Wedding, Art and Selfies

invitada 12.gif

This blog post is all about exploring famous Art and linking what we can see in a picture to emotions, creating personalities amd characters and generating "Word and Art Selfies" in the style of the famous artist.It's easy to create links between Art ,Drama and performance, empathy and  simple language work

The piece of Art I have chosen in by Henri Rousseau "une noce a la campagne". The portraits of the characters are strong and lead to discussion about how happy the wedding guests and the bride and groom are,... etcetra. Or is this just a very formal Victorian style painting? 

Here are the stages of the language , Art and Drama investigations your class could carry out.

Step One

Reveal the picture to the children.Discuss with the children in the class, which people they think go to a wedding. Who might these people be?  Which family members do they already know in the target language and who do they think the guests are?. Can they come out and indicate the guest and say the phrase “This is + family member noun “ in the target language. 

Step Two

Play character charades. Show a noun card to a volunteer. They mime the person as they look in the painting and members of the class should try and guess in the target language who it is. Encourage the children to ask “Is it......?” and encourage the volunteer to respond to the correct answer with “Yes it is".

Step Three

Give out post- its. Create a word storm around the famous painting.Can the class add labels to each character in the picture. Can the children now add words and phrases in the target language that describe the picture e.g. characters’ feelings, ages, names , the colours they can see in the picture, weather etc.Don't forget the dog too!

Step Four

Ask the children in groups to create their own freeze frame of a wedding photograph in a similar style to the Henri Rousseau picture. The children must create a name , an age and an attitude for each of the characters. Each of the children in the group will take on the role of one of the characters. Children may use props if these are available. Allow children time to practise saying their name, age , how they are feeling and who they are in the picture freeze frame. Ask the children to add one action that they think represents the character.

Step Five

Bring the picture tableaux to life! Each picture could be filmed as they come to life or photographs taken and then the children could say their characters statements as a short introduction to the character.

Step Six

Word Storm Art:This would lead easily to a piece of art work in the style of Rousseau to depict/celebrate a wedding, surrounded by a "word storm" of phrases and words in rthe target language to create the frame of the pictrure each child paints. (E.g. I am called I am....years old I feel happy etc I am the bride / groom/bridesmaid/father etc).


Earth Day Plates


It's Earth Day on Sunday 22nd April. Here is a great opportunity with your KS2 classes to make links between themselves and the rest of the World and think about a common purpose- looking after our Earth. Steph P and her classes took a simple idea,often seen in classrooms. The children created these paper plate displays in the picture above to consider their position in the Universe and explore key nouns and two simple sentences "I am called.." and "I live in ..."in the target language. These can easily be adapted to focus on Earth as if we are looking down on Earth from Space.

Earth plates


Let's  create "Earth" plates.

Simply use the noun for Earth , the continent , the country , the name of the city , name of the  town and finally the sentence "I live in.." (in the target language) which the children need to complete with own address.On the reverse, writng in the target language the name phrase and a greeting add a cartoon drawing of the child.Make the class flip chart the "Ground control Chart".

Play "Astronauts to Ground control " games first. Divide your class in to small groups or pairs of word astronauts. Set up simple word sorting games on desks and tables .Give out packs of cards with nouns for Earth / continents/ a country in each continent including own country/ names of local towns and villages.

  1. Can the children identify what the words may mean and can they see links between target language nouns and nouns in English or home languages? Take feedback and gather information on the flip chart which you have named as "Ground Control Chart". 
  2. Can the children organise the nouns in different groups - alphabetically, from the smallest land mass (i.e. home / street where they live) to the largest space (Earth). Again take feedback and make a note of these investigations on the"Ground Control" chart. 
  3. Sentence building challenge. On your "Ground Control Chart"  write the target language phrase for "I live in ...".In pairs or individually challenge the children to write in draft (or organise cards as prompts for speaking) and create the longest "I live in ..." statement they can ( so I live in + street/ village/ town/ county/ country / continent/ Earth). Take feedback and write up several examples on your "Ground Control Chart".
  4. Set up an "astronaut" memory challenge - how much of one of the sentences can the children remember? Give the children thinking , remembering and repeating with partners time. Invite volunteers to come to the front and say as much of the sentence as they can .
  5. Time to create those Earth plates!

Snapshot of learning : Revision lesson: Personal information Q&A and colours with Year 3 at Barrowhall Primary School.


This morning I went to observe Robert Artingstall teach Spanish to a Year 3 class at Barrowhall Primary School – the Easter holidays are just around the corner and after finishing off this term’s topics including World Book Day and the Gruffalo in Spanish today was the perfect opportunity for a revision lesson.

As I arrived Robert was doing the morning register in Spanish: ¿Comida caliente? ¿Tostada? ¿Uno, dos? Some children answering in Spanish others in English. Then Robert started chatting across the room to Gonzalo, a native speaker from the class – there was no mistake, we were here to learn Spanish!

The lesson started with a greeting song and then another ‘action’ song that got the children moving and singing in Spanish.

Robert then explained that the children were going to do some revision work today.

They started with the ‘hide and reveal’ powerpoint from the Ready-made SOW (Year 3 > Spring 2) – the instruction is to try guess the phrase or the question as it slowly appears on the screen and before it’s completely revealed. Children were asked to quietly tell their partner what they thought the phrase or the question was. They did really well and it allowed Robert to do some consolidation work on pronunciation and mention question word ‘Cómo’ in Spanish and the fact it’s used in 2 different familiar questions (Cómo te llamas? Cómo estas?). The last slide on the powerpoint is then used as a support slide for children to make up their own conversation.

 Hide and Reveal 'Personal Information' powerpoint

Hide and Reveal 'Personal Information' powerpoint

 ¿Cómo..... te llamas or ... estas ? Place your bets! 

¿Cómo..... te llamas or ... estas ? Place your bets! 


Then they moved on to colours. First Robert asked the children to recap as many colours they could think of and write them on their whiteboard, they checked their answers and Robert took the opportunity to do some phonic work particularly about the sounds ‘j’, ‘ll’, z’ which are very different to English. They practiced the colours with actions and then played ‘Simon dice’.

 Lovely writing from memory.

Lovely writing from memory.

 Robert going over sound/spelling link and key sounds in Spanish.

Robert going over sound/spelling link and key sounds in Spanish.

Finally Robert used the ‘Rainbow writing sheet’ where children have to think of and draw an object that corresponds to each part/colour of the rainbow (for example a strawberry for red, a banana for yellow, etc.).


This task allows for bilingual dictionary work as children have to label the thing they are drawing. Before leaving the children to work independently or in pairs Robert checked that the children were confident using the dictionary and did a whole class example also reinforcing gender (fem/masc) recognition and understanding.

 First, find the line in the middle of the dictionary, on one side it's Spanish to English, past the line it's English to Spanish - know which side you need to use.

First, find the line in the middle of the dictionary, on one side it's Spanish to English, past the line it's English to Spanish - know which side you need to use.

 a cherry is 'cereza' and it's feminine because it says 'fem' and 'la'.

a cherry is 'cereza' and it's feminine because it says 'fem' and 'la'.

** All the resources mentioned are either from Youtube or from the Primary Languages Network VLE.

Celebrate our languages!


It's the Commonwealth Games this month! .What a great way to look at languages that represent the nations of our British Isles that will be competing against each other at the games.Plus this time it's being held on the Gold Coast of Australia so what about taking a look at Aborigine culture and language too? Maybe your school could start its school assemblies with a greeting in one of the languages and finish with a farewell too .Or maybe there is a class teacher who speaks the language and could perhaps tell a story in the language to the children.

We work and live in the North West of England and the languages of Gaelic,Welsh and Manx are spoken by children not too far away from us. 

Using an APP such as Chatterpix and the mascot at the top of the blog record what you investigate and create speaking mascots for the different languages.

Let's explore the language of Gaelic with the children .Here is a great site to get you started: Gaelic4Parents.  

You could explore Welsh and this site will be of great use

This lovely You Tube clip could help your children learn a little Manx too and find out more about the Isle of Man.

Snapshot of learning : Easter Poem with Year 1 at Palacefield’s Primary School


Today I went to visit Sarah Gibbons and the lovely Year 1 at Palacefield’s Primary School in Runcorn. As it is nearly Easter the focused of the lesson was an Easter Poem (in the Seasonal Specials folder on the PLN VLE) including colours, numbers and Easter vocabulary.

As the children came in and settled down, Sarah asked the children to help her display the weather on their ‘homemade’ weather chart – what a lovely idea!


Sarah started by recapping numbers to 10 using number flashcards that selected children became in charge of, then using a number song the children practiced counting up and down to 10 in Spanish. Children had to listen carefully for their number.


They, then, moved on to colours using the native speaker voice on the ‘Simply Colour’ powerpoint. The children had to first say the colour in English and then tried to remember the colour in Spanish, they were able to check if they were right by clicking on the colour. If they remembered correctly they received the matching coloured flashcard.


Finally they were ready to listen and join in the Easter Poem – they had already practiced it the week before so they were able to remember quite a lot. The children were also presented with the written word on the video clip so they were also practicing reading skills and the phoneme/grapheme link.

After a quick recap of the actions they were ready to act out the poem.

Finally after quite a long ‘carpet’ time the children went back to their table to make ‘Felices Pascuas’ cards to take home – Sarah encouraged them to think about the vocabulary from the poem and the colour work they did at the start. Whilst they were working independently Sarah walked around the class and asked children what colours (in Spanish) they had chosen



Well done Year 1 and Felices Pascuas a todos !

Mothers Day poem and book.

Heart books.JPG

Mothers' Day is next Sunday in Great Britain.A great opportunity to focus on the use adjectives to describe people with UKS2 children and possibly younger KS3 language learners .

We have created a lesson called "Spoken from the Heart". The lesson has sound file support,a step by step lesson plan plus children's writing frame in French and in Spanish.We try to support all teachers whether specialist or non-specialist teachers to be able to help their pupils achieve a quality target language outcome and in this instance this will be a take home book as a present for mums and carers with a recorded message too perhaps.  

mothers day lesson.png

The children listen,practise,join in and perform the poem alongside the video clips below. Everyone can access these on our You Tube Channel . (Network members can also access and download these from the VLE Seasonal Specials Spring 2 "Mothers Day " file,where you will also find the lesson plans and writing templates too). They have been created with native speakers and can also be used to produce your own class recorded performances for mums and carers and booklets based on the poem. Last year children who were working with our associate teacher,Joanne, created their own IPad video poems for their own mums.They were fantastic! 

The writing frame supports all the children to create their own "Spoken from the heart" booklets.

Heart cards.JPG
spoken from heart template.png

Network members can find all these resources in French and Spanish in Seasonal Specials on the Primary Languages Network Virtual Learning Environment.

Non-network members can access these from the Active Lingo French and Spanish shops on the Primary Languages Network website.  

You may like to listen in or listen after to our  Out of this World APPS and IT with primary languages webinar on Wedneday 15 March .More details here.

You can find out more about all we can offer schools here on Primary Languages Network website.

Contact the sales coordinator for a FREE tour of our Primary Languages Network virtual learning environment and take a look at our Ready Made SOW for KS2 and the stories within the SOW.

Long live books!

Vive les livres.jpg

This delightful French book (available in German "Mein Buch ,mein Freund,mein Abenteuer" and can be found in Spanish and Italian too) has one phrase per page with the most powerful images.The images and phrases enoucrage readers to think about how exciting books can be.! It uses phrases such as "livre gros" ( and the image is an elephant on a page) and "livre petit" ( and the image is a mouse on a page ) and "livre chapeau" ( a book as a hat!). The story book "Vive les livres" ends by suggesting that there is a book for everybody at all times! I love the book! 

Here is a slide share of the French version "Vive les livres".

With  or without the book here are some activities for your classes on world Book Day that this book has inspired me to create.

Gathering books for Mystery book Messages and a Post It  Activity

The children will have to consider book categories and also think of their own favourite book.
The types of books you are introduce will depend on the books in your own school library or class reading area and the children will be responsible for  selecting some of the books.

Have a look around your library or class reading area and find books that meet some of these suggested categories below:

big book,small book, funny book ,happy book ,sad book, sacry book , sunny book, sports book, recipe book , story book,book about animals, factual book , book about geopgraphy , book about history, book about paintings ,

Mystery Book  Message                   
First activity will work best if you have real books that show the different types of books that we are describing and practising with actions linked to the book types. However you could use a mixture of real books and also pictures of the type book you want the children to guess, say and add an action for each type of book.

  • Put the books at the front of the class or in the class library and write on "post its" the "mystery book message" (which is actually the phrase to describe one of the different types of books). Give one post it to a pair or a table.
  • Ask the children to solve the mysery book message and then to go and select a book that matches the mystery message. Here is an opportunity to use bilingual dictionaries to solve the mystery book message. 
  • They need to bring this to a collection point at front of the room and post the post it on the front of the book and stand it up as if on display for the class to see. 
  • As a class investigate the books the children have brought to the collection point and look at the mystery book messages.
  • You could take a photo of your new class display with the post it labels in view.
  • Now the class is ready for the next activity.  

·Bring the books to life with bookshelf freeze frame pattern performances!

  • Take a look at the books that the children have put on the collection point display.Read thre labels together. Work out as a class what each label means.
  • Add a mime to explain the book post it message and say the mystery book message for each book in a voice apporirate to the book e.g.. a scary action and a scary voice for the "sacry book" etcetra.
  • Working in pairs can the children select their four or five favourite book message mimes and voices and create a "bookshelf freeze frame pattern" of these books .The children need to say, act out and bring to life each of the four or five mystery book messages and in between each of the four book physical performances they must freeze frame as if they are books on the shelf waiting to be picked and brought to life. 
  • Invite volunteers to share their "bookshelf freeze frame pattern performances".
  • If there is time the next activity will be an opportunity to explore extra language to describe the books.

Mystery book message lift the flap posters.

  • Give each child an A4 piece of plain paper.
  • Each child should place the piece of paper portratit style in front of them on the desk.
  • ask the children to fold  the A4 piece of paper in half  and make a crease.
  • Ask the children to open up the paper and make sure it is portrait style in front of them .
  • Fold over the top hakld of the piece of paper and make a crease .
  • Open up the folded over half and make sure that this can work as a flap.
  • Underneath the flap the children need to write nouns and adjectives and possibly infinitives of verbs associated with the type of book they have selected,For instance for a scary book the children may decide to write the target language nouns for ghost , witch , bat , vampire, cauldron and adjectives for creepy, dark etc.They should add a small diagram or picture to explain each of their nouns and adjectives etc.
  • On top of the flap they need to write the mystery book message in the target language in hand writing appropriate to the title - e.g scary hand writing. for a scary book .
  • On the bottom half of the page the children should use the book the class have found and put in the collection area to add a drawing of the book , its title and the name of the author.
  • You could  ask class volunteers to compile all of these in to a sugar paper "World Book Day Mystery Book Message" compilation so that all the children can look through and see each others ideas.  

You may like to listen in or listen after to our Active and Creative Story webinar next week 28 February 2018.More details here.

You can find out more about all we can offer schools here on Primary Languages Network website.

Contact the sales coordinator for a FREE tour of our Primary Languages Network virtual learning environment and take a look at our Ready Made SOW for KS2 and the stories within the SOW.

World Book Day


Link your language learning during the week of World Book Day to well known and familiar stories and characters.Perhaps even link the language learning on the day to a character the children or you may decide to pretend to be on the day .

Here are some blog posts with lessons and activities that may help link language learning and World Book Day stories and characters.

Roald Dahl Stories and Characters

Roald Dahl Day ideas - easy to transfer to World Book Day. Create simple personal informatioj cards about different characters.

Roald Dahl Reading Mystery Tour- explore the memorable items and objects from Roald Dahl's books e.g. Willy Wonka's glass escalator or The Twits upside down rooms.

Where's Wally prepositions  .jpg

Where's Wally ? - Take the class on a total physical response language learning jpurney to find Wally and practise the use of prepositions of place.

Table Top Stories - Pick a repetitive story.Explore the simple story line and characters and order that objects appear in the story with a table top display of small  prompt items representing key points on the story. A great total physical response activity and memory skills practise activity.


A Mad Hatter's Tea Party - building target language role plays and creating fantatsical descriptions of food. Activities based upon Alice and Wonderland with a fcous upon the Mad Hatter's tea party.

Alice in W.jpg

Alice in Wonderland - Spoken and written descriptions of characters.Adding challenge for UKS2 and looking at use of nouns,adjectives and bilingual dictionaries.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears- steps and ideas to produce a shadow puppet performance.

Going in a Bear Hunt rhyme with KS1 in Spanish.Active learning and a total physical response, listening and joining in.


Exploring Elmer - listening, joining in ,going on a jungle hunt with card telescopes, acting out and creating simple story files.


Cartoon concertina characters- creating very simple written sentence descriptions about cartoon characters. the eample in the blog post is based on Dennis the Menace but is easily transferable to othet characters.

story box.jpg

Story Character Boxes- reflecting on traditional tales and famous characyters and creating our very own story boxes filled with nouns and adjectives and possibly verb cards that remind us of the story.  

You may like to listen in or listen after to our Active and Creative Story webinar next week 28 February 2018.More details here.

You can find out more about all we can offer schools here on Primary Languages Network website.

Contact the sales coordinator for a FREE tour of our Primary Languages Network virtual learning environment and take a look at our Ready Made SOW for KS2 and the stories within the SOW.

Progress over time.


An example of work by one of the 250 Primary Languages Network schools.

"Carnival" means celebrations across Europe. An ideal opportunity to celebrate with our Year 5 language learners their progress over time. How do we make this progress? Below is a snapshot step by step guide to our progress with colours as adjectives over time.

With our Primary Languages Network Ready Made French and Ready Made Spanish schemes of work we help learners (and teachers) from the start of Key Stage 2 to progress stage by stage in their own personal development of:

  • language learning skills
  • competency in pronunciation and intonation
  • knowledge and understanding of the use of language content
  • knowledge and understanding of grammar,
  • self confidence
  • self efficacy
  • making purposeful links between the learning of a new target language, literacy and home languages.

We start in Autumn 1 Year 3  with our stage one learners.It's important to note that stage one learners can also be children who are Year 6 who are just starting to learn a language too. 

We plot the learning pathway with simple bullet point activities in core lesson plans, exploring language learning skills at the age and stage appropriate level with engaging resources.

colours lesson plan 1.png

We reinforce and revisit core learning  as we progress on the learning pathway .No surprise then that in Year 3 (stage one learners) Spring 2 we focus once again on colours with games and songs.We take the opportunity to explore carnival with a carnival colour song.  

Y3 Spr 2 lesson.png
Y3 spring 2 rainbow.png

Progress over time means we move from simple practise of core language, pronunciation and simple reading and writing of familiar words. In Year 4 (Stage 2) we revisit , refresh and explore this simple language learning knowledge in new and extended ways and explore its application in short simple sentences in listening,speaking ,reading and writing. We begin to focus on grammar and the use of colours with nouns in the target language. 

Y4 Spr 2.png
alien family sheet.png

Being creative with language learning allows the learners the opportunities to see how imaginative and independent they can already be with their developing language learning skills and content and grammar knowledge. Stepping in to the World of our alien family or exploring through drama and performance sentence level descriptions of animals as we walk through the jungle,children face language learning challenges that are attractive,differentiated and achievable. 

Y4 Sum 1 lesson plan.png

We have learned over time that native speaker sound files and video clips ensure that core language is always practised and reinforced accurately as we move forward .We are seeing some really effective and creative progress  because of this support.

jungle animals.png
Alien portrait gallery.jpg

Arriving in Spring 2 Year 5 our learners have investigated colours and adjectives  at word,phrase and sentence level and can now celebrate their basic competency in the use of nouns and adjectives with accurate agreement in short text level descriptions.It's carnival time and we are going to create our own carnival outfits.

We start with clear supported language practise, pronunciation and intonation suppport,review of prior learning in a new context and we explore language learniung skills and grammar at Year 5 stage 3 level

y5 spr 2 lesson plan.png
carnival characters.png

Until finally we can celebrate with class spoken and written descriptions of carnival clothes.


We are learning that progress never stops! As a group of primary practitioners we are pushing each other and ourselves to make sure our language learning is topical, achievable,attractive , purposeful and has challenge.We see the great benefit too of links with literacy and across the wider curriculum.

Recently we have begun to explore nouns,colours ,adjectival agreement and expanded noun  phrases with "Dragons and Unicorns. This was inspired by a "children's choice" vote. Over time , as we progress, this will be incorporated within the body of the SOW as part of the learning pathway. You can see below the same links being made - colours, colours as adjectives, word level, phrases level , senetnce and text level investigations and opportunities to strengthen over time language learning skills. What is very important to remember is that we have a clear plotted pathway from Year 3 to Year 5 and then beyond  in to Year 6 which enables us as classroom practitioners to step away from the core learning and explore these resources to promote progress in our pupils' language learning.

dragons comic book.png
dragons unicorns .png

You can listen to our most current creative webinar on "Dragons and Unicorns"

To find out more about Primary Languages Network ,you can contact us via the link below:

Primary Languages Network Contact Page



Open door on languages!

EDL 2.png

What a brilliant week in our network! It's been a celebration of "all things" languages and we have thoroughly enjoyed working with KS1 and KS2 children here in  the North West of England and witnessing their sheer delight in exploring languages and so importantly sharing their own knowledge of languages. Who says we are a mono-lingual country or that our children can't learn other languages? Take a look at this snapshot of tweets and pictures ......