Saturday, 17 May 2014

Grammar and language learning. Bringing it altogether

Over the last academic year and within our network we have been considering the requirements of the new PoS
One of the key elements that we have begun to address is the need to develop an understanding of how to deliver grammar with our young language learners and how to support all teachers who may be delivering primary languages with this.

In KS2,the new DfE POS expects young learners to..... 

 "understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including(where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English."

Last week was the first of two Subject Coordinator sessions where we brought together what we have learned about Grammar in the context of the primary learning environment
We want it to be ……..
  • appropriate and part of good primary  teaching and learning practice
  • clear and useful for the age and stage of the learner
  • inclusive and offer all the children the chance  to make progress and move from using words to construction meaningful sentences
  • structure and planned for and have clear links with primary  focuses on structure and grammar in English
  • supportive of their  growing knowledge of grammatical structures and terminology 
  • effective and enable the learners to apply rules to the new target language successfully 
  • creative and active so that the learning is meaningful and memorable.
To this end the Grammar Stepping Stones  created earlier in the academic year can help to guide us toward meaningful and stage appropriate exploration of grammar that the class teacher can deliver or support with. The  Grammar Stepping Stones are written in the voice of the child learner to remind us of the developmental stage these young children are at in their own understanding of how languages function.

So the Grammar Stepping Stones can guide us but how do we support staff who feel lacking in confidence? Well last week in discussion with a young coordinator we discussed a post box system. The  post box means that staff and children can post a question or a perhaps the solution they have come to in target language post box and receive a clear answer from the teacher or teaching assistant in school who has a better understanding of the basic grammar conumdrum they have. This certainly works where the subject coordinator takes time to upskill themselves or has the knowledge already but isn’t teaching in every classroom and year group . This will  also work well where a visiting teacher delivers language learning or the school has an FLA. Not every question and query will happen during direct language teaching and learning. Want to know more then have a look here.

We are finding that the grammar learning journey is creative and exciting and supports and underpins children’s growing understanding of the grammar and structure of English and their other home languages.Have a listen the wizard's potion here 

This is our timetable for Grammar over four years .
It doesn’t mean we don’t touch on the specific areas in other year groups or at different stages but this seems to be developing as our most natural fit.

Year 3 /Stage 1
Year 4 /Stage 2
Year 5 / Stage 3
Year 6/Stage 4  




Verbal phrases

How are we trying to keep it primary, effective and creative?
It’s through games, exploration, meaningful contexts using familiar language and children being language detectives. Children are demonstrating that they are enjoying physically participating and using the visual to find solutions and to show their understanding.
So bringing it so far altogether ….Here are some of the techniques and activities we have used or are trialling this year in the network.Click on the links to read more! 

Treasure chests (also look at the blog post Ready, Steady, Go!)

Advanced adjective fisherman's trawl ( using verbal phrases)
Creating magic with personalities  :Agreement of adjectives when describing a male or a female person

Wizard's potion  (verb- to have)
Cinderella  masked ball (verb- to be )
3D Art  ( the verb- to be called) 
Personal Pronouns.
Personal Pronoun Photo Shoots


Being creative and playing with structure
Simile silhouette sentences

Moving potentially in Year 6 to talk about events that have happened in the past.
Playing with the simple past tense and watching the world go by

I am sure that we will find more ways of working with the grammar we intend to cover and will add to this blog as we go along , however hopefully the activities above will support teachers in developing primary creative approaches to the new focus on structure  of the target language. 

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