Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Drawing sketches of animals using target language to link KS2 and KS3 creative learning

I have spent a wonderful couple of days in Germany  have purchased a selection of books.some of the books I have selected have been to support local teachers to develop transition resources between KS2 and KS3. I found this glorious book: "Wir zeichnen Tiere".Before you dismiss this as just to use in German,the ideas are so transferable!

Here is the link to the description of the book by James Kruss the author.
The description is in English and the clues are in this text as to why I think this book could help us primary practitioners to link work by our older children in Year 6 or also as a transition project between Year 7 and KS2 children  
Exactly as the description says the simple instructional rhymes linking letters,shapes,actions and animal sketches allow the children to create a veritable zoo of animal sketches that dance across the page!
The grammar included is present tense, commands, present participles ,use of nouns ...
I can see how the language used to draw the animals  can take young learners of a target language - who have progressed through two,three years of target language learning -on to the next stage of sentence structure, because they want to be able in the first instance to understand certain instructions to draw the animals and then move on to create their own instructions. 

Language focuses I can see in the simple instructional rhymes are as follows:

  • sounds of the alphabet (for a practical creative purpose- using the letter shapes to create the animal shapes)
  • recognition of sound patterns and  rhyming links to create the rhymes and the rhythm of theses instructional texts
  • identifying and understanding commands
  • reading comprehension - trying to understand and draw objects from the original text or from a text created and then written or spoken by a partner in the class
  • creating simple written rhymes
  • recognition and recall of names of animals
  • locating and using nouns of different objects to create  new rhymes about different objects e.g clothes items/foods/furniture etc

Transition Idea!

So how can I see such activities being useful ways of developing projects between Y6 and Y7 pupils?

  • One year group creates and writes(in the target language) the instructional rhymes to create a series of objects.
  • The texts are swapped with the other year group and the children must read ,understand and then draw the creations in the written texts.
  • It may be that one year group reads and responds only or maybe that both year groups write,read and respond to texts! 
  • Different levels of grammatical challenge can be set for the Year 6 and the Year 7 pupils.
  • With Year 6 children can be encouraged to include commands, nouns,interesting and descriptive present tense verbs and pay attention of possible to the rhyme and rhythm.
  • In Year 7 the expectation could be that the pupils should have specific structures etc included in their rhymes.

Drama and Art activities 
You may already know that I love Drama and can see opportunities with this book and the rhymes to create performance opportunities:
  • A performance of zoo animals that appear before our eyes as the children in pairs or groups become the shapes,actions etc to form their animals 
  • Physical drawing in the air as if we are artists at the zoo of the animals - in the style of different artists!
  • Spoken presentations that bring the rhymes they have explored or created to life- voice,cadence, rhythm, actions..... 


Monday, 29 September 2014

Heute bin ich ......

Well the German book fest continues.We have the good fortune within our network to have two or three schools that deliver German as their primary foreign languages. so often we can neglect this and concentrate on French and Spanish. Over the last couple of days I have been able to browse German bookshops here in Germany and I have come up with some real finds!

Around about this time in the term with our  in Year 5,we begin to develop the children's ability to say more about how they are feeling and to extend their ability to say why they feel happy sad etc.

Here is a book that probably all primary (not just language) teachers - no matter what language would love to explore.It really engages the imagination and has the most wonderful chalk drawings.

It's called "Heute bin ich ..." by Mies van Hout

and it explores our feelings and links these feelings to drawings of lots of exotic fish.
Take a look here!

 You really need to buy the book and have the book as a turn the page adventure to appreciate how creative you can be with this text and its  visual element .

So how would I like our schools that teach German to use this book to enhance the SOW that they follow and to allow the children to be creative with the language and the pictures?

Remember the ideas below explore how we can link language learning to Art and physical performance but we also need to create opportunities for the children to use the new more exciting adjectives in extended sentences and responses too

  • Each fish is a different shape, colour and has a different expression. Explore the adjectives physically or as shapes and colours on individual whiteboards - as a listening,identifying the key adjectives and responding with a facial expression or a quick drawing
  • Create calligrams as fish shapes of the adjectives ,that the children feel portray the emotion.
  • Create a class fish-tank display of the adjectives based on chalk drawing and German writing
  • Change the animal and the adjectives and create your own  chalk picture display of the new words in the style of the new animal(s).


Gute Nacht Gorilla! A brilliant KS2 Year 6 taster story to explore

Well I am in Germany and having a great time looking around for the books we need to support our local schools where they teach German in KS2.

Firstly I wanted a really simple book that has a sophisticated punchline for taster German learners in UKS2 that @JoBeeG73 can use when she goes out from her secondary school to her local primary cluster and Year 6.See her blog for as she shares her German taster sessions over the course of the academic year.

This morning I found it and I love it! (It does exist in English but in German there is so much to unpack and allow young language learners to explore when they have been learning a different foreign language at primary school throughout KS2)
It's called "Gute Nacht Gorilla! "by Peggy Rathmann

Such a simple story but with Year 6 beginners,who have acquired language skills in a different foreign language in KS2 you can continue their skills development and :
  • practise simple spoken language :greetings and farewells,
  • transfer the skill and look for cognates/semi cognates in a new foreign language: in the jungle animal names between English and German
  • transfer the skill and practise key sounds in German for example (Nacht /Löwe/Hyäne etcetra)
  • transfer the skill and practise using a German- English bi-lingual dictionary and change the animals and practise the pronunciation
  • continue to be grammar explorers and look at the use of capital letters at the start of all nouns
  • allow the children to share and create with you simple recall games,based on games they have enjoyed in their previous target language learning in KS2
  • practise pronunciation,intonation and memory skills and create your own memorable and humorous spoken performances of the simple story (perhaps to share with a younger year group)  
  • create a written record as a cartoon strip and allow independence so that the children can add their own animals or change the greetings or the visual  punchline
  • take a cultural tour of zoos in Germany and compare the animals with those we see in zoos here in England 
And so it's over to you now Jo! I loo forward to reading your blog reports!

KS2 to KS3 language learning.Beginning to make sense of the many windows on this World

To be able to look for practical ways forward in how we build and disseminate the possible constructive and effective links between primary and secondary languages is both an exciting and also challenging opportunity.   

I love this picture below.It makes such a statement!It tells me about building blocks and layers and colour and diversity and different shapes and sizes all coming together and all having windows on the world.I think this translates well as a a visual depiction of how we are trying to bring KS2 and KS3 together as windows of opportunity on the world of language learning

"Aren't there many windows on the same language learning World!"

As I write,I am in Germany- getting the "language buzz".Why? Well, German is my foreign language and I love the language with a passion.It's the reason that I continue to speak French and that I can try to access Spanish and generally love languages.It wasn't the first foreign language I learnt, but all those skills I continued to practise in French were so much more easily accessible when I was learning German.I  relaxed in to the second foreign language and my learning was accelerated.
Even now at 52,I am still learning the skills of communication and still enjoy puzzling out the structure of language.When you are in the actual country you are reminded how you don't always have to be absolutely accurate to be understood,how you can rephrase or say something again,how it's okay to make a mistake,how there are always new words or phrases to take on board and first and foremost how very important it is that you feel confident when communicating.

This year as part of our DfE funded Warrington Teaching Schools Alliance project I have the great opportunity to work with Jo Gierl. Jo has been a HOD in one of our local high schools for several years and now teaches German and French from KS3 to KS5.She has two young bi-lingual children and already on a personal level see the bigger picture of the value of language learning from an early age. 

We are very fortunate that Jo now works as an associate primary languages teacher within our network too - one afternoon a week in KS2.
Jo's first challenge was to start a blog diary of her observations this academic year(2104-2015) as she explores the language world of KS1 and KS2 and also as she disseminates her findings to her own department and then meets and shares with other local HODs and their colleagues..Jo's blog already has me hooked From Primary to Secondary.

What is so very real and refreshing about her observations are that she is looking at primary language learning as it really is happening - not on special occasions but  as it is really happening and planned for on that day in the week she visits the schools.Jo is able to look at the learning she has read about and heard me speak about for herself . She is seeing the different approaches to the same big picture in 3D....

To help Jo when she works with her KS3 colleagues it will be important that she can share concrete examples. so over the last couple of weeks Jo has observed French,Spanish and German primary language learning here in Warrington.
Here are some of Jo's observations so far that are beginning to colour in the bigger picture for her of what language skills Year 6 children can already use or are developing.

Two weeks ago she observed @joanne_hornby delivering Spanish in a local primary school. 

"Pupils knew how to use the bi-lingual dictionary, a skill we teach in Year 7 as many children have never come across them in previous years. 
Cross-curricular links and further dictionary skills were made via Roald Dahl’s book titles in Spanish and the children had to recognise words and use the dictionaries to find out the English book titles. Pictures of the Spanish books were shown and the children were commenting on how front covers differed in Spanish compared with their English counterparts."

The following day,she observed @EWoodruffe as she taught primary French.I love the fact that watching KS1 was a revelation to Jo in this blog but here are some very specific comments about what she saw in Year 6.

" This was a full-on lesson…their previous knowledge ensured a prompt start to greetings and general conversational questions. A physical warm up conducted in French, demonstrated by Emilie ensured they were all up and participating, followed by a game of tennis, whereby the questions were batted out and a speedy whole class response was expected in return! When it came to the introduction of school subjects, they knew of cognates, pronunciation rules, grammatical terminology and ways to decipher meanings".

This week Jo has observed German with our very own Barbara Foerster:

"They were asked to match likes and dislike questions with their answers and most pupils were aware of looking for correlating words and patterns in the language. Connectives “und” and “aber” were slipped in and pupils were extending sentences within minutes. Negation was looked at “nicht” and “keine” readily identified by pupils. My partner had a super accent, mimicking that of Barbara and was so confident speaking to me in German"

Jo is beginning to see the bigger picture.She has identified in the snippets of her observations that I have copied and pasted above -taken from her blogposts -that the Year 6 children,who we would describe as "moving on " learners(not beginners) have developed skills that can not be ignored in secondary language learning.

Our big challenge this year is to see how we can take the diverse and language rich learning of KS2 languages and support KS3. Jo and I hope to explore and look for the "real" links between KS2 and KS3 language learning in our own local settings and then to share our observations and  potential ways forward.
Yes we will need to ask children to learn the same or a different language at the start of KS3, but we need to plan for ways forward that mean children will be able to return to another coloured seat -if they have changed languages or select a completely new seat and try a new language challenge.The option to explore other languages too and move to the other coloured seats successfully needs to become the success story of KS3!  

Monday, 22 September 2014

Take a simple authentic rhyme and explore language learning skills

On Thursday this week I will be looking at how one simple resource can support the introduction, practise and revisiting of many language learning skills . We will consider how progression can be built in to primary language  learning very simply and we will look for links with literacy and/or across the primary curriculum.

For teachers, just setting off on the road to delivering effective primary language learning or supporting staff to do so, the activities will hopefully act as  sign posts to help the school plan sequences of meaningful and purposeful language learning activities.
Schools, where staff have limited target language skills can plan to use authentic texts which have been carefully selected because they are  not too challenging for the non-specialist.We find that such texts should repetitive language,clear sound support files if possible,introduce key language and words and not be too "wordy".

Above is the authentic and familiar rhyme "tengo dos manitas" , sung clearly with the words appearing on the screen in the clip.The clip is repetitive and uses simple language.There are obvious actions to the text. 

Word warm up 
Practise the key language from the text preferably with actions/ movements or a physical routine .
Here we have core body parts' language (manitas/ojos/nariz/boquita)
and two key actions (aplaudir and sonreir)

Add a fun, memorable element immediately.
Ask the children can they smile / clap using the body parts in the rhyme
e.g. Pueden sonreir con los ojos/la nariz/la boquita/las manitas
       Pueden aplaudir con los ojos/la nariz/la boquita/ la manitas

Get to know the rhyme and make it your own!
  • Practise the rhyme- as this rhyme has a clip to accompany it , when you feel the class are comfortable , turn down the sound and ask the children to be the sound file to the clip!
  • Add actions and focus on rhythm.
  • Practise in pairs with the words and the actions
  • Practise in fours and make the rhyme "your own". Each group can decide how they want to say and perform the rhyme
  • Performance time- one group of four performs for a second group
  • As a class perform the rhyme and as this rhyme repeats the verse over and again let one group lead the whole class each time - sharing their own special version and actions etc.
Class warm up song or recall song
Now you have a rhyme to say , sing or perform at the start of a language lesson over the next couple of weeks or to use to recall children and bring them back together after another activity.

Take another look!
Languages are not always about racing on.Learning some language and then moving to the next goal doesn't make confident young language explorers in my opinion.
Let the class enjoy the rhyme and actions and then plan to return to the rhyme and activate memory to use the rhyme to explore languages further.  

Missing words or Volume control games 
Come back to the rhyme or song at a later date and this time ask the children to miss words out or to observe you as you operate a pretend volume control ,so that there are times when the children whisper or don't even say the words but do the actions instead.

Rhythm raps 
Can the children help you to create a new version of the rhyme - a rap - made up of the beats and cadence of the rhyme- no words just the beat and rhythm of the text?

Go sound fishing!
Identify the key sounds in the song or rhyme for example here I would identify:


Can the class work in pairs and say the rhyme to each other and spot these key sounds as they say the words?
Can they decide in which order the sounds are heard and how often?
Can they spot the key sounds in the written words displayed by you at the front of the classroom.

Bringing the written word together!
Using their knowledge of the rhyme and their visual knowledge of key words can the children reconstruct the written text ,putting the text back together from word cards.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Power of books and interesting sentences

Take look at this wonderful picture! There are so many ways in my head that I can interpret what I see here!

I want to use these pictures with our Stage 3 language learners to inspire them to use their language learning skills to explore language and extend their knowledge of adjectives!

So why and how am I going to do this?
Well each power of books picture inspires a different focus or theme.

  • Red for an exciting day out! 
  • Butterflies for a trip to a zoo
  • Wires and cables for an imaginary visit to Space!
  • Plants for a trip to the jungle and jungle animals
  • Monster like tentacles to describe a monster
  • Flames for a visit to a volcano 

Well our Stage 3 learners are our Year 5 and often Year 6 learners -and they are just beginning a new academic year of language learning and able to understand and generate simple sentences using nouns, verbs and adjectives- not necessarily placing adjectives after nouns or alway using accurate adjectival agreement but excited by the fact that they can now communicate in full sentences.It's time to help them to become more independent in their use of spoken and written language and to encourage them to see how creative they can be in their target language communication. 

Now we can give them the power!
........By becoming "word explorers" !
  • We want them to explore bi-lingual dictionaries and also to read short texts to find interesting words which they can take from the texts they read and then use in their own simple sentence construction to add colour to their own descriptions and communication!
  • We also want them to keep a record - a meaningful record of this new language so that they can re-use these words in other spoken or written texts

  1. Give each group of table one of the pictures from the "power of books" pictures at the top of the page.You can select one or two pictures for the whole class or give different pictures to each of six tables or groups.I think I would opt for the first option - so that we can then feedback and share and build our banks of adjectives via each others' word explorations. 
  2. Ask the children on the table to prepare to become "word explorers" and give the tables two tools to do this - a bilingual dictionary and a short written target language text with simple descriptive text based on their themed picture.Discuss with the children how as word explorers they will use the dictionaries and the texts. Set up word explorer rules.
  3. Ask the children to look at their picture from the  "power of books" pictures and briefly discuss their themes in English.
  4. Ask the children to write a list of key nouns that they  want to use and explore- can they identify these in their dictionaries.
  5. Ask the children to read their short texts and identify any useful nouns and adjectives that they can add to their descriptions.
  6. Ask the children to brainstorm on their tables additional interesting descriptive words that they would like to use and to search for these in their bi-lingual dictionaries.
  7. Now ask each group to generate a sequence of interesting sentences on their specific "power of books" theme. Ask them to work together and to write these out in rough
  8. Each group must now share their draft sentences with a second group and the second group must read the sentences and see if they can spot any changes that need to be made in sentence construction .The first group must explain the meaning of their sentences to the second group.
Now let's be creative and explore the "power of books" we can generate!

Create a power of books gallery of :
  • paintings of the power of book pictures and written target language sentences
  • a spoken presentation of the interesting sentences with the power pf books picture as a back drop
  • use Yakit for Kids APP, have a look here and create a talking power of books sequence of photos add and each child on the table can record one of their sentences and create a gallery of  recorded interesting sentences !  

Monday, 15 September 2014

French percussion and poem performance les feuilles mortes

Using this simple , effective and beautiful poem about Autumn in French we can explore and interpret and perform linking languages to percussion music. This could be a poem to be explored by the children in UKS2 (with two or three years language learning) or possibly in KS3 Y7. 

  1. Can the children identify for you the verbs in the text. Can they spot the repetition of the verbs?
  2. How do they know that the poet is speaking (j'entends)
  3. Can they identify the nouns in the poem and can they identify the noun which is repeated over and over again in the text . Is it singular or plural and how so they know? Maybe they are able to tell you whether the noun is masculine or feminine using detective work and looking at the spelling of the adjectives after the noun.
  4. In each verse explore the descriptions of the leaves,looking up the final adjectives in each line where necessary ,using a bi-lingual dictionary.
  5. Can they practise the nouns and adjectives for the leaves and descriptions as sound bites ( saying the description e.g les feuilles rousses/molles/d'or and making the sound of the words create a "sound bite picture of the leaves as they fall to the floor)
  6. In each verse explore what the poet tells us he can hear- which words for seasons and weather can they identify in the individual sentences that start with "j'entends....".
  7. Identify the pattern of each verse and the use of the verbs in each verse and the repetitive nature of the verb "tombent" and ask the children to suggest reasons why this might be the case (i.e perhaps to suggest leaves falling gently from the sky over and over again)
  8. Identify the rhymes at the end of each sentence in each verse.
  9. Write down in random order on the whiteboard the final words in each sentence.Can the children match up the rhyming pairs?
  10. Ask the children to read the poem with you and to visualise what is happening and how Winter is drawing in.Ask them to describe to a talk partner what they have visualised. 
  11. Give out the poem as cut up sentence strips . Can the children reconstruct the poem?
  12. Can they now close their eyes and listen again to the poem and imagine Autumn moving toward Winter as they listen to the poem with their eyes closed?
  13. Read and practise the poem out loud with the children.
  14. Ask the children to suggest musical percussion instruments to portray the falling leaves and also to portray the weather or seasonal changes in each verse. Ask the children to work in groups with percussion instruments to create the sense and  rhythm and  to convey the description in one of the verses of the poem. they can select their favourite verse to match the percussion instrument they have been given on their table.
  15. Ask the groups /tables to create a performance with spoken language , actions and music of their chosen verse. Ask them children to create the dynamics of the verse through the actions , music and the way they alter their voices (volume and stress etc)  
  16. Listen to the groups performances of the verses.
  17. Can the class decide which percussion performance matches the French poem description the best? 
  18. Can the class read the poem with you and can four children representing the selected percussion performances create the different music effects for each of the verses as the class reads out the poem?

Writing and reviewing a half term's progress: les feuilles s'envolent

I have just seen this marvellous sketch and decide this is exactly what we need in UKS2 at the end of this half term for our KS2 children to use to write a message using the target language they have been practising.It will link well in to our Autumn focus at the end of the half term and will also allow us to review what we have produced at the start of the new half term.
It obviously doesn't need to be in French - could be German or Spanish or Mandarin etc....

It's a simple writing activity.
  • Each child creates their own Autumn leaf or receives a leaf template. 
  • They consider what they want to write about themselves from the language they have practised during the half term.

For example in our network schools the messages could be :
  • beginners: a greeting,name and feelings and a farewell
  • moving on: personal information about themselves and questions for a new friend 
  • advanced: personal information and emotions describing themselves as they feel on the day they write (and some information their class)

As these are Autumn leaves they need to be gathered up to stop the leaves blowing away and the class forgetting what they have learnt too! The teacher keeps the pile and at the start of the next half term shares the leaves and their written messages randomly with the class so that the children can read each others' messages and remember the language they practised  the previous half term!

Sounds of a language an important skill in language learning

On Friday last week I met with a small amount of ITT primary education students, who are also specialist linguists.We considered the way we introduce language and language learning skills to new young learners.
What was interesting immediately was that as we become more sophisticated language learners and more competent in a particular language we can easily lose sight of the importance of playing with sounds on a language. 
For example as a Germanist I can quite easily assume that everyone knows how to say "ei" and ie" in German.It's also easy to assume that learners should be able to break an unfamiliar German word down into its component parts and sound it out.But how can they do this if we don't practise the sounds of the language? 
New learners of a language, be they children or adults,need to practise the sounds of a language so that they grow in their confidence to move from the very familiar to less familiar!
(EYFS and KS1 colleagues are often the first at staff CPD to get and understand this message and to come up with games and activities that enable their colleagues to practise the sounds of a new language and to link this learning to communication and literacy skills in English). 

To support linguists to experience new sounds in an unfamiliar language we listened in the session to Swedish numbers 1-10. I asked  the students to practise the numbers so that they could join in with the activities in our number lesson all about growing sunflowers .
Here is a link on quizlet to the numbers 1-10 in Swedish.Have a listen! Listen carefully to the sounds you hear in numbers 2, 3,7 and 8. Can you replicate the sounds? Can you break the spoken number down into its component sounds?
Numbers 1 to 10 in Swedish

The listening and responding activities and the spoken activities we tried whilst trying to remember the sounds in the numbers raised lots of discussion .For example how some of us are visual learners and need to see the word and is this because we are older learners etc? How we needed time to take in the new sounds. How we need to draw pictures in our heads to link the sounds to words in our own language that are similar e.g. 7 in Swedish is "sju" and we could think of a "shoe" in English etc...One lovely idea we generated from the discussion of word association was to make a display of sunflower heads for 1-10 with children's drawing in each sunflower head that prompted us to think of the sound of the number word.

Here are some of the games to play with the children on a regular basis to practise the sounds of the language being learnt.

Crocodile Paths -listening and responding- can the children make a marching rhyme of their favourite sounds. Create stepping stone cards om the floor of the sounds - repeated several times so for instance if we are using 6 sounds then we can have 4 sets of each sound so that there are 24 stepping stones. Ask the class to march across the stepping stones and say/sing their marching rhyme.Call "crocodile" and the children must freeze. Pull a one of the sounds written on small cards out of a bag or a box and say the sound for the class. any children stood on that sound stepping stone must sit out ...as the "crocodile has caught them!

Magical potions- spoken activity.Can the children in groups create magical nonsensical words out of a sequence of target language sounds that the class know? Can they say their magical nonsensical words for the class and can the rest of the class jot down on whiteboards the component parts of these words?Ask the group to write up their nonsensical word and say it pointing to each component sound- did anyone in the class write it down correctly?

Sound nets,remembering and revisiting written sounds - collect new sounds as the written sound on cards and keep them in a pretend "butterfly net" in the classroom - as if they were precious butterflies- and have special sound times ,when we pull out cards from the net and look at the sound cards and try to remember the sound we must make.

Air writing- as simple as can be. Can the children make a running dictation of a sequence of sounds that you say - just writing them in the air  

A Class Word Invention- creative speaking and writing activity.
Why not invent a new class fruit, vegetable ,sweet or toy and then ask the class to use their sound potions to create a suitable name and share their ideas with the class as a written and a spoken word with the class? Do their sound word's reflect the type of fruit, toy , sweet that  the class has created 

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Celebrating Roald Dahl Day in foreign language learning

September is Roald Dahl month and it's also his birthday on 13 September plus it's the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It seems to me an opportunity this month to make links between languages and literacy!

This is a good opportunity to switch that "cultural lightbulb on" and allow children to realise that stories we love in english are also loved in other languages too!

What's the story? 
This is a simple reading recognition activity
A really simple idea is to share with the children the front covers of Dahl's novels in the target language and ask the children to decide what the title in English of each Dahl story book  must be.
For example ask the children which books are these and how do you know?(Key words,names and picture clues)
Maybe you can show the children these books in familiar and unfamiliar languages 

What's our favourite story!
This is a speaking and listening activity based on a question and a response 
If you have shared a range of story book covers in the target language that the children are learning then you are now ready for a class survey. Let's make it just a simple tally survey where children interview each other and ask each other  "Which is your favourite book?" (using the book titles that you have introduced in step one of course- so the children are familiar  with the book titles!).

Building characters
This is a bilingual dictionary adjective search which can be developed into a focus on adjectival agreement and the use of verbs to have and to be create simple sentences 
Using bi-lingual dictionaries and pictures on the screen at the front of the classroom can your class help you to build an adjective profile of some of the most famous Dahl characters?
with more advanced learners can the children create full sentence descriptions of their Roald Dahl characters and can they add descriptions of the characters clothes and looks?

Silhouette characters.
This is an activity where the children can compose their own character descriptions at different levels:
Adjective gathering
Adjectives in simple sentences
Addition of nouns such as clothes and facial features
Choice of verbs in present tense 
Writing and speaking activities 
Now you can create Dahl outlines. 
Ask the children to pick their favourite character and to draw the silhouette outline of the chosen  character and fill the outline with the adjectives that make up the character's personality.
With more advanced learners or more able children encourage them to add adverbs and interesting verbs 
Why not hold a character identity parade?
Ask child  to introduce and describe their silhouettes in either the first of the third person singular!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Beginning with languages blog 1

Across our network we work with schools who are all at different stages of setting up and delivering primary language learning and each year we welcome new schools who want to set off on their own individual school's language learning journey.

This year these specific "Beginning with languages " blogs will try to offer "bite size chunks" of indirect help and support to schools, who are doing exactly that .... just setting off and implementing  a language learning curriculum 

Sept - Oct (first half term) Checklist
It's all about establishing a whole school support system for all your staff
It's about small steps and simple language learning
It's about children and staff beginning to enjoy language learning!

  • Do you have a nominated colleague who is leading in this new school focus?
  • Have you accessed and read the DfE POS  for KS2 language learning?
  • If you have a specialist teacher or a teacher in school that is delivering most of the language learning ,are all your staff informed of the language learning focus?Are all your staff supporting and encouraging the language learning?( possible ways may be through class teacher display/ children feedback/ revisiting a song with sound support/investigating the country and the culture)  you sharing with the children information about how to learn languages and are you beginning to establish a infrastructure to support the language learning as the children progress?

Blog support! 
Maybe these blogs can help you to find ways to implement the bullet points above
Setting out our language learning approach
Ready Steady Go!

Beginners language learning
This half term focus on all the children and the staff being able to:

  • sing a simple song/songs  in the target language (a traditional song,a greetings song, a song from a CD or resource pack)
  • participate in simple games such as Simon says / hot and cold / thumbs up /bingo
  • see written target language such as greetings on the class door or 
  • help to create written number banners or display boards with greetings and name phrases
  • share facts that interest them about the target language country
  • share with their  parents and carers some simple  target language phrases and some facts about the country/ countries of the target language
  • say hello and goodbye
  • ask how someone is feeling and give their own response
  • ask and answer their names
  • listen and understand numbers 0-10 ,count to 10 in the target language and recognise numbers in written form
  • listen and understand the target language words for  six common colours ,practise saying the colours.

Blog support! 
Maybe these blogs can help you to find ways to implement the bullet points above
Greetings and feelings
Greetings and simple questions
listening sticks
Numbers and activities for all staff
Colours and activities for all staff
Colour mimes and word association
Abstract Art colours and display
Authentic playground games
                                  Getting started with rocket mobiles

A whole school celebration this half term?

Well this half term we like to celebrate European Day of Languages.It's on 26 September, but in schools where a specialist teaches  languages then the day during that week that languages are timetabled is often chosen.
Take a look at the links here for some ideas
European Day of Languages
Some of our schools will be having a themed day this year 
We are having "A Grand Day Out!"

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Autumn and a walk in the park

Over the next couple of weeks in primary school you will be busy getting ready with children to celebrate harvest time and Autumn. We celebrate Autumn in our SOW and it's a great way to practise simple familiar and useful language.

It's also this year going to be one of the ways we practise directions in the target language.With Year 5 we practise directions and finding our way to places just after October half term . On Twitter these sensory gardens caught my eye ,made by 5AWB at William Barcroft Junior School @5AWBJunior   !

Why well in LKS2 we take our children on Autumn walks and practise simple action poems and rhymes. 
In Year 5  these sensory gardens could become Autumn walks and Autumn open spaces 3D maps
We can create our "spooky" autumn walks " with lift the leaf flaps to find our "spooky characters" or our Autumn treasure hunts to find the hidden treasures or woodland characters!

  1. Each child creates their own 3D Autumn gardens/parks.walks 
  2. Each child hides pictures of woodland characters or spooky characters underneath or inside items on their maps.
  3. The children will be practising prepositions and directions as part of their town and city focus so all they will be doing is transferring this knowledge to a new and more creative language learning opportunity! 
  4. Each child writes  simple directions for another child to follow to find the hidden characters.

How successful they are will be assessed by the children who read the directions and locate the hidden characters!

Autumn celebrations and a touch of creativity

Over the next couple of weeks in primary school you will be busy getting ready with children to celebrate harvest time and Autumn. We celebrate Autumn in our SOW and it's a great way to practise simple familiar and useful language.

Here is my second blog on ways to in corporate Autumn in to your language teaching this half term.My first blog are simple word games and activities that all staff and language learners can take part in from beginners to learners who are moving on.Take a look here.Autumn celebrations blog one

The incredible harvest of fruits and vegetables! 
This is a an activity to get the children practising using adjectives with nouns and also to start thinking out of the box with primary languages.
A few days ago I saw this! White strawberries!

The idea is simple.
Ask the children to design a bush with magical powers that can create fruits in fantastical/ unusual colours. Ask the children to draw and label their fruits and then to share their ideas in a spoken dialogue activity with other children .The children need to practise the question: "What is that?" or "What type of fruit is that? and the children can then share their incredible harvest of fruits or vegetables. the activity will allow you to reinforce with more advanced learners adjectival agreement and position too!..... and of course now I am thinking Art - still life with a twist! Papier mache DT! Fantastical fruit poems if we can also add flavours ( maybe our ice cream flavours from Year 4?) The list could go on!!!

Woodland creatures 
Thanks to le francais et vous I was reacquainted with one of these glorious posters in French.This one is all about woodland animals.Take a look!

A great way to look at masculine and feminine nouns with our Y3 and Y4 classes ,particularly this in stage two (Y4 ) of learning . We can look for cognates and semi cognates.
We can add colours and we can create our own art work and drawings using a French stimulus.
With Stage 3 and 4 learners (probably Y5 and 6 who have been learning a language already for at least two years) so more advanced learners. let them go on a woodland creature hunt, giving each table a poster and descriptions of different animals in the poster.Can they read and understand the descriptions (make sure there are words in the descriptions that they need to look up on a bi-lingual dictionary  to add challenge) and can they add descriptive labels to the creatures?
Add a touch of Yakit for kids (using and APP where the photo talks ) and the children can make this an animated poster with spoken labels or woodland creature descriptions!

Twit twoo!

Looking for woodland creatures I found these two target language pages with instructions on how to make an owl that would be a useful way to develop reading comprehension activities with our more advanced learners:

In German Eulen basteln ( with a very simple template labelled in German that the children will need to read/puzzle out and then construct their own owls! 

and in French Julie Prince @princelanguages alerted me to this page for marionettes de automne from this blog http://nounoulolo88.centerblog.net/

Autumn poems
I think we can all source Autumn poems but yesterday I found this brilliant Spanish poem/list of all the things that are associated with Autumn .You can see it here below!

Maybe it's a text to read and unpack learners or to use as stimulus to write with more advanced UKS2 learners our own lists of things we associate with autumn using nouns, verbs and adjectives. with younger learners we can make our own written and visual class autumn list perhaps using bilingual dictionaries of the colours, fruits, vegetables, weather, animals etc etc we associate  with Autumn.

What does Autumn and  harvest time mean to you?
Finally this morning I found these making activities on  the French website
It's a time when we can look at culture and the lives of children in different countries and the crops and harvest time activities that they will be involved in for example la vendange in France is a time of grape picking and village festivals......Here's une boite aux raisins to make ...

in Spain the children will hear and possibly celebrate