Nouns and Articles Stepping Stone Challenge

Over the last six months I have been busy training teachers in primary schools to look at ways to deliver primary grammar and to develop their own and their pupils understanding of grammar.Last week we delivered intermediate French and Spanish. Here are my blog posts,should you like to take a look
Taking a closer look at nouns,adjectives and verbs
Activities to take a closer look at nouns,adjectives and verbs

What I love about this CPD is how dynamic it is and how it depends on the groups of teachers as to where we go with an activity too! It is currently part of our DFE funded MFL project Language Learning for Everyone

 At the start of  "Intermediate French and Spanish" we do look again at nouns (we consider and explore these in our beginners sessions).Here is the blog post on I spy nouns and we revisit definite and indefinite articles and we identify the patterns for masculine and feminine nouns and their definite and indefinite articles. This CPD is to help teachers not only be clear about the grammatical structures for themselves but also to consider ways to revisit and reinforce young language learners. These activities work too in German we just have to consider three noun types: masculine,feminine and neuter and work only in one case e.g. nominative or maybe accusative with this level of learner.

In  our "Spanish Intermediate CPD" we focused on making the possible options of article clear for the children.We focused on the process of identification and then selection....

So let's think! If  the learners know the noun,have identified if it is masculine or feminine, have identified whether it is singular or plural , have unpacked all the terminology just mentioned and worked through the process of identifying the information  required can we help them to practise recalling and identifying possible best fit definite or indefinite singular and plural articles and  then selecting the one needed?  

We discussed as a group how we need to internalise the key words and then we created this challenge game!. Here is a photo of the flip chart page as the game was being created: 

Game One :Get Down the Board!

  1. Randomly add the definite and indefinite articles to a board game or flip chart.These can be written more than once and need to written in stepping stone shapes.
  2. At the top of your board game add to small circles in a different colour with "m" or "f" written inside these - to denote masculine or feminine.
  3. Ask for two stepping stone challengers ( volunteers top try the first game)
  4. Invite a challenger to the front!
  5. Can the challenger make the journey from the top to the bottom of the board game stepping only on masculine or feminine stepping stones? The challenger identifies for the class which route by first touching either the "m" or "f" circle at the top of the board.
  6. Can they make the whole route from top to bottom of the page stepping only on masculine stones if they selected the masculine circle at the top?
  7. Does the challenger need to draw a bridge - that means add a strategic stepping stone and write in it another member of the masculine article family ( the challenger can select which specific article) so that the challenger can continue the journey to the bottom of the board?
  8. Invite the second challenger to the board and can they complete the journey for the feminine articles?
We liked the idea of this game because it makes the learners think about the possible options,discuss the possible articles and internalise the articles too
We also thought that you could revisit this game again and again as a 5 minute filler or a game at the end of a lesson.
The game could be played on a table or with a group of children too.

Game Two :Noun Challenge

  1. Play a very similar game to above but this time the teacher adds challenge - 6 pictures or items that represent nouns the children have already learned.Can they remember if they are masculine or feminine by remembering  which definite/indefinite article they practised with the noun.(Remember that Ana and Emilie tell us that they teach their own children the nouns always with an article and never just as a noun!) 
  2. Set up two teams. Each team must select three challengers.
  3. Each challenger comes to the front individually and selects a picture or noun that he /she has discussed already with their team and is confident that the team knows whether the noun is masculine or feminine.
  4. The challenger names the item and says the definite article for the noun to the teacher.
  5. If yes then they can try to make a route across the stepping stones as in the game above. 1 point is awarded
  6. If they are not then the challenger must sit down and wait for another go.0 ;points is awarded
  7. As the challenger makes his/her way down the board, he/she collects points - i point per correct stepping stone including if he/she needs to create a bridge and add an article stepping stone.
  8. Each team has three goes .Which team is the winner?

This game makes the learners recall nouns and think about correct articles 
If played as a team challenge over a period of time the children will have a real purpose for internalising nouns and genders.
Once again it could make  a 5 minute filler or a game at the end of a lesson.
The game could be played on a table or with two teams per board game too so every child has to partcipate if they are teams of three players.