Yesterday I had the great pleasure of presenting at the PSB MFL conference via Zoom.
My presentation was entitled More than words with the subtitle Language learning is about more than learning lists of vocabulary. In it, I discussed my ‘idea of what ‘list of ingredients’ for language learning, particularly in the primary context. After discussing OFSTED’s 3 pillars and 3Is, I moved on to present my 7Cs!
And what are my 7Cs? Context Consolidation Confidence Communication Culture Celebration Connection
I was thrilled with the response to my presentation and want to thank all the attendees for their kind words; I was floating on air all day despite an afternoon of stircrazy 10 year olds who’d not been out to play all day followed by parents evening!
If you’re interested in what else I shared, my slides can be viewed below.
What do you think? Have I missed a C? Let me know!
Since I last wrote a post, I’ve presented three times about international links!
In November I was pleased to speak, along with Vicky Gough of the British Council, to the ALL Portsmouth Primary Hub about Making international links to motivate our young linguists and celebrate their achievements. My contribution was summarised as: Lisa took us on a whistle-stop tour of the many different projects she has been involved in over the past twelve years or so. What shone through was the positive impact these experiences have had on all involved – pupils, teaching and school staff and parents. Senior management have increasingly recognised the value of these projects and prioritised them within school planning. Comments from pupils and colleagues, and more formal statements from school leaders, provide testimony to their success.
In December I was invited to deliver a keynote at TMMFLIcons entitled International links and developing young linguists. I knew that 15 minutes was tight to say all that I wanted so I summarised the benefits/outcomes on the 3rd slide!
Even so, I still struggled to fit in everything I wanted to say so I wrote a summary of my points to share. You can download and read it below! If you want to see what was said and catch up with the recording, have a look at the @tmmflicons Twitter feed
And a couple of weeks ago, I spoke at Language World in Sheffield. Once more I packed in as much as I could into the time allocated, and still had more to say as I am passionate about sharing my experiences but also about the incredible value of international links and the impact it’s had on our school community.
After a bit of editing, I’m happy to share my presentation but I’m afraid that the file is too big to upload; you can however view it here or, if you attended Language World 2023, on the conference website.
I am really passionate about the international dimension, the power of links between schools around the world and the beauty of collaborating. Yes, it sometimes leaves me exhausted juggling and negotiating so that everything is done but it’s so worth it to see the impact on the staff, school, community and, of course, the pupils. Whilst some opportunities are no longer available to us and I still mourn for their loss, it’s not going to stop me. There are still ways to make links and work in collaboration with others and I will continue to search for more!
There’s a list in the summary document but a few to highlight: If you are looking for a school for collaborations such as penpals or exchanges, particularly a French one, you can try Match My School. The British Council has School Connect and also Partner Finding tools to help you find links and help them grow. And the Global Schools Alliance helps create, maintain and develop links with schools all over the world.
It’s also worth exploiting any links you have as a school community, and also looking to see if your town/city has a twin TownTwinning.
On Saturday I was once more at InstitutoVicente Cañada Blanch in London for the annual Talleres de español run by the Consejería de Educacción. It had only been 9 months since I was last there as the 2021 edition was postponed thanks to the C word and I was once more privileged to be asked to speak. More of that later!
The day started with a keynote to get you thinking by Crista Hazell who talked about The Joy of Language Learning.
My tweets at the time summarise the bits I particularly liked:
Following this, I attended a marvellously active and fun session led by Eva Rodríguez Moya entitled «JugaÑol: el poder del juego como herramienta de aprendizaje» during which she shared a number of ideas and techniques that are used in her classroom to enable learners to recall and use Spanish as the language of communication. I loved the energy and pace of the delivery as well as the great ideas, and it was good to see that others use gesture as a key way of embedding vocabulary and structures. I will certainly be using “Hola Año x” with my classes – a simple way to keep the class on their toes. I recommend you check out Eva’s presentation when it’s available!
My presentation was entitled A few of our favourite things and highlighted as many of the things that my pupils say they enjoy as I could fit into my time slot! As is often the case, I had far more to say than there was time to share, and below you can find my slides (minus a couple that can’t be shared which unfortunately means you can’t see the videos of my class retelling El Nabo Enorme or reciting Doña Pito Piturra)
I did manage to share that I see myself not a Spanish teacher but as a languages teacher and that whilst the language in which my pupils should have made ‘substantial progress’ by the end of Y6 is Spanish, I am also teaching them how to be language learners which is just as important if not more so. What i ran out of time to share was the range of things that we do to celebrate languages as well as our amazing Erasmus+ project that is just coming to an end. Perhaps I can share that next time… hint hint 😉 You can see the slides anyway.
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. I’d be happy to answer!
Thanks to the rail strike I couldn’t stay for the afternoon sessions but I did enjoy a lovely lunch and a good chat with lots of enthusiastic joyful people. at the end of the day, I shared the tweet below which I feel summed up my experience. Here’s to the rainbow unicorns! 🌈🦄
It’s nearly time for the annual ALL (Association for Language Learning) conference Language World. I first attended Language World in Oxford many many years ago and it’s remained an important date each year ever since.
After a year online in 2021, Language World returns to being face to face this year. Taking place in Sheffield at The Quays Hotel, it promises to be two days of discussion, thought and learning and I for one am really looking forward to it.
This year the theme is Language Learning for Social Justice, and sessions relate to the theme of ensuring that ALL learners have access to high quality language learning opportunities, irrespective of age, gender, socioeconomic (dis)advantage, mother tongue or heritage.
The programme looks really interesting and I’m particularly looking forward to sessions by:
Hannah White 5.1 Use the work you do to support EAL pupils in the Primary Languages classroom to create an inclusive curriculum and improve teaching and learning for EAL pupils throughout your school
Eleanor Chettle Cully 1.3 Isn’t it time we moved beyond ‘diversity’? Practical strategies for decolonising the primary MFL curriculum
Marion Devons 8.2 Don’t take me out! Why children with SEND or EAL should stay in your language lessons and how all children will benefit (I feel passionately about this as you can see here.)
and this really interesting looking session 4.1 Inspiring Young Multilingual Activists through Digital Technology and the Arts
In fact, there are so many session that interest me that it’s quite tricky choosing sometimes!
I’ll be speaking on Friday at 215 about “Literature” 3.4 Using ‘Literature’ to support Primary Language teaching and learning This session will consider what is meant by ‘literature’ before moving on to explore how it can be used in the primary languages classroom as a great way to support language learning. Whether as a way into a topic, to support phonics or prosody, as a sample text to be adapted or as a way to support inclusion and challenge insularity, allowing learners to see themselves in their learning, literature is a powerful tool in our toolbox.
My trip to Acapulco today was very exciting. Perhaps not as exciting as a trip to actual Acapulco but I was spared the looong flight as it was able to attend the ALL Primary Languages Conference online from the comfort of my own dining room!
As part of the day I delivered a presentation entitled Not another worksheet Miss! a compilation of activities for ambitious primary language learners, whatever their age or ability. I whipped through as many as I possibly could in the time given but as usual I had far more to say that time allowed.
As I said at the time, these activities are not all mine, and I acknowledge my debt to the language community for sharing their ideas, particularly members of LiPS and my professional learning networks on social media. Ideas form over time and sometimes I honestly can’t recall what triggers an idea so whilst I have tried to give credit where it’s due, if I have failed, I apologise. Here’s a document that includes links to resources as I don’t think Slideshare is clickable!
I promised to fill in the gaps I left particularly towards the end with the last section. Slides 37-45 contain links to posts on this website that explain what I would’ve said in detail so I’ll focus on the final ‘sequence’ that I didn’t have a chance to explain.
As it’s easier, I’ve made a short video explaining what I wanted to say. Hope you find it helpful. UPDATE – Here’s the link as I’m having trouble embedding it and it’s getting late!
If you have any comments, questions or want to add your own activities, please feel free to comment below.
Between 9am and 3pm, there were 6 presentations all on the theme of An Ambitious Primary Language Curriculum for all.
I’ve shared previously (and done whole training sessions about) how I find sketchnoting really helpful to aid listening to, processing and also retaining what is said during sessions, and today I decided to get out my pens and paper to record the day.
Obviously I couldn’t sketchnote and present at the same time (I’m clever but not that clever!) so there are only 5 in my collection but I hope that you find them helpful.
If you signed up for the conference, you will receive a link to watch the recordings. If you didn’t, this will hopefully give you a taste! It was an excellent way to spend a Saturday although I’m now going for a run to help me further process my thoughts.
My overriding thought – well, it’s actually Clare Seccombe’s thought but I’m SO with her on this!
“We owe it to the children to get this [an ambitious primary languages curriculum] right – they can’t be ambitious if we are not ambitious on their behalf for a cracking languages curriculum that really works.”
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.
I once more had the pleasure of presenting at Language World, the annual conference of Association for Language Learning (ALL). My presentation was entitled Take One Book and was the sequel to the presentation I did at PHOrum in November (you can read about it here) this time choosing a book that was originally written in Italian and has no English translation.
I really enjoyed sharing my ideas of how to use ¡Ojo Oso! and was pleasantly surprised that I managed to finish in time and have time for questions. I experimented with using subtitles/captions during my presentation after comments by Helen Simpson on LiPS made me think about accessibility. I need to watch back the recording of my session (which has just been made available for those who registered for the conference but missed the session) to see exactly how accurate they were but I know that when I spoke Spanish they definitely had trouble as they were set to English! For example un agujero became ‘all alcohol’ and una madriguera became ‘mother together.’
Below you can find a PDF of my presentation. I’ve removed the story slides due to copyright but you can find links to versions of the story read online, as well as to where you can purchase a copy.
At the end there is a link to my Pinterest where I collected together materials for the talk, some of which I didn’t use! You can also access it via this QR code.
Perhaps you have ideas that spring to mind? Or you have a book that you could use in a similar way? If you have any comments or questions, do leave a comment below.
Postscript – you can watch the ‘standby/rehearsal’ recording of the session here.
The last (for now!) of the poems that have caught my eye from the anthology Los Mejores Versos de Gloria Fuertes that I purchased from Little Linguist
This one is entitled Paisajes para que los pintes and was chosen once more for simplicity of structure, but also because it immediately sparked ideas in my mind.
Each ‘estrofa’ decribes a very simple image with the basic structure Arriba (top) Abajo (bottom) En medio (in the middle) In the first couple of estrofas this is made explicit but after that, the pattern has been established so the prepositions are omitted although the structure remains.
I immediately saw a pairs game – can you match the image to the description?
And then I thought of back to back dictation where two children sit back to back and one describes a picture that the other then draws. In ‘times of COVID’ this could be done as an activity on a recorded or live lesson, or as a whole class activity once we’re back to school. It could be one of the descriptions from the poem or one of their own.
Which brings us to rewriting the poem – so easy to do by simply substituting nouns. 1. Los pájaros arriba, Los campos abajo, y, en medio, la cuidad.
2. En el cielo, las nubes En el corral, la oveja y, en medio, la granja.
3. Arriba, el sol Abajo, el mar; En medio de la playa, la palmera.
You could make it harder by challenging children to make the lines rhyme – you might find Rimar.io or Woxicon helpful! It could lead to some fun, unpredictable pictures and is a good activity for dictionary skills too! You could extend the poems by adding adjectives too:
Arriba, las nubes blancos, Abajo, un hombre en zancos. En medio del colegio, toca un arpegio.
I can see this as a lovely way to celebrate learning too as it would be easy for children to illustrate their poems then record them, creating a class anthology either as video, stored online or printed out using QR codes to access the audio.
Can you see ways to use this poem too? Please share them in the comments!
Now to do some work as half term is nearly over and I have pupils awaiting their next lesson!
Translation: Landscapes for you to paint. The sun above, The clouds below And, in the middle of the wheat, A scarecrow.
The sun above, The sea below And, in the middle of the sea, A boat.
The meadow, The mountain And, in the middle, the cane.
The snow, The cold And, in the middle, The river.
The cloud, The sea And, in the middle, The squid.
The jungle, The palm And, in the middle, The panther.
The sky, The plain And, in the middle, The aeroplane.
The church above, The town below And, in the tower, The bell and the cat.
I liked this poem as it’s very simple with a repeated structure: [noun1] amigo de [noun2] with noun2 being an unlikely amigo for noun 1. So we have cat and mouse, robber and police, wolf and lamb, witch and child, but also yolk and white, bee and flower, black and white, rich and poor.
I also liked the poem for the message of friendship, that we could all live together in harmony and peace. as the last verse says:
Esto sucedía en un país mágico donde todos se reían y nadie se enfadaba. This happened in a magical world where everyone laughed and nobody got angry.
Wouldn’t that be a good world in which to live?
What could you do with the poem?
Read it and enjoy it – the rhythms and rhymes, and the message too.
Act it out as a play (at the end of Primera Parte, the curtain falls and there is applause!)
Look at pronunciation – the j and the use of accents.
Use the image to help children find the meaning of the poem.
Explore the interesting vocabulary – el ‘poli’, la bellota, el tiesto (I had to use the picture for that one) You may need to explain the relationship between a pig and an acorn!
Look at masculine and feminine – why is la gata amiga de la rata but el gato amigo del ratón? And likewise, la gata amiga de la rata but el gato amigo del ratón?
Challenge children to find new pairings that could be friends to rewrite the poem: El frío, amigo del calor. El Sol, amigo de la Luna. La radio, amiga del video.
Approximate translation: IN A MAGICAL COUNTRY First part: The cat, Friend of the rat. The cat, Friend of the mouse The witch, Friend of the little girl. The ‘bobby’, Friend of the robber. The wolf, Friend of the lamb. The flowerpot, Friend of the balcony. The egg white, Friend of the yolk. The bee, Friend of the flower. (Applause! Applause! And the curtain falls)
Second part The enemy, Friend of the enemy. The white, Friend of the black. The black, Friend of the white. The pig, Friend of the acorn. The rich, Friend of the poor. The ball, Friend of the boot. The umbrella, Friend of the drop. This happened In a magical country Where everyone laughed And nobody got cross And everyone loved each other.