Thursday, 23 October 2014

Physical sentence prompts and fantastical fireworks

This evening at a Cheshire West twilight CPD we created physical sentences as we considered how we can help children progress with writing in a target language.
This idea can be used across a wide range of language and contexts but it really made me think about how we can help children to improve their target language with physical prompts.
We were focusing upon nouns ( and definite articles) simple present tense common verbs ( in this instance "to be" ) and adjectives ( colours in this case) and how they need to agree with the nouns they describe in French and Spanish.

The sentences we were forming followed this simple sentence structure:

noun verb adjective 

As it is nearly Bonfire Night our focus was upon writing fantastical colour firework sentences!

All you need is 

  • a clear sleeve dice with images in the sleeves to represent the adjectives,
  • a magic bag 
  • drawn outlines of the key nouns
  • mini whiteboards and pens for the children or rough paper

Your clear sleeve dice needs to have pictures of the adjectives - one in each sleeve (in this instance adjectives)

You need a magic bag!This is a bag in which you can place the pictures of your objects that you want to describe.Here it's descriptions of fireworks and we have chosen in French three nouns that are either masculine or feminine definite article singular nouns (you could add plural nouns too)

Pop the pictures in the bag.
Ask for a magician's assistant to hold the bag and  to select volunteers to select a card from the bag. 
Check  with the  class the target language noun and its definite article. Invite someone to roll the dice - the clear sleeve that is face up when it lands is the adjective you have to use as a class to create your physical sentence. 

Invite two volunteers up to the front to mime either the  meaning of the noun or the adjective. 
Ask the class to help you spot what is missing to make this a sentence ( you are looking for the suggestion that a verb is missing).
For our activity we need to elicit from the class how they might say "it is..." in the target language. 
Now you need a volunteer to be your verb.The job of the verb will be to bond the noun and the adjective together to make sense and a sentence and pass on a message- so ask the verb to link arms with the noun on their right hand side and the adjective on the left hand side.

Now you have a physical sentence ......however what if the noun taken from the bag has a feminine definite article?
Does the adjective need an extra letter or a change in spelling to agree? 
Discuss this with the class and if you need an extra letter , then you need a volunteer to stand with a cautionary exclamation mark like finger on the left of the adjective! This will be to remind the class to add to or alter the spelling of the adjective!

Can the rest of the class on whiteboards now try to write a correct sentence - using the physical sentence as prompts? 
Ask the children to reveal their sentences, compare their sentences to the physical sentence, write it up on a flipchart and ask the children to cross reference sentences ....then you are ready for a second physical sentence routine!      

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