A Christmas context ,transferable activities and some shared learning approaches for KS2 and KS3

On Friday last week I spent a glorious afternoon by the seaside in Southport with a group of eleven primary and secondary teachers considering activities  with a Christmas language learning focus that rehearsed and explored a range of language learning skills .The activities can easily be transferred to other language content and context.Most importantly my intention was to link the activities and the                                                 learning to the objectives of the new DfE POS.

  • Each teacher was asked to consider whether an activity was suitable for beginners /moving on ( more than a year of exposure to language learning or advanced learners (UKS2 with more than two and a half years of language learning or KS3 non beginner learners)
  • We discussed how the objectives in the new DfE POS need to be considered on a sliding scale so that we consider how stage by stage we rehearse and strengthen and extend the objectives
  • I asked my colleagues to consider ways of extending the activity or adapting the activity to suit their learners or different contexts and we unpacked the learning objectives or parts of the learning objectives and how there would be stages to achieve mastery of specific learning objectives

What was very noticeable was how the mix of primary and secondary colleagues worked so well.Together we were able to consider how we could ways to build progression in language learning!

Here are some of the activities we practised, performed and identified as possibly learning approaches that all colleagues could use in different ways with different stages of  learners. 
Remember these are all festive in theme but most could quite easily be changed to fit a new context.(It's a bit like a bag of tricks ...or in this case a bag of Christmas presents for language learning ......)

Bell ringing and Christmas greetings
This activity is centred on listening,responding,joining in and spoken performance activity which also involves reading.
The objective we identified for this activity is :
Listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding
We discussed and extended the activity described by looking at how we could actually take this activity further and listen for key words or miss key words out or listen for specific sounds
Here we identified a new objective as a focus:
Explore the pattern and sounds of the language

Open and reveal four corners
I dusted off a well loved activity here to look at how we could move the activity from just a game to practise sounds and key language and question responses to "unwrapping our Christmas present" 
The objectives we identified for this activity are:
Explore the pattern and sounds of the language
Ask and answer questions
All  the teachers felt that they could apply this to their KS1,KS2 or KS3 language teaching and learning before Christmas and that the children would enjoy creating their own Christmas present in language learning for friends to unwrap in a game!

Starry Night
This activity is centred on revisiting and practising familiar language and asking questions. In this instance it is based on revisiting colours and numbers and asking and answering simple questions:What is it?/How many are there?
The objective we identified is: 
Ask and answer questions
We created our own starry night of numbers performances ,using the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,and KS3 colleagues added additional language and a performance twist based on a dance routine. KS2 colleagues looked at how we could challenge children to create performances based on number sequences etc.
We considered how we could then hand the reins over to children ask them to ask the questions on the starry shape guessing game and how this could then be a board game.The expectation would be that the more language the children know , the more it should be used during the board game.

Triaramas and festive meal sketches
This is a listening,speaking,reading and writing activity when I designed this activity I presumed this would be a moving on or advanced activity but the LKS2 colleagues at the CPD felt they could adapt this with simple rhymes, songs and language to be a LKS2 beginners activity too .We often worry about can the children write accurately and now we need to concern ourselves with can they write from memory.The sequence of activities here can encourage your moving on and advanced learners to practise these skills for a creative purpose.
The objectives we identified as central to these activities are:  
Speak in sentences using familiar vocabulary
Read carefully and show understanding of words,phrases and writing
Write phrases from memory
Describe people ,places ,things and actions orally and in writing
Different colleagues felt that different objectives would be their core focus at this moment in time with their specific language learners 
KS3 colleagues felt that the activities were transferable across the whole of KS3 with a variety of reading comprehension texts (plays,poems, songs)

The magic of Christmas
The activities here are about asking the children to explore a non verbal stimulus and to participate in speaking,reading and writing activities to create their own advertisement (either orally or a written text) about a specific event.It's about finding the right clip and here the clip allows us to explore Christmas nouns, verbs, adjectives and the to revisit the context of weather , clothes, daily routine, emotions, play .....
The objectives we identified as central to these activities are:
Present ideas orally to an audience 
Describe people,places ,things and actions orally and in writing
All  the teachers felt that they could apply this to their KS1,KS2 or KS3 language teaching and learning before Christmas and that the children would enjoy creating their own Christmas present in language learning for friends to unwrap in a game! however our LSK2 colleagues once again thought of ways of using a picture or a one context focused clip to rehearse core familiar language to the children. 

Twinkle Twinkle Little star with a twist of Grammar
I took this well loved international song and considered how with older children we could create a grammar game and our own new verses of the song!
The objectives  we identified are:
Broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words
Understand basic grammar
The activities are for moving on and advanced learners but once again the KS3 colleagues could see how they could use the core activities with new texts in KS3 and revisit and practise core grammar and structure focuses with their learners 

An all in all delightful afternoon before Christmas by the seaside!