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¡Danza del Corral!

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Another (new to me) book by Sandra Boynton

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?

A new book from Sandra Boynton

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 sombrero was 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 :-

  • animal vocabulary
  • 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
Una rana contenta

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.

What do you think?

Also available – 50 English Phrases

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 series here, one of their UKS2 parallel text books Los Mellizos del Tiempo here 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.

Links to the English book.

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 Spanish French 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.

In these strange times, the online conference is the way to go and thus I sat down at my laptop, coffee in hand and attended the ALL Primary Languages Conference a couple of weeks ago. Nicknamed ‘Acapulco’ by Steven Fawkes (there was a reason but nobody can recall what it was!) the conference was based around five pillars as can be seen from the graphic.

Others have shared their takeaways already, including Nathalie aka Nattalingo, as well as their presentations (Suzi’s is here) and I thought I’d share mine in the form of my sketchnotes.
Disclaimer: I had to ‘leave’ early so I’m afraid I didn’t do one for Suzi’s session nor Nathalie’s but you can access their slides at the link above!

Keynote speaker Dr Michael Wardle , OFSTED Lead on Languages
“The curriculum needs to be BROAD and AMBITIOUS throughout EACH and EVERY year group.”
Sue Cave talking all things phonics.
A strong knowledge of phonics affects all areas of language learning.
Clare Seccombe – learning to walk before you can run is very important!
e.g. knowing a small pot of words really well that can then be extended by EFFECTIVE use of a bilingual dictionary.

An excellent conference and really well organised. Not only were the sessions great, the chat was good too with ideas flying so fast it was sometimes hard to keep up with it all! I recommend that you sign up to ALL as there will be future events for members, specifically designed for primary called PHOrum and they will be quality events! You can find out how to join here and also about the other benefits!

Elmo y Clara cantan sobre la importancia de lavarse las manos.

Following on from my previous post about Elmo, here’s a lovely little video all about washing your hands – very topical!

Here are the lyrics if you wanted to join in!

(spoken) El agua está lista. El jabón está listo. ¡A lavar las manos! ¡Sííí!

Si tu salud quieres ciudar, tus manos tienes que lavar.
Los gérmenes eliminar y el agua siempre conservar.
Frota arriba. Frota abajo.
El jabón para lavar.
Del meñique hasta el pulgar, cada dedo de tus manos.

Después de jugar, antes de comer.
Luego de ir al baño, me lavo las manos x2

The last line of the chorus drove me bonkers as I just couldn’t work it out so I did some research which led to the Sésamo website where there are a multitude of resources including links to further handwashing videos (see the end of the post) and this worksheet in the section LIMPIOS that accompanies the song. It has four pictures for children to colour then cut out and put into the correct sequence to wash their hands.

However, I found no lyrics so I needed to call on some Spanish speaking mates who were equally puzzled. Sin embargo, a bit of detective work by @SpanishSam and @amandasalt and the line ‘Del meñique al pulgar’ was found. As we discussed, el meñique (meaning little finger) isn’t a word that sprang to mind although we’d heard it before.

Amanda found this section of information that suggests playing a handwashing game – give two or more children water and the same amount of soap and see who can produce the most bubbles whilst they sing the alphabet song (or another well known song!)


Sam found it in this really helpful document that accompanies the series, giving lesson ideas. activities and other resources to promote good health. Needs further investigation I feel but in the section related to this song it suggests playing ¿Lavarme o no lavarme? giving a variety of scenarios and ask children to decide if they need to wash their hands or not, and also suggests some cross curricular activities linked to Maths, Science and Food.

Click to download.

If you want to investigate handwashing in greater depth, this 12 minute videos explains why we need to wash our hands and sees Elmo finding out about the science behind handwashing whilst trying to escape from a huge germ that chases him!

There are also links via the Limpios section of Sésamo to other videos on handwashing:
Lavarse las manos antes de comer
Lavado de manos antes de comer (with another song!)
Lavado las manos después de ir al baño
Lavarse las manos después de it al baño

Finally, in these times of Covid-19, Elmo and his friends have been encouraging children to wash their hands for 20 seconds as well as offering advice to parents on how to talk about the virus. More information here
I’ll leave you with a couple of videos. Remember ¡lávate las manos!

I’ve written another lesson plan in the latest issue of Teach Primary. This one is based around the book Veo Veo by Antonio Rubio and Oscar Villán.

You may have read my previous post a couple of years ago on the subject. It’s a really simple board book about two ‘media lunas’ or half moons that go for a walk to the park and play I spy. They spy a series of random objects in unexpected combinations. This lesson plan expands on some of the ideas and adds some new ones.

The lesson is downloadable below:

And you can access the accompanying presentation here.

Whilst the examples are in Spanish, there is no reason why you couldn’t adapt and translate them into French, German or any other language. Hope you find it useful!

Other related post:

How to play Veo Veo

I love a bargain, and am also a great fan of recycling so I am particularly pleased with a new pile of German children’s books!

Some were purchased via LiPS, one was found in an Oxfam shop in Bath, and the other three were a Christmas gift from my son who is currently studying in Germany and found them in an Oxfam shop there.

So here they are!

Verstecken spielen
Lustige Vierbeiner

ISBN 978-1-78557-464-1

This lovely book is all about four legged friends playing Hide and Seek (Verstecken spielen) It has a touchy feely cover and features cute dogs a cat and a rabbit. I like the simplicity and repetition of the text as well as the animal noises. A fun book that would be great to read to FKS/KS1.

Ohren wackeln
Beine zappeln

ISBN 978-3-473-31566-6

Ohren wackeln, Beine zappeln is another cute board book featuring animals. This time it has holes in each page in which you insert your fingers to make the ears (Ohren) or legs (Beine) of the animals. Each page has two lines of text and is written in rhyme – great to read aloud and practice your pronunciation as well as spotting the verbs. And of course, good for finger wiggling!

Baby Goofy geht zu Bett
ISBN 3-614-21890-2

This a short board book is from the Disney Babies series and is all about baby Goofy going to bed. It’s written in prose and features Pluto as well as Goofy. Very cute!

Kennst du das?
Die Tiere ISBN 3-411-70441-1
Das ABC ISBN 3-411-70631-7

Two books from the same series here! Kennst du das? – Do you know that?
Each is a word book with bright photographs to illustrate the meanings. They include ‘usual’ words such as Pferd, Hase, Katze, Tiger and Elephant, but also more unusual animals – Streifenhörnchen, Rotfeuerfisch and Wandelnde Blätter and vocabulary – Zange (pliers) Reißverschluss (zip) and Qualle (jellyfish) It also indulges my love of looking at German words, ‘literally translating’ and seeing language links:
Dreirad = three wheels = tricycle
Nacktschnecke = naked snail = slug
Stinktier = smelly animal = skunk
Fledermaus = flying mouse = bat
Nashorn = nose horn = rhino
Flusspferd = river horse = hippo

Schieben & Lernen 1 2 3
ISBN 978-3-940984-01-2

Finally a board book with sliding windows (Schiebefenster) to learn numbers 1-10. The windows slide to show either the numeral or a number of objects so could be used for numbers and then extended to use the vocabulary pictured, in singular and plural forms. Perhaps older learners could have a look in a dictionary for the words whilst others will begin to recognise the correct item from three after several readings.

PawPatrol
Auf die Plätze, Fertig, Rettung!

ISBN 978-1-5037-3215-5

I was really surprised to find this book in an Oxfam shop in Bath, and even more surprised when I realised that the buttons still worked! I like reading books based on series that we watch in English as it’s possible to compare names and ket features in the other language. For example, Ryder and Chase have the same names in both languages and the PupPad in German is called the Pfot-o-fon (Paws ‘phone) I’m looking forward to sharing this book with the little ones at school. And I don’t think the enchantment of this book is limited to little ones..

So these are my new German books. What do you think? It’s a bit of a shame that I don’t teach German on a day to day basis but reading them aloud is great fun!
A reminder that there is a catalogue of my (ever growing!) collection of German children’s books here, and there is also a French list and several for Spanish – fiction, nonfiction, rhymes poems and songs, plus an ‘other languages‘ list too!

The latest edition of Teach Primary magazine.

The latest edition of Teach Primary magazine has been out for a couple of weeks and features a MFL focus section between pages 140 – 153. There’s an article about the relevance of language learning in Brexit-era Britain, another on a language awareness model of Primary language learning and one from Clare Seccombe on Putting Pen to Paper (writing) in the primary languages classroom as well as a couple of pages of ‘Partner Content’ from Primary Languages Network and Language Angels about why you should use their schemes. Oh, and as you can see above, there’s also an article by me about storytelling! It’s on purple paper (my favourite colour) and I even got a ‘trail’ on the front page!) You can read it above.

I’m going to have to take out a subscription as I have to keep begging copies from friends, and don’t know I’ve been published until someone congratulates me.

My previous content in TeachPrimary:

A book review

ISBN 9781519600929
Available here

You all know the famous wolf from the fairy tales that scares everyone, eats sheep and grandmas, and chases little pigs out of their homes. But do you REALLY know him? What if he wasn’t like that at all?

This book is all about that wolf but reveals another truth – that el lobo de los cuentos doesn’t actually enjoy being bad. What happens when he decides to do exactly the opposite of what is expected from him? He says hello to Caperucita Roja, he gets chased by the cerditos and instead of scaring the cabritillos, he swaps recipes with their Mum.

In the context of this change of character, el lobo discusses emotions and feelings with his fellow characters and discovers empathy. The book finishes with some activities to help children discover and explore their emotions with some cut outs to use just like el lobo does in the story.

It’s a short story and I think it’s great as it shows a different side to the traditional stories – why should the wolf always be the baddie?- but also has important messages about our feelings and emotions. Most importantly I think it explores how we can get stuck in a pattern of behaviour that we don’t like, and that it is possible to break the cycle. I think the pictures in the book help this message get across to children as the characters are all depicted as small children in masks playing the parts.

This is the third in a series of three posts about Julia Donaldson books that I have recently purchased in Spanish.

ISBN – 978-8-4941634-7-0
Available from Little Linguist

Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita is the Spanish version of What the Ladybird heard and is a ‘farmyard thriller; a crime set on a farm‘ according to Julia Donaldson, the author. In it, two robbers, Hugo el Zurdo and Len el Largo plot to steal the prize cow from under the farmer’s nose. But they hadn’t reckoned on the very tiny, very quiet ladybird.

All the other animals on the farm are very noisy…
‘pero la mariquita no decía nada de nada.’

One night the ladybird hears the thieves plotting and relays the story to the animals who all make a loud hullabaloo – and then they hear the plan which make use of all their noisiness! Will they outsmart Hugo el Zurdo and Len el Largo? I’ll leave you to find out! It’s a great story and I love the rhyme and rhythm of the text.

How would I use this story? I’d probably read it much the way that Julia Donaldson does in the video below – but in Spanish!
The story is a wonderful opportunity to work on animal vocabulary as well as the always popular topic of animal sounds. It always amuses children that animals ‘speak Spanish’ too and make slightly – or sometimes very – different noises in Spanish. You could even sort the sounds into groups according to how similar they are. You could use puppets or masks to involve individuals in retelling the story or even a set of fingerpuppets or finger scribbles for each child to join in physically, or even use actions (my latest obsession with Makaton would come in handy here!) Nonetheless with little preparation of that kind, it’s easy to encourage learners to join in with some noises and sound effects!

Here’s Julia Donaldson reading her story in English with some ideas for how you could use the book with audience participation, using puppets, animal noise prompts and action!
Here’s the story read to you so you can get an idea of the story. Or you can actually read part of the book yourself on Issuu
And this version has an ‘on screen’ narrator!

Follow up activities might include vocabulary matching at word level, some simple substitution sentences with animal and sound [La vaca] dice [Muu] or [El perro elegante] dijo [Cuac] or even some simple descriptions
La vaca es bonita y premiada. Es blanca y negra con manchas grises. Tiene un cabestro azul y un premio rojo. La vaca dice Muu.
Alternatively you could ask comprehension questions with Sí/No Verdad/Mentira responses, or at a higher level, require a response in a phrase or sentence.
And finally, how about making a map of the farmyard and giving directions around it in Spanish, or making it into a game and guiding a blindfolded classmate using only animal noises (but don’t try and confuse them like the animals in the book!)
There are lots of art ideas that go with this book – you can see one below.

This video shows how one class responded to Lo que escuchó la mariquita at C.E.I.P. Miguel de Cervantes de Navalmanzano Segovia. Loe the idea of making ‘mariquitas’ out of footprints!

Looking for ideas of how to use the book, I found lots of ideas for using the English version What the Ladybird heard. I’ve collected them together on a Pinterest board.
It included the video below of Julia Donaldson and her husband singing a song based on the story – anyone fancy writing a Spanish version?

Some other posts and reviews of the book:
Tell Bake and Love
Ediciones Fortuna

La Mariquita appears in two further books – Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita Despúes and Lo que Escuchó la Mariquita en Vacaciones.

Do you have a favourite Julia Donaldson book? Do share in the comments if you do!

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