Following on from the success of last year’s event , it’s time for the second (online) ALL Primary Languages Conference. Colloquially (and rather romantically) known as Acapulco, this event on Saturday 6th November promises to be another memorable event.
I’m really looking forward to a quality few hours of ideas and inspiration and hope that you can join too.
If you’re a member of ALL or a trainee student it only costs £5 otherwise the cost is £25. How do you become a member of ALL? Find out here! Heads up – you can join as a primary school for £50 which is less than an individual!
The programme is viewable here and you can register here.
Today I had the pleasure of presenting at the Talleres de español in London. It was lovely to see people in real life rather than through a computer screen, and it was definitely worth the trip from Birmingham. As always Instituto Español Vicente Cañada Blanch was buzzing with chat and the food was delicioso. Not many conferences where you are given a glass of wine with lunch, or finish the afternoon dancing or learning about jamón y vino! Thanks to the Consejería de Educación and Junta de Castilla y León for facilitating the day and to Baroness Coussins for her inspiring start to the day. It’s good to know that there’s someone passionate about languages fighting hard and trying to make change in the corridors of power. “Talking about languages in Parliament often feels like wading through treacle. [But it’s about] doors opening and horizons widening. The beauty of languages is that there is a win-win waiting to be claimed.”
As promised here is my presentation. I spoke about Take One Book in Spanish and my presentation is below. In a future edition of TECLA you’ll be able to read a summary of what I said in Spanish (I hope!)
All the videos and activities I mentioned in the presentation are bookmarked on a Pinterest page. A warning – Pinterest may be blocked in your school (it is in Birmingham schools) so it may be that you have to access the links at home and save them elsewhere, but this is the easiest way to collate them. And here is the vocabulary for the Tesoro o basura activity.
The programme will begin with Baroness Coussins speaking about the importance of languages for the future of the UK which will be followed by presentations (predominantly in Spanish) in three strands – primary, secondary and general interest – on a variety of themes including gamification, ICT, culture, history, literature, motivation and projects. Lunch is always delicious and an integral part of the experience, and the day will end with dancing or wine and jamón!
I’ll be presenting straight after Baroness Coussins (no pressure!) and sharing my ideas entitled Take One Book.
The programme is below and you can find details of how to sign up here . I’m looking forward to it; please say ¡hola! if you’re attending!
Following on from my previous post, I also purchased this book. Whilst not a new publication, it’s new to me and I thought I’d share how I might use it.
This book also features Sandra Boynton’s trademark quirky animals with all the favourites including cows, pigs and the funky chicken!
Here’s the opening of the book that sets up the ‘story.’ What do you think it’s about? I’d encourage learners to use the cover picture, the illustration on p1 and the text to try and work it out. What are the animals on the cover doing? What is the cow doing? I’d expect ‘dancing’ and ‘playing an instrument/singing’ to be included in the responses. Depending on the learners’ knowledge of music/life experiences, they might put the dancing and the fiddle together to mention barn dancing, but some might need a bit of a steer in that direction. You could show a video of some barn dancing to give them an idea!
Next I’d look at the text. Which words can you pick out and suggest a meaning? ‘Aplauden’ (clap/applaud) and ‘danza’ (dance) are the most obvious but watch out for false friends ‘corral’ and ‘pies’! If learners have met body parts they might recognise ‘pies’ and possibly ‘manitas’ from manos (several finger rhymes that my learners have met include the word manitas though) So what are the instructions? Stamp your feet and clap your hands. Again, I’d expect my learners to recognise ‘¿listos?’ as I use it often, but it would be a good opportunity to learn it otherwise. So, are we ready for the barn dance?
The book then continues with instructions to do an action with an animal. Above we have hopping with a bunny, walk with a duck and dance with the mad chickens, clucking all over the place. Below you can see that there are also animal sounds to explore – which animal makes these sounds?
The whole book is one long dance routine and it’s a great text to get learners involved!
Here are some ideas!
Read the text and learners do the actions.
Give learners an animal and they stand up or hold up a picture each time their animal is mentioned.
Match the animal to the action. ¿Brinca o galopa con el conejito? Brinca con el conejito. ¿Y con los pollos locos? Baila con los pollos locos
Match the sound to the animal. ¿Qué dice beee – una vaca o una oveja?
Explore more animal sounds; compare English and Spanish animals; explore other languages. I’ve got a great book called Animals Speak that would be great for this! (This post is about it, and another Sandra Boynton book!)
As learners move around, hold up an animal picture and they change the way they’re moving according to the story.
Follow the instructions and have a barn dance!
Rewrite the instructions replacing the animals with members of the class – baila con Charlie; brinca con Evie; da vueltas con Israel; corre con Mariah etc
Make up a routine with each learner adding a new move to the previous one(s) like Granny’s Shopping – how many moves can you remember and perform?
Work on verbs – lots are -ar so could you work out how to say I jump if given the verb paradigm of a regular -ar verb?
Make your own dance routine using the verbs
Alter the instructions so it’s not brinca CON un conejito (jump/hop WITH a bunny) but brinca COMO un conejito (jump/hop LIKE a rabbit) then write your own sentences for a game that could be played in PE or at break!
Those are just a few activities that immediately spring to mind – do you have any to add?
In the post this morning I received an exciting package – a new book that I wasn’t expecting until mid September! I love Sandra Boynton books – Moo Baa La la la was one of my sons’ favourite books as toddlers and Azul el sombrero, Verde el sombrerowas a massive hit when I recorded it for KS1 in lockdown (I received several reports and even videos of children exclaiming ¡Ay caramba!) so when I saw that she’d published a new book, I preordered it!
The book is all about emotions. Here’s the opening page that sets up the whole book:
Each page then features an animal and an emotion. Here are the first two pages:
All the emotions go with estar and include enérgico, gruñón and contenta. As you can see from the sample pages and the examples I’ve given, the adjectives are presented in masculine – enojado, enérgico – and feminine – contenta – forms as well as those that are unchangeable – triste, feliz.
I love the illustrations which make the book. All the animals have their own characters and also demonstrate their emotion brilliantly. I also like that there is some more unusual vocabulary like complacido (contented/pleased with yourself) and confundida (confused) which opens up discussion of confounded being another (stronger) way of saying confused.
The final message of the book is that whilst the hope is that everyone is happy, it’s OK if you’re not, you’re amongst friends and that emotions change day to day.
It’s a lovely stand alone book but would also be good to introduce and/or review :-
estar + adjectives
use of muy (and potentially bastante) to qualify the extent of the feeling
masculine and feminine nouns (cerdo and hipopótamo are masculine nouns but are presented in feminine form as the animal is female)
the diminutive -ito/a
Having read the book, I’d try some of the following:
Asking the question ¿Cómo estás? and looking for a reply starting Estoy... (I am….)
Ask the question ¿Cómo está (animal)? to use the 3rd person with replies (animal) está (emotion)which requires learners to swap the indefinite artilce in the text for the definite article in their reply e.g. ¿Cómo está la rana? La rana está contenta
Make new sentences about animals and emotions based on pictures (see below for some possible ones!)
Make similes using the structure [adjective] como [animal] e.g. enfadado como un león; hambrienta como una cabra; listo como un búho
I thoroughly recommend the book – and all of Sandra Boynton’s books as they’re great fun but also great to spark ideas and activities.
Each day of June there was a simple challenge linking languages and the natural world that could be completed by children (and adults!) of all ages. They included finding the names for flowers in other languages, counting hops, litter picking and eating outside. Some were even be linked to our topics (likes and dislikes, weather and colours)
Throughout June I posted the challenge each morning on Twitter and encouraged the school community to join in, posting my own ‘entry’ each day later on along with any that had been sent in. Some days another member of staff joined in, some days the activity was reflected in the forest school activity completed by the youngest children and some days families sent photos via Twitter or interacted with the post linguistically rather than graphically.
A couple of times I had the ‘luxury’ of unexpected time with classes which meant that we were able to work collaboratively on one of the challenges. Y5 used the website In Different Languages to complete butterfly or caterpillar multilingual art.
Y6 completed the task later in the month so chose one of the prompts and used GoogleTranslate as well as the above website to complete their artwork.
All the interactions were collated on a Padlet. You can see that we were very busy! There’s a column per three days plus a few extras. It’s great to look back on. I’ve just had another look and I’m inspired to find new ways to complete similar activities in the new academic year.
Since the challenge was officially over, there have been a few more interactions on Twitter with participants; it seems I’m not the only one who is fascinated by languages and the ways they interact!
I love being in nature, whether it’s running, walking or just loitering. In recent times, this has become all the more important to me, not least as a way of finding peace and calm in a world that seems to have gone bonkers. I don’t think I’m alone in this either! There seems to be an increasing awareness of the value of being outdoors, partly because it’s been the only way to meet until recently but also due to a new habits formed by being ‘locked down.’ With all this in mind, I was so excited to find a tweet today about #30DaysWildMultilingual.
Every year in June, The Wildlife Trusts run the 30 Days Wild challenge – a challenge to do an activity linked to nature, every day, for the whole month, and Multilingualism in Schools decided, in conjunction with their local Wildlife Trust in Sheffield, that they would like to create a language based challenge aimed both at those learning a language at school and those who are growing up multilingual. Each day of June there is a simple challenge linking languages and the natural world that can be completed by children (and adults!) of all ages. They include finding the names for flowers in other languages, counting hops, litter picking and eating outside. Some can even be linked to our topics (likes and dislikes, weather and colours)
I’m really excited by this and will be sharing it with learners at both my schools as an enrichment activity. I recently asked children what sorts of things they would like to do to make language learning better; challenges, and activities in different languages came up so this is serendipitous. The Multilingualism in Schools Twitter account @LostWor_l_ds will tweet an activity a day using the hashtag #30DaysWild and #30DaysWildMultilingual but you can download all 30 challenges from their website or below, and complete as many as you want, whenever you want!
Even if you aren’t able to join in with all the activities, why not choose one to complete with your learners as a one off lesson? For example, why not use the Cloud spotting task as a way to practise using a bilingual dictionary, or as a way of exploring other languages using Google Translate or online dictionaries?
Or learn a song about nature and take it outside to sing (although we’re allowed to sing inside now, it’s far better outside, especially if this lovely weather continues!)
For me, although I teach Spanish at both my schools, language learning is about languages plural, and it’s vital that ALL languages are seen as important, especially those spoken and/or understood by our school and local communities. I really hope that children will use these challenges to share their own languages and also explore others as well as – or even instead of – expanding their Spanish vocabulary. I’m also looking forward to children getting outside and exploring, appreciating the school grounds as well as their local environment.
There’s more to explore on the LostWor(l)ds website – expect another post in the near future!
If you’re interested in the wildlife aspect particularly, it’s also worth checking out your local Wildlife Trust website for details of events near you. I’ve found that my local one – Birmingham and the Black Country – are planning special events (not language related) for the Big Wild Weekend including a camp out, a quiz and talks from experts.
When bsmall contacted me to say that they were updating their 50 Phrases series and would I like a sneak peek, of course I said yes!
bsmall are a “small but mighty” (love that description!) award-winning independent children’s publishing company that creates and publishes children’s books for sale in the UK and around the world. “We’re on a mission to empower all readers with critical literacy skills, and our books are creative, educational and encourage children to think for themselves.” I’ve written about some of their books before. You can find out about their Hello Languages serieshere, one of their UKS2 parallel text books Los Mellizos del Tiempohere and their I can read series of books here (update – there are a couple of Spanish ones and more French available now £1.99 each from Apple Books)
The 50 Phrases series are currently available in French, Spanish and English, and aim to give children ‘a head start’ with a new language. Over 32 pages, they introduce some common phrases and useful vocabulary for beginner learners including how to introduce yourself, talk about your family and express opinions as well as asking questions about where and what things are, inviting others to play and requesting things. Each double page spread has between 2 and 5 key phrases that are highlighted, adding up to 50 over the whole book, as well as boxes of vocabulary that can be used with those phrases. There is also the suggestion of a game or activity to rehearse those phrases, and also a little bit of grammar is explained throughout. You can see an example below.
Each phrase is written in Spanish and English, and is also written ‘phonetically.’ I’m not a great fan of this ‘how to pronounce it’ guide as it can lead to very odd pronunciation, but I understand that some people find it helpful, particularly as this is intended to be used at home/independently. And that’s where the update comes in about which I am very pleased.
The book now comes with a QR code that gives the reader access to audio files of the 50 Spanish Phrases (and the same for English and French if you purchase those books.) that give a clear native speaker model of the pronunciation. You can see how it works with the sample below.
By giving the pronunciation of the key phrases, learners now have access to what they actually sound like which will facilitate more educated understanding of the pronunciation guide and more accurate Spanish pronunciation. So this is a great resource that can be used at home without need for a Spanish speaker to be present!
As I said, I was given a sneak peek as the updated versions are not released until May 3rd but you can preorder the SpanishFrench and English books via the bsmall website.
While you’re on the site, check out some of the other books they publish. My eye was caught by the Hide and Speak books with flaps to lift and the Mix and Match flashcards for practising questions and answers. Or download the Language Learning brochure to browse at your leisure! And make sure you check out the Activity Hub where you can download a copy of the Rights of the Language Learner as well as a beach picture labelled in French and Spanish – perfect for Y2s summer topic.