Monday, 21 May 2018

French and Spanish Art

It's the time of year when schools are having French days or Spanish days and need things to fill them, or when teachers want an artistic activity to fill in a spare lesson here and there.  Here are the ideas previously mentioned on this blog, that may come in handy for such an occasion:

Klee letters - combining art and writing

Vision On!  - creating art out of words

Magical Miró - ideas for exploiting the images of Joan Miró

Decorative Letters - making illuminated texts

The Shape Game - creating an image out of a shape

Imprinting Verbs - creating characters to inspire writing

Moorish Mosaics - making mosaics and exploring symmetry

Gaudí's Mosaics - making mosaic suns inspired by Gaudí

Guatemala - traditional patterns and textiles

Bend it, shape it, any way you want it - using plasticine and play doh

Food flags, informative flags - creating flags out of food, words, images...

Calligrams - converting text into images

Calligrams part 2 - creating calligrams using outlines and stencils

World Cup calligrams

Letter by Letter - make personal calligrams from your initials


Saturday, 19 May 2018

Mi gramática and Ma petite grammaire

Yesterday saw the publication of my grammar resources for Key Stage 2 French and Spanish.

Each resource is a collection of activity sheets and information sheets to support both beginner learners and non-specialist teachers with the grammar named in the Key Stage 2 national curriculum for Languages.  The resource would also suit lower Key Stage 3.  The mind maps in this post show the grammar which is covered in this part 1 (Nouns and Adjectives) and what will be covered in part 2 (Verbs).

Each activity sheet has an explanation of the grammar point in the form of a conversation between children.  It endeavours to include many of the questions that children ask during their language lessons and to answer them!

Find the resources in my Sellfy shop:



You can get 25% discount off the normal price before the end of Sunday 20th May by using the code GRAMMAR.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Grammar in Key Stage 2

I've mentioned before that the national curriculum document for Key Stage 2 Languages doesn't give us much to go on as far as content is concerned.  It's particularly impenetrable for the non-specialist teacher.  The grammar part is the "bit" of the two-and-a bit pages of the document:

"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."

On the face of it, there doesn't appear to be a great deal to it.  However, if you drill down into these simple statements, such as "the conjugation of high-frequency verbs", there are a lot of grammatical points to be covered if children are to build sentences and longer texts successfully.

I have been thinking about exactly what grammar we need to cover in Key Stage 2 to enable this part of the curriculum to be met, to enable children to write longer texts confidently and coherently and, of course, to lay a solid basis for Key Stage 3.  I have used Mindomo to mindmap the grammar that I think we need for French and Spanish.  Please feel free to use these mindmaps to help you in your work and to show your English co-ordinator what you do!  Very many thanks to members of the Languages in Primary Schools Facebook group for their input and lively discussions about what should be included and what we should call it!



Friday, 27 April 2018

5 in a row

Yesterday afternoon I had an enjoyable lesson with my new Year 6 Spanish class.  At the moment we are learning about sports, mainly to introduce opinions which they haven't done before, being new to Spanish in September. 

The whole-class speaking and listening, and the individual writing, was followed by this 5 in a row activity, which is from this lesson pack

  • The children played in pairs, and there was one group of three.
  • The 5 in a row grid has 64 squares, and the aim of the game is to win by getting 5 squares in a row, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.  
  • Each team member will need a different coloured pen or pencil.
  • The children take it in turns to point to the square that they want and then say the right sentence to go with it.  
  • If their partner agrees that they are correct, they colour in the square with their colour.  Alternatively they could write their initials in the square.
  • The winner is the one who has five squares in a row in their colour.
To say it got a little competitive is an understatement!  There was plenty of target language being used and they were very good at playing tactically to block their opponents.  The group of three found it especially hard to get a line of 5 and had to use nearly all the squares.

This grid could also be used for a Blockbusters-style game, with one student moving vertically and the other horizontally.

It could also be used for a Knights game.  Students move in an L-shape, like the knight in chess, colouring in the square that they reach, as long as they can say the word or phrase correctly.  The student with the most squares coloured in their colour before both players get stuck wins.

If you would like to have a go at 5 in a row, there are quite a few games to try on Light Bulb Languages:

If there is a 5 in a row game that you think would be useful to your classes and which isn't already mentioned here, please get in touch.  I already have the grid made and it's easy to adapt for a new game.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Story Dice

Yesterday morning I found in my Inbox an email alert containing this post from Richard Byrne.  It mentions Story Dice for Android.  This afternoon I downloaded the app to have a play.

You get three vertical rows of dice, which roll when you tap on them, to display sets of images like this:
Once students have rolled the dice, they could take a screenshot and then annotate it in Screen Master.  I have done this example, where I have used each image as a stimulus for a sentence in the target language.  This might work as a revision activity for older learners.