Snapshot 2016-17- Building snowmen

Primary language teaching is a learning curve for us all and being able to repeat lessons as we often do, gives us the chance to revise and refine our approaches. I welcome this.

Here is Tracy in her first term as a Spanish primary language teacher ,just starting to gather together the "magic tools " of our trade.I observed her today with a class of Year 6 children in their second year of learning Spanish. It was definitely cold outside and the theme was a wintry one - building snowmen with a grammatical purpose.

Tracy is keen to develop her skills as a primary languages classroom practitioner and she spends time creating resources and looking for interesting ways to engage the children and bring the learning up to date .I walked in to hear the children and Tracy in a "rap chant" - "hola,hola, coca cola" she called and the children replied with the same phrase and then came  "hola hola gramola".She mixed up this little warm up rap abit like "See you later aligator, in a while crocodile" so she said one phrase and the children responded with the other phrase. Then there was a song with personal information phrases, again a simple way to recap basic language....  

The class had learnt their colours previously and had already recapped coluors too with Tracy this half term.She explained to me later that the ribbon and the anticipation game as she slowly revealed the colours from the bag was to make sure that it was a new/different activity and engaged all the children.Her flashcards of colours stayed in her bag today with this class. 

Tracy repeated the lesson later in the day with a Y5 and aY5/6 mix and in these classes she tried out pair memory games trying to remember the order of the colours they had seen on the ribbon to reinforce and support their learning.In the afternoon there was air-writing of colours  and a "spot the colour" chart on tables so that the children could use the spelling activity below to anticipate which colour one of their classmates was in the process of writing out on the flipchart. 

The objective of the lesson was to see how colours could be used as adjectives and to look at the change in their spelling after different nouns and to begin to identify the masculine and feminine spelling of certain colours in Spanish. In my opinion learners need to explore and discuss the patterns and although Tracy had a grammar explanation activity for the change in the spelling of some of the colours, she identified that later in the day the children needed to become "adjective explorers" and explore and find out more themselves.

The children had so far been working at word level and now moved to reading comprehension of sentences ,created as description so items worn by the snowman the class built. the items and the parts of the body were new unfamilar words for the children and so the children were broadening their vocabulary by using colour clues to identify the items and complete the sentence each time "Mi muñeco de niev tiene ........

Grammatically there was alot going on here - nouns. masculine, feminine, colours as adjectives.... however the children settled to the task of designing their own snowmen with a support writing frame on a slide on the screen.

Some of the children still needed more time to work through the grammar and please remember I wrote at the start of the blog post these Year 6 learners are really only stage 2 learners. Indeed the learning process for Tracy was to consider hpw she could change the complexity slightly for the afternoon lessons and focus on a reading activity where the children in pairs read and then linked the reading strips because of the colours to an already built snowman on the whiteboard. 

However as I walked around and discussed with the children what they had found out about adjectives in the lesson,I found some of the children were well on the way to understanding the grammar that would help them to design their own snowmen.This video below was just a "snapshot" as the pupil was about to design the snowman's scarf.I asked her to explain to me what she had to do to add a colour  in her written labelling of the item.....