QCA – ¡Vámonos!

Category: QCA

I’m planning a lesson as part of Unit 17 Las cuatro estaciones unit of the QCDA schemes all about seasons and months.

The focus this week is describing the seasons and months using adjectives and making up short poems or possibly calligrams to show what we have learned.

I found these two resources that i think will be very useful to me!

Firstly a lovely wikispace http://springcolours.wikispaces.com/ which has photographs of the seasons and suggetsions of colours – not in Spanish but good collection of pictures.

And secondly, this clip from Youtube that not only talks baout months and seasons in Spanish, but also looks at how the seasons vary according to the Hemisphere in which you live.


I will of course post the results of our lesson if it turns out well! And if it doesn’t, I’ll tell you what went wrong!

Wondering if any of you would like to add to a debate I’m having at the moment re QCA schemes for KS2. I’m trying to help someone choose the best way to present materials on a site to satisfy as many Primary MFL teachers as possible. Having drawn their attention to the KS2 Framework and the QCA units and their thematic and skills rather than topic based approach, they’re now in a quandary as to how to best present things.

In your experience, do teachers tend to still take a topic based approach?

Are people using the QCA schemes?

They’ve just been updated – how long do you think their shelf life will be?

And, here’s a tricky one! – do you think if we get a change of government that the policy and therefore Framework / SoW will get changed again?

If you were planning resources with the aim of them being used universally, would you go for topic based approach or would you choose a number of themes loosely based on the QCA schemes of work, covering a number of topics, and follow their order to get the progression through the years right.

Any insights more than welcome. You can leave comments or contact me privately if you’d rather!

Gracias xx

Today I attended The International School Award – Celebration of Excellence at Birmingham’s ICC. Lots of people attending came from schools that had achieved the Full award three times and there were prizes for them this afternoon. One school is unique in having achieved it four times in the 10 year history of the ISA.

There were lots of inspiring speakers, from schools, from management, from national organisations and even from the BBC. Here are some of the thoughts I managed to get down!

David Garner from QCA spoke about the International Dimension in the context of the new curriculum, sharing how it is deeply entwined and embedded into both the secondary and primary context.
He spoke of the challenge to develop the new curriculum- see slide below, and of how the 2020 vision following the Gilbert Review aims to do so. He introduced Naomi Moris, one of the Prime Misister’s Global Fellows who, along with other Fellows, went to China for 6 weeks – 2 weeks looking at cultural aspects of life, 2 weeks spent in a business and 2 weeks in education and completing a project. Her observation was –

I noted that we were all exactly the same, but whilst we are complacent, they (the Chinese with whom she came into contact) are striving to achieve the best.’

Another observation that David brought to us came from an African teacher on a reciprocal visit, highlighting a difference in priorities –

‘When you came to us, you are an honoured guest. When I visit you, I am a resource’

We want to develop young people who fit the criteria on the right – how will we do it? David commented on how a project in India impressed visitors who commented that it was resource poor, activity rich – in our country, so often the reverse is true.

David also shared some new publications from QCA entitled

  • The Global Dimension
  • Sustainable Development
  • Community Cohesion in action (to follow next year)

John Phillips , Assocaite Head, Hillside High School, Sefton
shared that the ISA is all about children. And demonstrated it by bringing some of the pupils to share their experiences.

‘Working internationally, if it ever was an add on, isn’t anymore. Kids only get one chance at school, and it’s up to us to ‘drip feed’ changes lives. We have opportunities now that 50 years ago weren’t given kids and teachers are empowered now.’

and then developed into their own At Hillside High School, international links started with European Studies project 1986-1992 and developed into their own project – Czech Mates before in 1997 Comenius emerged followed two years later in 1999 by ISA.
One pupil reported on a Performing Arts project involving cookery, dancing, art; another
young lady talked about a poster / banner collaboration between Sefton and Slovakia – using Skype and Adobe Photoshop. A young man talked of an international maths seminar – held in Sefton with several nations represented, solving maths problems together. And Danny Murphy – not the footballer!- reported on radio days, a four hour show that went out over the Internet to many countries – it was lots of work but great fun.

Audrey Nicholson, International Coordinator at Carlton Digby School
Carlton Digby is a small special school in Nottinghamshire and two of its pupils, Luana and Mia delivered the presentation beautifully with details of their activities such as China Day, raising money for a water pump at a school in Uganda, visits from other countries. ‘We had lots of fun!’ was the phrase that jumped out at me, especially as they taught us a song (see photo) with signs!

Ann Suthern, International Coordinator, Durham Trinity School
Ann talked about the 183 pupils at special school and gave us ideas of projects they had done – touching and feeling ingredients, matching shoes to people and a number of partner schools taking a photo of the view from their window at a set time on a set day – and then comparing and contrasting them

Kevin McCabe, Executive Headteacher, Birmingham City Council
Kevin spoke very charismatically about the profound effect of the International dimension and specifically the ISA on teaching and learning, and how in his experience it has helped improve standards as well as the lives of the kids with whom he was working.

‘The ISA is all about shared experiences between teachers and pupils. It is not given to individuals but to teams of committed people.’

For Kevin, the ISA
has been the encouragement of giving kids things with which to be engaged. The first contact from partner schools inspired an overnight improvement in writing as the careful, neat handwriting of their correspondents led to them taking extra care in an attempt to emulate it. The letters they wrote were not seen as work, and the pupils were motivated by communication with their peers. Kevin left us with a piece of advice he was given before going to India-

‘smell it, live it, eat it and then know that your life will never be the same again.’

Paul Keogh MBE, described by Feargal Keane later in the afternoon as ‘the Peter Kay of language teaching’ is Head of Languages and AST at King James’s, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. He woke us all up after lunch with braingym in French, the alphabet march and airwriting with hands, noses and bottoms! Very amusing!
He was followed by Maggie Semple OBE, Chief Executive, The Experience Corps Ltd

Maggie talked about how at home as a child she had an international environment (her parents are from British Guyana )but at school not. Education saw people who were different as a deficit – lost to learning.
Maggie related the story of Mrs Jefferys, one of her primary school teachers who tried to make her feel part of the class by using Anansi stories and getting Maggie to read. She;d made assumptins that weren’t correct but her intentions were good. It wouldn’t happen today – teacher wanted to include but went the wrong way about it. Over the years, language and action has evolved.

Her next anecdote came from the opening of the Wallace and Gromit exhibition. As the doors opened, it was the adults who ran through the exhibition not the kids. ADULTS playing – going back to themselves and enjoying playing. Maggie believes that the ISA has enabled us to play again – to do fun things like drawing with our backsides!!
Finally, Maggie talked of how people used to find it hard to get a handle on her- nowadays she is less likely to find comments in playgrounds about differences. She was recently in a museum about to start a PDA search. The kids had done it first and interacted with one another about their learning. Maggie asked a child how to cheat and fnish quickly to which the child said ‘but why would you want to cheat? It’s about learning!’ Through the ISA we’ve allowed kids to be honest about what they do and think.

Really thought provoking!

Feargal Keane, BBC Special Correspondent
I’d been really looking forward to hearing Feargal Keane speak – and he didn’t disappoint! He started by praising all the schools represented for boosting the moral capital of their schools and for ‘not being in it for the money.’
He then read a poem, All of these people by Michael Lumley that he had carried around in all warzones that raises the question – who can bring peace to people who are not civilised?
Feargal spoke of an idea of interdependence – of homes, communities and a world where people recognise their dependence on each other not just for money or food, but a mutual dependence where we recognise and see shared humanity and grasp it in every way we can, putting the ideal of that poem into practical effect..

He commented that there is a virus of fear at large in society; news items are full of fear, the
power of media leads to conspiracy theories which kids believe. And if kids are not taught to question orthodoxy and what is in front of them, they won’t be able to take responsible decisions. (At the same time he did acknowledge that this needs to be balanced with need for authority and discipline in schools!) Feargal said that he is worried by negative views of young people in the media, the constant stereotyping of them as yobs as if you tell people enough times, they’ll believe it. He suggested that there is a need for a greater willingness to listen to voice of the young people – what do they have to say? – as he spoke passionately of his experiences in South Africa and of contact with a Cameroon pygmy village.

Feargal Keane is well known for his coverage of the Rwandan genocide, and it is obviously something about which he will always speak with great passion. He pointed out that one reason it happened was because the education system was corrupted- for example, Tutsis made to stand up throughout history lesson whilst Hutus were told that Tutsis were evil. The genocide was described as ‘claustrophobic airless hell’ with a million killed in 100 days.

Feargal then told us the story of Valentina who hid and survived under bodies of her parents for weeks after the neighbours killed her parents and her brother . She had been severely wounded and was very very ill, but alive – just. Three years later, he went back to find that she had survived. A video was made of the story for the BBC, and that video caused many many schools to contribute to set up a fund for her education. She was sent to High School and two years ago Valentina came to London to speak at genocide memorial day and made a confident speech. She is now at University in USA, speaks fluent english and is doing medical studies to give back to her community.

Feargal’s point was that people who sent that money made all the difference in the world to that child. You can’t change the world on your own but we have a human obligation to make the attempt and reach out to one individual to make a connection. No man is an island – we are all part of the main. Politicians move on becasue another thing cmes along demanding their attention, but we have to keep on at it. As educators, we have a social responsibility – the need to enable kids to make informed decisions – to illustrate this, Feargal gave the example of one of his teachers, Jerome Kelly who gave 2 lessons RE and 3 of philospophy instead of the 5 of RE he was supposed to teach.
Feargal summed up his thoughts by saying

‘People are people because of other people.
We are who we are through our relati

onships and interactions through others.’

I think that is the message I’d like to conclude on, but a small postscript. Following on from this, there was a presentation for schools that had achieved the ISA three times. And one of my abiding memories of the day will the girl from Carlton Digby school ( i think it was Luana!) who, rather than settling for the sedate walk and handshake favoured by others, was so excited that she ran across the platform, launched herself at Feargal Keane and threw her arms around him. And he didn’t seem at all phased! a lovey moment!

I was very privileged to be invited to present this year at the Primary Languages Show in Liverpool, not once but twice!

I promised at my two sessions that I would post my notes and resources on my blog for people to download and use.

So here’s my first presentation. If you download it, the hyperlinks all work – or did when I tried them. However, if they don’t, remember that I have bookmarked all the sites to which I referred (and more) on Delicious tagged PLS09 – http://delicious.com/lisibo/pls09

The Powerpoints I used are also below –

I have blogged this unit previously here and you will find my worksheets, the SoW and more ideas here and a fuller description of how we animated our animals here.

A couple of things I mentioned but didn’t put in the presentation – the masks were downloaded from Sparklebox and the animation was done using FramebyFrame on my Macbook. You can also use SMAnimator (free to download on a PC) or ICanAnimate (for PC or Mac costs about £40)

If you’ve got any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at Coventry’s Primary Language Conference. After a morning at WCPS teaching Year 6 who were rewriting The Snack Song (more of that later in the week when I blog Unit23 of QCA Spanish SOW), I raced over to Coventry to deliver two sessions entitled Languages i my classroom. Sian James, the Primary Languages Strategy Consultant for Coventry had asked me to split each session into three sections – my top tips, some of my favourite games and then to teach something as I would in the classroom. Phew – lots to fit into an hour!

So, speaking in hyperdrive (what’s new? exactly!), I launched into a shorter version of the presentation I did at Tile Hill Wood last week (see my blog post for the notes) before highlighting some of favourite games – see below for notes.

I showed how to play some of the games as I endeavoured to teach Unit 11 of QCA SOW – El Carnaval de los animales in 20 minutes (it took 6-7hours with Yr4- and we might’ve done so much more!). La orquesta went down well as did my attempts to draw animals in Pictionary and the delegates also proved to be excellent lipreaders. (all resources can be downloaded from a previous blog post!)

The conference was really well attended and had a real buzz about it. Coventry is the home of the Language Investigators model of PLL, and the updated version will be launched in September. Sian has also been working on a brilliant resource called Living Languages, featuring six Coventry children whose first language is not English, celebrating languages, the children who speak them, and the similarities and differences we can see through their eyes. The official launch of this will be Sept 25th – more news nearer the time. Well done, Sian for a really successful day!

yo soy músico

Here comes part three of my reflections on the units I’m currently using in KS2 Spanish. If you’ve read the other parts on Units 5 and 11, you’ll recall that I’ve taught the units to half of the school and am now teaching the parallel classes until the summer break. So the current groups are probably getting a better deal as I refine and adapt from the first run, but may not finish the unit in its entirety as the end of term leads to much lesson disruption!

As with Units 5 and 11, Unit 14 has an opening stimulus from which the unit stems. In this case, a song. Based on the well known children’s song, I am the Music Man, Yo soy músico has proved popular with Year 5. The QCA Unit which can be downloaded from here in PDF and RTF, gives the lyrics – you just have to sing it! Helen Myers has recorded a music only version – clever lady!- which can be found here, and if you want to hear how it sounds with a class in full voice, check out the WCPS Spanish podcast in the right hand column – although I’m sure you’ve all subscribed to it in iTunes ;o)

At the top of the post is the Powerpoint I made to go with the song. Note that it has two parts. The first half is in the first person singular – Yo soy músico, which is the version used in the first instance when the teacher (or volunteer class member!) is the Music Man. The second part is in the first person plural – Somos músicos – as the class join in with the whole song and we all become Music Men. I used animations having listened to Nick Mair talking in Oxford about boys learning best when there is action and movement in the graphics. There is an initial disadvantage as the class comment on the guitar playing pig etc mid-song, but after the first view, this stops and it really helps memorisation.

Scheme of work for Year5 spanish summer yo soy musico

Looking at the medium term plan above, you can see that the objectives for the first lesson are to express simple opinions about music. This proved popular as we listened to some different types of music and decided if we liked them or not. In a previous unit on free time we had learned the phrase la música pop / rock / clásica and most recalled the phrase – and the accompanying action –

  • la música – hands on ears like you’re listening to music then ..
  • …pop – makes your hands pop from fists to spread fingers whilst making your eyes wide
  • …rock – rock from side to side
  • …clásica – conduct an orchestra
  • …heavy – mosh!! (a clear favourite I must say!)

We added jazz (jazz hands) and folclórica (play a guitar) which took some explaining as few knew what it was! Several pupils commented on the use of cognates – and when one asked what tecno music would be, another piped up that ‘it’d be la música tecno, silly’

I expressed an opinion in Spanish about the music using facial expression then encouraged the class to offer their own opinion in Spanish. Again, the phrase was not unfamiliar but, for some, had to be dragged from memory banks!

We then sang the song which soon involved the whole class. The first couple of times, everyone sang all the instruments to learn and fix the words – and of course we did actions for those who are kinaesthetic learners (and to keep everyone awake!). Having looked at pronunciation of the words we had a quick look at accents – why do música / saxofón / batería have accents – I explained it using people’s names – when we see a name in English we know (usually!) how to say it as there are stress patterns – it’s AlexANder not AlEXander and accents help show us how to say words. Pupils completed a simple sheet to finish the lesson – labelling and also trying to use their LLS to work out what six instruments were in English. Some of the words were obvious and others needed a bit of thought – but a few did work out los platillos are cymbals by thinking of plates!

instruments lesson 1 – Get more College Essays

Next lesson began with a recap of vocabulary and game of Simóm dice. Then we sang the song, firstly using Soy músico but with each table alloted the flashcard of a musical instrument to represent. This led to hilarity as the ‘piano’ table worked out that they had to stand up and sit down every verse – as you can guess I chose this table carefully!! We looked at the words of the opening to the song and used Sé tocar… and then Toco ….. to say which instruments we could and couldn’t play – an ‘on the ball’ pupil suggested ‘toco regular el piano’ and ‘no toco la guitarra muy bien’ as answers – not bad eh? It’s really encouraging when pupils ‘play around’ with language because they’re trying to express themselves more accurately.
We then looked at the second half – Somos músicos, venimos de Madrid etc’ and discussed how this might differ in meaning from the first half.

We went on to recap our opinions about music genres and this time tried to add some simple reasons for the opinion – because it’s slow, because it’s boring, because it has rhythm etc. Pupils made up sentences in groups adding all the bits from the two lessons to see how long a sentence they could make using connectives such as ‘y’ and ‘porque’.

types of music flashcards

At the start of the next lesson we recapped our opinions and started to present them in written form on graffiti wall posters – the word ‘graffiti’ made eyes sparkle although it was somewhat controlled graffiti! Whilst the class worked on this, I worked in the corner with my laptop and and microphone to record members of the class expressing their opinions about music – this was the start of WCPS Spanish podcast. The look of wonder on pupils’ faces when they heard their voice comin gout of my laptop and then the IWB was great – one lad, Zach, commented ‘But I sound really Spanish!’. (Pictures of posters to follow!)

Next we listened to some Spanish music and Latin American music, comparing and contrasting the instruments heard. I borrowed a CD from the library that had a vast array of South American music types on it, and I took in some of my own music – Tomatito, Heroes del Silencio, Joan Manuel Serrat, Los Nikis, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz, Operación Triunfo. We listened and decided which instruments we heard, and gave opinions on the singers / groups.
Then I role played buying a CD – using a ActivPrimary flipchart (in Box of Goodies as can’t upload to .DocStoc). In pairs with one as customer and one as assistant, the customer had to

  • say they wanted to buy a CD
  • express their opinion about a type of music and say which type they prefer
  • agree to buy an item., and we recorded some examples (see podcast!)

The roles were swapped so that everyone got to play each character. We recorded some examples for the WCPS Spanish podcast as well. This time I’m going to add discussing buying an MP3 file to this bit ;o)

Having looked at accents and stress patterns as well as considering types of music, looking at the rhythm, especially the rhythm of words made perfect sense and we spent a good while clapping out phrases and trying to copy rhythms in the next session. At times it was rather haphazard, freestyle clapping but there were signs of promise from some who managed to copy accurately and understood the use of dynamics to mark stress. ‘Guess the phrase from the rhythm’ was a popular game – it’s amazing how much concentration it takes to clap a simple phrase!

The last few sessions were given over to Year 5 producing their own rap/song in Spanish. I allowed them free rein over this with the proviso that it had to be in Spanish (obvious to me but you’d be surprised!) As a whole class we discussed how the task might be tackled and we came up with a start for those who couldn’t think of a way in, then it was up to the groups to do their bit!
There were several things to note from these lessons for next time.

  1. Some groups needed more support than they were given – perhaps more time working together as a whole class before setting groups off on their own.
  2. Groupings are key, and all the ‘musical’ kids ended up in two groups – they would’ve been better perhaps split up to help those whose rhythm was a bit off!
  3. When recording pupils’ final productions, don’t put your iRiver anywhere near the drums! Sadly, a couple of good outcomes are drowned out by the percussion.

I’ll upload those that will not damage eardrums to the podcast and/or Box of Goodies as soon as this post is finished ;o)
There were a couple of groups that tried to sing their performances to tunes from The Sound of Music – good idea, I thought. Some stuck to opinions on music, others tried to work in vocabulary from other units such as Personal introduction vocabulary and sporting likes and dislikes.

The other Year 5 class are very different to the first group and I expect this half term to pan out differently to the previous one. I think this time we’ll look at the pre-performance interview suggested in the QCA Unit and perhaps try to adapt a song rather than write rap. I’ll keep you informed!

NOTE – if you’d like ideas on this Unit in french, check out Talkabout Primary MFL where Jo Rhys Jones has spookily just blogged about the same unit!

Here’s the second of four posts on the Spanish QCA units I’m using with KS2 this term. The first, QCA Unit 5, Los Cuatro amigos seemed to be popular so I hope you find this one helpful too.

First thing to say is that I really enjoyed teaching this unit – and the class seemed to be equally enthused. The combination of music, literacy and Spanish proved popular, and this half term the cross curricular element is extended as habitats is a topic in Science. And I was really pleased with the outcomes of the unit.

You can download the Unit in PDF or RTF from the QCA website.
Below is my medium term plans – being adapted as I go along and discover what does and doesn’t work.

Medium term planning QCA Unit11 El Carnaval del os Animales

Unit 11 is based around and inspired by the Saint Saens piece,
Le carnaval des animaux, and the opening lesson was heavily reliant on music. I borrowed the CD of The carnival of the animals from the library, but then found a great website that provided snippets for each animal theme. The site being in Spanish with short comments on the music makes it a possible resource for more experienced linguists to use in the discussion of music in Spanish rather than the English we used for ours. And it’s a gift for the teacher who can point the pupils in the right direction if they’re struggling.

We began by looking at the title of the Unit. I asked pupils to suggest what they might be learning in this topic, encouraging them to explain their ideas e.g. it’s something about animals I think – the last word looks like animals; ‘carnaval’ looks like carnival etc. None of the class made the association with the piece of music as none had heard of it. Having established the title, I asked them to suggest what sorts of things they might learn – they’re good at this as AfL is a focus this year at WCPS. Lots of suggestions hit the mark and others would’ve been good avenues for exploration given more time.
Then we listened to snippets of th
e music, in order, and I asked for suggestions as to the animal it represented. As I’ve already mentioned, this was done in English and was much more successful than I had thought it might be. As my lesson allocation for the class covered their music lesson too, we were able to spend more time on Spanish by combining the two lessons. The music topic was based on rhythm and this fitted well. The pupils love contemporary music but it was good to see and hear them discussing a classical piece and passing positive comment. The suggestions of animals were sometimes accurate but some were off mark and this was probably due to not being given an idea of the animals we might be considering, so this half term when I did the same lesson with the other class, I began the same but introduced the vocabulary in Spanish prior to playing the music. This allowed more accurate identification of animals and moved us onto discussion of how the animal was represented / suggested by the music much more immediately. I introduced the animals using the PPT below, accompanied by actions e.g un león was two hands like paws ready to pounce; un gallo, one hand on top of head, one under chin with wiggling fingers like the comb and crop; un elefante with your arm as a trunk etc. Using images and actions we played Beat the teacher, ¿Dónde está …? Simon dice, name the animal from the action and viceversa, to reinforce the vocabulary.

El Carnaval de los animales

The second lesson began with a video of Los pollitos dicen..,I’d downloaded it from Youtube which was fortunate as Youtube is now blocked at school.

We watched a number of times and pupils began to join in with the opening lines as they wanted. Having looked at the video, I challenged the pupils once more to think about one of the objectives for the lesson. Several suggestions were made including habitat, food, mummies and babies, and, the correct answer, animal noises.

We recapped the animal vocabulary using actions, images and also rhythm. As we repeated the words, I clapped the rhythm. Pupils echoed the clap back again and we played games around the rhythm of the words. More of that later..

Moving on, we listened to a number of animal noises and asked the pupils to make educated guesses on the animal that made each noise, commenting on similarities and

differences. We made a great cacophony of animal noises, akin to an unruly zoo as we practiced Spanish animal noises – the class were very amused that Spanish animals spoke another language too! With the noises came additional animals, extending beyond the initial stimulus. Below is a consolidation worksheet that we used to round off the section of the lesson as well as the PPT I used.

Los sonidos de los animales

Worksheet lesson 2 Unit 11

After the lunch break, we decided to make an animal symphony using percussion and voice! This met the objectives of the music unit as well as suggested activities in the QCA guidelines for the Spanish unit. Pairs of pupils were given an animal picture and a percussion instrument to create firstly a sound effect for their animal, and then used it to beat the rhythm of the word in Spanish. we took this further by individually presenting our pieces and then joining them together with teacher in the role of conductor bringing in and cueing out animals. The resulting ‘symphony’ was very interesting and you can listen to it here on our podcast WCPS Spanish (sounded better live, I must add!) A very enjoyable activity and an excellent for trying to maintain a steady rhythm and stay in time with others!

The next lesson was based around time and concluded with a class full of hot sweaty children and two children in first aid! Having recapped numbers 1-12 using a soft ball and various games – always a winner when I start chucking things around the room as I am hopeless at hand-eye coordination – I used an ELC clock to model the time for one and two o’clock before several bright sparks took over for three o’clock, half the class for four o’clock and 28/30 by five o’clock. We played time bingo and completed some questions from the IWB (sadly can’t save those in Doc.Stoc so will have to put them in My Box of Goodies)
With o’clock times stuck in our heads and consolidated with a written exercise, I ventured to suggest we could go out onto the playground and play a game. This was a popular idea – although not so popular when the class discovered that there were three other classes outside and they weren’t working, just running around. However, to their credit, they mostly concentrated and several children from other classes came to see what we were doing! We played ¿Qué hora es, Señor Elefante? , a variant on What’s the time Mr Wolf in which the animal changes each time, and the players have to move like the animal named e.g like an elephant for Sr. Elefante, like a swan for Sra. Cisne etc for the number of steps that corresponds to the time. More practice needed on the movement – never seen a tortoise run, nor a fish! However, lots of volunteers to be ‘on’. We also played El Carnaval de los animales, very like fruit salad but with animals instead of fruit. Having given each child the name of one of six animals in Spanish, I called an animal and all those with that name had to move around the outside of the circle back to their space in the manner of their animal. If I called El Carnaval de los Animales, everyone had to move around the circle like their animal. This was the cause of the scrapped knees in first aid I’m afraid :o( but the injured parties weren’t too sad so it was OK (phew!)

Next we looked at adjectives. Pupils had already commented on the colours of the nouns on their wordlist (see initial PPT) and had met colours in a previous unit. Some recalled the need for agreement and noted why there were two versions of most adjectives.
I used Querido Zoo (Dear Zoo) as the stimulus for the lesson – a familiar story to many and again introducing another couple of animals for those who had already grasped the others as well as great for introducing adjectives describing animals, and the word for ‘too’ – demasiado. Having read the book on PPT, pupils made their own conclusions in groups about the meaning of the adjectives before we discussed (and corrected!) ideas together. Having introduced a few more ideas including rápido / lento, fuerte/débil etc, pupils made up some sentences using es and no es to describe animals. This turned into a guessing game with definitions being offered and others trying to guess the animal, and there was also a pleasing clamour to find out more adjectives using a dictionary – cue impromptu lesson in bilingual dictionary skills!

Habitats came into play next – using the suggested habitats from the QCA unit in a IWB flipchart (again, will have to put it into My Goodie Box!) we looked at pictures and guessed the theme of the lesson before placing animal cards into the appropriate habitat, making statements about where the animals lived. We used the first person, pretending that we were the animal preparing for the written part of the lesson when pupils took the role of an animal to be interviewed. We reviewed personal identification questions and modelled a couple of examples on the IWB before pupils went away to produce their own introductions.

4AT had heard that 5MW had been recording and they wanted in on the act. So we set up our recording studio in a corner and several pupils came to record their work for WCPS Spanish, our podcast. It was great to see all abilities represented in the volunteers, including all SEN pupils, and there were some who were reluctant to go to lunch as they hadn’t had a chance to record. In fact, we even moved the studio to the library during their librar

y session to allow more participation. Great to see them so motivated.

I actually had an extra lesson with the class and decided to continue on the animal theme! We looked at the Build my WildSelf site and discussed the different animals and body parts included (this recapped vocabulary learned in year 3) Having designed their own Wild Self (a very amusing task attacked with great gusto), pupils designed their own hybrid animals on paper and wrote simple sentences about them such as;
Tiene la cabeza de un elefante.
Tiene el cuerpo de un pez.
Tiene la cola de un lagarto.
Tiene las piernas de una jirafa.

I made a display as part of the Unit too, well received by all of KS2 including the staff who liked its vibrant images and interactive quality – all the stuff to make it below! Just laminate! You can see more of the display here .


Since completing the Unit, I’ve discovered the following resources

Again, hope you found this useful.
Next I’ll report on Unit 14 Yo soy músico – that was a goody too :o)

Updated – all resources that still exist for this unit of work can be downloaded here. Hyperlinks within the post to resources in DocStoc no longer work.

As we near half term (and not a moment too soon!) the time has come to report back and evaluate how the four QCA Spanish units I’ve used have gone.

First up is Unit 5 Los Cuatro Amigos which I used with Year 3. It’s based around the story of four animal friends (hence the title) who find an apple tree and have to work together to reach and eat the lovely red apple that hangs on it. You can download the unit from the QCA site and below is the medium term planning that goes with the QCA document.

Scheme of work for Year3 spanish summer – los cuatro amigos

I had been sent a PPT presentation of the story by a kind person on the ELL-forum so we began by me reading the story from the IWB to the pupils and seeing how much they could understand-

  • what’s it about?
  • who are the characters?
  • any words you think you might recognise? how?
  • what do you think this might mean?

Then we picked out the words for the animals and added actions suggested by the pupils whilst looking at flashcards (on the IWB and laminated ones!) – again, thanks to another kind on a forum. I ‘d modified them slightly to be double sided with just the image on one side and the word (colour coded by gender) and image on the other side. The lesson continued with pupils showing their understanding through using the actions as we once more read the story. Already, the class were wanting to join in – especially with the ¡Pom, pom, pom! and ¡Yupí! sections!
To finish off, I’d prepared a simple worksheet with copying and drawing activities based on the new vocabulary.

worksheet lesson 1

The next lesson started with a recap of the story, using the actions once more to show understanding. As we reviewed the animal vocabulary, we discussed the grapheme / phoneme links for ll, j and z and tried to think of other Spanish words that included them – lots of colours and people’s names were suggested. Then, as suggested in the QCA document, we looked at the word galopa and picked out the other action words, using the pupils’ knowledge of sentence structure etc from their own language,their ability to pick out cognates and their understanding of how animals move! They were a bit puzzled by how sheep move but a bit of acting soon helped them catch on to running. We then used a flipchart to link words and pictures, guess the hidden animal / word etc.

Lesson 3 we revised colours – lots of pupils recalled these well, but many of the ones they remembered weren’t featured in the story eg azul, verde, amarillo. We looked for items of that colour in the room, played ‘Búscame algo …..‘ and then focussed on the story with questions about the colour of the apple and animals. WE did the suggested Hoop game making a Venn diagram with two hoops and putting words from the text into the hoops, their position dependent on whether they contain ‘e’ or ‘i’ sound – if both, they went in the intersecting area.
eg oveja = e
ratoncito = i
conejito = e and i
The lesson carried on with a game of pelmanism – animal and word, and then coloured splodge and word. This is always a popular activity :o)
We used the same cards then to make phrases about the animals’ movement – eg el caballo + galopa.
Then once we had successfully done this, I asked the pupils to make phrases including colours. This was intially less successful as several pupils used English word order ie gris + el caballo + galopa (adjective noun verb) rather than el caballo + gris + galopa (noun adjective verb). However, once I drew them back to the text, they remembered last year when they all told me about word order being ‘odd’ in Spanish.


The next language focus was on how to make a sentence negative. Asking questions like ¿Un caballo galopa?, ¿Un ratón salta?, I modelled answers including and no and the more confident worked out how to reply in a phrase rather than by using gesture (thumbs up or down) or a single word. We wrote all the animal names and actions on mini whiteboards (allowing spelling practice too) then added some with and no, and made human sentences. I asked the question, we answered as a class and then the boards got in the right order. As confidence grew, we asked the question as a class and pupils with boards got up and ordered themselves depending on what the answer should be. And then we added additional vocabulary items, explained through mime such as baila – dances or canta – sings. This led to a riotous game of charades!

action verbs – Get more College Essays

The next week I departed from the QCA a little and planned to do a listen an order exercise with pupils listening to the story and putting cards into order according to what they heard. However, 3AB had other ideas and wanted to do it themselves. So I gave them the cards of cut up text and off they set, trying to put it into order. Some were more successful than others and but I was pleased to be able to discuss with pupils what they were doing, how they had arrived at their answers and also how they might review the order by looking at certain words. After 10 minutes, I read the story and the groups checked their order, making adjustments as necessary.
At this point, my plan had been to look further at the text and see if pupils could identify missing words from their memory. However, once more I adapted to the mood of the class who were really eager to tell the story and record it. Julia volunteered to start eh story, and never really stopped! You can listen to her beautiful storytelling with the class doing the choral parts with great gusto and me adding the odd bit on our podcast (you can see it in the player on the right of this post too). As it was unrehearsed, I was particularly pleased with Julia’s confidence and really quite accurate accent (cogió caused her consistent problem!)

Today was the last lesson on the topic and I lost all but 8 of the class to Area sports trials for half the lesson so we played some games with hoops. Some were not directly related to the topic -such as put your (body part) in the hoop which caused great hilarity; others were based on the vocabulary in the unit. We played a game with the animal flashcards in two different ways:
With the small group, we used the 4 hoops, each with an animal card in it. I called a phoneme eg ‘a’ and pupils had to stand in the hoop that contained a word with that phoneme eg la oveja / el caballo.
With the whole class, we stuck them on the walls and walked (very important as we were in the classroom!) to stand near to the appropriate word. Pupils soon worked out that there was more than one answer possible and we went on to suggest other words containing the same phoneme.

We finished off the topic with another retelling of the story – this time with no pictures – with each table representing one of the animals or the apple. When their animal / apple was mentioned in the text, they had to stand up, and everyone stood up for the apple tree. This was a good test of listening as the word for apple – la manzana and the word for the apple tree – el manzano are very similar.

I consider that the topic has been quite successful – the pupils have enjoyed it and can more accurately identify phoneme – grapheme links thus aiding their pronunciation – and are now self correcting and helping each other with new words. At the start of lesson3 or 4, I asked pupils how many words they could remember from the story and we made a list that filled the whiteboard of words, phrases and whole sentences – and they could spell most of them, and say what they meant. Phrases such as ‘Sí, ya voy‘ and ¿Quién es? are readily recalled now and can be used in classroom situations.

After half term, I teach the other year3 class and will repeat many of the same activities, but will probably add some different ones too, and perhaps explore some further ideas from the QCA document.

Updated – all resources that still exist for this unit of work can be downloaded here. Hyperlinks within the post to resources in DocStoc no longer work.  All of the presentations were shared with me by others -thank you to the kind people who shared – and the story comes from the QCA unit not me! that do not originate from me – thank you to the kind people who shared.

I’m currently experimenting with various Spanish units from the new QCA SoW for KS2. I’m using Unit 5 Los cuatro amigos with Year 3, El carnaval de los animales (Unit 11) with Year 4, Year 5 are doing Unit 14 Yo soy músico and Year 6 are looking forward to some café acting with Unit 23, Poner una cafetería.

I’ll report more fully when the units are completed as to how good, bad or indifferent I found them etc, but as a taster, I thought I’d share a snippet!

Hot off the press, here are Year 5 singing ‘Somos músicos’ with great gusto.

This is my first attempt at embedding a player on my blog – if it doesn’t work, you can listen tot he same audio from the Podomatic player on the right ;o)

As part of QCA Unit 11, El Carnaval de los animales, 4AT have been learning a song that may yet replace La Vaca Lola in their affections. Well perhaps not, but it’s quite popular!

Here’s the video from Youtube – I’ve downloaded it, converted it via Zamzar and uploaded it to the school network so that everyone can access it (and other things). Youtube is not currently blocked, but you can never be sure how long that will last.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJVib32-kf8&hl=en]

Finishing off a display based on the topic – come back soon for the pictures!

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