Saturday, 28 November 2015

Christmas Cracker Content!

Christmas Crackers have always entertained my friends from other countries! They love them! This year I thought we could make a simple UKS2 lesson on similarities and differences in Christmas traditions and add a focus on sentence structure and grammar too.

We are going to create a box set of christmas crackers - each containing a full sentence made up of a part of the verb "to have", a noun and an adjective.The noun and the adjective are the surprise content of the cracker and the children are going to be able to determine the content! 

In this activity children will be practising
  • nouns, 
  • adjectives and adjectival agreement 
  • and the verb "to have"

You may want to practise the verb "to have" before you attempt the activities below.Here is a festive approach to practising the verb "to have"Christmas Cracker and Christmas Carol style !
Christmas Carol Verb Singers

You will need Christmas crackers made as follows for this activity:
Plain card tempates - two per cracker.
First template is the base, 
Second template is cut in to three sections - two ends and a middle.

On the left hand end write part of the verb to have.

Gather all the right hand templates together and also make a pile of the centre sections you put to one side.

On each of the right end templates you are going to write adjectives that agree with the nouns you will write on the centre sections .

The activity
The children are going to be able to select a noun and an adjective that agrees with the noun to complete the class "Christmas Crackers" .
Each noun should be a festive object and you should aim to have examples of masculine and feminine singular nouns and plural nouns too.
Randomly place the christmas crackers with the parts of the verb on the board 

Can the children help you to create a Christmas box of crackers - so that the crackers on the board are in paradigm order?

Now ask the children to select nouns for each cracker (perhaps even the objects you find as presents in the cracker or characters and objects we associate with Christmas).

Can they now add the correct adjective- remind them that the spelling of the adjective must suit the noun they are describing!

Blu-tac the noun and the adjective to the cracker selected by the children
Can you make a box set of crackers each with the object and its description!

Time for your own crackers! 
Ask the children to design and create their own "Christmas Crackers Selection Box" ,creating their own full sentences and adding a picture of the object on the reverse of the cracker. 

You can support children by allowing them to use the language you have practised or you can stretch children by asking them o think of their own objects , find the noun and describe the noun with their own choice of adjectives.

Christmas Carol Verb Singers!

This activity is a stand alone activity or can be part of the Christmas Cracker lessons for UKS2
The aims of the activity are to practise the parts of the verb "to have" and create a simple carol performance in which children identify the singular and plural forms of the present tense of the verb"to have".

You will need to introduce or revisit the verb "to have" :christmas cracker style! 

  • Draw  8 2D Christmas Crackers on festive paper and the same on plain card.
  • Cut out  the shapes.
  • On the plain paper in the centre section , write one part of the present tense of the verb paradigm  "to have" in  the target language.
  • Cut the festive paper crackers in half.

  • Stick the outer edges of one of the festive Christmas cracker on to one of the plain paper crackers - so that the festive cracker can open and shut in the middle.
  • Put the finished festive crackers on the board. 
  • Ask volunteers amongst the children to select a cracker.
  • Open the cracker with the children.

  • Look at the phrase written in the middle. Do the children recognise any of the phrases?Can they identify that hes phrases are parts of a verb?
  • Can they help you to organise the crackers in to a paradigm of the verb (singular line of crackers and plural line of crackers) ?
  • (You may need blu tac to keep the festive crackers shut when you want to conceal the phrases written on the plain paper).

A Christmas Carol 
  • Practise the verb "to have" in the target language by opening the festive crackers one by one from the top of the singular line through to the bottom of the plural line of crackers.
  • Can the children see any patterns emerging? 
  • Hum with the class the tune of "We wish you a Merry Christmas". Pause occasionally and select a festive cracker.Can the children remember the phrase that is inside the cracker?
  • In pairs ask the children to try to fit the paradigm of the verb "o have" in the target language to the tune of "We wish you a Merry Christmas!"(It will work in French,Spanish and German if you make it a "merry" and sometimes "exagerated" sounding song").
  • Ask volunteers to share their songs.Select a class favourite from the songs.
  • Now practise the song as a class group of carol singers!

  • Make it a Christmas Carol singer performance- ask the children to stand in rows of six making a crescent shape.
  • Sing the chosen version of the "to have" Merry Christmas song and ask the children to shake hands with one person on the left or right on singular parts of the verb and to cross arms and join hands with partners on either side and shake hands ,standing in their rows for the plural parts of the verb

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Christmas heroes!

My previous blog post about Mog the hero of the Christmas night has got me thinking!

What about creating descriptions of christmas characters as heroes of the celebrations?
we can explore the verb "to be" , adjectives and the agreement of adjectives with the masculine and feminine characters!

Step One 

  • Show the children part of the clip of Mog saving the Christmas celebrations in the Sainsburys advert for 2015 or discuss with the children what Mog has done to save the celebrations without viewing the clip.
  • Discuss how this makes him  a hero!

Step Two 

  • Brainstorm or share adjectives with the children in UKS2 that we associate with heroes.
  • Look for cognates and semi cognates 
  • Check for false friends
Step Three
  • Write them super hero style in the sky - so the children are looking at the spelling and practising the spelling
Step Four
  • Show the paradigm of the verb to be to the class.
  • Practise saying the verb "super hero" style
  • Idenitify the parts of the verb yoou will need to say "He is...." and "She is..."
  • Ask the children to tell a partner a super hero sentence for Mog in the target language and then to write  the super hero sentence in the air. 
  • On the board with the class write 5  "Mog the super hero sentences" - use the "He is ..." part of your paradigm of the verb "to be" plus five of the adjectives you have been investigating
  • You could stop here and create Mog the superhero christmas posters or .....
  • Ask the children to create a poster about their own superhero character (Rudolph the reindeer or Father Christmas or a Christmas elf- the character must be a masculine noun.Again you could stop here and create your own super hero posters or .........

Step Five 

  • Introduce the Christmas fairy .(This must be a feminine noun). 
  • Using the "She is ...." sentence from your paradigm above and the adjectives you used to describe a super hero,write some super hero sentences for the fairy on the board.
  • Can the children read the sentences with a partner
  • Can the children in pairs now say the sentences in their own preferred order for the Christmas fairy from most true to least true
  • Can they cross refernce the sentences abouty the Christmas fairy and one of the masculine christmas super heroes you have prepared sentences about (see above).Can they spot the spelling changes to the adjective?

And now using the People Pillar Poem activities from blogpost in May 2015 you could  create your  own Christmas superheroes pillar poems and 3D characters !Ths time focus on the 3rd person singular of the verb to be and the correct agreement of the adjectives to describe the character's super powers! 

People pillar poems and template

Mog, negatives and positives at Christmas

Most of us will by now have seen Sainsburys Christmas 2015 advertisement.It stars Mog the cat.There is a beautiful story by Judith Kerr about Mog at Christmas too- a much less disastrous story!
Here are some ways I think we can exploit the video clip with moving on and advanced learners in UKS2.

Let's take the clip and use the footage for language learning purposes before Christmas in UKS2.
First watch the clip and look at the language content- house,home, kitchen,food,decorations, actions,emotions etc....
First why not try out some of the observation reading activities I wrote about here:

You can revisit familiar language, explore new vocabulary (house,home,verbs ,adjectives, empotions, adverbs etcetra etcetra!)and broaden vocabulary and then get the children to observe the clip and identify when they see key written language.
Revisiting language observational games

Let's be a bit negative!
The clip describes how everything is spoilt by a fire in the kitchen.....
Why not practise the negative with the children in UKS2?

  • Look at the structure of the negative using "there is/there are "in the target language.Ask the children to watch the clip and pause the clip at points and ask the class to write individually or in pairs or with TA support a negative sentence e.g pause as the tree falls down ... can the children write "There is no tree".
  • Share the sentences!Ask volunteers to share their sentences either in spoken or written form.Write them out clearly on the board.
  • Now let's add a touch of positivity! 
  • Can the children help you to change their negative sentences to positive sentences! 
  • Write the positive sentences out clearly too! 

Let's be melodramatic! 

  • Ask the class to practise with a partner saying a negative sentence from your list and then the opposite "positive" sentence" from your list
  • Can they add emotion in their voicesand facial expressions?
  • Can the class mimic what they hear and see as children volunteer to perform their melodramatic negative- positive sentences?

Let's share the good news!

  • Create simple negative- positive lift the flap strips - 
  • Ask the children to write a negative statement on the top flap and a positive statement to rectify the situation on the bottom  flap
  • Encourage children to find new target language vocaubulary for items associated with celebrations!  

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Left Luggage.Props for Persona!

In my last blog post I mentioned how I have just been out to Spain.It was whilst visiting Atocha Railway station in Madrid to look at the tropical garden in the entrance area that I saw the sign "Guardarropa".And I just thought - why have I never thought about this before in language learning! In Drama I have often used props to generate persona portfolios and inevstigations!

This means that you can use this activity in lots of different contexts- starting off with myself or my family, school, holidays and linking it through to the Romans,Greeks .Macbeth wherever the creative curriculum in some schools may be taking you!

So simple

  • Set up three bags of items for each sessin
  • Pop into these bags "left luggage"  - any items linked to your chosen content and context.
  • Now let's find  and explore the persona linked to the items! 

Lost character listening activity 
Can the children help you  to find the coorrect objects from your bag- maybe there are additional objects in the bag that aren't required?
You don't need the names for the objects or the ancient artefacts etc - just use simple descriptions, colours, size, shape and perhaps what you use the item for e.g drink/ eat/ read etc.These will lead the children to the objects.

Lost character speaking activity
Can the children in pairs find the lost character?
Can they look at the objects and from the objects create responses to peersonal information questions and answers.
Can pairs share their dialogues with a second pair and can these two pairs togerher create a persona using details from the two dialogues.
Can  one of the children take on the persona and become the person and introduce themselves to the class as the creation of the group of four and their two dialogues.
Now they need to think about actions, attitude and resences and become the person!

Lost character reading activity
Using the objects can the children identify the correct notice for a newspaper to describe their lost person?Full sentences in the third person using the verbs to be and to have and maybe trying out other regular present tense verbs too .This will depend on the level of your young learners! 

Lost character writing activity
TYes you could write missing posters ....but let's be a little bit more adventurous.Let's enter the "world of the persona" and write sentences about what they are doing today.Where are they? How are they feeling? What are they wearing? What are they doing? What are they eating and drinking?  etc etcetra

Persona Portfolios
And now we have all the evidence we need to create our own persona portfolios - maybe using software and IT ( 2simplesoftware/ Book Creator/Yakit4Kids etc) or as a pen and paper display activity case! 

Oh and do you remember the People Pillar Portrait Poems I created last academic year ....well what about creating People Pillar Portrait Poems about these found people!! ? 

Spanish Traffic Lights

Sometimes it is just being in the country that inspires simple activities back in the classroom.I have just been out to Leon y Castilla and crossing the road was marvellous! 
Why? Well there was a countdown on the opposite traffic light at the crossing points and on some lights there was a countdown bleep that got faster and quieter as the time to be able to cross safely reduced! 
Let's create our own simple activities with this!

  • Counting numbers in reverse order
  • Creating our own sequence of numbers to count out for others and for them to guess what the sequence is we are using - e.g  counting down in reverse in twos, in threes, in prime numbers etc
  • Team traffic light game.Four team, four sets of cards with numbers between 0 and 80.Put the cards number side up on the whietboard with blu tac in four spearate team areas.Each set of cards is not the same random set of numbers.the game is that each team send up a challenger to listen and identify numbers on cards attached to the whiteboard in their team area as they are called out in a random order.On the reverse of the cards are either red,amber or green men.You don't want to find a red man as this means you have to sit down and are out of the game .If you find an amber man you can keep the card as an extra life or get out of jail card and if you find a green man then the team you are representing gets 2 points!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Shoes filled with language and with treats!

Some of us are beginning to get organised for December and thinking of ways to link language learning,culture and celebrations.
Every year we celebrate with our young language learners- Saint Nicholas Day.
Children in Europe hope to receive a stocking or a shoe filled with treats from Saint Nicholas for their good behaviour.
Let's move this in to the world of language learning.
Let's reflect on our learning this term ands let's look at how we are developing our skills of language learning too!
(In fact this could make a great AfL tool or even a summative assessment task).
The activities below will take two lessons or the shoe can be  produced as a ten minute follow up activity at the end of a couple of lessons over the next couple of weeks and then you will need one lesson for the actual language learning activities.  

What to do?

  • Take the simple shoe template. I have just pinned a template for a Saint Nicholas shoe here on my Janet's language learning pinterest board
  • Give all the children  a template and ask them to create their own Saint Nicholas shoes.They can decorate the shoes with target languae items and pictures or cartoon characters,symbols and flags to represent facts andfestivals you may have already considered with them this Autumn term. that throughput the term.
  • Once the shoes are ready and have the children's names written on the soles - as  a target language sentence  (maybe with more advanced learners they can tell you ore about themselves - where they live, what they like etc).
  • Now you need to select the type of activity to suit the age and stage of the children.

Key Stage One 
  • Practise numbers.Then give the children number cards and ask the children to help you select the correct number card and put in in their own shoes.
  • Can they take the numbers out of the shoe after the activity and tell a partner the numbers.
  • Can they put all the numbers back in their shoes in a pile from lowest to highest and count them in and say them as they put them in the pile.
  • Ask the children to place them on a window ledge- ready to receive a treat or reward in the shoes from Saint Nicholas!
Year Three /beginners
(Practising pronunciation,broadening vocabulary, reading out loud, using a bilingual dictionary)
  • Practise using  bilingual dictionaries with the children.think about foods and presents and colours of Christmas time. 
  • As a class invedstigate the letter strings and sounds of the new words and dicuss patterns and sound links.Say the words out loud.Ask for volunteers to read aloud independently the words.
  • Now give the children 10 blank pieces of card.Ask the children to spurce for themselves, write out and decorate the ten cards.then ask them to place them in alphabetical order in their shoes.
  • Ask the choldren to share their shoes with a partner.Can the partner identify the item from  the picture , can they try to apply sound and letter string rules to read out loud the words in the target language.
  • Ask the children to put the words back in their shoes again - in alphabetical order and then place them on a window ledge- ready to receive a treat or reward in the shoes from Saint Nicholas!  
Year 4 and Year 5 (Moving On)
(Practising pronunciation,broadening vocabulary, reading out loud, using a bilingual dictionary, exploring basic grammar, speaking and writing in full sentences)
  • Practise with the children how they can express a like or a dislike and the question and answer they can give for a like or a dislike.
  • Perhaps some of your older or more advanced learners (Year 5) children can express an opinion too and add an additional clause.
  • Investigate as a class using bilingual dictionaries key nouns that we associate with Christmas e.g presents, food, types of food such as sprouts(!!)  , carols, Christmas tree. Christmas decorations, cards,shops , family.discuss the sound spelling links and alos the gender of the nouns and whether theses are singular or plural.
  • Ask the children to use bilingual dictionaries to write in draft  four sentences about Christmas - two "love" and two "like" and maybe one "dislike"  sentences.Ask them to think carefully about how they write the nouns and the plural form if necessary of the nouns too.They can add an opinion clause too if they are able to.
  • Now ask them to write these sentences out in best on strips of paper and to decorate the reverse side of the strips of paper.The children must  fold up the strips in to conertinas, each fold is after a single word and place these  in their shoes.
  • Ask a partner to trake out the concertyian- read aloud the words as they unfold the concertinas and then to say the sentence a second time without reading the paper and mime the meaning of the sentence.
  • Ask the children to put the folded concertina strips back in their shoes again and then place them on a window ledge- ready to receive a treat or reward in the shoes from Saint Nicholas!
Year 6 (Advanced)
(Practising pronunciation,broadening vocabulary, reading out loud, using a bilingual dictionary, exploring basic grammar, writing in full sentences, describing people,places and objects)
  • Take a look at the verb "to be" in the target languge 
  • Look at singular and plural nouns associated with Christmas 
  • Model and disucss the use of thrid person singular "is" and third person plural "are" with singular and plural nouns.
  • Play a game ,where you ask the children to decide if they should use "is" or "are" as you mime and slowly write up on the white board one of the nouns you have shared.
  • Now ask the children on their tables to  brainstorm  key  Christmas nouns  in English and then look for and check spelling  of these in the target language in a bilingual dictionary. 
  • Can the table now brainstorm and look up adjectives (atleast two per noun) to describe the items e.g mouldy sprouts or colourful presents etc.
  • Give each child a set of five cards.On the front they need to write in the target language  a full sentence using part of the verb "to be" and the correct third person singular or plural form plus the noun  they have selected and the adjective or adjectrives they want to use to describe the item.The children must try to agree the adjective with the noun! On the reverse they need to decorate the card with the item they are describing so that it looks like the description they have chosen.You can differentiate the task by suggesting to sokme children they use the language the table already brainstormed, to others they must use this as a platform but add new adjectives and  to others they should try to create atleast two independent brand new sentences with their own sourced language from the bilingual dictionary.
  • Ask the children to put the cards back in their shoes and then place them on a window ledge- ready to receive a treat or reward in the shoes from Saint Nicholas!