Thursday, 27 November 2014

Associate CPD review and ready for Christmas! For Jo,Jose and Emilie !

We are all working so hard to make primary languages successful.This strikes me every time I look at Twitter and Facebook!
My favourite CPD every half term is when my wonderful colleagues and I get together to consider ways forward over the next 6 weeks with the schools where they teach once a week to support the schools with their development of language learning.

Yesterday evening we met ....and here is a resume of some of the meeting especially for Emilie,Jose and Jo G who weren't able to attend.
We have an organised long term and medium term plan that takes us from Nursery (in some instances) right up to Year 6 and we have built in flexibility for schools and classes that are beginners in Y6 or are moving on not yet advanced learners etc in Y6.Our CPD this year has very much become additional and extra and how to enhance what we do and keep in line with the new DfE POS.
Jo G, Jose and Emilie take a look here for ideas to use during the run up to Christmas please- plus note the possible learning objective link too (from DfE POS).Different activities are suitable for different ages/ stages and classes,so take your pick and link this in to the work we are already doing. 

Christmas greetings song as bell ringers
DfE POS : listen attentively/join in/respond/ speak in sentences 

Ding dong bell - exploring the sound patterns of the greetings song above and some simple writing activities to make Christmas decorations/ play a game
DfE POS:explore the patterns and sounds /speak sentences/read carefully / write from memory (this is not normal pen and paper writing though!)

Christmassy conversations with puppets beginners/moving on/advanced
DfE POS: speaking sentences, engaging in conversations,describe people and places 

Open and reveal four corners Christmas present style
DfE POS: Ask and answer questions

3D Art with a Christmas meal twist
DfE POS : speak in sentences , write from memory (we thought last night that the children could then try to write down the performance they have seen as text)

We looked at this picture for the Christmas 3D Art by the way !

We linked this to out Y6 normal Christmas lessons on festive meal sketch and looked at how ee can develop listening,speaking,reading ,writing here 
DfE POS : read carefully and show understanding/write from memory/ develop accurate intonation and pronunciation when reading aloud

Well first of all as you can imagine listening to Joanne sing was a pleasure and then we had a go at changing the first line in French with new nouns, verbs and adjectives that precede a noun.Half the fun again was listening to Joanne sing the new lines and fit them to the rhythm!
DfE POS : understand basic grammar

And  finally some of us felt that we could really enjoy and extend our Y6 learners with the ideas in the magic of Christmas

Assesment update :
Steph Pierre shared with us the assessment she has been carrying out in one of her schools.Steph is an ex HOD and native French speaker and has a very clear way of recording and processing the progression in skills  linked to our in house model .We will be sharing this in local CPD next year too with Steph and other associates in the team sharing their  hands on real work.Note to Emilie and Jo G - email Steph and ask for a copy!

Inspectoon report 
Joanne, Janet W and Andrea have all been seen recently by inspectors and have had very good feedback and a special well done to Andrea! Andrea has joined us to cover Catherine whilst on maternity break! Congratulations Catherine! Andrea was inspected in her second week at the school where she covers Catherine.What a success .Well done Andrea!

What is so wonderful about my colleagues is how hard they work and it did make me smile that Andrea went home to make paper puppets based on my paper puppets to use with KS1 today in Spanish whilst they practise their song el granja de mi tio!
 At about 9,30 last night i was sent this picture from Andrea............

Hope the children and Andrea enjoy this today!

DfE project update:teacher led CPD 
This year our associates are working hard with me on our DfE project with WSTA.We had news to catch up on based on their work in the local networks and how they are beginning to move from teachers to trainers for teacher led CPD. Jayne,Claire and Emilie are already up and running as network leaders and Ana and Emilie are busy training teachers in French and Spanish. Steph has written some of our resources in French and Spanish to share with BC FLAs at meetings etc .Barbara is putting sound files in to German,Joanne is singing and performing for us so that we have creative materials to share and Jo G and I are meeting this morning to review progress in KS3 plus to finalise Joe Dale on Monday! 

Huge thanks to them all! Here's to next term!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Ding!Dong! Bell!From phonics to language recall to beginners writing!

The activities in this blog post are additional ways to exploit our simple Christmas greetings song: Feliz Navidad or Joyeux Noel .
You can read about our original activities in listening and speaking ideas here Ring out those bells tonight.

The activities in both blog posts  are transferable to other contexts.
In my opinion the activities below allow us to explore the following DfE POS objectives:

  • explore the patterns and sounds of language 
  • speak in sentences using familiar language
  • write phrases from memory
The object of the activities below is to continue the theme  of bells and ringing bells but to deconstruct the language so that we are looking at letter combinations and listening for key  sounds in the target language.We then reconstruct the Christmas greetings songs line by line from memory.It is helpful therefore if you have practised the greetings song in the blog post mentioned above first.(In French we use the key phrases : joyeux noel / à tous /à vous)

For the Ding Dong Bell activities .....

  • Create your own bell letter combination cards for the key sounds in the text.You will need a template 

  • On each bell write one of the key letter combinations here in Spanish (for example: fe/liz/na/vi/dad/mis/a/mi/gos/mi/fa/mi/lia)

  • On the reverse of the bells you need to add a  symbol to represent a recent and familiar piece of language for example with our beginners we have chosen stars  symbols in different colours,numbers,gapped months of the year and smiley or non-smiley faces to suggest feelings.

  • Now the language learning fun starts! Give out the bell cards and ask the children to become bell ringers. They ring their bell when they hear their sound.Children without a bell come to the front and they are your carol singer
  • At the end of the song ask the children to swap bells and make sure your carol singers get a go at bell ringing too
  •  Finally ask the children to help you to either peg the sound bells to a classroom line or blu-tac the bells to the board to reconstruct the complete song 
  • Children could then take responsibility for one bell and one sound and create their own classroom Christmas decoration – like a bell paper chain of the Christmas greeting song

Make it a class challenge

  • Divide your class in to four teams. give each time a different phrase - say it orally do not give them the written phrase.
feliz navidad
mis amigos
mi familia
feliz navidad

  • Blu-tac the bells to the board with the sound/letter combination face up.
  • Each team must try to win the bells for – that once they are put back together, make up the line.
  • Can each team take it in turns to select a bell ,say the correct sound , suggest in which word it is located in the song
  • If they are correct ,turn over the card and can the team give you the Spanish for the number, colour or month clue on the reverse of the bell?
  • If they are correct they can keep that bell .Can they collect and create a full line from the song before the other team does? 
  • Can the class reconstruct the whole greetings song and sing it one final time?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a twist of Grammar!

This year one of our network focuses for the Christmas season is how we can use the familiar and international song Twinkle Twinkle Star as a shared performance song but with different learning focuses.Here is a French version......

In UKS2 we are going to have a go at this grammar activity:

  • Take the first line :

brille brille petite étoile .......

  • Can the children identify the verb, the noun  and the adjective - just ask them to talk in their groups or with a talking partner about the target language sentence- what can they tell you? Don't suggest any specific type of responses. (Some children will talk about words that look like, or what the words mean , or words they have seen before).Encourage the children to give you information about the structure of the phrase,
  • Show the class the phrase as word cards in the correct order on the board.Ask for volunteers  to come and show  you the noun , the verb(s) the adjective.
  • Discuss the position of the adjective. in French and share with the children the fact that beau and grand would do the same thing in a phrase- go before the noun.
  • Ask the children to look at the two possible spelling s of the adjective (petit/petite) with a singular noun.Can they help you solve the problem and explain why in this instance it is written petite.... what would happen if it was a masculine singular noun?
  • Look at the verb and the ending .... can they explain why it is written as it is?
  • Try a new verb ..... chanter .... how does this work? 
  • Can the children help you to create a new Christmassy object that is up there  like a diamoand in the sky?
We are using :
un ange /chanter/ beau
une bougie/ illuminer/belle
and also possibly
une lune/ grande /éclairer

  • Now you need to decide whether with your class you want to introduce them to one or all of the phrases in the first instance so that they can use the words to create their own verse of the song :
e.g (u)n beau ange  chante/ (une) belle bougie illumine/ (n)e grande lune éclaire

  • Cut up the words and randomly place them on the board next to the key phrase( brille brille .....).Can the children help you to place above the key words in the text brille ,brille .... the replacement words e.g

                         chante ,chante beau ange 
                         brille ,brille ,petite étoile 

  • Now in pairs ask them to do the same thing with the other key language and to create two more first phrases for their new Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a Twist verses.....
And with the Spanish version...... well there has to be a slight change because we sing "brilla brilla estrellita" and here there is an absence of an adjective
However we can still create new verses for our Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with a Twist verses.....
Here are our replacement phrases........
                                                      alumbra vela hermosa
canta angel hermoso
brilla luna grande

A Christmas context ,transferable activities and some shared learning approaches for KS2 and KS3

On Friday last week I spent a glorious afternoon by the seaside in Southport with a group of eleven primary and secondary teachers considering activities  with a Christmas language learning focus that rehearsed and explored a range of language learning skills .The activities can easily be transferred to other language content and context.Most importantly my intention was to link the activities and the                                                 learning to the objectives of the new DfE POS.

  • Each teacher was asked to consider whether an activity was suitable for beginners /moving on ( more than a year of exposure to language learning or advanced learners (UKS2 with more than two and a half years of language learning or KS3 non beginner learners)
  • We discussed how the objectives in the new DfE POS need to be considered on a sliding scale so that we consider how stage by stage we rehearse and strengthen and extend the objectives
  • I asked my colleagues to consider ways of extending the activity or adapting the activity to suit their learners or different contexts and we unpacked the learning objectives or parts of the learning objectives and how there would be stages to achieve mastery of specific learning objectives

What was very noticeable was how the mix of primary and secondary colleagues worked so well.Together we were able to consider how we could ways to build progression in language learning!

Here are some of the activities we practised, performed and identified as possibly learning approaches that all colleagues could use in different ways with different stages of  learners. 
Remember these are all festive in theme but most could quite easily be changed to fit a new context.(It's a bit like a bag of tricks ...or in this case a bag of Christmas presents for language learning ......)

Bell ringing and Christmas greetings
This activity is centred on listening,responding,joining in and spoken performance activity which also involves reading.
The objective we identified for this activity is :
Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
We discussed and extended the activity described by looking at how we could actually take this activity further and listen for key words or miss key words out or listen for specific sounds
Here we identified a new objective as a focus:
Explore the pattern and sounds of the language

Open and reveal four corners
I dusted off a well loved activity here to look at how we could move the activity from just a game to practise sounds and key language and question responses to "unwrapping our Christmas present" 
The objectives we identified for this activity are:
Explore the pattern and sounds of the language
Ask and answer questions
All  the teachers felt that they could apply this to their KS1,KS2 or KS3 language teaching and learning before Christmas and that the children would enjoy creating their own Christmas present in language learning for friends to unwrap in a game!

Starry Night
This activity is centred on revisiting and practising familiar language and asking questions. In this instance it is based on revisiting colours and numbers and asking and answering simple questions:What is it?/How many are there?
The objective we identified is: 
Ask and answer questions
We created our own starry night of numbers performances ,using the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,and KS3 colleagues added additional language and a performance twist based on a dance routine. KS2 colleagues looked at how we could challenge children to create performances based on number sequences etc.
We considered how we could then hand the reins over to children ask them to ask the questions on the starry shape guessing game and how this could then be a board game.The expectation would be that the more language the children know , the more it should be used during the board game.

Triaramas and festive meal sketches
This is a listening,speaking,reading and writing activity when I designed this activity I presumed this would be a moving on or advanced activity but the LKS2 colleagues at the CPD felt they could adapt this with simple rhymes, songs and language to be a LKS2 beginners activity too .We often worry about can the children write accurately and now we need to concern ourselves with can they write from memory.The sequence of activities here can encourage your moving on and advanced learners to practise these skills for a creative purpose.
The objectives we identified as central to these activities are:  
Speak in sentences using familiar vocabulary
Read carefully and show understanding of words,phrases and writing
Write phrases from memory
Describe people ,places ,things and actions orally and in writing
Different colleagues felt that different objectives would be their core focus at this moment in time with their specific language learners 
KS3 colleagues felt that the activities were transferable across the whole of KS3 with a variety of reading comprehension texts (plays,poems, songs)

The magic of Christmas
The activities here are about asking the children to explore a non verbal stimulus and to participate in speaking,reading and writing activities to create their own advertisement (either orally or a written text) about a specific event.It's about finding the right clip and here the clip allows us to explore Christmas nouns, verbs, adjectives and the to revisit the context of weather , clothes, daily routine, emotions, play .....
The objectives we identified as central to these activities are:
Present ideas orally to an audience 
Describe people,places ,things and actions orally and in writing
All  the teachers felt that they could apply this to their KS1,KS2 or KS3 language teaching and learning before Christmas and that the children would enjoy creating their own Christmas present in language learning for friends to unwrap in a game! however our LSK2 colleagues once again thought of ways of using a picture or a one context focused clip to rehearse core familiar language to the children. 

Twinkle Twinkle Little star with a twist of Grammar
I took this well loved international song and considered how with older children we could create a grammar game and our own new verses of the song!
The objectives  we identified are:
Broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words
Understand basic grammar
The activities are for moving on and advanced learners but once again the KS3 colleagues could see how they could use the core activities with new texts in KS3 and revisit and practise core grammar and structure focuses with their learners 

An all in all delightful afternoon before Christmas by the seaside!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A triarama with speaking and writing attitude!

Tomorrow I will be working with teachers on linking drama and language learning and I will be considering the new DfE POS learning objectives for KS2 and also how we can lay the foundations in our learning for KS3 languages.
We will look at all sorts of activities from beginners to advanced KS2 language learning.The following activities are targeted at learners who are either moving on or are advanced learners.
My activities hopefully will allow teachers to offer children opportunities to progress and work with the following objectives from the new DfE POS:

  • speak in sentences using familiar vocabulary
  • broaden their vocabulary
  • read carefully and show understanding of words,phrases and simple writing
  • write phrases from memory

I was introduced to Triaramas by Clare Seccombe here  and have decided that triaramas are a way to  link all four skill (L.S.R.W) and drama! 

  • First you need to create a sketch for the children. (We will base ours on Christmas and family- maybe presents or a meal).There needs to be a dramatic or funny ending to the sketch.Use familiar language with some new language that they will need to understand and offer the children tools such as bilingual dictionaries to find meanings etc
  • Then you need to write out the sketch without stage directions for the class.
  • Give each child a script and organise the class into differentiated ability groups with the right number of children in the group for the roles in the sketch. 
  • Can the children read the sketch out in the target language around the table?
  • Can the children tell each other what has happened in the sketch? Have they understood the ending of the sketch?
  • Ask the children to read the sketch a second time and allocate roles and decide upon actions and voices of the characters
  • What props will they need?
  • Now can the children decide what the stage directions should be?
It's time to be a set designer and sketch director!
Each child must decide which moment in the sketch they want to depict in a snap shot set.

It's blank set time.
Give each child a piece of paper and ask them to create a triarama following instructions.

This is there opportunity to create the set for the sketch and to record how they perceive the sketch that their group has been working on.

Now they need to add information to their triarama so that they create a dynamic record of the reading of the sketch.Each character in the foreground needs their name/role  and an adjective that help other people understand what the character is like e.g.  tired /excited/ friendly/ angry /surprised/ confused etc .First the children need to make cut outs and write in the target language on them - the role/ the adjective:

The children can now place the characters as they want them on set?

....And the children can add key phrases from the sketch and additional objects and other characters.Can they write the phrases from memory.

Do they want to add any other characters too? What are these characters saying or thinking at that exact moment?

I have blu-tacked my characters to the set so that they can be moved and have blu-tacked their phrases too to the characters so the dialogue can be changed.

Now it's time to share their set with the sets of the other children - firstly in their group and then in the class.
Have they chosen the same moment in the sketch?
How do they imagine their characters sound when they speak.Can they bring their snap- shot set to life?

"Rudolph and your nose so bright" guessing game

Just found these Rudolph pictures on the internet! 
Brilliant for a simple warm up game in a December language learning lesson.
The objective of the lesson will be to ask and answer questions based on colour of Rudolph's nose!

  1. Just print out a class set and cut out each Rudolph so that you have enough cards - one per child.
  2. Make yourself three large versions of any of the Rudolphs for yourself and make them into finger puppets. 
  3. Ask the children to greet the first Rudolph you show them and to ask him how he is feeling.Respond as if you are Rudolph. ask the children the colour of Rudolph's nose
  4. Can the children guess the colour of the nose of the other two finger puppets you have made?
  5. Now set up a simple game for the children ,based on "Knock, knock , who is there?"In French we are going to say:

                                                           Qui est là?
           Rudolphe avec le nez ……..?
    Le nez .......

(The child who is guessing the other partner's Rudolph and the colour of the nose says the phrases in red.The child with the Rudolph being guessed says the phrases in blue)

In Spanish we are going to say :

¿Quién es?
Rudolph con la nariz ……
La nariz……


Adding extra challenge?
Have you noticed that the Rudolphs on the sheet at the top are also wearing ties? 
Well now this will work brilliantly in French as we can look at the adjective spelling change for some of the colours and the way we therefore pronounce them , when we use a "le " noun or a "la " noun.
Now we can add a DfE POS objective based on understanding basic grammar too and use this activity across all our language learners from KS1 and beginners to moving on learners with differentiated challenge !

And in Spanish? Well we can use la nariz with adjectives that agree and change the tie to a soft neck scarf and use the masculine noun el  pañuelo

Finally in German! We will need to tweak the verse abit for younger learners but can add a differing degrees of challenge with adjectival endings for more advanced learners....

Wer bist du?  
Rudolph und meine Nase ist .....
Ja/ nein

To be more challenging add the preposition"mit" and practise the positioning of the adjective before the noun with the correct adjectival ending
( Rudolph  mit der ...........Nase) 
Or to add even more challenge introduce the changes in the definite article too by using die Nase and also das Halstuch ( e. mit der .....Nase/ mit dem........Halstuch) 

Christmassy questions,answers.engaging in conversations and puppet shows

This week during CPD there is a Christmassy feel!
Here is a really simple way to engage the children in purposeful language learning whether they are beginners,moving on or advanced language learners....adding that Christmassy touch .

First of all tomorrow at a CPD session we will be exploring ways to use my paper puppets with older learners- but the idea below can be as simple or as challenging as you like and can be used across KS1 and KS2.
If you haven't already seen the paper puppets blog - here you go!

Paper puppets with a purpose 
And below is a very old but well loved Madame souris made by a young learner years ago!

Here is my new and very simple model! It's a Father Christmas example , but you could have rudolph, a snowman, a Christmas fairy etc!
All I did was source a Father Christmas face template , print it out and once I had made the basic paper puppet template stick the Father Christmas face to the template.Of course children could make their own and customise them too!

How can we use these festive paper puppets?
Well we can meet the objective in the new DfE POS of : engaging in conversation , asking and answering questions

With beginners:
  • hold simple greetings, name, feelings and farewell question and answer dialogues between Father Christmas and the other festive characters the children have chosen to create.
  • play "knock knock who is there?" as a class question to a child hiding their paper puppet , who reveals the puppet and says the name of the character and a Christmas greeting e.g "joyeux noel/ feliz navidad/ frohe Weihnachten "
With moving on learners:
  • Ask the children to think about the likes and dislikes of the festive characters (food/weather/music.......!) and to create a conversation with a partner between two festive characters. Ask them to practise and memorise their conversations and then perform for the class the "festive puppet show" 
With advanced learners:
  • Ask the children to create a question and answer conversation between two festive characters that explores the daily routine of the characters on Christmas eve and Christmas Day- what time do they get up ,have breakfast , what do they wear (Rudolph will naturally wear his red nose ...!) etc.What do they do on the two days and how do they feel at the end of the day? Brainstorm and record ideas first and write up with the children's support key sentences and questions that will be useful in the task .Encourage children to find and use new language alongside the familiar language.The children will need to write out their dialogues in pairs and practise so they can perform the dialogues with the written text only for reference if necessary. Children will need bilingual dictionaries to compete this task.Again there is the chance to share with the class.


Monday, 17 November 2014

The magic of Christmas! Watch, read and write .....

Here is a video clip that shares with its audience the magic of Christmas for a young child (it's based upon a visit to Lapland) and it's an opportunity for us to develop some reading and writing activities with our more advanced primary language learners or with KS3 Year 7 pupils.No words are spoken in any language,but the short clip tells the story of the magic of Christmas for this little child!
Let's make our own"Magic of Christmas " advertisements!

Here is the link to the video clip

In the clip we can see a little boy asleep, who wakes up, gets out of bed , goes to the window and sees the snow.He goes outside to play in the snow with his dad and then goes back inside.Father Christmas arrives , the little boy see him and receives a present!

So let's make our own video clip,using these reading and writing activities based on nouns and verbs. 

Step One 
Let's watch the clip and then arrange the key nouns in the target language from the video clip as a story ladder from beginning to end.Share each noun in the target language with the children (may be they need thinking time or bilingual dictionary time to understand the noun they can see).Ask the children to sort the nouns in to the correct order they saw them in the video clip , 
Key target language nouns to source : bedroom,bed,boy.window.snow.sledge,father, house,Father Christmas, present)

A drama and language activity opportunity
Create freeze frames of the key target language nouns or actions associated with the key target language noun

Step Two 
Give out the key phrases that describe the action.Ask the children to use their prior knowledge of daily routine phrases from their work on their own personal routine to locate and identify the key verbs and target language.Give each pair a set of key verbal phrase strips,so that the children can make a verbal phrase rolling script of the events as they watch the clip again (in the third person singular - or as less of a challenge in the first person singular) 
Key target language verbal phrases in third person singular: he is sleeping,he wakes up,he gets up, he walks to the window, he sees the snow, it's snowing, he plays with his father outside, he goes inside, Father Christmas arrives, he sees Father Christmas, he receives a present) 

A story board script
Collect in the verbal phrase strips and blu-tac a pack of them to the flip chart or white board.It's important that three phrases are missing from the pack of phrases.Ask the children to read what they can see and working with a partner can the children identify and remember which phrases are missing and  write them on individual white boards or rough paper. Take feedback and  then reveal the missing strips.

Changing the script
Now ask the children working in groups of four to write their own story board scripts.They are allowed to use four of the verbal phrases exactly as they are written in the activities above.They must change two of the items in the story on two other phrases and they must try to add two new verbal phrases of their own( e.g a change of weather or an additional piece of information about the weather and who the little boy is playing with outside in the snow).

The magic of Christmas !
Using the picture at the top of the page as the back drop or illustration they can now tell their own story about the Magic of christmas as a spoken or written text...........

Monday, 10 November 2014

Ring out those bells tonight! Christmas greetings

Getting ready for CPD and thinking of ways to practise simple language with beginner target language learners and with a Christmas focus and also to encourage the development of listening, speaking and reading skills I have put together these two simple ideas.
The first ideas was based upon counting stars and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 

The  idea below is based on Christmas bells and singing a simple song based on Christmas greetings.This will work in all languages .

The example below is in Spanish .We sing this style of Christmas greetings song in French and German too and it's to a very familiar refrain "London's Burning".It's all about getting the children familiar with how to say "Happy Christmas" to family and friends.Here are the Spanish words,you just need to put them together and into an order that suits the refrain!

We will be using this  as a possible song to sing with the younger children at Christmas etc.add actions and sing in the round- but it will make a great listening and responding activity too with KS2.

  • Show the children the three main phrases from the song .I have added a bell symbol to represent the bell - but they would be really great if they were printed out on hand size bell shapes ......

  • Ask the children to practise each phrase with you as if they were bell ringers- it would be great to have some bells and chimes for this activity too.Each syllable to the tune of the refrain is a bell ring or chime- so each syllable must be a movement as if ringing bells.
  • Now invite three children to the front to be the bell ringers.Give each child one of the key phrases and ask them to listen out for their key phrase as you sing the song as a class and they must ring their bell throughout the whole time their phrase is being sung.
  • Now give out bell cards to all the class and ask the class to listen out for their phrases and to ring their bells when they hear their phrase.
  • Ask the children to walk around their room with their key phrase card,saying their phrase from the song that is written on the card and find other children who are saying the same phrase.Can the children gather together and make a group with the same phrase.Now we have carol singers and bell ringers! Simply sing the song and ask the children in each group to wave their cards as if they were bells as their phrase is sung in the song.Sing the song several times.
  • Time to add some percussion too now I think ......

Starry night and counting stars

Getting ready for CPD and thinking of ways to practise simple language with beginner target language learners  with a possible wintry or  Christmas focus which also encourage the development of listening, speaking and reading skills I have put together these two simple ideas........

The first idea is based upon the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to practise numbers 0-12. This is an idea that can be used in KS1 and also in KS2 .
In KS1 there is a very obvious and simple Maths link too as I have made and laminated some simple domino counting star cards.

My domino stars are in three colours (as you may also like to link numbers and colours and ask the colour of the stars too).The stars are dominoes( 0-12) on one side and on the reverse have the number written as a figure.All my domino stars will be popped in to a starry night sky bag to be pulled out by volunteers one by one  because Ii am ljnking this simple language work to Van Gogh and ......

I am using the Van Gogh painting "starry night" too: 

Practise the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in your target language. We will be using the French,spanish,German or Italian versions of the song.

  • Ask the children to hum the tune of the song
  • Ask the children to make stars in the imaginary night sky with their hands that twinkle as you him the tune
  • Ask the children to now sing with you the numbers 0-12 in the target language to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and to make their fingers twinkle like stars in the night sky
  • Show the children the famous Van Gogh painting and ask them to look for the stars which he painted in the night sky.Can the class help you to count them?
  • Explain that you are going to add coloured and numbered stars to this sky.
  • Now invite volunteers to pick a domino star from your "starry bag" and to count the domino side of the star.What number do they think that they have and can they say this  in the target language?Turn the card over - were they correct? Does their counting match the number they can see? 
  • Ask the children ,who volunteer, to stick (with blu-tac) the star to the picture wherever they would like to and to make sure it is domino star side up. 

  • Now sing your number version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but at the end of a verse , invite two children up to locate two stars.You say the number they must identify the star by looking at the domino stars
  • The children select the star and then take it in turn to say the number and turn over the star and look at the number on the reverse.Does the class agree that they have picked the correct star?
  • Time to create your own starry night display ....and add stars in the night sky of your own,but this time each child creates a star out of the written target language number in the shape of a star! You could ask the children to come and place their star on the starry night picture and make a silent wish too!
My second idea is based on Christmas greetings and Christmas bells

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Paper puppets with a purpose

There have been some fascinating posts recently on Facebook and Twitter about the use of puppets in primary language teaching.Recently I bought all the associate teachers that work with me new puppets as our puppets were beginning to be not only very well loved but also some what worn out!Our younger children love the puppets, singing with them ,talking to them, watching the language assistants and teachers whispering or asking questions with the puppets etc.

The recent posts made me think about how years ago (1995 to be exact!) I created "paper puppets with purpose" for my language learners in UKS2. 

I started creating paper puppets with my Year 5 and 6 in primary,after watching a local playschool teacher using paper puppets to support a reluctant speaker.I was amazed by just how precious the children in Year 5 and Year 6  found them in their language learning.Indeed these puppets were still being made and used by my language learners in 2012- with the same effect!

As a learning tool they help with language retention and language practise.They make what might be perceived as simple or silly questions more sensible because you ask the puppet and they create opportunities to have simple dialogues between the puppets and the puppeteers. Plus every child had a learning tool that belonged to him/herself. 

They are brown paper envelopes - hand size 

and if you depress the top two corners and push the fold inwards carefully ,you can make a mouth and operate this from inside the envelope.

The children can make them into their own characters and customize them - clowns,sports stars, animals, cartoon characters etc. 
All my children's puppets had  an appropriate target language name linked to language we practised - so animals, foods, clothes, colours etc were very popular.
We kept our puppets in our class drawers and brought them out to learn with use very language lesson.
Mine were called "monsieur baguette" and "Herr Hamburger" as we used them in French and German.They even travelled to the Primary Languages Show in 2001!
  • The children could make the puppets talk of course!
  • The children could make the puppets whisper or talk in target language too by beating out the syllables in words using the mouth of the envelope opening and shutting in time with the rhythm of the words. 
  • They loved walking round the room practising dialogues and new questions- one paper puppet talking to another.
  • They used their puppets to participate in class songs 
  • They helped me to retell stories or add the repetition to stories

And finally let me introduce you to  a very old and good friend of mine ."Madame souris" She belonged to a pupil from 1997,Jennie B.Sadly you can tell that she is quite old now as the colour is fading etc .I often use her even now to share this idea with teachers and teacher trainees. 

 Simplest ideas are sometimes the best!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Function machines and the processing and recording of grammar knowledge

One of the best things about working with groups of class teachers is often the links that teachers make with language learning using tools and focuses across the primary curriculum.On the first day back after October half term Emilie and I worked with a start up school  in their first year of rolling out primary French.When we work with schools where languages are new this year,we often hear them ask  "what about the grammar?"

Well today we were considering nouns and I have in the past blogged about ways we can approach breaking down the understanding the function of nouns and how to support children to grasp that in other languages there is more than one word for "The" and"A" (Teachers are often afraid too!) (Here is my blog from June on nouns and definite/indefinite articles or the washing machine grammar device)

Over the last couple of CPD sessions Emilie and I have been asking the teachers to realise that nouns in French have "tags" .
Emilie explains how she is teaching her own little boy French and always introduces new nouns with a tag (un cochon/la tante) never a noun alone!
We make sure that the teachers can see that words "masculine" and "feminine" do not mean " male and "female" and we ask them to visualise pulling nouns out of  "masculine" /"feminine"  tag labelled drawers.The idea of physically opening the drawer and being able to select a noun, take it out and use it seems to work well.Teachers also like the idea of the tag being a "function button" on a virtual drawer.It works.We can quite easily  get the teachers to see the link then between the  le/un  or la/une.We love it when the teachers then feel that they confidently use and also explain nouns over a period of time to young learners. They can see and identify the stages in the process of practising and becoming confident in the use of nouns too! It's a lightbulb moment!  
Today I clarified this with a flow chart .... and then that was the magical moment,when a teacher amongst the staff who enjoys the logical process of maths suggested she would like to add "function machines" to the children's learning journals we had been discussing. She explained that this would help her and the children she teachers and then receives the following year to progress through the stages of learning from beginners, to moving on to advanced! She explained that clear diagrams help her to process and use information and data.Do you know I completely got this! Faced with teaching Year 6 Maths whilst on supply along time ago the class and I created function machines not just to help the children but to help me as the teacher who wasn't an expert to understand how to grasp new mathematical concepts!

And do you know I think that this will work for lots of us - teachers and children in language learning.Hence the robot machine at the top of the page as here is our link to functions and processes.It's also a learning tool that we can pass from year group to year group and even pack in our virtual suitcases at the end of the academic year. 

We then went on to explore how over four years we could build up these function machines on nouns, adjectives and verbs so that in Year 5 or 6 a teacher can ask the children to refer back to their function machines to independently look for and use new language! It gives the teacher in every KS2 year group and especially up in UKS2 a point of reference and support too!