we were challenged to make sentences. For example,
From here, we discussed how the activity might go, with pupils being encouraged to substitute pasttimes and opinions, add qualifiers and connectives, give reasons for opinions etc.

This seemed a good idea and I actually tried it out the next day with Year 6 – I read a passage of personal identification information and I challenged them in mixed ability groups of 4 to put the text into the correct order whilst listening. I know that listening is the skill about which they have the most hang ups – even more than with speaking- so I was interested to see how they did. It proved a success and we took it on to the next stage when we discussed how we might use the activity to inform our own writing. The pupils suggested annotating the slips and substituting numbers, sports, names etc to personalise the passage. Here are some photos of their ideas.

Rona Heald – Comenius West Midlands Regional Manager – shared some activities for the hall and playground.
She began with a song about measuring –

Un kilomètre à pied,
ça use, ça use.

Un kilomètre à pied,

ça use les souliers.

The song continues with ‘deux kilomètre’ etc .
It’s very easy to learn and is sung whilst marching around in a line. Rona suggested using it with instructions as to HOW the pupils should march and sing – marchez…lentement, sur place, accroupis, au galop, à quatre pattes, les mains en l’air, en faissent sauter une crêpe… et… changez de direction.
This reminded me of a session I attended at the Primary Language Show last year about linking ELL with Physical development in Foundation Stage – suggested activities included jumping the rope where the leader holds up two coloured cards and calls a colour then the pupils jump to the correct side to indicate answer, and walking the line where the class walk around a line on the floor whilst singing a song – the above would be a good choice!

Rona went on to present different ways of playing hopscotch from around the world. The names themselves were an education – La Marelle (France) El Muñeco (Spain) Tempelhuepfen(German) Hinkelbann (Netherlands – I think!) Rayuela (Argentina). We were also treated to a discussion of another variation called Escargot or La Marelle ronde’ where the squares are in a spiral and players hop on one foot to the centre and back.
Hopscotch has minimal language content so the suggestion was to perhaps put a picture in each square and to win it, you have to name the item, or put it into a sentence. Also players should count the squares as they hop, not necessarily starting at 1 but perhaps 8 or count in 2s etc., or even r

ecite the alphabet.

Another activity which we tried was La llamada de los animales – the call of the animals. Four children are given a picture of a Mummy animal eg frog, elephant, cat, dog, and they go to stand in a corner of the room. The rest of the class are given a card with one of the animals on it – they are the babies and they need to find their Mummy. As they approach one of the Mummies, they emit the sound of the animal and if it’s their Mummy, they reply. To extend the (very minimal unless you’re teaching animal calls!) languaeg, you could give the pupils lines to use such as ‘I’m a little …. and I’m looking for my Mummy..’ or ‘Come and sit down’ or @sorry, I’m not your Mummy’.

There were many more ideas for games such as Lupo mangia fruta – the fruit eating wolf, and Alto ahí, a Spanish variation on Dodgeball. Many can be found on iEARN Children’s Folk Games, ‘a result of an international networking project run in I*earn Kidscan Conference
during September 1998- April 1999.‘ There are lots of games, rhymes, songs, tonguetwisters and customs in a wide variety of languages – well worth a look!

The next RSG is on 22nd January and I’m really looking forward to it as Oscar Stringer is coming to tell us all about animation – I’m already sold on the educational possibilites so I can’t wait for others to discover its potential too.

Well – if it’s good enough for the Queen ……!

To wish you all a Merry Christmas, here are two videos that bring together several things close to my heart – languages, kids and Disney!

Hope you enjoy them and have a really great Christmas!

Multilingual Disney greetings! (very clever collaborative effort!)

¡Feliz Navidad!

Sverige all väg en.

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Much excitement this evening as Chris Fuller has just posted a video on his blog Facing the currently unknown related to the Euro 08 project he’s organising. The Project involves classes finding out about one of the countries participating in Euro 08, using Web2.0 tools to share what they find, and hopefully all meet up in June for a football / netball tournament in Devon at Chris’ school, Edgehill College.

Filmed at ITV West Country and aided by Seth Conway, Chris drew the names of the schools participating in the Edgehill Euro08 project to pair them with a country participating in the Euro 08 tournament. First out of the draw was … Whitehouse Common Primary School. The kids were sure we’d get Spain when the draw was done as I’m so Spanish crazy, but Spain stayed in the hat and instead we drew….SWEDEN!

So, after Christmas we’ll be finding out all we can about Sweden as well as practising our football and netball skills – we might even ask IKEA to sponsor us!

To find out more about The Project, visit Chris’ blog where you can watch a presentation that explains it all better than I can – there is still space for more schools to become involved, and I know he’d love to hear from you. Spain are still up for grabs, as are France. Doesn’t matter if you don’t live in Devon – Whitehouse Common is near Birmingham and there’s a school in Fife taking part!

I’ve made a start on learning some Swedish – thanks to Translation Guide. The title is supposed to say – Sweden all the way – so if you know Swedish, let me know if it’s correct!

Whilst reading my Googlereader feed, I came across a post by Steve Beard on his Thunder blog about some software that allows you to make any photo talk. Being a fan of Voki etc, this attracted my attention. I’ve seen the results of using a piece of software to make a teddy bear talk demonstrated by Nick Falk and Otso Bear but this promised to make any photo talk, not just bears. But it got even better! PQ DVD are offering the software (normal price $59.90) FREE if you blog about it – so that’s what I’m doing!

Have a look at the demo and see what you think. I’d be a happy Mum if I received this on Mother’s Day!!

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

I spend a fortune on resources for school so I’m always up for a freebie. Instant Display is a site well known to those that frequent TES staffroom and particularly the ‘Parasites Paradise’ thread, (so called because all the listed sites offer free resources.) Instant Display offers reasonably priced posters and resources such as labels for use in Primary classrooms (although, as with all resources, there’s scope for use with older kids too) – you choose your resource(s), pay by Paypal and the link to the resource is sent to you very promptly in my experience. There are a number of MFL resources available , particularly in French such as number cards, weather posters and classroom instruction cards, as well as some Spanish and German resources too. Each set costs £2.

And there is also a free section!! In this section you can find several French resources, including colours, counting, converting euros, weather and En France (things associated with France).

The reason I thought of posting at this particular juncture is that there are a number of free Christmas resources on the site including a set of Merry Christmas posters in 18 languages, and Christmas around the world, a set of posters featuring traditions from different countries, places and continents including Poland, China, Hawaii, Denmark, Bethlehem and Africa.

I’ve printed and laminated them, and made quiz trail around the school – greetings in KS1 and traditions in KS2. With productions etc at this time of year, there is a lot of lining up in corridors and spare moments to fill, so this seemed a popular idea. This week I’ve followed it up with questions on the school website – 5 per day – to encourage families to join in the fun. It’s all part of my strategy to raise cultural awareness in the school – and it’s also fun!

In case you want to join in, I’ll put the questions in the Goodies Box – or you can go to the Whitehouse Common school website .

I’m horrified to discover that it’s nearly two weeks since I last blogged! Where is the time going?

Well, with Christmas fast approaching, I thought it might be a good time to share some Christmas ideas.

I prepared a presentation for the Birmingham RSG last year -you can view it as a Slideshow below – but here are a few of the highlights.

If you’re looking for French carols, have a look at
It’s always great to get something free and there’s lots here : a great French-Canadian site with songs sung by children, complete with visual presentation of the words.I think it would work really well on an IWB and also as a daily starter activity as it’s an Advent calendar with a song behind each door. My favourites are the first two, a song about peace (Enfants de Noël) and an amusingly animated song about world food (La Tourtière).

For Spanish, why not check out another Canadian website –

where you’ll find a webquest based on six articles about Christmas in Spain, Mexico and South America. The articles and accompanying questions are all in English (and in Spanish too sometimes) and include recipes and traditions. Bag the ICT suite or the laptop trolley and see what your pupils can discover for themselves!

Another favourite site is a downloadable ‘belén’ , postcards to send by e-mail, some carols and, (perhaps most usefully?) tips in Spanish on how to wrap awkwardly shaped Christmas presents!

And the final one I discovered on an Edublog winning blog El Tinglado – a link to a Wiki full of Spanish carols and music for Christmas – El Rincón de los Villancicos.
With words, music, midi files of the carols and videos, this is a one stop concert planner! Just add singers!

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