Who are you? First steps between Year 6 and Year 7

Who are you ?
First steps between Year 6 and Year


Next week I meet with my primary and secondary language teaching colleagues from a local  cluster primary schools. Last year we worked upon a  simple project to develop transition links between Y6 and Y7 based on reading, comprehending and developing performances from play-scripts which revisited core language from the children’s KS2 language learning (cafes , animals , personal information). 

This was a limited language activity to allow all schools no matter what stage they were in their implementation of language learning to participate. It was highly effective as all the children enjoyed the activities and the High School teachers were able to revisit six weeks later and explore the plays  and use this as a scaffold by which to develop Y7 pupils performances for the Y6 Autumn term Open Evening.

This Summer  the intention is to try to develop this further within the cluster. We will develop some  spoken and written work based on “WHO” with the children during Y6 Summer term” which they can then revisit and use as a way to get to know their new classmates from other primary schools  and their new language teachers.They are entering a new learning environment.

What we have to remember on our journey toward " Year 6 into Year 7 language learning" and it taking place effectively is that we need to support each other on this journey. Dialogues need to take place and colleagues all need to build trust. This is happening within this cluster and the meeting next week is the next small step. All the children need to be able to participate confidently in activities.Until we reach the point (hopefully in two or three years where all children have learned a language progressively for several years) we need to provide transition routes and platforms that are accessible to all the children.

Our network operates with a SOW which provides a framework that allows the children to develop all four skills,knowledge of basic grammar and useful transactional language.We work with activities that link language learning across the primary curriculum.In Network News we share our good practice and creative approaches between all colleagues both primary and secondary.Currently schools are at different stages of teaching and learning but we are working with practical and creative primary approaches.What we need for this year's step toward effective transition is the next simple point for collaboration between Y6 and Y7 colleagues in the cluster.

The following ideas were inspired by  a tweet I received on my home page from @The _Mr_D and work he has recently been  doing with his primary class  “Describing Fairy Tale Characters “.This is based on ideas and resources from the wonderful @alanpeat .

Year 6 are not in this instance describing fairy tale characters but are setting about saying "Who " they are and feeling confident  to take this forward just six weeks later and introduce themselves in their language lessons in Year 7. They are gong to look back over all the transactional language they have practised and the creative activities they have taken part in to put together something very personal about themselves.

Let's remember it's the final half term of a very busy year for Year 6! So  firstly …in Year 6 and possibly to be revisited in Year 7 we need a song to make a bridge and link the learning together. (This could also become part of the Year 6 Open evening performance).
And what better way to reinforce or teach them a useful question  to find out who someone is! "Who are you? " Probably one of the first questions the children will want to ask their new classmates in Year 7 and for lots of the children the question will be one they have used before (for example in Year 4 Spring 1 and family). And the song …. ? Well it’s got to be the chorus from "Who are you ?" by The Who! slightly more grown up and not a rhyme or childish song but songs help the children remember the questions so they are still very important.



First let’s teach the children the melody and the words from the chorus of the song  : “Who are you ?” also a very useful question when getting to know someone new , which our Y6 children will be doing on the first day at their new high school .This is the chorus  of course to the song:

"Who Are You"
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?

And using the following questions it’s easy to use the melody to create a target language song with “teenage …almost” attitude!

We will use in the target language the following questions: French Qui-es tu? / German “Wer bist du? /  Spanish ¿Quien eres?)

Here is the French version this cluster will practise and share…..

"Qui es -tu?"
Qui es- tu?
Qui, qui, qui, qui?
Qui es- tu?
Qui,qui, qui, qui?
Qui es- tu?
Qui, qui, qui, qui?
Qui es- tu?
Qui, qui, qui, qui?


And in Spanish it would fit to the melody like this …
¿Quien eres?
¿Quien? ¿Quien?


With this cluster of schools it works because the cluster deliver French in KS2. We will be working with French as the target language.

There is the opportunity here immediately to extend the questions that the children already know to ask to elicit information about another person, Here is an opportunity to brainstorm what we already know and share this with the Year 6 class. (Maybe this will allow the children on entry in to Year 7 to share and compare questions with their new class and teacher)



The visual image I saw from @alanpeat was a large piece of A2 paper  in which the children had cut out a hole large enough to pop their heads through .Around the outside the children had created a series of comments and memos  that described both the physical and personality
characteristics of different fairy tale characters.

 It made me think of an old fashioned seaside photograph scene something like the one below….


We will call ours: “Who are you?” picture frames
  
This is what the primary teachers will attempt to achieve in Year 6 ….
  1. To practise and discuss with the Year 6 classes the language they already know to describe themselves physically and to describe their characteristics. (By referring to the SOW - the teacher can remind themsleves of all the content that the children can explore to say so much about themselves , family, hobbies , interests "familiar matters") 
  2. To generate with Year 6  descriptions using the key verbs : moi je suis / moi j’ai … moi j’aime ……./ moi je n’aime pas …..in speaking and writing activities.Some schools have already begun to explore verbs in the third person singular and plural so now is an opportunity to describe pets, family ,friends too!
  3. To explore questions that take the children beyond "Who are you?" when the children engage in dialogues with their current Year 6 class and hopefully next year in Y7 .   
We will practise this first through whole class recall games , simple question and answer activities with a partner and then spoken sharing activities with the class

We will use our “Who are you?” pictures frames to keep a written record  for each child. Each child can record what they want to share about themselves . They will need at least four sentences – a name statement / a statement about their characteristics using je suis… / a physical description using j’ai…. and a like and dislike using j’aime… and je n’aime pas ….

Now it's time for a creative spoken activity.The Year 6 children are going to "speak through their picture frames" and describe themselves. How are they going to do this? 
Well there are a few options 
  • a simple sound recording and photo shot of each picture frame loaded on the school VLE and IWB or computer of each child, 
  • a simple presentation to their table using their paper picture frames as prompts , 
  • a recording of their presentation made into a rap using the recording tool  Autorap Android version of Autorap or Itunes version of Autorap . 


Transferring this focus to Year 7

In Year 7 during the first couple of weeks we can use familiar language to ......
  1. settle and get to know the classes with familiar activities
  2. explore the pupils' confidence, knowledge and understanding of personal information and asking and answering questions and using bilingual dictionaries
  3. refine and extend their spoken and written knowledge of core personal information questions and answers
  4. consolidate their knowledge of some high frequency present tense verbs


 In Year 7 we can have the option of a background link song: "Qui es-tu?" as a memory trigger which will help some children.



We have practised with the children key phrases to be able to describe themselves, which can be recalled and revisited at the start of Year 7 by the class teacher and their classes . 

Pupils who have come from one primary school will have the language to be able to ask pupils who have come from other local primaries that initial question "Who are you?"and find out some simple facts about their new friends and classmates.They will be able to follow up with more interesting questions.

As an AfL activity the Year 7 teacher can ask the children to organise and sort simple questions that match the key statements. 
This year all the children in the primary schools will have practised already asking: How old are you? / What do you like? /What do you not like? What are you called?
This will be the expected minimum .... and so many of them can do so much more!
The Y7 teacher can revisit and consolidate these questions and introduce or revisit how to ask about someone else’s appearance and character.
This gives Year 7 colleagues the reassurance of knowing all the children can do this and platform on which to build and in this case adapt their current Year 7 SOW in the first few weeks.


Using bilingual dictionaries as a reinforcement and AfL activity ,the Year 7 teacher can ask the children to find at least two adjectives to describe how they are feeling in the first couple of weeks in a new school and also what characteristic they want to strengthen in Year 7 .
Once again this gives Year 7 colleagues the reassurance of knowing all the children can do this and platform on which to build and in this case adapt their current Year 7 SOW in the first few weeks.








It’s time now to ask the children what they think the next steps in their learning should be. 
How can they enhance what they can say about themselves and what do they need to practise, access or investigate and understand  to be able to this? 
(With the Year 7 teacher acting as the facilitator of these discussions, links are now being made with the learning focuses of the school’s Year 7 MFL curriculum) .

Either as a class activity or as a homework activity (if the children have access to IT facilities) the children can now create a more sophisticated written presentation of  their “ Who are you? “ picture frames that they created in Year 6 . IT tools such as on IPAd APPS Popplet would be a great way to make a more sophisticated "Who are you?" picture frame 

The Y7 class teacher can differentiate and extend the written activity by  supporting and  encouraging pupils to:
  • extend what they write ,
  • develop a dialogue 
  • swap picture frames and write about a new friend in the third person singular using the facts they can find in their new friend's  "Who are you? "picture frame.
  • demonstrate and share with the children how they can write their near future aspirations and what they are aiming to improve or achieve in Year 7 .
So this is the next step in developing a trust and a dialogue between the schools and teachers. It's "stage two" in understanding what skills and language the children bring to Year 7 Autumn Term One. Next year the dialogue can only grow stronger and the transferable knowledge between colleagues will allow the Year 6 into Year 7 language learning programme to strengthen and develop.