KS2 and KS3 making links between language learning

This morning I sat down with the  HOF, Julie Sutcliffe, at University Academy  High School  to plan a link lesson visit to local cluster primary schools. Here is another “work in progress” transition project that JLN are working on.

First a little context , over the last 18 months the High School language staff and I have been considering the links between KS2 and KS3 .The school has access to the JLN SOW JLN SOW. The high school runs an alternate year French Spanish Y7 language learning programme with the option to pick up the second language in Year 8.We are looking for simple solutions to local transition here.

Julie is aware that some of the children are just setting off and other children are writing simple texts in the present tense.Over the next couple of years the children will all begin to work at a similar level

Last academic year Julie and I looked for links between KS2 and KS3 learning by using the SOW as our reference point. All Julie’s main cluster primary schools are working at an early or more advanced stage with this SOW in French or Spanish. We were looking for links – in language , structure and skills..

Julie and I then adapted the current 2013-14 Year 7 first term learning scheme, offering KS2 children the opportunity to share prior learning, access familiar games and songs and use familiar learning tools and approaches. We considered ways of sharing knowledge across the two languages of French and Spanish to bring children up to speed or to allow children to value the knowledge that have gained during their primary language career. Last Summer term we held staff training for the secondary language department to look at prior learning and development of skills.

There was a light bulb moment when we saw a way forward for this high school and its year 7 intake! How often do we as linguists move from French to Spanish to find key words or to understand structure or grammar? As linguists we can promote with the children in Year 7 some of our “tricks of the trade” and how we can reinforce “language linking skills” they may not as yet have realised they possess! We are therefore building on prior language learning and knowledge as the new DfE POS asks KS3 to do! 

The children in Year 7 this year have made the links between the language learning that took place (mainly in French in KS2) and the new language for most of the children in Autumn term Y7 in Spanish. Masculine /feminine nouns- much easier to develop , because there have been similar links made in KS2, foods, animals, days of the week ,months of the year  etc, etc– the children as “language detectives and explorers” are simply making links between prior learning of French and the new language of Spanish. 

The children who have arrived in Year 7 with Spanish are not being held back as the speed with which links are made between French and Spanish is allowing progression to happen quite naturally. I loved an email earlier in the year  from Julie that told me the children just conjugated the verb “tener” because they could already do this in French and they understood why and how!

So what comes next? Well that’s what we have been planning today. Next year the cohort arrive with French and learn French in Year 7 .So Julie’s challenge with this next  year’s academic  cohort is to look more deeply at the skills the children are bringing with them from KS2 and how to build on these in a language they are familiar with already We remind ourselves all the time that we are helping young language learners with competent basic skills become linguists. So what skills of a linguist have the children already developed? 

Reading this on paper or hearing it from me for Julie  is not the same as actually experiencing this. With limited time and finding days that suit primary and secondary, Julie is flipping the languages and trialling the following school visit to two cluster schools,where the children learn French. They are going to explore some text level Spanish… because don’t forget she also needs to promote the Year 8 second language option. After the trial visits she will be better equipped to inform her secondary colleagues about  what to expect of young year 7 language learners who are looking forward to becoming linguists!

The activities are based on this you tube clip ………….

And a  power point word document that one of the associate Spanish JLN teacher uses to help her KS2 classes in Y4 when they learn this song with both the words and pictures to explain the actions and body parts. 

Why have we chosen this?
All the children will have practised the parts of the body in Year 4 as part of the class alien building activities and throughout their language learning with songs such as “Heads, shoulders, knees and toes”. Take look here – Karen the teacher at one of the cluster schools presented her simple ideas about the use of Mr Potato Head to practise parts of the body with Year 4 French.
It is a song that the Year 6 class teachers can then follow up and practise and use as part of their end of year leaving assembly or as part of their World Cup                                             celebrations  and link to the Brazilian Crown making 
                             activities as a Spanish samba style dance!

It also allows Julie to get beyond word level quite quickly , allows her to engage with the primary style of language learning and to promote the liveliness, cross curricular nature  and effectiveness of speaking another language!

Below are the simple steps and activities that Julie will follow when she visit and works with the trial cluster primary year 6 groups .She should meet  approximately 90  children in total in the two schools and will feedback her simple observations to secondary colleagues that are written below in red.We will let you know in a later blog post how she gets on!

1.French – revisit familiar body parts language with a song e.g. Heads, shoulders , knees and toes/ Jean petit qui danse (nb You Tube clip)
Reinforce and practise/ revisit language so all children are comfortable with the key words for transfer activities.
Feedback : knowledge and retention of language
You Tube clips: Jean  petit qui danse / Heads, shoulders , knees and toes
2.Spanish key word cards / French key word cards- matching activity
Promote the skill : finding meaning of new language through second language knowledge
Seeing links  and patterns in words from different languages
Feedback : making links between la familiar and an unfamiliar language
Spanish body part word cards
French body part word cards
3.Finding the key words in the Spanish bilingual dictionary What else can we now find out about these nouns
Use of bilingual dictionary
Recognition of masculine and feminine nouns
Feedback : prior understanding of how to use a bilingual dictionary/are children aware of masculine and feminine nouns and how to use the (m) and (f) to find this out?
Spanish bilingual dictionaries – one between two – provided by high school.
4.Match the written word to the spoken word

Listen ,read, respond activity
Feedback :  listening for key  sounds /word recognition skills
Spanish word cards for children
Teacher to only use spoken word
5. Listen and watch the You Tube clip – which just show the words of the text. Spot the key words and point to the correct part of the body
Identifying and understanding key familiar words in an unfamiliar text.
Feedback : accessing sentence level text to find familiar language.
You Tube clip
6.Add the missing words to a text
Look for cognates / semi cognates in commands within text
Understand text by accessing picture and clue prompts
To feedback  : following a foreign language text and anticipating key language. Exploring unfamiliar text by context  
PPT of song with pictures on IWB – key body parts omitted.
Children have Spanish word cards
7.Perform the song
Recall prior knowledge and familiar language  
Listen, read, respond and join in
You tube clip
8.Leave text and song for follow up by class teacher as part of World Cup/ end of year celebrations
9. Children’s feedback
Children to complete simple slip of paper with 3 points that they have realised/ considered/ explored whilst exploring a new and unfamiliar language about their own language skills
Feedback to secondary colleagues

Paper for children