Monday, 16 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like a Christmas mini-book

I have to admit that I am often easily distracted from my work. I think I may have mentioned that before.  This afternoon, I was having a look at Twitter while I was supposed to be finishing a resource, and noticed that @missmclachlan was tweeting pictures of some interesting-looking origami Christmas trees that her classes were making.  I asked if she had a link, and she posted the link to the above YouTube video.

It's easy to make regardless of whether you understand the Spanish, and what I particularly like is that you can write things underneath each layer.

While I was walking to pick up my children from school this afternoon, it occurred to me that you could stick half a Spanish lady on the top and the tree bit becomes a Flamenco skirt.  Or turn the tree bit upside down, add a semi-circle of pale yellow, pink or brown card and it becomes an ice-cream cone.  Or add a face to the bottom of the tree bit and it becomes a magician's hat.

Like I said, I'm easily distracted.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas ideas for Primary French

This evening I had a planning panic when I realised that the two year groups I have for French this week, Year 3 and Year 5, have already done all my main Christmas resources (cards and mini-books).  I put out a plea on Twitter and the CfBT Primary Linguanet forum, and as usual they came up trumps, with enough brilliant ideas to last several weeks.  Many of the ideas came from Vicky Cooke, a primary languages teacher from Yorkshire.  I suggested she put them into a guest blogpost.  And here it is!

Every year I seem to run around looking for ideas to use across KS2 French. Some years I really struggle and others there’s too many to use. This year is a rich year, perhaps because I’ve connected to other teachers via Twitter and the Languages in Primary Schools Facebook page (join!).

Here are some of my current favourites:

Origami – always a winner. I search for ‘origami de noel’ in YouTube and there are plenty of clips that come up.

This one is pretty straightforward and you only need squares of green paper (in fact, I grab A4 and the first thing we do is make a square).  I tend to have them watch the video first, then discuss the steps, and teach/recap a few key words (plier, déplier, triangle, diagonal).  Then we watch again stopping at each step and repeating the instructions clearly while demonstrating.  I usually have to help those who struggle with manual tasks, or sit them with a capable friend.

Once complete you can then sing ‘mon beau sapin’ with a little forest of trees. Mister Toony has a version with lyrics:

Helen Williams on the Languages in Primary Schools Facebook page (have I mentioned it already..?) shared the Jeanne de la Lune Advent Calendar.   I’ve used it as a prompt for other things. So when Vive le vent comes up, we learn the song and sing it (plenty of choice on YouTube).  Children have also learnt the words of Le Père Noël est enrhumé and narrated the animation with the volume off.  I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other things to do with it.

My absolute all time favourite little Christmas clip is this puppy singing Petit Papa Noël.

You can find the lyrics (and dozens of other seasonal ideas) on the ever popular Tête à Modeler

Emmanuelle Fournier-Kelly of Maskarade Languages has shared some free resources this year.  I like the biscuit recipe and in the past have had a ‘bake-off’ style competition (it’s called Le Meilleur Pâtissier in France) where children can bake at home, decorate and we invite a special guest (or the head…) to judge.

Finally, I also like to do picture dictations where they have to draw what you say. Obviously this depends on knowing the vocabulary, but is good fun when you compare at the end.  I might include deux petits sapins verts, un grand sapin vert, huit petites boules de neige, un grand bonhomme de neige and so on.  Add in some prepositions if they know them.

Have fun and Joyeux Noël!

Merci Vicky!  
What are your favourite Christmas resources and ideas for Primary Languages?  Please share them in a comment below.

Monday, 2 December 2013


From January 1st 2014 Erasmus+ will become the new EU funding programme for education, training, youth and sport.  It replaces Comenius, Leonardo, Erasmus, Grundtvig and Transversal as well as other smaller programmes.

Last week I went to a briefing session which was run by Europe Direct Northeast.  Here are the main points.

Erasmus+ has a new and different approach to that of the old programmes.  Europe is a changed and changing place, and it needs to become more competitive in the face of the new economies of South America and Asia.  Priorities are different.

The new programme is much simplified.  It is more user-friendly and easier to navigate (not difficult, if you have experience of filling in Comenius application forms!)  There is also a substantial budget increase of 40% to €40.8 billion over seven years.

These are the objectives of the programme, against which project applications will be scored:

  • improve the level of key competences and skills (especially literacy, numeracy and ICT)
  • foster quality improvements, innovation excellence and internationalisation at the level of education and training institutions
  • promote European lifelong learning
  • enhance the international dimension of education and training
  • improve the teaching and learning of languages (a real bonus for the MFL community!)
Amongst the opportunities for individuals, across the EU 800,000 lecturers, teachers, trainers and education staff and youth workers will be able to teach or train abroad.  500,000 young people will be able to volunteer abroad and take part in youth exchanges.

Key Action 1 relates to the Learning mobility of school staff.  The aims are to develop school staff competences, such as languages and ICT, and to offer professional development opportunities abroad.  The application procedure has changed.  In the past, schools completed their own applications and delivered them to the national agency by the given deadline.  Now, schools will need to register with the programme and then formulate a strategic two-year international plan.  Then they apply for opportunities as and when they come up.  The approach, therefore, is now strategic and institutional, and is no longer an opportunity for personal enrichment.  It must be whole-school. 

There are opportunities for innovation projects and the exchange of good practice.  There is funding for 25,000 partnerships involving 125,000 institutions (which works out at about 5 partners per partnership) to share best practice, enhance basic skills and to keep children engaged with their learning.  Cross-phase and cross-sector partnerships are encouraged.

eTwinning will take on an enhanced role, with an expected 200,000 teachers collaborating online.  Money will be spent redeveloping eTwinning, and more use will be encouraged.  It will aim to provide a stronger platform for cooperation between schools and will support all kinds of school cooperation and mobility.  

Key Action 2 is for Strategic Partnerships.  They aim to develop and implement practices and tools, as well as an exchange of experience and good practice.  The funding deadline will probably be March. Successful applications will show transferability of knowledge within partnerships, a clear sense of European identity and an introduction of languages, and will not be just a transfer of materials.  If a partnership wishes to meet in one of the partner countries, they will have to demonstrate why they have to meet physically and not online.  The meeting will have to lead to something specific.  Again, the application procedure is different.  In partnerships of just schools, only one application needs to be submitted, by the co-ordinating school.  Then the whole partnership will be approved by the co-ordinator's national agency - whole partnerships are selected.  This will solve the problem that Comenius school partnerships have had in recent years, where each school applied separately to their national agencies and were approved or not at national level.  Partnerships often collapsed when not enough partners were approved by their own national agencies.  Partnerships will receive a fixed amount of Euros regardless of where the partners are, and will be based on the number of organisations in the partnership.

Sadly, Comenius Language Assistants and Partner-finding seminars are not a part of Erasmus+.

Keep an eye on the website as well as the Twitter hashtag #erasmusplusuk.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Roscón de Reyes

It's here!  The 2013 Spanish Christmas card.  It represents the Roscón de Reyes, the cake that is traditionally eaten in Spain on 6th January, el Día de Reyes.  The Roscón is made with a rich dough flavoured with orange and lemon, and has brightly-coloured candied fruits on the top.  Inside is hidden a little figure or toy (in 1986 I found a minute china vase in a Roscón!) and also a bean.  Whoever finds the figure is crowned king or queen for the day, and whoever finds the bean has to pay for the Roscón the following year.

Here's how to make the card:

You will need: a piece of A4 card, scraps of red, gold, green and silver shiny paper (Christmas wrapping paper is ideal and much cheaper than packs of foiled card!), scissors, glue, a pen and colours.  Most importantly you'll need a copy of the Roscón on roscón-coloured paper, a copy of the crown on card to use as a template and a copy of the title banner, which will be fine on white paper.  Download the Roscón, crown and banner from here.
1.  Fold the A4 card in half.  Cut out the Roscón and stick it on the middle of the card.  Don't throw away the scraps of Roscón paper - you'll need them later.
2.  Draw round the crown template three times on the reverse of the gold paper, and cut the crowns out. Stick them across the top of your card.  You could decorate the crowns if you want.  I have written on the names of the Reyes Magos: Melchor, Baltasar and Gaspar.
3.  Colour in the lettering on the banner and stick it on the bottom of the card.

4.  Use the scraps of red, gold and green paper to make round shapes and lozenge shapes to represent the candied fruits that are put on top of the Roscón.  Stick them on, leaving one space.
5.  On the reverse of the silver paper, draw the shape of a trinket that will be hidden "in" the Roscón.  I have done a simple round silver coin.  Cut it out and stick it on the space that you left.  Then, using the scraps of roscón-coloured paper from step 1, make a little flap to cover the trinket and stick it on.  You could put another candied fruit on top of the flap.

Before the children make these, we are going to look at the ingredients, probably as a pair exercise with dictionaries or even a Tarsia, and watch this video of a baker making roscones.  There are also lots of photos of Roscón ingredients, like this one.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Spirals and waves

I was reminded on Twitter yesterday of Festisite Text Layout, which I have used for about a year now to make word spirals and waves.  I started to use it as a way of making short activities to help students to practise vocabulary in lots of different ways, following this seminar by Heather Rendall.  I use them mostly in sheets like this one.

When you're using Festisite, I recommend for your settings the middle font, as it's clearest, a large font size and the A3 paper setting:

When you've made your spiral or wave, the website generates a PDF for you.  All you need to do then is to do a screen capture and then crop the image in your usual way.  If you make it in a big font on the A3 setting, your resulting spiral or wave will be clearer once you shrink it.

You can use the wave generator to make waves like this one, or do just one line to make a word snake, like the one here.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Magical Miró

I have a confession to make.  This isn't my idea.  Well, it started off as my idea, and had another idea added to it by a very clever student.

I always liked working with NQTs back in my secondary days, as they always brought with them lots of fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.  I'm now a language tutor on the Primary PGCE course at Manchester University, and I am learning from the students there.  My input on their first language day in September was ideas for promoting reading and writing in the languages classroom, and one of the things I showed them was how to make calligrams like these.  Their second session was language-specific, and the Spanish group talked about using the works of Joan Miró to inspire lessons.  Yesterday we went to a junior school in Stockport, where the students had the task of teaching a 30 minute language activity to a small group of Year 5 or Year 6 children.

For me, one of the students stood out from the rest.  She presented the colours in Spanish to the children and then gave them a black-and-white Miró-style picture (that she had drawn herself) which they coloured in and labelled calligram-style.

Now I don't know much about Miró, as my artistic endeavours thus far have been limited to Gaudí and mosaics.  So I did a bit of digging to see what it was all about, and have had a go at the calligramming myself.  I created my Miró-esque picture using this resource as a guide.  Then I coloured it with coloured pencils, and used coloured fineliners to write the colours in:

I'm determined now to find out more about Miró's art and to incorporate this activity into the colours section of my Key Stage 2 Spanish scheme of work.  Ya-boo-sucks to the new curriculum and its lack of desire for culture.

Here are some of the Miró links that I've found so far:
Draw like Miró, collage style
Another way of making Miró-style artwork
TES Miró resources
Rachel Hawkes's Miró resources

Of course you could use other artists for the same idea:
Arcimboldo (and perhaps write the food names in instead of the colours)
Kandinsky (perhaps)
Van Gogh (in simplified form)
Matisse (also see this blogpost)

So thank you to the very clever student for taking two ideas and making something so much better by putting them together.

UPDATE 18.11.13:

My Year 2 class have been working on 2D shapes and numbers to 15.  We have been counting shapes in pictures and writing numbers, and have also used colours to help us.   (The resources are here if you'd like to use them.)  I've used the Miró idea and a box of 2D shapes to create pictures like these:

There is a space at the bottom of the A3 sheet, under the frame, for them to complete the sentence "En mi cuadro hay ____ círculos, ____ cuadrados y ____ triángulos."  

Another great Miró link for you as well, again via the wonders of Twitter.  This is another Miró dice roll activity, but for making Miró-style people.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

New Curriculum compliance

There have been some lively discussions about the new curriculum for Key Stage 2 on the Primary Linguanet forum over the last few days.  I mentioned that over the summer I had gone through my scheme of work for KS2 Spanish and added or edited many units to make the whole scheme more "new curriculum compliant".  People have asked to see my alterations, and, rather than send the document to lots of people individually, I am going to reproduce the alterations here.  You will need to look at the alterations alongside the existing schemes of work which can be found here.

Songs, stories and rhymes
To add/amend
Can do
Storybird ¿Cómo te llamas?

Hola Hola
(Singing Spanish)
Latin greetings and saying name, male and female names, compare to Spanish
I can
·          Greet others in Spanish
·          Reply to the question ¿cómo te llamas?
·          Ask someone else what their name is
·          Identify boys’ names and girls’ names in Spanish

Speaking: board game or pair game where chn help each other to practise and use spontaneous talk phrases such as Me toca
I can
·          Ask someone how they are feeling
·          Tell someone how I am feeling
·          Take part in a short dialogue with a friend
Vamos a contar
Uno, dos, tres

Uno, dos y tres gatitos

a-a-a Gran Canaria

Speaking: Number survey.  Give each chn a number between 1 and 15
¿Qué número tienes? Tengo …
Leading to writing “Abbie tiene dos”
Plus practises por favor and gracias

Latin numbers as root for Spanish ones
I can
·          Count from 0-15
·          Use the numbers 0-15 out of sequence
·          Do simple calculations in Spanish
·          Carry out a survey about numbers with my classmates
·          Make the correct Spanish vowel sounds
·          Identify words containing the /th/, /b/ and /kw/ sounds
Vamos a contar
Storybird ¿Cuántos años tienes?
“Write back” game (JTJ p11)

Speaking (and reading): role play – put the dialogue in the right order and then act it out

I can
·          Ask someone how old they are
·          Say how old I am
·          Take part in a role play about saying my name, saying my age, and saying how I feel

Los colores (Anthology p35)

Hombre de color

Speaking: Survey ¿Cuál es tu color preferido?
I can
·          Say 11 colours in Spanish
·          Understand 11 colours in Spanish
·          Ask someone what colour something is
·          Ask someone what their favourite colour is
·          Take part in a poem about colours
En mi estuche

Speaking: pair game with small cards ¿Qué es eso?  Sí, es …. / no, no es…, provide crib sheet for support
I can:
·          Say 6 classroom objects
·          Understand 6 classroom objects
·          Answer the question ¿Qué es eso?
·          Use the Spanish words for Yes and No
En mi estuche
¿Qué veo?
Latin nouns of unspecific topic to demonstrate origin of gender

Speaking/dictionary work: multiple choice (of 3) to find out the word for object shown by picture.  Then work with partner, pointing at a picture and saying ¿Qué es eso?  Es un(a)….
I can
·          Put words in alphabetical order
·          Use a bilingual dictionary to find the meaning of a word
·          Use a bilingual dictionary to find out the gender of a word
·          Identify the gender of a word by looking at its final letter and/or its indefinite article
Frutas y verduras

Speaking: shopping lists and market –role play.  Pick up 3 pictures to be the shopping list, simple role play with partner using por favor, gracias, ¿qué quieres? Aquí tienes
I can:
·          Say 6 fruits
·          Understand 6 fruits
·          Say 6 vegetables
·          Understand 6 vegetables
·          Indentify the gender a word and whether it is singular or plural
·          Take part in a role play where I buy fruit and vegetables in a market
Frutas y verduras

Speaking: food and opinions survey. Report back in writing “Matthew dice “Me gustan las naranjas”

Speaking: Trapdoor activity to practise foods and opinions

Summative task: replace lily-pad writing with opinions of food plus connectives which can then be a speaking presentation
I can:
·          Use Me gusta(n), No me gusta(n), Me encanta(n) and Prefiero to express my opinions
·          Ask someone else what they like
·          Write a short paragraph about my opinions of foods, using connectives to link the sentences
Las formas

(Speaking in this unit OK)
I can:
·          Join in with descriptions of flags using colours and shapes
·          Use actions to help me to speak accurately
·          Say what colours a certain flag has
·          Say what shapes a certain flag has
¿A qué fecha estamos?
La Oruga muy hambrienta – Eric Carle

“Monday is lunes” song

“Hoy es lunes” (Eric Carle)

Speaking: ¿Te gusta el lunes? Me gusta / No me gusta
I can:
·          Say the days of the week
·          Understand the days of the week
·          Say which days of the week I like and don’t like
·          Join in with the repeated sections of La Oruga Hambrienta
·          Use a bilingual dictionary to help me to adapt a story
¿A qué fecha estamos?

Speaking: Use shapes from Unit 7.  Chn count shapes in each question and write in the numbers.  Spend 2 mins memorising. Then partner quizzes them to see how much they can remember
Sí, eso es / No, eso no es
I can:
·          Count from 16-31
·          Use the numbers 16-31 out of sequence
·          Form simple plurals
¿A qué fecha estamos?
El rap de los meses
Speaking: ¿Te gusta + month? Me gusta / no me gusta

Speaking: survey - ¿Cuándo es tu cumpleaños?
I can:
·          Say the months of the year
·          Understand the months of the year
·          Talk about some Spanish fiestas
·          Say which months I like and don’t like
·          Ask someone when their birthday is
·          Say in which month my birthday is
¿A qué fecha estamos?
Dates and Christmas celebrations mini-book
Speaking: presentation with name, age, birthday, me gusta plus day of week, favourite colour
I can:
·          Write dates in Spanish, using a day, a number and a month
·          Speak to others about my, my name, my age, my birthday, some things I like and my favourite colour
Descubrimos los animales
Cabeza, hombros, manos, pies

El monstruo
Mi cara redondita (Anthology p7)
I can:
·          Say the parts of the head and face
·          Understand the parts of the head and face
·          Describe the parts of the head and face using colours and adjectives of size and shape
·          Write descriptive sentences using correct word order
·          Form simple plurals
Descubrimos los animales

El bicho de las frutas
I can:
·          Say some parts of the body
·          Understand some parts of the body
·          Identify a cognate or “shared word”
·          Say correctly sounds in Spanish that make it different to English
Descubrimos los animales

Muuu Beee así fue

Vengan a ver mi granja
Cinco ratoncitos (Anthology p21)

Speaking: animal sounds - ¿qué dice un…? / ¿Es un…? Sí / no in pairs
I can:
·          Say some animal words
·          Understand some animal words
·          Describe some animals using colours and adjectives of size and shape
·          Write a description of an animal using connectives and the verb forms es and tiene
·          Use my phonic knowledge to work out some animal sounds in Spanish
Mi familia y yo
Los colores
Latin – family members

Speaking: Presentando a la familia role play (SSAKS2 p28)

Formal writing based on book Los colores (with additional members of the family)
I can:
·          Say some members of the family
·          Understand some members of the family
·          Say the name and age of a member of the family
·          Describe family members, agreeing adjectives correctly
·          Adapt a text to create something new
·          Take part in a role play about members of the family
Mi familia y yo
El rábano gigante
Speaking OK in this unit
I can:
·          Take part in a story about family, using actions to help me remember the repeated elements of the story
Mis mascotas

Speaking: Trapdoor activity with names, numbers and pets

(Plus exisiting Battleships game)
I can:
·          Say 9 pet words
·          Understand 9 pet words
·          Use my knowledge of English and cognates (shared words) to work out the meaning of new Spanish words
·          Use my knowledge of phonics to decode names of pets
·          Say what pets I have and don’t have
·          Say what my pet’s name is
·          Write sentences about the pet that someone has and its name
·          Form plurals of pet words
Me encantan los deportes
Media texts re Olympics
Speaking: help each other switch between definite and indefinite articles

Writing: Showdown to practise agreements

Writing – change kit description from models to images in suitcase and lines underneath for writing
I can:
·          Identify the gender of a noun
·          Identify singular and plural nouns
·          Apply correct definite articles to nouns
·          Apply correct indefinite articles to nouns
·          Use a bilingual dictionary to find new vocabulary
·          Identify key words and facts in a text
·          Describe sports kit using correct adjectival agreement and word order
Me encantan los deportes
Como me gusta el fútbol
El deporte al revés (Anthology p36)

Adverbs muy bien, bien, mal
Plus formation of regular adverbs by adding –mente

Speaking: Survey - ¿juegas al… / practicas el/la…?  Then report back in writing

Speaking: Presentation about self and sports
I can:
·          Say 14 sports
·          Understand 14 sports
·          Say that I play or do 14 sports using Juego al… and Practico el/la…
·          Ask someone else what sports they do
·          Use adverbs to say how well I do certain sports
·          Make sentences negative using no
·          Express my opinions about different sports

¿Qué tiempo hace?
¿Qué tiempo hace?
La pequeña araña (Anthology p27)

Latin weather words

Speaking: JTJ Weather reporters game, but change places to compass points.  This scaffolds the writing on own maps

Writing: For own forecasting map, give outline and symbols
I can:
·          Say 10 weather phrases
·          Understand 10 weather phrases
·          Say what the weather is like in different parts of a country using points of the compass
·          Ask what the weather is like
·          Give a simple weather forecast
·          Find out information about the regions of Spain and their weather
Números grandes

Showdown to practise four figure numbers – years of birth of famous people (different groups will require different support)
I can:
·          Count from 31 to 100
·          Count in 100s to 1000
·          Use numbers 31-1000 out of sequence
·          Write numbers between 31 and 1000 in words
·          Say prices in Euros and cents
·          Write prices in Euros and cents
·          Write distances between Spanish cities, reading values from a table
¿Qué hora es?
¿Qué hora es?
Speaking: Quiz Quiz Trade

(in addition to existing speaking where chn help each other to practise with small clocks)
I can:
·          Say times on the hour
·          Write times on the hour
·          Say times on the half hour
·          Write times on the half hour
·          Say ¼ past and ¼ to times
·          Write ¼ past and ¼ to times
·          Say the time every 5 minutes
·          Write the time every 5 minutes
·          Ask someone else what the time is
Yo soy músico
Yo soy músico

I can:
·          Identify genres of music when I listen to them
·          Say why I like or don’t like different genres of music
·          Give reasons why I like or don’t like different genres of music, using adjectives
Yo soy músico

Add sé tocar… / ¿sabes tocar…?
I can:
·          Take part in a song about musical instruments
·          Use my knowledge of English and cognates (shared words) to identify the names of musical instruments
En mi pueblo

Writing: change map for Triarama

Speaking: use grid and co-ordinates to help each other to practise (Battleships?)
I can:
·          Name at least 10 places in town
·          Say what there is and what there isn’t in a town, using hay and no hay
·          Describe places using pequeño and grande
·          Write a short text using connectives and hay / no hay to describe what is in a town
En mi pueblo

Vamos a cantar (Diez Deditos) (lots of infinitives)

Speaking: Trapdoor activity for places and verbs
I can:
·          Identify an infinitive
·          Find infinitives in the bilingual dictionary
·          Say what you can do in a place using se puede and infinitives
·          Write a short paragraph saying what places are in a town and what you can do there
En mi pueblo

Speaking: Survey - ¿cómo vas al colegio? Speaking which can report back in writing

Speaking: Trapdoor activity for verbs, places and transports
I can:
·          Say the 6 parts of the verb IR
·          Understand the 6 parts of the verb IR
·          Say where in town I or someone else is going using the verb IR, al and a la
·          Ask someone else how they go to school
Then and Now

Speaking: Trapdoor activity for structures
I can:
·          Use hay, es and está to talk about what somewhere is like now
·          Use había, era and estaba to talk about what a place used to be like
·          Use no to make negative sentences
·          Describe masculine, feminine, singular and plural nouns correctly
·          Identify the main points in a text about a town
·          Use time phrases to enhance my writing
Los Planetas
Los Planetas
Speaking OK in this unit
I can:
·          Say the 9 planet names
·          Say the 9 planets in the right order
·          Say sentences describing the planets, using actions to help me remember
·          Write sentences describing the planets
·          Say how near or far planets are to the sun
·          Find out information about the planets by working out numbers up to 999,999 which are presented in words