The aliens have definitely landed! Year 4 Spring term observations.

We have an alien family in our JLN SOW.We introduce Year 4 to the family in Spring and then the children meet the aliens  to practise language across all four skills and grammar  at points later in Year 4,5 and 6. We love our aliens and they never fail to disappoint! Here is part of the family at carnival later in the school year! I say part of the family as our young learners keep on making us new members of the family.I have met the family several times in the last couple of weeks and what is remarkable is that each teacher adds their own style to the introduction and practise of the language around the aliens! 

Have a look at the difference in approaches between Ana's Spanish Year 4 lesson on the family.Janet W's Year 5 beginners French lesson on our alien family ,Emilie's Bonjour Madame blog post on her alien family lesson and the use of a Voice recording APP and now here below Joanne's Year 4 lesson in Spanish on the "familia alien" - full of drama and performance!


As you may know if you have been reading my blog posts on observations, I am currently undertaking a routine series of observations of the language assistants and teachers who work alongside me in our primary schools.They deliver primary language learning on a weekly basis.It is such a rewarding and pleasurable opportunity to see what is really taking place in schools.

This series of blogs is an additional support mechanism for these colleagues,as they can't be in each others classroom and as a team  we meet once per half term for a twilight CPD,So you can hopefully see that these blogs (with a cup of tea and a biscuit back at home) offer them an insight in to each others classrooms and schools. 

Joanne's "Familia alien" lesson

  • A warm up greetings song packed with actions and  whole class singing , as they gathered on the carpet for the Spanish 
  • Personal information questions and answers - using "the guest" (that was me) as a person to get to know.Praise for children - particularly those who don't always  speak Spanish confidently to new people in the classroom.
  • Incidental language all in Spanish and reminders to " sentaos" to a couple of children not quite sat down or "escuchad" and "miradme" and then an instruction to discuss with their talking partners the language they had met for the first time last week "la familia alien" .....
  • Looking for links (e.g papa/ mama or hermano and hermana) and praise for correct use of definite articles with reward " a star-cash" for someone who really thought hard before sharing a correct article! 
  • Now the whole class was moving around and being the characters with the actions the children had chosen for the characters last week .As many actions as there are syllables in the nouns reminded Joanne. A wagging finger for mama, hands behind the head and a yawn for papa, football kick for hermano and disco dancing for hermana  and  tiny moving fists and feet for bebe! Stereo -typical (as Joanne pointed out) but chosen ,owned  and liked by the children and acted out with gusto!
  • Now we started to use the question " Quien es?" and full sentence responses were expected " hola soy el bebe alien" etcetra...always in character , always with actions,accurate pronunciatrion expected and reinforced  and always performed well.
  • The children were so engaged that they just listened ,joined in and responded to incidental instructions without even noticing that these were in the target language.
  • Today  "abuelo" and "abuela" joined the family! This was a big moment  in this particular school,because when Year 6 were in Year 4 they designed the grandma and grandad to complete the alien family for us.It was their idea! They are precious to the school!
  • Joanne introduced "abuelo" and asked the children to look at the slide from the familia alien ppt and work out how to say "abuelo" before she shared correct pronunciation ... and what we heard was excellent!
  • Then she asked the children to be language detectives think about what they thought grandma might be in Spanish .... and with their talking partners we could hear them say "Well it's hermano  and hermana so perhaps the word ends in "a" (etc).Back came the response "abuela" and now Joanne could introduce Grandma.
  • Of course the class needed actions for the characters and decided on an action that conveyed what one of the children described "Ooh me back" for abuelo and for grandma the class decided on a knitting action.
  • "Can we play a dramatic Pedro dice?" asked one child. What a good idea was Joanne's response.Off they went to their standing spaces and how did the children own the game! Performance filled,volunteers as Pedro dice who had to say whole sentences for the rest of the class.One volunteer won a "starcash" reward for excellent pronunciation,intonation,speed of recall, use of complete phrases and correct use of "o" and "a" for our new characters - abuelo and abuela. How proud was that person!
  • Time for performance in groups.On their home tables,the children had to create a performance introduction to the familia alien for the rest of the class.Each child had to be a character from the family , keep and enhance the actions and add their own alien voice.Joanne clarified that what she was looking for, was clear confident introductions to the  familia alien.
  • As support she offered children the familia alien photo sacks (small card pictures of each character to help with recall of the nouns) but only if the children felt that they needed to use them .
  • As additional challenge  the children were encouraged to add their own sentences - names, ages, feelings etc....maybe even questions for other family members.
  • And off they went to spend 10 minutes creating their  entertaining Spanish familia alien performances for the rest of the class! 
  • Thank you Joanne and Year 4.The aliens have definitely landed!