Snapshot 2016-17: finding the way

Today I observed Year 3 Spanish in one Warrington school and then Y5 French in another Warrington school.A remarkable day and all part of the associate teacher programme we run in 49 of our 200 network schools. 

This is Beth, and Beth has joined us this year. I observed her teaching a Year 5 French class (just before lunch) who are just starting off in their third year of learning French.  

The hashtag we are using for our Snapshot tweets on @JanetLloydnet is #youcantoo and it strikes me that this is a great way to describe what Beth encourages .The children are not racing through learning but are consolidating and using prior learning, becoming confident to lead or work independently in language learning and definitely understanding that what Beth models "they can  do too". 

The key focus of the lesson was to build upon the previous lesson's focus on the city and to move from familiar Year 4 language content to explore less familar places in the city" language.

As the children are Year 5, Beth used our "messages in a bottle" writing activities  from Year 5 Autumn 1  to invite volunteers to read aloud and  create a listening comprehension puzzle for the class .She immediately asked for volunteers to be "teacher".

The pretend "teacher" had to use classroom commands to get the children's attention and to ask them all to stand up.Then the "teacher" read aloud 3rd person singular French statements about a child from a message written in best by another child.Bit by bit the class sat down when they realised the text wasn't about them e.g. all the girls sat down when the "teacher" said "il habite....." and then more than half the boys sat down when the "teacher" said "il a 10 ans.A game of elimination played several times, until there was one individual left standing.. (DfE ATs listen attentively and respond....../Speak in full sentences ...../understand basic grammar.....).

The children had spent the previous lesson familarising themselves with nouns for places in town.  They had added their own target language places to a blank street plan.Today the children tried to produce a target language dialogue about the town with a partner and navigate their partner around their town plam.Visualisiung and describing directions from a 2D map is an interesting exploration of a skills in itself .Indeed the class teacher and I commented on the fact that this posed a challenge for quite a few of the Year 5. They had to learn how to you look from above on a 2D map and then visualise where places were situated and describe this to a partner.What was important was that Beth , a primary trained teacher, gave the children time to do this both as a target language and 2D visualisation activity.All the children in the class  believed "they could do this too".  

Today they had to explore unfamiliar place nouns and work them out, without dictionaries and using prior knowledge. (Beth reinforced the importance of memory in language learning)

Some of the places were really easy to understand and others involved pair talk and deliberation.

Beth took feedback but didn't give immediate answers, she encouraged the children to explore and resolve meanings e.g " Oh ( remember now , I wrote la piscine -  we went to la piscine in the school descriptions we did , because we said that we go swimming there" .The children also discussed changes in use of definite and indefinite articles 

Beth reinforced with  all the children their understanding of masculine and feminine nouns and practised ways to help the children to "remember" the nouns and whether they were masculine or feminine, with large physical actions to represent masculine and feminine.She asked the children to decide which physical action to use before she showed them her choice.She explained that there are things in languages we have to learn.

Using physical actions and the child as "teacher " volunteer the children practised simple directions with the rest of the class and then with all this information and knowledge they worked in pairs with their street plans to ask questions about the imaginary towns they had created.