December 2008 – Page 2 – ¡Vámonos!
 

Month: December 2008

You know you’re doing something right when you ask a class to write a Christmas poem and several kids ask you for a Spanish dictionary – in a Literacy lesson!!

I have to explain that as well as teaching Spanish, I teach other subjects too and whilst I like to integrate Spanish into other areas of the curriculum, on this occasion I had meant them to write in English. However, I wasn’t going to discourage them so off they went to fetch the dictionaries. I did advise them to stick to a simple structure and suggested ‘Navidad es….’ as a repeated line but otherwise left them to it!

Most of the class did write poems in English – although several finished their English one then wrote in Spanish too – but there were three or four Spanish ones. We shared our some of our poems and, using an Easispeak microphone, we recorded some of them (sadly didn’t have time for all of them but we’ll do it next week!) Then, at lunchtime, we made them into Voki. They’re on the school website, but here are two Spanish ones.

One is written as an acrostic using Regalos as its theme.

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Get a Voki now!

The other was written by a lovely girl who finds literacy very tricky so I was really proud of her!

AC_Voki_Embed(200,267, ‘dc8a0e377b89808645868c8b762622f7’, 1032816, 1, ”, 0);

Get a Voki now!


Just read an interesting article in The Telegraph Education section with the above title. It reports on a group in the Harrogate area called French for Fidgets (a great name for the group!) that teaches French to toddlers through song and games. Taking kids as young as 18 months, their philosophy is –

“… to make it fun. When devising these classes, I asked myself what children this age enjoy doing and the answer was singing, eating and rolling around the floor. So that’s what we do. It just happens we speak French while we’re doing it.”

I’ve taught Kindergarten at a previous school and also had pupils as young as 18 months, so I can completely agree with and endorse the benefits of catching them early. In fact there were children with emergent speech who had as many words in Spanish as in English – and all that from 20 minutes first thing on a Monday! The analogy ‘little sponges’ is a very apt one.

And research backs this up – Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith of the Birkbeck Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development in London is quoted in the article saying –

“Right from birth, the brain has the capacity to learn three or four different languages and in many countries that’s what happens,” she says. “In fact, the majority of children in the world are bilingual, either because their country has a number of borders or because their parents speak different languages.

“The typical pattern is for a child to learn one language from their father, one from their mother and another at school or in the street. As for brain capacity, I know children with Down’s syndrome who have three languages simultaneously. The truth is that languages shouldn’t be introduced at primary school, but at nursery school.”

And she concludes with a radical idea-

“Teach a language at nursery school and you won’t need to teach it at secondary,” she maintains. “By that time, the children will already be able to speak it.”


It’s a thought – what do you think?


Well, it’s December 1st and as much as I’ve tried to be strong, Christmas has finally got me! School is full of Christmas plans for plays, parent partnership days, activities, assemblies and the like, and home is likewise in Christmas mode as littl’un plays the lead in the Infants’ play tomorrow as The Little Angel – if his temperature doesn’t get any higher :os

And, obviously, plans for classroom activities are turning Christmas-ward too!

So, I’ve been through my files and found some Powerpoints that might help you – and me! to get our classes in the Christmas spirit as well as ticking a few Intercultural Understanding boxes!
I am not claiming responsibility for all of these as lots have been kindly shared by people on Yahoo! MFL resources group, or the Consejería.

So – to start you off, why not try learning how to say Merry Christmas in 10 languages other than English? Perhaps you could take one each morning for the next two weeks?

Here’s a Disney video from Youtube if you want more languages – and it’s even got the pronunciation for you!

Then perhaps have a look at some Christmas vocabulary in Spanish? If your room is decorated for Christmas, why not label the decorations – or use them for a game of ‘Búscame…’ ?

Christmas in Spain is very particular and the Ministerio de Educación y Cienciain conjunction with the Consejería de Educación en el Reino Unido e Irlanda have produced a great powerpoint presentation choc-a-block with authentic pictures of the events in December and January – not all of which are religious.

La Navidad en Espana

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: christmas spanish)

They have also produced a presentation about El Belén – the traditional Nativity scene that decorate Spanish homes at this time of year. I usually use my ELC nativity scene to retell the story of Christmas from the Biblical perspective completely in Spanish. Kids understand because it is a story with which they are familiar and also because I’m very dramatic in my retelling – the Head of the Catholic Prep, School where I used to work was rather taken aback by my reenactment of Mary being told by an angel that she was pregnant with Jesus ;o)

I also uncovered this very comprehensive presentation about Spain at Christmas complete with more photos and information in bite size chunks. It includes details of El Gordo, el Caganer (in ploite language!) and el Roscón de Reyes.

Navidades En Espana

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: traditions spanish)

I’ve also found a presentation I did a few years ago at Birmingham Council House (I think it was!) about ideas for Christmas in the MFL classroom. It includes ideas for French, Spanish and German, and the ideas are suitable for right across the age range. I posted it last year too but in case you didn’t catch it….hopefully something for everyone! (hope the links still work!)

to be continued!!

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