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! 🌈🦄
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!
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 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!
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!
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
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.
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!
This summer we’ve spent part of our holiday in the Highlands of Scotland near Ullapool, a beautiful part of the world. For many years and even more so since we lived in Switzerland, the prerequisites for a holiday destination have been mountains, lakes or the sea and beautiful scenery, and we got that by the bucket load.
During our stay we visited The Ceilidh Place which is “a Hotel, Bunkhouse, Café / Bar, Restaurant, Bookshop & Music Venue based in Ullapool in the epic and beautiful surroundings of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands.” Not only was the food delicious but there was the added bonus of being able to pop into the bookshop for a read whilst your food was being prepared. And whilst browsing I came across a section of books that I couldn’t resist.
The bookshop boasts an eclectic mix of books with a Scottish bias, so I wasn’t surprised to see that there was a special children’s section of texts written in Scottish Gaelic, but also a selection of books in Scots, the other native language of Scotland. Find out more about Scots
My Mum is Scottish, born in Glasgow. Sadly, you’d never hear the hint of a Scottish accent unless you either made her very angry or heard her say certain words like squirrel or if you happened to be called Luke. When I was little I thought it was because she moved to England when she was about 12 but she explained when I was older that it was because she was forced to lose her accent at school in Scotland, made to stand by the teacher’s desk repeating the word milk until she stopped saying ‘mulk.’ However, my grandparents never lost their accents and their speech was peppered with fantastic words like dreich and claggie and peelywally. My favourite was the playful threat to ‘skelp yer bahookie’ if we didn’t behave or telling me not to be such a ‘fearty’ when I objected to crossing a bridge!
Therefore, I couldn’t resist buying We’re Gangin on a Bear Hunt as I could hear their voices as I leafed through the pages. for Mum to read with me. Even if you aren’t familiar with Scots, if you’re familiar with the story of Going on a Bear Hunt, it’s easy to understand. I loved rediscovering words that I heard as a child like bonnie and braw, and ‘we’re no feart,’ as well as learning some new ones like the parts of the face.My favourite line is below “A birlin skirlin snawstorm’ – my son can tell you all about a good Scottish snawstorm!
I’m very much looking forward to reading this with my Mum and seeing if my memory of how you pronounce the words is correct. If you want to hear it read, Susan Rennie (the translator) has made a Soundcloud recording. In fact, she has some resources and ideas including a glossary on her website. And there’s an activity sheet on this page. And Twinkl has some Scots resources too if you wanted to explore more, perhaps as part of European Day of Languages, or in conjunction with reading Katie Morag?
I’ve bought a few books over the summer that I wanted to share in short posts as I prepare to go back to school next week.
The first is called I LOVE YOU.
It’s a simple story in English about Little Badger and his teacher, Ms Giraffe who teaches him her favourite words. “They sound different all around the world but they mean the same thing” she says and proceeds to teach them how to say I love you in several languages.
Little Badger is so inspired by this that he spends all his free time that day telling inanimate objects, nature and his family that he loves them in Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German and English.
The thing I love most about this story is that Little Badger is excited about language learning and wants to use it. He might go over the top but he takes his learning away from school, practises it and shares it with others. Whilst I might be a little shocked if a child jumped out of their seat in my lesson, hugged me and declared that they loved me, I really want to inspire that sort of passion in the children I teach. So this year I’m going to try and be just like Ms Giraffe – very kind and very clever (as she is described) and very inspiring!
My very intense teaching week ends on Thursday evening, freeing up a week day to spend as I wish, and I was once more glad that I don’t teach on Fridays as it meant that I could attend a delightful day in London learning all about the Primary Latin Course. An early start and a cramped train journey both ways didn’t even dampen my excitement to find out about it (on the way) and enthusiasm to start sharing it (on the way back).
I could explain myself what the Primary Latin Course is but their blurb does it far better!
[The Primary Latin Course] has been designed working with UK primary teachers to help schools deliver Latin and Roman civilisation – without the need for any background in Latin. The course provides a gentle introduction to the Latin language for pupils in Years 3 – 6, aiming to establish reading fluency of simple sentences. Language learning is fully integrated into an immersive cultural and archaeological course set in ancient Herculaneum. The course is driven by photographs and evidence from the ancient site for pupils to explore and investigate.
All our materials are hosted online and available for free. There are Latin stories with clickable vocabulary and embedded audio, interactive reconstructions, online games, downloadable worksheets, activities and teacher’s guides.
During the day, delegates were taken through a couple of chapters of the course, experiencing learning Latin using the course, noticing and commenting on things about the language, admiring the amazing illustrations predominantly coming from actual things found in Herculaneum and marvelling at the quality and wealth of content available – for free! Will and Laila were excellent hosts, aided by Hannah and Tony amongst others, and the day was delivered in partnership with the Museum of London who allowed us access to their Romans exhibition as well as an artefact handling session. It was quite mind blowing knowing that I was touching things that were about 2000 years old!
As usual I sketch noted as much as I could and the outcomes are below. I hope they’re helpful!
Here are some links from the notes that I want to underline – and also so you can click them!
It was a high quality day and I’d thoroughly recommend you attending if you get the opportunity. I’ve been inspired to start a Latin Club at school – well, potentially at both schools! I’m looking forward to learning more as I explore the site and also to learning with the pupils. Watch this space for more news. And if you have any advice, leave me a message below!
Reading Los mellizos del tiempo got me thinking about integrating language learning in the Primary curriculum. As I mentioned in my previous post, it links so well with the ‘topic’ of Egyptians, or under the ‘learning journey’ of Treasure taken in Year 4 at WCPS. So I had a bit of a look around and came up with the following ideas, resources and links that might be of use to anyone who wants to do just that!
Egipto para niños – collection of fairly simple texts on a number of areas of Egyptian life including the Pyramids, food, manners and mummies as well as a bit of geography. This text is in fairly short chunks too. And Blog de los Niños has some short chunks of information, particularly about Egyptian gods and the meanings of the various crowns.
Here are some longer texts about various Egyptian ‘misterios’ including the Mummy of Pyramid KV22.
Historia Simple has some short-ish historical summaries of the various phases of the 2500 year long Egyptian era including a section on the Pyramids. There’s also some information on El Historiador.
And of course there’s Wikipedia – you can translate the pages back and forth between languages so you could have some fun with picking out key items of vocabulary.
Slideshare has some presentations for ideas and information including this lovely one from some young learners which is beautifully simple and asks some good questions on slide 4 that could be used for investigation.
And this blog has two simple presentations by Dora la Exploradora and friends, and Hello Kitty covering some of the basics of Egyptian geography and history in words and image.
However, my favourite find is from Junta de Andalucia. This site is a one stop shop about Egyptians, written in simple language and presented in short paragraphs with lots of visuals, making it really accessible. There is a dictionary of key terms as well as the facility to click on highlighted words for an immediate ‘pop up’ definition. Lots of interactive maps and also a hieroglyphics maker within the site also make it a great place for young learners to find out about Egypt. There’s also a webquest that guides learners through the site, posing questions that can be explored and investigated. (There’s another more complex webquest here along with other Egyptian resources shared on the Tiching site.)
A close second goes to a resource from Gobierno de Canarias that takes an interactive look at the Pyramids with extra information, again simply presented, appearing as you click on specific areas of the pyramid.
Videos are another source of information that can often be more accesible than just text.
And then there are these cartoons, the first from a series called Érase una vez.. and the second from a series called Martín Martín.
And here’s another I’ve just found which is a short video about the Egyptian pyramids:
You might also like to try the Barrio Sésamo approach with this video in which Lola visits the Pyramids or this video which presents images and name of the animals of Egypt before moving on to images of buildings and then some short snippets of information about Egyptian life.
You know how I love a good kitschy song! Here’s one called Momias de colores by Rockolate. When my hand is feeling better, I might try to subtitle the video using Amara or at least write them down!
(see also Fátima una momia responsable below under Stories for another song)
(see also Stories below!)
Perhaps with older, more advanced learners you could use some of the definitions from this ‘Glosario’ for a match the word to the definition. You could choose key words like Faraon, Esfinge, Obelisco, Momia, Papiro, Sarcófagos, Vasos canopos and so on.
And this vocabulary list gives you the Spanish word with the Arabic equivalent. Could provide an interesting language comparison activity.
And here’s an online hieroglyphics tool. Would be fun to write some words in hieroglyphics and ask learners to decode before they write their names. Or they could write key Egyptian vocabulary in hieroglyphics for display as well as in Spanish for a multi lingual display!
The Egyptian system of counting and adding etc was very developed and you can find out all about it here (in more detail than I think I need to know but if you like Maths…)
This site has lots of writing at the top (useful information!) but the really ‘useful’ part for learners is the chart with the Egyptian number glyphs and the puzzles underneath, both for whole numbers and also for fractions. I foresee lots of fun with setting maths problems for each other… There are a few more maths problems here.
A document explaining that Egyptian numbers are not positional so you can write the units, tens, hundreds etc in any order! Un sistema aditivo – el egipcio
And of course there are all sorts of things you can do at a very simple level such as sequencing and using geometrical shapes when making Egyptian jewellery, and making pyramids.
I found this free video story about Egypt called El pendiente de la princess: Cuento de Egipto. Sadly it doesn’t go full screen but the man telling the story speaks clearly and fairly slowly so it could be used for a true/false activity or perhaps a multiple choice activity.
However, I found two more promising possibilities!
2. This PDF (rita_ladrones) has links to useful sites (some I’d already highlighted above before I found this!) and also some activity worksheets. Whilst the middle sheet on characters in the book would be hard without reading it, the first sheet (matching words with images and writing your name in hieroglyphics) needs no knowledge of the book, and I think that the third sheet which is a sequencing activity could also be done without reading the story, and actually gives a very simple synopsis of what happens!
3.Then I discovered that there is an online version of the CD rom of activities about the book, complete with Teachers Notes (in Spanish!) There are various activities including finding synonyms and antonyms, sequencing text and a wordsearch – see below image for contents. Some activities are quite challenging for primary learners; however, a bit of challenge can be a good thing!
Fátima, una momia muy responsable
Fátima una momia muy responsable is a lovely story about an Egyptian mummy called Fátima who wants to be a tour guide and keeps scaring people! She builds up a great collection of hats and torches by doing it, but one day…
It’s a narrated version of a book that has been used in many Spanish primary schools.
Some ideas for using the story –
act out the story
talk about colours and sizes describing the hats that Fátima collected / was gifted
pretend to be Fátima and give a tour of a pyramid
one of the class blogs I discovered had a song on it about how Fátima dances which would be great fun, whatever your age! You can access the words here or here, and here is a recording of young learners singing it!
I love ‘being a magpie’ and collecting ideas, and here are some classes in Spanish primaries that have done an Egyptian topic and shared their ideas.
Mis cosillas de Educación Infantil – this link takes you to the posts for the entire project. I particularly like the concept map that they made which includes lots of important vocabulary organised systematically. I think that having a map of what is already known that is added to as time passes and more information is gathered is a great way of documenting learning and progress, especially if learners post questions that they’d like to investigate and see them answered as they explore and investigate!
E.I. 5 años Carlos Ruiz have been doing an Egyptian topic too and this is the first of a number of posts on what they have done. If look in the archive, there are further posts documenting their work throughout noviembre and diciembre 2012 including the sequencing activity referenced in the Maths section above and an interesting post giving instructions on making ‘papiros’.
La Clase de la Bruja Maruja have done a project on Egyptians too and have published some of their work as well as links on their blog. Of particular use I think are the simple worksheets they used that could easily be used in the primary language classroom. I also love the fact that they’ve been using the wonderful Woodlands site by Mandy Barrow using GoogleTranslate to put it into Spanish!
So, I hope you’ve find the above useful. I know that there are many more things that could be done; for example, I haven’t even started on the possibilities for art projects! If you have any ideas or resources, please leave a comment – it’s good to share! And even if you haven’t, leave a comment! Its good to know that people are reading!
There has been much debate about the status of Primary Language Learning, beginning when the General Election process led to the rejection of The New Primary Curriculum being added to the Statute books. Will the entitlement become statutory or will, heaven forbid, PLL be abandoned?
Forums have been buzzing with ideas opinions and worries.
Today, Kate Board, Chief Executive of CILT wrote the following letter to one such fora:-
In light of recent discussions on the forum, we thought it important to clarify the current status of languages at Key Stage 2.
Key Stage 2 languages do not currently have the legal status to become statutory in September 2011. However, the entitlement to learn a foreign language in Key Stage 2 still stands, having come into effect this year.
As many of you are aware, reforming the primary curriculum was one of the key provisions removed from the Children Schools and Families Bill during consideration of Lords Amendments in April 2010. The introduction of statutory languages in Key Stage 2 from September 2011 was part of the proposed new primary curriculum and therefore was also removed from the Bill. (For more information, please see the Children Schools and Families Bill
The future shape of the primary curriculum and the statutory status of languages will depend on the policies of the new government. CILT is in close contact with Baroness Coussins, and others in a position of influence through the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, and we are very grateful to her for raising this issue so prominently. We will continue to work together to encourage this dialogue and to promote the further development of language teaching in the primary school.
CILT, the National Centre for Languages
As far as I’m concerned, I passionately believe in Primary Languages and will fight for the continuance of a policy that gives pupils the right and entitlement to learn other languages during their Primary years.