At the start of this academic year I am looking for more transferable tools to support language learning and to build bridges between year groups and across Key Stages.
Thanks to Twitter this morning I saw this tweet from @Primary_Ed “Ideas for students to annotate text as they read” and it reminded me very much of primary school classroom Literacy and Maths working wall annotations and it got me thinking about how we can adapt this already familiar tool for primary languages and beyond into secondary languages……! First take a look at the picture:
For my purposes I am going to call my applications of the idea “Text tracking tools”
1. Modern Day Hieroglyphics
We need to remember that in the first instance we are teaching key language understanding with young primary language learners so let’s ask the children to annotate the text with their own hieroglyphics to share the meaning of the words visually – so for example the simple text
“Ich sehe eine grüne Katze” (I see a green cat)
could have above the key language the drawings of an eye (ich sehe) a green cat (eine grüne Katze).
Imagine how creative the children could be with a description of presents in a Christmas sack , a witch’s potion, directions to visit different places in the town ….etc, etc ?
It could very easily be a drag and drop activity on the IWB for a whole class reading activity too!
We could ask the children to add “honesty spots” ! Simple coloured spots above the drawings that denote where the children had to use a bi-lingual dictionary to ascertain meanings etc. A skill we need to encourage not deter so the “ honesty spot” needs to have a positive spin!
2. Running commentaries
With our more advanced primary language learners and certainly in Year 7 and beyond we can use and add to the annotation “codes” in the Twitter picture at the start of the blog.
It will work in my opinion in KS2 especially with our moving on and advanced Y4,5 and 6 learners to allow them to share with us how much they can not only decode but also comprehend and appreciate of the texts using and revisiting familiar target language themes in different text types( stories, songs, menus, postcards, letters, poems, rhymes, instructions, posters, emails).
3. Structure running commentaries
Finally with our more advanced learners why not ask the children to annotate the text to indicate where they find an adjective, a verb , a noun, a pronoun, a definite article etc….All you and the class need are agreed symbols for each structure that they can identify . Send them on structure hunts in the texts you give them as individuals, pairs and groups.
Looking at individual children’s annotated texts will also allow us as teachers to see where there are gaps in knowledge or just how much the children understand and also how they can empathise with the text and spot the funny bits (a green cat !!!) etc.
This transferable learning tool can start in Spring Year 3 and run right through a young linguists language learning career.
For Jo, up in Year 7, it’s will be a familiar learning tool for the children which she can adapt as a series of reading games and activities and a tool which could allow her as class teacher to see what the children do understand in a target language when they arrive in school.