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!
This Tuesday (27th June) I’ll be speaking at the L.E.A.D. TSA Hub Online Primary Languages event. Jo Darley has put together a really interesting programme covering learner autonomy, linguistic thinking, “quality first” teaching for all, literature and culture, and the value of supporting and celebrating languages through global communication.
I’m really excited to be taking part. My presentation will be about the benefits of international links and global communication in the primary classroom. As a primary languages teacher, it will be heavily influenced by the impact of my young linguists but also refer to the effect on the whole school.
It’s a full day, online conference starting at 915 and running until 330. You can join live for the whole day, pop in as you can, or watch it all back later with the recording being available for 30 days after the event. As I’ll be teaching all day (until my session) I’ll be doing the latter!
There are still tickets available at this link if you’re interested. If you’re planning on attending, let me know so I can give you a shout out!
After the success of last year’s competition, the bSmall Young Language Learner Award returns.
This year the theme is…
Children aged 6-11 are invited to submit a story written in a language other than English. On the website https://bsmall.co.uk/ylla you can find template, notes for teachers/ parents/ tutors and a downloadable entry form for entrants to submit the finished story.
Winners will receive books from the bSmall and the opportunity to have their work published in PDF form on the website. The closing date for entries is Monday 5th June and winners will be announced on June 26th.
You can read about last year’s contest and see the top three entries in this post
Once more I’ve been asked to be on the judging panel. I’m really looking forward to reading all the entries. So, if you’re looking for a way of celebrating the coronation in class, or you fancy supporting your class/children in writing a story about celebrating a festival, a birthday or special event, why not join in the challenge.
Today at The Language Show it was my pleasure to deliver a presentation entitled A few of our favourite things.
During a packed 45 minutes I highlighted as many of the things that my pupils say they enjoy as I could. I do talk very fast but as is often the case, I had far more to say than there was time to share.
As promised you can find my slides below including links to things I mentioned such as the songs and games. If you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the comments below. And if you bought a ticket, you can access my presentation (along with many many more!) on catch up. I’m looking forward to doing just that over the next week or so.
I use the LightBulb Languages scheme of work which can be found here
The latest issue (and all past ones!) of Writeaway can be found here The next deadline for submissions is 9th December.
I ran out of time to share about our amazing Erasmus+ project that has certainly been one of the children at WCPS’s favourite things over the last three years. Hopefully one day I’ll get to present a whole session on it (or record one of my own!) but until then, please have a look at the project blog from the point of view of our school here and the whole project blog (which was written by the Greek partners) here.
As I shared earlier this year, bSmall relaunched their Young Language Learner Award this summer after several years break. The award invited young learners to submit a story in a language that they are learning on the theme of ADVENTURE.
I was so excited to be asked to judge the award this year with Catherine from Little Linguist . There were lots of entries, some from individuals and some done in class, in French Spanish and one in German. It was hard to whittle them down to our favourites but we all agreed on the winner and runners up after some discussion!
If you want to do it as a class, the teacher can submit entries with a single cover form as long as each story is marked clearly with the child’s name, language being learned and their mother tongue to make judging fair!
On the website there are hints and tips as well as a more detailed explanation of what to do including where to send your entries.
Entries close on Mon 01 August and the winners will be announced on the European Day of Languages, Mon 26 September.
b small will publish the winning entry as a PDF on their website, and the winner will also receive 10 language learning books from b small, with 2nd and 3rd runners up receiving 5 books and 2 books respectively.
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.
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.