Sunday, 27 February 2011

A different kind of mini-book

We've more or less decided to go to France on holiday this summer, to a bit that has animals for younger daughter, history for the older one, and relaxation for mum and dad.  One of the best things about going on holiday to France is being able to visit the stationery departments of the hypermarchés.  I know, I know, we have stationery here too, but somehow it's not quite the same.  My husband just shakes his head and sighs while he waits for me to look at all the different pens and notebooks. 

The poor man's version of the stationery departments of the hypermarchés, where I live at least, is Staples.  I more or less pass a Staples on my way home from school, and often pop in for bits and pieces.  In the summer they had a grand sale, with lots of multibuys.  For no particular reason, I bought 8 little photograph display books (4 for £1!)  I was sure I would find something to do with them.
That was in the summer.  The other day I came across them again when I was looking for something else.  This time, however, I could think of something to do with them. 

The recent Ofsted report, Modern Languages: Achievement and Challenge 2007-2010, stated that while speaking and listening were sound in most primary schools, too few KS2 pupils have the opportunity to read longer texts in the foreign language.  Since then I have been thinking of ways to address reading in KS2 and how I can facilitate that for the non-specialist teachers who I support.

In addition to this, I find occasionally that when my KS2 pupils are working on an individual piece of work, some finish before others and then have nothing to do.  Nothing new there, really, but when you are an itinerant classroom-less teacher it's tricky finding them something worthwhile to do.

So I have come up with a plan.  Small, portable reading books that the children can dip into when they have a spare minute, and which will enrich and enhance their learning of Spanish.  And today I made the first one.
This is one of my Storyjumper stories.  I screencaptured the images using Jing, and then pasted them into a Publisher template.  I added the text in text boxes underneath the images.

I also added a glossary of vocabulary at the end to facilitate independent reading.

I'm now thinking about which other stories I can present in the same way.  Adapting Storyjumpers and Storybirds is an easy way to go as I've already written the stories and the images are fantastic.  I'm also going to use some stories that I've made in PowerPoint, for example "¡Qué rico! ¡Qué asco!" which is an adaptation of one of my daughters' favourites, "Yummy Yucky", and which I have made into a Podomatic minicast.

I did a lot of work on reading in KS3 when I was a secondary AST.  If you are thinking of working on reading with your classes you might like to read the rationale that I produced at the time.

I really would like to make some more mini-books now, but sadly the ironing beckons.

Monday, 14 February 2011


It's Monday night and I've been back from the ICT Links into Languages conference (#ililc) in Southampton for 24 hours.  I've had to work today, and do more presenting (on a much smaller scale!) but have been thinking about the conference all day and still following other peoples' reflections on the #ililc hashtag on Twitter.

It was an amazing event.  Amazing for lots of reasons: 

It wouldn't have been the event that it was without the fantastic organisation by Joe Dale, Zena Hilton, Jo Rhys-Jones and the rest of the Links SE team.  The fact that it all ran so smoothly is testament to the fact that it must have been brilliantly organised. 

I was so honoured to be asked to present, particularly given the calibre of the rest of the presenting team.  I hope that people found my presentations useful.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of the MFL Twitterati who I have been corresponding with for so long on a virtual level.  We were saying at the time that for such events we should have t-shirts with our avatars on to facilitate the recognition process!

I attended some wonderful presentations.  I found out how to use tech to facilitate working with a partner school from Dale Hardy, got some good ideas for teaching phonics from Wendy Adeniji, learned more about what Wikis can do from Alex Blagona and explored KS2-3 transition with Jo Rhys-Jones.  And not forgetting the opening keynote from Joe Dale about "The rise and rise of the MFL Twitterati" and the closing keynote by Rachel Hawkes.

And of course if you were there you'll know that I got to see my crazy sister for the first time in ages.  She is now a #MFLSAT convert and dedicated Twit.

What was particularly noticeable was that we were all singing from the same hymnsheet.  All moving forward towards the same goal.

"When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion"
Ethiopian proverb

Here are my presentations from the weekend, plus the handouts so that you can access the links if you want.