Thursday, 30 April 2015

Animals ,actions and verb paradigms

I wanted to think of a way today to explore with some teachers how we can explore verbs in the present tense with UKS2 language learners ,who are "advanced" UKS2 primary language learners.
I wanted to explore discussion,team work and creating a paradigm of a verb as well as understanding the mechanics and meta- language of verb conjugation..... 
This is what I created.

My ideas are based around this small book in French , which I have used so many times with children to explore actions , animals and infinitives of verbs associated with each animal.(With younger children we have explored nouns,as names of types of animals that may do the action e.g . "la grenouille" and "sauter" .This can lead to great lift the flap books or pelmanism cards games made by the children).

Firstly I decided which verbs I was going to focus upon.With a group of 20 teachers I needed two "er" verbs,so I selected voler and nager
Then I thought of two types of animals that I could link with the key actions in the verbs
(I was training 20 teachers - so I needed two verbs and 10 picture cards per verb.For the activity there are two teams of teachers).
I sourced animal pictures of birds and fish
I needed 10 bird pictures and 10 fish pictures?
Why?Well all will be revealed.....

Step One 
  • Print out on card the bird pictures and the fish pictures

  • Write one part of the paradigm in the present tense of the verb "voler" on the reverse of each bird picture 
  • Write  one part of the paradigm in the present tense of the verb "nager" on the reverse of each fish picture

  • You could decide on an another action and another animal so that you have 30 cards (make sure you have enough -one for every child in a class of 30 etc)
  • For each verb card set of ten cards you will have enough cards for each of the first,second,third person singular/plural in French.You will have enough cards left over to write the infinitive on one card and the plural command form on another card.(The number of verb cards in a set may vary depending on the language)

Step Two
  • Keep the plural command cards to one side.
  • Ask two children (one per verb so if you have three verbs,you will ask three children) to observe with you and to not join in the first part of the activity.
  • Muddle up the rest of the bird and fish cards and hand out randomly -one to each child
  • Ask the children to find their animal families by walking around and saying the noun of their animal card e.g "l'oiseau" or "le poisson"
  • Can the children gather together with their animal family in one area of the classroom
  • Now ask the children to turn over the picture cards and show all the other members of their animal family, the phrase that is written on the back of each card.
  • Can the children recognise what type or phrases are written on the back of the cards?
  • Do they realise that they all have parts of the same verb paradigm?
  • Designate an "observer" to each team- can they help to organise the group in to a paradigm of the verb - infinitive, first,second, third person singular and first,second ,third person plural ?
Step Three
  • Can they form the paradigm of the verb in to the shape of the animal or the action?
  • Ask the group to discuss what magic word they require to make the static shape verb paradigm come to life.Wait and listen , take feedback.Which children realise that we need a command and it must be a plural command to make every part of the verb move?
  • Ask the group to decide what the plural command would be for their verb.
  • Ask the group to send the "observer" to the teacher to say the target language word for the plural command
  • Give the "observer" the correct plural word command form card!

  • Now can the team think about how the verb paradigm could "come to life" and add an action for each part of the verb that explains the action of the verb?
Step Four 
  • Ask the observer to lay the paradigm of the verb out on a table or display area so that other groups can see and read their verb paradigm. 
Add a twist- come back and revisit it again!
  • Create enough sets of verb cards for the children in your class but this time you must  omit one or two parts of each of the verbs  e.g.

  • As the children create their paradigms of the verbs can they spot the missing parts? 
  • Ask the teams to write the missing parts down (as they think they should be written) and send the observer to request the missing parts.
  • Ask them to check the correct version against their own written version(s)
  • Can they now complete their paradigm with the new cards? 

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Tea bags full of adjectives and flavour!

Today,whilst training teachers,we explored creative ways to expand my blog post ideas on hilding a cafe conversation based on a Mad Hatter's Tea Party!
One of the ways we explored ,was based on the work we did earlier in the CPD session on adjectives and looking for adjectives in the bilingual dictionary and thinking about the agreement of adjectives.
There are two levels to this creative activity.....

  • First of all each child needs a tea bag- made of paper, folded like a tea bag with an opening at the top- wide enough to pop a  small strip of card through
  • The children also need access to bilingual dictionaries.

Level One 
Each child has to create an original "fantastic" tasting tea!
In French and Spanish the noun is masculine - so this makes it ideal for  level one activities,as there is no agreement required.
All our children need to do is to think of persuasive and exciting adjectives in English e.g. refreshing, sizzling, tingling, sharp, spicy
They  need look up these adjectives in the english section of the bilingual dictionary.
Cross reference the adjectives in the target language section of the dictionary to check meaning.
Write each adjective on a small strip of card - one per adjective ,making the written adjectives look the meaning of the word.
Now they have their words to describe their  fantastic tea! 
Adjective by adjective they need to squeeze out the tea bag ( take out each word and create a fantastical sentence about the tea in whichever target language you teach:
" the tea is sizzling, spicy and fruity"  
Now they can create their own drawing of their tea bag with symbols on the bag to explain each fantastical part of their drink of tea and the sentence written under the tea bag itself!

Level Two 
In French and Spanish , a cup of tea has  a feminine noun! 
So now each child can follow the activity described in the stages for Level One ,collecting adjectives and writing them on cards and putting them in their paper tea bag containers.
The children then hand their tea bags and adjectives to  a second child in the class.
This child has a template of a cup of tea:

The second child empties the tea bag of its card strips and must write the adjectives on the tea cup with correct adjectival agreements to match a feminine noun in the target language!
Now can they use  the adjectives to create a complete sentence in the target language? e.g "the cup of tea is fruity,sparkling,warm and refreshing!"
They can now make a poster to advertise their cup of tea with a complete sentence.

And finally can they remember their sentence and act it out for the class to try and sell this fantastical cup of tea top the class?

Blotting paper memory challenge!

I love working with teachers! They often challenge me to think of new ideas and approaches!
This morning I  was working with a group of new teachers and we were trying to think of ways to encourage children to explore the world of grammar and also to look at strategies that will help children when learning a language!
This idea came out of very simple discussion and I think would make a great activity to encourage memory,

  1. Give each child five minutes to locate between three familiar words in the bi-lingual dictionary specific words in the target language - think nouns or adjectives or verbs....
  2. Ask the children to write one of the word out carefully in felt tip on a piece of blotting paper.
  3. Can they now commit the word to memory - before it disappears from the blotting paper? (Add water droplets to the blotting paper - so it becomes "Now you see it! now you don't !)
  4. Ask the children to try this with the other two words
  5. Take feedback from the children on how they approached this challenge and what memorisation strategies they employed to complete the blotting paper memory challenge!

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Grammar Explorers in Primary Languages

Getting to grips with grammar in primary language learning is so important!
This week I have delivered staff CPD ,primary NQT CPD and subject coordinator CPD and we have considered the exploration of grammar in the primary learning context. 

The more I talk with my colleagues, the more they tell me that their children ask about the patterns they see, want to manipulate language and want to be able to understand,say and write more! I find this fabulous!

It has always been the case!
Quite a few  years ago I worked on the idea of "language detectives".... now in light of the new DFE POS and the requirement to "understand basic grammar", I think it's time for our young learners to become "language explorers" too! 
It is the doorway to independence and confidence in their ability to understand and communicate effectively in foreign languages! 

You will notice that I have said "getting to grips with grammar in primary languages".

 I acknowledge and accept that as the Expert Subject Advisory Group to the Government suggests in  " Assessment in Modern Foreign Languages "  children at the end of KS2 should be "Secondary ready".
I believe though that primary language learning must be about a consistent primary approach to language learning,building ultimately to quality transition into secondary language learning.
Remember there are four years in KS2 in which to explore the grammar of the language.

The "Grammar Stepping Stones" I shared last year,seek to give teachers some guidance  on when and how in KS2 to work with  nouns ,adjectives,verbs - and to consider the progress that can be made over two, three , four years.
Remember that "stepping stones" require careful thought out movements and you can go back and retrace your steps on stepping stones too!

Considerations of primary grammar explorations!

  • Careful and clear explanations of grammatical structures and terminology can take the fear factor away for lots of primary classroom teachers.Once a teacher is clear about masculine and feminine (neuter) nouns and understands the terminology such as  definite and indefinite article, first second third person singular and plural , paradigm ...then the teacher too wants to be a grammar explorer! 
  • Just like the children,teachers need to explore the world of grammar step by step.I train and support lots of classroom teachers.What is remarkable,is how once they understand this terminology,they become great facilitators of primary grammar exploration! Here is some food for thought- a quote from a primary class teacher at a staff meeting CPD yesterday evening "I liked languages and if someone had made the grammar as clear as the grammar we have explored this evening I think that I would have continued learning a language"
  • Teachers need to consider how and when to plan for exploration of grammar in primary school in a manner that is age and stage appropriate.We need to share examples with them and give them time to think of the ways they can apply the basic grammatical exploration strategies to their own language learning content and contexts.
  • We need to provide the learners with primary appropriate content and contexts within which to explore the grammar focus.
  • Grammar explorations in primary language learning can be so exciting and creative!The primary learning environment allows for dynamic explorations-not on one's own but sharing ideas and ways to be "grammar explorers"
  • Don't forget the primary in grammar explorations! Think of ways to explore grammar to suit the learning preferences of all your children- building, drawing, singing, acting, through PE ,creating, discussing ... and make it primary successful explorations.
  • Primary colleagues should see themselves as the facilitator of grammar explorations.
  • Think of the process as well as the creative outcome! Make the stages of the process as learner friendly , step by step engaging the learner in enquiry about how and why a pattern is being formed. 

Here are the activities that I am sharing with different colleagues this week.

  •  I hope that the activities are stepping stones to help them facilitate grammar exploration in dynamic ways with young language learners!
  • I hope that colleagues don't see the activities as static and set in stone but that they can manipulate and adapt ideas to suit the content and contexts that they are exploring.  

I spy nouns!

Shape sentences using adjectives

Exploring the verb to be with Cinderella masked ball

The verb to have and a Wizard's potion

Robot routines and commands

Sentence structure .Putting all our eggs in one basket

Active conjunctions

Conjugating a verb.A verb artist talk walk!

Sandcastle Sentence Building

Friday, 24 April 2015

Celebrating a royal baby with simple fun language learning activities

With the birth of a new royal baby to happen and all the press hype around this in the near future, I decided that it would be something that our children particularly KS1 and Y3 or Y4 would be interested in.

I have popped a couple of ideas down here on ways you might like to celebrate the birth of the baby! (I have focused on a song, a card and a baby layette - so we have listening and joining in, simple copy writing and some DT and writing simple full sentences to describe clothes for a baby).

Celebrating the addition to a family with a silly French song about the family!

Prince George is about to be the big brother.
Here is a song about a "little"  brother and his dummy.
Family nouns are also introduced into the song (maman,papa, cousin,cousine) so you could create a simple family tree too and don't forget to  add the grandma and grandad and perhaps aunts and uncles too!
Could be a great song to practise in class and then sing to the school in a class assembly and guess what ...act it out!

Click on the link above and find the lyrics .

Designing a French layette

Just a bit of fun but what should the clothes for a royal baby look like?
Can the children anticipate the hobbies and interests of the future royal baby and add these to the designs of their clothes?
Will the baby be a footballer, a dancer, a musician etc?
Why not ask the class to design some clothes for the new royal baby .We use the word "layette" too here in England. 
If the children are moving on in their language learning ,can they write simple full sentences about the items they design- noun, verb and adjective?

A card for the baby in French,German and Spanish

And don't forget to write a card to celebrate the birth of the bay.

I love these cards below as I think the balloons are fabulous plus the language is so simple that we can use this in KS1 and Year 3 to make a fabulous display celebrating the birth! 

What about a German lullaby 

Practise , sing and perform!

Clothes for the baby in German

Create a German layette for the baby too just like the French idea above!

A lullaby in Spanish

A Spanish layette

...and for Spanish clothes for your baby layette - 
Take a look at this part of el corte ingles website

ropas del bebe

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Team work to develop deeper learning in primary languages.

I work alongside 12 wonderful associate language teachers.You can find out more about these teachers here Associate primary language teachers and assistants.
Each half term we hold a CPD twilight and get together to discuss where we are all up to with our primary language teaching and learning.

The notes below may be of use to others but are really intended as a aide memoire to ourselves as a team and the discussions we held yesterday evening at CPD

Some of us have worked together now for over seven years.We worked previously as a team for Warrington LEA .Since 2011 the team has grown from 6 to 7 to now 12 associates,providing a variety of weekly language learning services in 37 schools.The associates have patiently worked alongside me, have contributed to and helped me to build our teaching and learning materials for KS1 and KS2.

What is now very apparent is the insight and knowledge of effective practice and dare I say it "deeper learning" that the team is gaining.
Yesterday evening at our associate CPD twilight this was very evident.In the room we had amongst us the following experience: five ex- secondary teachers, one HOD,two A'Level teachers,one languages consultant ,one leading teacher,4 primary QTS language specialists, 4 native speakers of French and Spanish,one HLTA ....
Normally we meet and discuss what comes next and what we will be using.As per usual we did look  at lessons, resources and new ideas yesterday,but we are now quite clearly sharing as a team activities and strategies to encourage "deeper learning".

During the CPD session we began to informally discuss:

  • The need to make the teaching and learning of sound -spelling explicit,be it a 5 minute focus or a whole lesson learning objective.the necessity is that the children take over the investigation and learning.the need to plan for this and keep on revisiting and building on this
  • The need to help children to have ownership of language learning tools to the learner(such as bilingual dictionaries)
  • The need to look at written text and allow the children time to explore, so that they grow in language learning confidence 
  • The need to unpack language learning stage by stage so it isn't just a string of sounds, a song , a game and then that's the end of the lesson!
  • The need to make progress and to encourage children to see how they can move from word, to sentence, to complex sentences to text level
  • The need to track the progress the children make and the need to communicate this to the children and the class teachers 
  • The need to unpack grammar in a primary friendly way and to create puzzles and problem solving activities to enable the children to understand and manipulate the language and its structure.
  • The need as the children grow older to make them more aware of important technical language so that they aren't frightened by this.
  • The need to make links between languages to prepare children for the changes at secondary level and maybe the change in language.
  • The need to allow the children to be creative in their learning and to celebrate this creativity from the manipulation of text, to original thinking or sharing ideas about language function/meaning or a performance with singing and dancing!
The CPD should last an hour but it started at 4 pm and at 5.45pm we were still sharing and discussing.What we all seemed to be acknowledging was the need to make our practise effective.We want the children to see the point and purpose of learning languages and to make progress in one language and be proud of this- ready for the next language or becoming a linguist!

Listening,responding and comprehending UKS2: une fourmi rouge

Just been listening to this silly but entertaining song which I think will be another way to extend and practise listening with our UKS2. Last week I shared Quiz Quiz Swap Listening and Responding with a twist- restaurant style as an activity to develop listening skills and here is another opportunity .Plus this would make a great song to practise ,sing in the end of year Y6 or leavers assembly and have some of your best actors performing the story too! 

Here is a link on Momes website to the words too une fourmi rouge

It fits in well with our UKS2 JLN SOW cafe culture focus too!

In the song I can identify the following key words as words we already know:

rouge,bleus,points,petits,cafe au lait, morceau,sucre,nez, cuillere

Listening ,Responding and Comprehending Activities Step by Step:
  1. .Explain that the song is about an ant taking a walk over a cup of coffee,attracted by the sugar.Ask the children to listen for pleasure- perhaps clicking or clapping along to the beat.
  2. Give out the text and ask the children with a finger to follow the words as they are being sung.Pause the recording and ask the children what word they have just heard.Restart the recording and then pause later in the text etcetra.
  3. Give out the key words that you think the children have already met.Can they tell you the meaning of the words?
  4. Ask the children to draw a large cup and saucer on a piece of rough paper or a whiteboard, as them  to listen to the song again and as they hear the key words to put them in the 2D cup and saucer.
  5. Ask the children with a bilingual dictionary to try and work out three important things from the text- the description of the ant ,the journey the ant takes across the cup of coffee and what happens to the ant.Take feedback.
  6. Now ask the children to listen a final time and to hold up the key words as they hear them in the text.

And now it's over to the class, to use the text and the sound recording to put together a class performance of the song , with rhythm (clapping or clicking) and a performance of the events in the text bu two of the class actors or actresses!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Language Learning for Everyone .Second term's report

Summer term is upon us and hopefully like myself you have had a good Easter break.The DFE WTSA/JLN project Language Learning for Everyone is about to deliver the final Local Network Meetings of the year.These are CPD twilights based on the DFE POS Learning Objectives with a specific primary context focus.This term it's all about "Going to the Seaside".You can find out how to register for one of these twilight CPD events if you are a North West primary classroom practitioner or a secondary colleague interested in primary language learning here Going to the seaside LNM event calendar

Firstly a huge thank you to absolutely everyone who has taken part or trained or supported us on this CPD journey so far!

We are delighted to say that we have secured the DFE funding for next academic year too and that these LNM CPD twilights will continue once per term in at the moment 8 different local venues throughout the next academic year.This is just one part of the CPD that we are offering as part of the DFE WTSA/JLN project. 

It's time to review last term's CPD and reflect on our success, next steps and  what we can do to improve the CPD.We have now reached over 500 local North West teachers and have run local network meetings each academic term this year as well as upskilling in French and Spanish and pedagogy and cross phase CPD.Each meeting is different and the size of the audience varies, but the enthusiasm,determination and commitment is obvious!

Local Network Meeting Review
We have realised that it suits teachers and schools to have the LNM CPD if possible in the first half term of an academic term.The coordinators that attend these meetings can then go back to school and plan to share and use the resources and activities effectively in the second half term. 

Last term our LNM focus was "Carnival and World Book Day".Thank you so much to all the schools that hosted one of these meetings and to Jayne,Emilie,Jo and Claire for their time and effort as they learn how to be lead trainers at these events as part of our "teacher led" CPD.Thanks also to the teachers who presented at the events - to Carmelina, Capenhurst CE and Fran!
As always the opportunity to network and share is popular.

Below are two examples of how activities we share at the CPD has an impact on the local delivery of languages in primary.The activities we share are intended to help all colleagues focus upon the ways that they can adapt and use the ideas to deliver effective language learning back in school in line with the Learning Objectives from the DFE POS.

Our carnival stretchy balloon to focus on sound spelling links proved very popular .I loved the fact that teachers at later CPD events brought their class stretchy balloons to show and share - where they had taken the original content , changed the content and created their own learning resource.Brilliant! Exactly what we hope will happen!

Here is one teacher's take on this idea- based on fantastical animals! She shared this with me at our Literacy and Phonics session in March with Julie Prince .Thank you!

The carnival triaramas to develop speaking and writing in full sentences were a great hit!

So many of your children created their own versions!Everyone reported that the not only was the activity enjoyable but you found links with culture and primary creativity.some of you felt that the activity allowed you the chance to demonstrate and collect evidence about how the children could independently say ,write and understand purposeful target language. Here is just one example of children's own work!

Language Upskilling Review
As well as our local network meetings we offer teachers from the North West the opportunity to attend CPD with our native speaker primary specialist language teachers.We have offered Beginners and Intermediate French and Spanish during Spring term.(In the first term we offered Beginners French and Spanish and Intermediate French)

Teachers take away  from this CPD a year's worth of language teaching and learning resources too - for themselves and also so that they can help their staff back in school to make a start or progress.

The teachers at the sessions practise the spoken language with Emilie and Ana and then take sound files and pod casts back to school so they can listen to Ana and Emilie independently and revisit what we practise.

It's been a delight to watch Emilie and Ana grow in confidence as teacher CPD trainers! The response from the teachers at the Beginners French (delivered solo this time by Emilie) was overwhelmingly positive-  a native speaker starting right from basics and making sure that the CPD is linked to effective primary practise!

Intermediate upskilling is really rewarding as teachers go away feeling confident about their understanding,use and  ways to explore in a primary context nouns, adjectives and frequently used verbs in the present tense.
Below is our Cinderella and the verb "to be" dice game that we play.

Making a potion with the verb to have and animals to create our wizard allows the teachers to explore how they can use a variety of content to link grammar with a primary approach! 

We delivered sessions in French and Spanish at intermediate level during Spring term.Here is a review of what we explore.

We look forward to working with colleagues next year as we roll out the second year of Beginners and Intermediate French and Spanish.Some of our colleagues have requested conversational upskilling too! 
The great news is that we are now establishing a German primary sub-network too, run by one of our local colleagues,Barbara Foerster,a native German primary language teacher and teaching assistant at a local primary.Barbara has worked with us for seven years! The first informal meeting is planned for this Summer term ,so do get in touch if you would like to go along to the meeting!

Pedagogy and Cross Phase CPD
We want to bring KS2 and KS3 colleagues together.We have established dialogues with secindary schools and colleagues and Jo Gierl has begin to keep a record of her observations,conversations and reflections in her blog: JoBeeG73.
To bring primary and  secondary together we are offering CPD that we feel ,has value to both primary and secondary colleagues.In Autumn term we invited Joe Dale to share his vast knowledge of APPs and technology and how we could use this as ,a shared language learning tool between stages and ages of learners. 

Cross Phase Spring Term CPD 
This term we invited Julie Prince to share her vast knowledge and understanding of phonics and literacy.she helped us to look for a continuum in skills and learning activities and helped us make those links between key stages of language learning.Brilliant sessions! I say sessions because we offered either and afternoon or a twilight session to keep numbers at a level where the teachers could be really hands on and engage with the activities! This picture shows a primary and a secondary  colleague learning together! Thanks Julie!
Here is my Storify report of all the wonderful activities Julie shared.Phonics and literacy in KS2- KS3 .Easing transition and JoBeeG73 wrote her own secondary blog post on the CPD too An afternoon with Julie Prince   

We all received training and our developing trainers and native speakers learned so much too.Can you spot Emilie and Beatriz? If you know who they are of course! 

Ensuring Primary Progress CPD 
This term we ran a repeat session of "Fit for Purpose and getting started with the new DFE POS". I then delivered a more in depth and "moving on" session for coordinators on progression.
I have to say that I am always amazed by my teaching colleagues determination to make sure that primary language learning is effective and addresses the needs of the primary language learner.We have been working closely with our Warrington colleagues as a network since 2011 and before that as a Warrington network led by myself as a Primary Strategy Consultant.I think in total if you add in the years when I was a Primary Languages AST,it's actually over 14 years- if not more! 

Over the course of this time we have watched some young linguists flourish and are now in the position to be able to share how we track,collect evidence across 4 skills and assess progress.Our Ensuring Primary Progress CPD was oversubscribed and we had atleast 42 delegates in what was really a small room (sorry!).

It was however a chance to consider what progress and the assessment of progress can look like in line with the new DFE POS (and without levels).
We shared ways we track and record progress.Here is a blog post on keeping a creative spoken record of progress

It was CPD that posed and raised questions and what was wonderful was that some colleagues felt confident enough to ask difficult questions and challenge ideas!
We were all learning and sharing!
It's led to us setting up a small working party to look at what and how we assess work.It's also led to  colleagues being able to go away and set up activities that allow schools to make a start with primary language tracking and assessment.It meant that we were able to take a look at how the DFE POS ,the CEFR, the KS2 Framework Objectives can all dove tail together to create a more comprehensive picture of progress- even if we need longer to reflect upon best ways forward in our own school settings.

Here is one simple activity we tried to see if we could use this to demonstrate and collect evidence of progress  with more advanced KS2 listeners:

This CPD will be offered again next academic year and we hope to have new elements that we can offer as follow up CPD for example to feed back from the small working party or to share ways local schools have been trialing assessment as an integral part of the classroom teaching and learning.

Making Links Abroad
We will also be offering "Making Links Abroad CPD" a second time too! Thanks to Erzsi Culshaw, Graham Butler and Odette Hunt for making this twilight CPD so effective and informative.

Teachers learned so much in a short time about Erzsi's ETwinning projects....

Opportunities to take part in Erasmus Plus CPD in the target language is Odette and PQ France

.....and ways to link classrooms and schools through funding from the British Council , through the International Schools Award, Connecting Classroom projects and global learning CPD. Thanks to Graham of course for sharing his immense knowledge! 

I think it's really important to share the key CPd more widely so i have been Storifying our guest speaker events. Here is the Storify report of the session Making Links Abroad.

Once again thank you!

So my reflections as we set off in to Summer term 2015 and begin to plan for "Language Learning for Everyone" for the next academic year are:
  • We need to keep sharing, and the network meetings will allow us to do this.
  • We need to keep on supporting colleagues to feel more confident in their ability to deliver or reinforce a specialist teachers delivery of the target language - so we look forward to offering language upskilling next academic year.
  • We need to keep moving forward,so the CPD in "Ensuring primary progress" and a possible follow up session for those that attended the CPD this March are both really necessary.
  • We all need to keep learning and to keep on exploring language learning.New teacher led CPD trainers need to continue to be nurtured so that fresh approaches are shared and also the impact of projects like this are long lasting and ensure that language learning from age seven is sustainable! 
  • We need to keep primary language learning "primary" .Creative activities and outcomes appropriate to the age and stage of learner will remain a key focus of this project.
  • We need to share our CPD and learn from others too,so links via social media- Twitter,Facebook, blog posts and You Tube are vital.
  • We need to continue to strengthen our cross phase work.Languages need to be seen as  a learning continuum from KS2 Y3 to KS3 Y9 and beyond.Content,context and skill development needs to be age and stage appropriate.To this end  we need to be continue to offer discussion seminars and workshops to  strengthen dialogue and "listening"/ "sharing" between KS2 and KS3 colleagues. 


Saturday, 18 April 2015

Spanish books to support language learning contexts and content

Last week in Barcelona I went book shopping for Spanish books (Castillian of course!) to support the schools in our network that teach Spanish.
Here are my finds!
The books were chosen because they will be useful for teachers who use the JLN SOW , follow similar themes or are happy to create their own schedule for learning.

A book to help all teachers and which is available in other target languages too,a book too to let your imagination run wild! Great primary teacher's resource.It's from Usborne!
I liked the way that there were activities for children to do independently but also that there were double page spreads dedicated to specific artist e.g. Gaudi.
One double page spread looks at how we the children could create a range of creatures in the style of the Gaudi lizard from Parc Guell.
The book also has double page spreads on designing your own town or city of the future ,with really useful instructions that a non-specialist teacher with some Spanish knowledge could use tp develop class instructions in the target language.

A fun book to use with children in KS1 and KS2. One simple repetitive question per page - in the style of  "Brown Bear, Brown Bear what can you see?" .I liked it for this reason as it would be a familiar style to KS1 and Year 3 and could be used as a reading to the class activity and a joining in  with the question activity.the green hair you can see on the face can be moved as the there is a space to pop you hand inside the green hair and move it about
In Year 4 and Year 5 we could take the book further,the children could design their own books and write their own full sentence responses with their own characters.The green hair isn't really hair - it becomes an astronaut's moustache,a martian's hair do , a caveman's brain,  a witch's hat trim, and guess what finally " an enormous caterpillar ". The book could then be linked to the hungry caterpillar too .
It would be a great book to use when describing people as a stimulus to using our imaginations and  creating our own simple target language descriptions.

We are always revisiting colour and so I wanted to find a book that was suitable for children who have already met some colours and that incorporated a guessing game too.This book met the requirements. On each page there are three questions about three different items.the children need to read the question , guess the object and then decide on the colour that is going to be revealed.There is a card in an inside sliding sleeve between the pages that you reveal and show the key colour and the three objects that the children should have guessed.
Great book for dictionary work- understand the question, guess the object and remember in the target language or locate in a bilingual dictionary.guess the shared colour of the three items.Finally see if the class is correct by revealing the slide card!  
Could  be a great book to use with Year 4 and Year 5 moving on learners to encourage them to write their own questions about three objects, that are then revealed once someone else has guessed the items.
Could be a great stimulus for lift the flap books or a hide and reveal interactive whiteboard game etc. 

We go shopping several times in the JLN SOW which allows us to practise dialogues etc.I wanted to find a book for out Year 4 classes which was authentic and shared incidental language of signage too in a Spanish food shop.This book about el supermercado fits the bill!
this is a book that  non specialist or specialist could use with a class and with the aid of bilingual dictionary work the class could investigate the signage independently.
On every double page there is a cartoon scenario in the supermarket.There is a statement about the aisle or the area in the shop and the character Clara participates in interactive activities and there are speech bubbles etc with language that might actually be used in the supermarket The signage is great as it share with the reader key items and objects that you would find in a supermarket plus there are examples of shopping lists and signs.
At the end of the book there is a pull out supermarket with detachable characters- great for role play activities or a puppet show! 
Once again the book could be the stimulus for independent writing and creating your own class supermarket role play area with signs etc.

In the Summer term our attention with UKS2 turns to the seaside and with KS1 we develop our sea creature puppet shows.This book meets the needs of both age groups.
Each double page shares items you may need to use to do something linked with the seaside e.g build a sandcastle,look for seashells, go swimming.....
The text is in Spanish cursive handwriting .
On each page an object is concealed and has to be revealed or moved etc.
with KS1 the fun would be in the reading of the book and the revealing or moving of the objects.
With UKS2, once again there is bilingual dictionary work, understanding the question posed on each page and then creating your own questions and guide to the items you need for example to sunbathe, go swimming or to have a picnic on the beach!

I loved this series of stories from Rose Forshall, which I found in the book shop all about "la abuela pirata" and her friends.
I picked this book out from the series not on,y because teachers and children love the context of pirates but also  next year is an Olympic year! 
The text is challenging but the pictures tell the story as the pirates get fit through Olympic sports to get that Olympic gold treasure!
It is humorous and is a great read, may be several pages each time you read it to the class and a discussion of what has taken place.There are a variety of tenses in the text but this wouldn't prevent primary language teachers  from using the book to develop performance and  class simple Spanish story about pirates or other characters (monsters for example ) getting ready for the Olympics 2016!

Above is a great book - that I actually saw one day and went back to buy as I couldn't leave it behind!It fits really well with the Anthony Browne book "mi mama" we sometimes use in our work around describing people. The  book above  is straight forward and describes the qualities of a well loved mum (or carer) .
It would be really useful when trying to look at adjectives or activities to describe people and their personalities .
This is a book to be read to the class by a specialist or confident (target language speaking) teacher either just to enjoy or pages could be acted out and phrases could be used to build examples of how to write extended and interesting sentences. 


Next to the book "te quiero mama" was this wonderful book about "el mejor padre del mundo" .I couldn't leave this book behind either!
Each double page has a text that explains why this Dad is the best Dad in the World and then a full page picture explaining  the text!
This is  a book that could  be read to the class by a specialist or confident (target language speaking) teacher, to stop,unpick the language and explore key words.
It is also a book that could be used as a double page focus to explore a text about specific content - for example Dad and daily routine and helping tie shoe aces, Dad at the seaside building sandcastles. Dad at the school concert, Dad looking after his poorly daughter etcetra.
It is a book that could be picked up used for one double page text and then put down and returned to when the content fits the context that the children are exploring etc.
In my opinion it's a book for UKS2. 

And finally will soon be European Day of Languages (26 September)
I found this book.What a find for Spanish target language work about children from around the World!
It describes the similarities and differences between children  from all over the World- physical descriptions, homes, food ,animals that the children may come in to contact with, and then finally ends with a view of the World as a globe.The final statement reminds us that
"Pero todos tienen los mismos sentmientos.Todoos quieren ser felices y tener amigos ....."