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!
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!
Whilst I know that many schools do not celebrate Halloween (mine don’t!) I thought I’d share these ideas that I’ve used, made or seen over the years.
A Halloween Storybird.
Songs about ‘calabazas’
Songs about ‘esqueletos’
In 2012 I made this Storybird at the request of the Reception teacher at my school. I say ‘my school’ but at the time I lived in Switzerland and they were missing me!
I happily created it and shared it with them, and then with you via my blog in this post.
Unfortunately in the intervening years, Storybird has changed the way you can share so the link was broken so I created a PPT of the pages and added some activities and extra slides today, then narrated it. The link to it is at the bottom of the post.
I’ve shared the first of these songs before when I subtitled it (using a tool that doesn’t exist anymore so it’s lost 🙁 However, you can switch on the CC subtitles now and whilst, not perfect (the third ‘calabaza’ is ‘enojada’ and the subtitle read ‘que no y no’) they serve the purpose!
As you can see, each ‘calabaza’ is expresses a feeling using the phrase ‘se siente…’ and you could follow up this song with asking ¿Cómo te sientes? (How are you feeling?) with children responding “Me siento…”
Here are the lyrics: Cinco calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente muy cansada. Cuatro calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente asustada. Tres calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente enojada. Dos calabazas sentadas en su casa Una calabaza se siente muy frustrada. Una calabaza sentada en su casa Una calabaza se siente sorprendida Cinco calabazas duermen en su casa Cuando sale el sol, se sienten muy felices.
I’ve just discovered this second video, also about ‘calabazas’ and emotions. This time the ‘calabazas’ are more animated, and express their feeling using the verb estar. Some interesting vocabulary used including gruñona, a great word meaning grumpy or cranky! Another opportunity to discuss feelings, asking ¿Cómo estás? with children replying Estoy… It also offers an opportunity to look at the present continuous Estoy+gerund.
Here are the lyrics: Letra: Una calabaza, sonriendo, sonriendo. x3 Una calabaza está feliz.
Dos calabazas, gruñendo, gruñendo. x3 Dos calabazas están gruñonas.
Tres calabazas, bostezando, bostezando. x3 Tres calabazas están con sueño.
Cuatro calabazas, llorando, llorando. x3 Cuatro calabazas están tristes.
Cinco calabazas, riendo, riendo. x3 Cinco calabazas están jugando.
I’ve long been familiar with the Babelzone song about ‘Los Esqueletos’ that has a skeleton coming out of the ‘tumba’ every hour of the night as the clock strikes, and have shared it many times! The version below has a bit more ‘movida’ and also uses ‘desde…. hasta’ to give a range of time (from … until) rather than ‘cuando el reloj marca…’ Certainly an earworm!
I also like this version as it’s a rhyme rather than a song; great to work on rhythm and link language learning to music. You could find the percussion instruments and really get a beat going! And then it becomes a song encouraging you to dance. First moving your ‘cintura’, then your ‘cabeza’, ‘rodillas’ and finally your ‘cuerpo’
And linking ‘los esqueletos’ to parts of the body, you could try “El Baile del Esqueleto.” To the tune of Dem Bones, the song encourages you to move and dance whilst simply talking about how your bones are connected to one another. You could use it as part of a science lesson on the skeleton, or as an exercise in finding the word for or working out what the lyrics mean using scientific knowledge.
And not entirely a song about ‘esqueletos’ but here’s a ‘Halloween’ version of 5 babies jumping on the bed with skeletons and a ghost Mummy telling them off!
During lockdown I recorded a number of stories for my pupils and, like many people, had some online shopping sprees when I couldn’t get out. I combined these when a colleague discovered that I had bought a Julie Donaldson/Axel Scheffler book that is her favourite and asked me to record it for her so she could hear what it sounded like. I’ve uploaded it here for the next few weeks if you’d like to use it. After that, you can have a look at this version which is animated with pictures from the book (but also has some spelling mistakes!) or this one. If you have a Twinkl subscription there is a set of vocabulary to accompany the story here and the bottom of this post has a couple of craft activities too. Obviously, activities for the English version Room on a Broom could also be used and/or adapted, especially craft activities as they have no text on them; here are some examples KiddychartsScholasticTeaching Ideas
During this strange half term when we’ve been at school but not at school, I’ve been setting Spanish work for KS2 using Showbie. That’s been great as I’ve been able to make use of lots of resources including the wonderful Learn Spanish at home videos made by Clare Seccombe that accompany her scheme of work. I’ve been able to set the work and collect it via the app.
Showbie allows you to send written comments but also images and voice messages. The latter not only save time but have been particularly popular with the children. In the early stages I had so many comments that ‘it’s lovely to hear your voice!’ and ‘hearing you made me smile!’ This, combined with a wish to stay in tough with the younger children made me think.
I’ve taught Y1 quite a bit this year and they love anything active so I started by recording rhymes as a challenge (see previous posts) Then I moved onto stories like the ones about Elmo and Elmer.
They proved so popular that I decided to try and record one each week and share it via the school website/Twitter. I didn’t always succeed but I’d recorded quite a few by the end of term. Even if they were only viewed by a few children it was worth it.
If we go into lockdown again, I’ll start up once more. And it’s given me an idea for next term when assemblies are banned – I’ll be recording some assemblies based around books that can be played to the children in class. I’ve got quite a pile of suitable ones!
Here’s one of my videos that I really enjoyed recording as it’s one of my favourite books and allows me to be really dramatic. And if you think I pull some amazing faces, you should see some of the ones sent to me via ClassDojo (the platform we used with KS1) 😉
Continuing on the theme of colours, the next story I decided to share with the children is all about Elmer the elephant. In the book, we meet Elmer and his multiple colours, and then discover things that are that colour like snow, an ice lolly and fruit.
Here it is:
Since recording it, I’ve discovered the video below which takes the book towards the story of Elmer in which he wants to be the same as everyone else to fit in. [You can find that story here.] They each colour in a picture of Elmer and explore the idea of being the same but different
Then I found this song that is really lovely and worth sharing with children as it speaks about the value of diversity.
The lyrics are:
De mil colores es su piel se llama Elmer y es genial un elefante quiere ser de igual color que los demás. (2 veces)
Para ser feliz no hay que ser igual para sonreír no hay que ser igual para divertir no hay que ser igual porque el color no importará. (2 veces)
(Elmer, el elefante de colores – Canción del cuento de David McKee Autor: Juan Rafael Muñoz Muñoz Arreglo: Luis Miguel González)
I also like this version of the songs with pictograms to aid understanding. If you’d like another version of the story I shared, here’s a little child reading it. Very different style to me – far cuter! And I also found a couple of activities here that you could do related to the story.
As we continue with ‘lockdown learning,’ I’ve made another video for my pupils. This week, I move away from chocolate and rhymes and ask the question ¿De qué color es Elmo?
Years ago on a trip to Spain, I found some Barrio Sésamo books in a random shop and two have become permanent favourites. Unfortunately ¿Qué oye Epi? disappeared many years ago but I still have one of them which is great for practising colours and the question ¿De qué color es?
In my video we meet Epi and Blas, and discover other members of the Barrio Sésamo gang who aren’t the same colour as Elmo in the story. Here it is.
There are lots of Barrio Sésamo videos that you might like to use in the classroom. I particularly like this one in which Elmo and Abby learn with Rosita how to sing ‘Si estás feliz…’
In case you wanted the words:
Si estás feliz, tú puedes aplaudir. (If you’re happy, you can clap) Si estás feliz, tú puedes aplaudir. Si en verdad estás contento, tu sonrisa es el reflejo. (If you really are happy, your smile is the reflection) Si estás feliz, tú puedes aplaudir.
Si estás feliz, golpear con los pies. ((If you’re happy, stamp your feet) Si estás feliz, golpear con los pies. Si en verdad estás contento, a tu rostro es el reflejo. (If you really are happy, your face is the reflection) Si estás feliz, golpear con los pies.
Si estás feliz, tú puedes gritar ‘¡Hurra!’ (If you’re happy, you can shout Hurray!) Si estás muy feliz, tú puedes gritar ‘¡Hurra!’ Si en verdad estás contento, tu sonrisa es el reflejo. (If you really are happy, your smile is the reflection) Si estás feliz, tú puedes gritar ‘¡Hurra!’
Si estás feliz, tú puedes aletear. (If you’re happy, you can flap) Si estás muy feliz, tú puedes aletear. Si en verdad estás contento, a tu rostro es el reflejo. (If you really are happy, your face is the reflection) Si estás feliz, tú puedes aletear.
Si estás feliz, tú puedes hacer todo. (If you’re happy, you can do it all) Si estás muy feliz, tú puedes hacer todo. Si en verdad estás contento, tu sonrisa es el reflejo. (If you really are happy, your smile is the reflection) Si estás feliz, tú puedes hacer todo.
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.
Thanks to Russel Tarr for capturing me telling a story!
My session at #PracPed18 was entitled Tell me a story! You can find the Slideshare below.
In it, I shared some ideas about the use of stories and books in the languages classroom. Beginning by discussing why you would use stories, we moved on to choosing books, and then some ideas of how you could use stories in the classroom to enhance language learning. Finally we talked about how to write your own stories; this part was a little shortened so I have added some notes below. You’ll also find links to some helpful posts and bookmarks below. I hope those that attended found the session helpful, and those that didn’t feel able to ask questions! Please feel free to leave a comment on the post if you have questions or comments!
Thanks for your participation and questions. Photo credit – Russel Tarr
Slide 18 – I skipped this one in my presentation as time was flying. This week, Merriam Webster shared a “time machine’ dictionary that tells you the words that were put into the dictionary during the year of your birth. I wrote a story using just nouns from my birth year, shared via tweet. This gave me the idea of giving children a list of words and challenging them to write a story with those words. A good way for more advanced pupils to practice verbs. I will share further when I have developed that thought!
Rewriting a familiar story. Photo credit – Russel Tarr
GPS – grammar punctuation and spelling
PSHE – Personal, Social and Health Education
ICU – Intercultural Understanding
Key Stage 1 – children aged 5-7
Key Stage 2 – children aged 7-11 (languages are a compulsory part of the curriculum in English state schools)
Yesterday I was in London for the annual ALL Council meeting, this year held at the Institute of Education. I deliberately set out early so that I could visit Foyles on Charing Cross Road as it now houses Grant and Cutler on the 4th floor. To be honest I could easily have spent far longer than the 40 minutes I had on 4th floor alone, and there are several other floors that were calling to me as well, including the cafe!
However, 40 minutes was all I had and I spent it browsing books with several purposes.
Seeing if I could find anything to inspire my boys with their language learning
Looking for things for my own language development.
Looking for new and interesting materials to use in my teaching.
Given that Sohn#1 had just bought all his books for uni, and didn’t really know what he wanted as a gift, coupled with the extortionate price of Swedish and Norwegian books, I failed to find him anything. Hijo#2 has just purchased all the books on list for A level French and I couldn’t find any Spanish text books that a) we didn’t already have or b)I thought were worth buying for him to self study so I didn’t buy anything for him specifically either. However, that’s OK as it reminded me of my copy of Harry potter á l’école des sorciers as well as reminding me to look out some Spanish texts from my past to lend to #2, and #1 has just had some books for the history part of his course.
So on to purpose 2 – my language development.
I can speak 6 languages with varying success from fluency to basic conversation, but I only really use two on a regular basis at the moment, teaching Spanish and speaking English. I don’t like to neglect the others so I made some purchases, partly to motivate me and also to keep my brain in tune!
I studied Catalan at university (a loooong time ago) and, having not used it for many years, ten years ago I rediscovered my ability to speak it during a partnership between my school and a school in Barcelona. Since then I’ve not lost my love of speaking it once more, and over the summer I did a FutureLearn course on Getting to know Catalonia which reignited my need to read in Catalan.I’m eagerly awaiting for a promised FutureLearn course on Ramon Llull but in the meantime I purchased a dual language anthology of poems. I don’t read enough poetry and I find it particularly exciting to ‘hear’ the rhythm of the language as I read.
Since living in Switzerland I’ve been learning German; I’ve (nearly) stopped beating myself up about not having learned more while I was there and can certainly understand and often say far more than I think I can. Duolingo keeps me ticking over, although phrases such as Mein Kopf ist nicht aus Beton and Dies ist eine heilige Eule aren’t that useful on a day to day basis, and I’ve fortunately not had to declare that Eine Wespe ist in meiner Hose. However, I think it’s time I did some reading too. I have a collection of children’s books (see herehere and here) including Mr Men books thanks to my MFL Besties Secret Santa, and Sohn#1 has left some of his books at home but I thought I’d try something a little less challenging before I embark on Kafka and Brecht! So I chose this dual text compilation of short stories to build my confidence as I can cross reference and check my understanding. I find that sort of exercise really helpful as I pick apart how sentences are constructed; I haven’t really been taught about sentence structure and word order so it’s quite interesting finding patterns for myself!
Then I decided that I’d like a couple more PixiBuch as I love them – they’re small and also only £1.50. These overlap with my purpose 3 – to find new and interesting materials for teaching as I will use them when I start the long awaited and long postponed German club. Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot is a traditional German fairy tale and Du bist bei mir: Gute-Nacht-Gebete contains some lovely goodnight rhymes that sound marvellous in my head (where my accent is beautiful and perfectly German!)
One of the SDP objectives for both schools at which I teach is reading. At both schools, staff are being asked to ensure that there are times in each day when children can read, and also a time for the teacher to read to the pupils. Children need to be exposed to a variety of texts and their vocabulary grows the more they read and/or are read to. Therefore, I had a look for some suitable texts that I could share. I have a number of Mr Men books in Spanish and bought a couple more. The stories are familiar to the children so, in conjunction with the illustrations, they can follow. However, I’m a little concerned that they are quite wordy so was looking for something else too.
First I found this lovely book of fairytales. Each is just two pages long and starts with a page of ‘pictogramas’ that are used to tell the story in rebus form i.e. words are replaced with a picture. I’m looking forward to sharing them with Y3 – and the younger children when I get the opportunity as I’m pretty sure that they’ll soon be joining in with the story, ‘reading’ the images.
Then I found a couple of boxes of ‘100 Cuentos Cortos‘ that contain 50 cards, each with a short story on either side. The stories are very short – some only a paragraph long – so there’s little time for children to get discombobulated by not understanding every word, and there’ll be time to repeat them more slowly a second time to allow a greater chance of comprehension. The vocabulary is simple, and the illustrations are clear and give a good idea of the story. There are a variety of themes including weather, animals, different seasons and festivals, and some are based around traditional tales. I’ll probably use these with Y4 and possibly Y5.
Finally I bought another dual language book for Y6 – El Principito. After the first few chapters that set the scene which will take longer than one session, the chapters are very short meaning that one can be read each lesson. The beauty of the dual text is that I can read the Spanish version then leave the chapter in both Spanish and English for children to read before the next lesson to clarify doubts, ensure understanding and, for some, dissect the texts.
Perhaps I’m being overly hopeful about how well this will go, but they do say to Aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
I was happy to be asked to present at the annual University of Chichester MFL Conference last week, and as I noted in a previous post, thoroughly enjoyed the positive and inspiring sessions I attended.
The second session was entitled Tell me a story! and concerned the use of stories and books in the languages classroom.
The presentation is below to view. You’ll also find the links to some helpful posts and bookmarks below. I hope those that attended found the session helpful. Please feel free to leave a comment on the post if you have questions or comments!