Monday, 6 February 2017

More Spanish books

You know how it is, you go looking for one thing and end up finding something else!  It always reminds me of the "Even Better!" man on the Fast Show.

I was actually looking for a Spanish language book version of the Wizard of Oz for Musicals Breakout Week at school, but got sidetracked by these little beauties (above) on Amazon Spain.

They are board books, and written for very young Spanish-speaking children.  They are all from the series "De la cuna a la luna".  As such they are ideal for Key Stage 1 and could also be used for Key Stage 2 beginner learners.


(Sorry - Blogger's having one of it's "photos the wrong way" days)
Cocodrilo is all about colours, and has some lovely rhymes.  The Cocodrilo himself is verde, porque muerde.  As you can see, he is on the top of a pile of things which are all different colours, and which rhyme with the colours.  Children can join in with the colours, and you could swap in other things which are the same colours.  They don't have to rhyme!

Pajarita de Papel
Pajarita de Papel is a  little paper bird who is laying the table for a meal with his friend.  It would make a good introduction to eating and drinking, for example.


This book practises the numbers 1 to 5, and starts "1 - Luna", then "2 - Luna y Sol", gradually building up the numbers and the number of rhyming objects.  It would be a great book for children starting to count in Spanish, and you could put it any words to help with the counting.

Miau is like a simpler version of Muu. Bee. Así Fue.  It has 6 different animals and the noises they make, finishing with a niño who says "Mamá Mamá"!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Don't forget your PIN

I was reminded earlier of this activity, which I think I originally got from one of the CILT Pathfinder books.

Some students, when learning to write longer sentences, need more support so as to embed the structure and build confidence.  Writing frames are a useful tool to achieve this, but sometimes we need to take a step further back to help students to use them effectively and correctly.

Some students need to practise starting at the left hand side of a writing frame, and working over to the right, picking up something from each column as they go.    If we number each element of the writing frame, and then give the students sequences of numbers - PIN numbers - to decode, they will get used to how the writing frame works.

Here is a simple example: = J'ai les cheveux noirs. = J'ai les yeux bleus. = J'ai les cheveux gris.

The more examples like this that students do, the more confident with using the writing frame they will become.  They can then put together some PIN numbers for their friends to solve, which in turn will help to show that they know how to use the writing frame to form sentences that make sense.

While creating a writing frame is pretty straightforward, adding a number to each element using Word isn't quite as easy.  I usually print out the normal writing frame and then add the numbers quickly by hand.

It's possible to do a PIN numbers activity with complex writing frames such as this one:

Students can decode your PIN numbers, write the sentences and then translate them into English.  Then they can use the writing frame to create PIN numbers for their friends, decode those of their friends and translate those.

This way you'll be able to get a lot of mileage out of a simple writing frame.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Veo Veo

My Key Stage 2 Spaniards and I have been having fun over the last few weeks with a new game - Veo veo.  It's the Spanish equivalent of I Spy, and works in much the same way as Which card?

Veo veo has a rhyme to start it off:

I played the game using animals, as above, with Year 3 while we were learning cave-painting animals.  We practised the rhyme together (Escuchad y repetid).   Then I chose an animal and started off the rhyme.  Once I had said "¡Un animal!" the children took it in turns to guess which one I was thinking of.  The one who guessed correctly then took over the game and started off with "Veo veo".  I also played it with Year 5 this week using weather phrases and they were very motivated by it.

I Spy isn't quite as interesting in French as it doesn't involve a dialogue, but it's still worth a try:

Friday, 3 February 2017

Trapdoor and Cluedo

Trapdoor is one of those language activities which is really useful and very beneficial to learners, but which takes ages to explain!

The above is a simple version designed for lower Key Stage 2.  If you're doing one for Key Stage 3 or upwards, you could have three or four options each time.  Trapdoor is a pair activity which models good sentence structure, which will stand the children in good stead when they come to write their own sentences later.

You will need:
One copy of the grid for each child
Children organised into pairs


  1. Child A chooses an option from each pair, but doesn't tell Child B what they've chosen.  Let's say for example that in the top sentence Child A chooses Me gusta / la limonada / me encanta / la pizza.
  2. Child B starts to read the first sentence, choosing one of the options each time as they do so.
    "Me gusta el queso..."  Now Child B hasn't chosen the correct option from the second box, so Child A says "Trapdoor!".  Child B has to go back to the beginning and start the sentence again.
  3. Repeat the process until Child B can say both sentences correctly according to Child A's choices.
  4. Child A and Child B swap roles and begin the activity again.

Cluedo is a game which works along similar lines.  The above is an example of a Cluedo grid, which, again, can be as simple or as complex as you like.

This activity is teacher-led, at least to start with.  Children need to listen to each other and to you, and to think carefully about the answer.

You will need:
A copy of the grid on the whiteboard 
Optional: a mini-copy of the grid for children to use to help them

  1. The teacher chooses one option from each column, but doesn't tell the children.  I usually note my choices in my planner as I have been known to forget what I chose!  For example, let's say I've chosen boca / enorme / roja.
  2. The children take it in turns to guess your three choices by reading the whole phrase or sentence.  You can tell them how many parts they have got right, but not which parts.
    Child 1 says "una nariz pequeña y gris".  They have got no parts right so I say "Cero".
    Child 2 says "una oreja enorme y marrón".  They have one part right so I say "Uno".
  3. Keep going until someone works out all three parts and you are able to say "Tres".