Primary Physical Target Language Maths

This week at a local primary school,where the staff are working together to establish a pattern of language learning delivered by the class teacher I wanted to look at some simple Maths activities to help the teachers see how language learning can be both useful and easy to link across the curriculum.

Physical Maths

Last week I was reminded by my colleague Emilie in her

bonjour madame blogpost

 how much the children love "physical maths in the target language".  

This tried and tested activity led to discussion amongst the staff about how this would make a good simple AfL activity both in the target language and listening /responding and also if we then thought about how this could become a Maths pen and paper activity.Here are a few of these very simple and easy to manage ideas..... 

  • You could  ask the children to write on their whiteboards the mathematical sentences that they have just watched in the physical target language maths
  • You could give out mathematical sentences and ask children to create the physical French/ Spanish/German etc maths performance for other children to then say in the target language  
  • You could give out a written French/Spanish /German maths sentences and ask pairs to create the physical performance which then the class need to write on their whiteboards as mathematical sentences and compare against the original card instructions.

Months and Physical Bar Charts

We then went on to consider months of the year as this is part of our


 next half term Year 3.The teachers were all very comfortable with the idea of physical bar charts and counting up children to see who had a birthday in which month etc. We added a twist - because the months of the year labels were randomly placed around the room and the teachers had to first find their birthday month, reading and recognising their month of the year in French.

Once the teachers had gathered around the correct month, they had to put themselves into calendar order.This meant that each birthday month group  called out its month in French and one volunteer listened and organised the groups into calendar order and then into a bar chart formation.

All they had to do then was count up the number of birthdays in each month and create a written target language record - month and number!

Months,physical bar charts and dates 

With Year 4 onwards I have added a challenge to this physical bar chart in the past. With children who knew numbers 1-31 or with children who can form the date in the target language then the individual month groups can share with each other their birthdays e.g "10 August" and put themselves as a birthday month in to numerical order within their bar chart line!  

This allows you now to  handle data - by asking children to say their birthdate in French/ Spanish and German etc and asking a volunteer to spot the same date but different month - so let's put all the children who have a birthday on the second of a month for example together etc!