March 16, 2009 – ¡Vámonos!

Day: March 16, 2009

Hot on the heels of CILT’s Primary Language Show, Birmingham’s ELL RSG meeting at the Martineau Centre in Harborne on 9th March was led by Helen Leigh from Worcestershire LA and was full of ideas for five to ten minute language activities that can be done in the classroom. Whilst the recommendation of one hour per week language learning has been understood as a discrete lesson by some, the ideal is that the hour is spread throughout the week. Not only because an hour is a loooong time to maintain attention and energy, but also because little and often fits well into the already packed primary curriculum. Helen suggested the term ‘language exposure’ too as a good way of viewing it.

The session was jampacked wth ideas which Helen related to the KS2 Framework.

Here are some exmaples –

O3.3 – perform simple communicative tasks using single words, phrases and short sentences
‘Snail stories’ – can be done in many languages as so simple! Un escargot (actions draw s – drive a car – point GO!)
Un escargot….deux escargots…..bonjour….bonjour…… kiss kiss……au revoir…au revoir
Un caracol…… dos caracoles…..hola…….hola……..kiss kiss……. adiós…..adiós
could add to it by asking how you are, name etc

Brain gym –
a)letters and number – using the chart (right), say the alphabet whilst lifting arms and legs as indicated by the number as below –
1- right hand and left leg
2- left hand and right leg
3- both hands

Kids could make up their own versions, have a competition to see how fast they can do it correctly? It also fits the idea of Daily Physical Activity. See also Take Ten en français / en español.

b. colours – Dr Kawashima-like stroop test – as a timed test perhaps, or inter table competition?

Another idea was a Mexican wave of word cards and/ or pictures?

O3.2 to recognise and respond to sound patterns and words O4.3 to listen for sounds, rhyme and rhythm

eg Une poule sur un mur (see here for song mp3)
focus on ‘ou’ sound – touch your head when you hear the sound.
then ‘u’ sound

Helen then used pictures of Marge and Homer Simpson, breaking the sad news that they were splitting up and had to split their belongings, to demonstrate an activity with phoneme. Homer was in a house labelled ou and Marge in one labelled u – the task was to divide all the things in the home. eg Marge got la jupe, Homer la tortue, Marge le mur etc

Dans la forêt lointaine
is a good song to use for reinfrcing the phoneme ou – pupils stand up and sit down each time your hear ‘ou’
This also covers ICU as traditional song. Helen reiterated that it is not necessary to understand every word.

A simple activity – two pupils compete to splat the number, animated on PPT to pop up and down. Make it harder by asking pupils to splat multiples of 3 for example.

L4.1 to read and understand a range of familair written phrases
O5.1 to prepare and practse a simple conversation, reusing familiar vocabulary and structures in new contexts

Fishing rods – hook a fish – on the back of the fish is a number – the team that gets the number closest to x that wins.
Add them orally! Alternatively, make it harder by allowing the use of all operations to reach a more difficult number.

Helen also showed an idea using an alphabet mat – give two people a word to spell out by ‘dancing’ on the letters. their partners cmpete to write the word phrase down.

Another idea was to ask questions with three possible answers. Someone is sent out. whilst they are outside, the group decide on the correct answers. When they return, the person has to get all three right or start again. This allows the class to practise the question form which the part they often struggle to learn.

Above is a slide about a game of Cluedo that could be played with the class – involves colours, classroom objects and rooms, and pupils repeat the same vocabulary over and over until someone gets the correct answer. And a bit of blood and gore always go down well ;o)

O3.4 listen attentively and understand instructions, everyday classroom language and praise words

Helen then showed us some magic! Dice that changed colour, books that lose colours and regain colours, disappearing things, psychic displays – all the usual stuff!
We made up a spell about colours –

couleur couleur où va tu? couleur couleur aparu

and all the disappeared colours appear again – clever book from Internet (and an idea from

Joe Brown!)

We then had a look at the story Je m’habille et… je te croc! all about a wolf who gets dressed then comes to eat us! Helen had found a Powerpoint in French already prepared – there are lots more great ideas on the site too!

The final activities involved the Months of the year – firstly, using a mgaic bag – everyone wrote their birth month on a slip of paper and put them in a bag. Helen then got someone to choose a month and wrote the month that she thought it would be on a magic board. of course she was right as there was a secret compartment n the bag! The other activity involved betting on the month that disappears forst from the board, then, once they’ve all gone, which comes back? The disappearing involves pupils copywriting on a whiteboard, and reappearing involves recall.

Loads of ideas!! Thanks Helen x
pass the bomb!

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