Snapshot of language learning three

Here is the third  in the series of "Snapshots" of lessons I am observing this term , delivered by associate teachers of Primary Languages Network.Last week I observed two year three Spanish lessons and this week I have been able to observe Emilie and a year four French class.

Meet Emilie. I have been working with her since ...we think 2008 ....and she is a qualified secondary French MFL teacher who changed to primary language teaching in 2011 after spending one day a week working with me in primaries from 2008. Emilie in French,like Ana in Spanish, contriubtes so much to the new Primary Languages Network VLE and in doing so helps lots of teachers too . (Therefore you may already have heard her voice, used her French texts etc)

French for Year 4 takes place at 9.00 am on a Thursday in this local school and the class have  currently a full hour of French with Emilie .They have been learning French for 18 months now and the class teacher is not with Emilie in class but is keen to follow up and find out what the children have learnt in their lessons.It  was playtime at the end of the lesson and the teacher came back in to dismiss the class and let them go out to play by birthday months' order called in German and French!

The associates work with our SOW and adapt this to suit the classes and to take in to account that they are fluent target language speakers.So it was lovely to see so much delivered in the target language with English reinforcement to accomodate all the learners and abilities in the class. Remember this is 60 minutes and that Emilie is now an expert at delivering in a primary environment plus she is very confident with IT and using APPs in the classroom.She has built these skills over time and it is a pleasure to see! I think that for some of us it is about building up this repertoire bit by bit or trying out a new skill

Emilie is focusing on the Year 4 Spring 1  SoW and has already introduced the class to the alien family. Her focus today was to build the children's ability as Stage 2 learners  to "describe people,places,things and actions orally and in writing".

First she reinforced accurate pronunciation and intonation by reading aloud and acting out with the class our simple story about the alien family .The class have devised actions for each member of the family ,for example "sister" means that all the children pretend to skip with skipping ropes. There is a question too in the text so with  their  "question fingers" they draw the air question mark and remmeber to make their fingers going up in the sky at the end" so that their voices do the same.

The children explored parts of the face and discussed with Emilie ways to remember the nouns.We could see here that the children were quite naturally "exploring the patterns and sounds of language". I noted down some of the ways they shared:

  • "bouche rhymes with rouge and a mouth is red"
  • "The upside down "v" - isn't it called a circumflex? - well this looks like a hat over the "e" so I can remember the French word for head because the "e" looks like it has got a hat on it!"
  • You don't hear the last letter in "nez" and it looks a bit like a nose!
  • We said last week that les yeux sounds abit like "lazer" and you can use "lazers" to see things
  • Does les oreilles sound abit like "earring"?

"Understanding basic grammar appropriate to the language" seems to be developing really simply and often spontaneously in KS2 PFL.Today the children were also able to explain the pattern they knew about les yeux/les cheveux/les oreilles. They   knew that you said the sound "z" on the end of the word "les " with yeux and oreilles and some of them could explain that "cheveux" started with a consonant so you didn't say the "z" sound.Emilie asked a volunteer to explain why it was the word "les" and not "le "or "la" and the volunteer explained it was because there was two of something .It could be more than "two" said another volunteer.Emilie reinforced that this was how we say the plural in French. One of Emilie's targets today was to get all the children to be able to write a simple French descriptive sentence placing the adjectives after the noun and adding a plural "s" on adjectives to agree with les yeux and les cheveux ( because they were masculine plural nouns)

Emilie and the children created faces for the aliens and practised putting colours after the noun.Some children wanted to put the colour before the noun but were reminded to think in French not English. What I liked was the fact that Emilie  now has the confidence to say to the class "Well try it out! Does "bleu les yeux" sound right in French? " and to wait for their responses and take a variety of responses and let the class decide which is correct .Reminded me of literacy activities I observed a few years ago as a Primary Strategy Consultant.

Emilie works with one IPad (her own) in class .She is adept at switching from recording to displaying to sharing to changing activity with the IPad.Currently the children are recording descriptions of their alien faces and using Voice Changer Plus to convert them to alien voices.They obviously love this .Last week some of the children recorded spoken activities and these are now "alien voice" style .The class listened silently today to try to  be the first to spot parts of face and colours.There was a discussion of how "rose" and "rouge" sort of sound similar but different in French!  

The children engaged really well with the physcial domino card game , building sentences.Emilie encouraged them to look at punctaution as the sentences got longer.The eyse and the hair could only be one colour .The best bit was when she was counting out the cards for next physical domino card challenge.First we had three cards , then we had six and finally counting together in French we worked out the sentence would have nine cards...because Emilie had split up "j'ai" into component parts!!!!

Children completed their draft sentence descriptions from last week and checked for adjectival agreement .I liked Emilie's phrase to remind them to do this ..."as you are working I will be walking round with my "special pen" to check on your extra letter "s" on adjectives!"

All the children were invited to stand up and walk around the classroom whilst the countdown timer ran down from 5 minutes to read aloud their sentences to other class mates .They were all engaged in "speaking in sentences,using familiar vocabulary" and were trying to "develop accurate pronunciation and intonation".

They all wanted to be chosen to record their voices on the Voice Changer APP reading out their full sentences at the end of the lesson. Here's an example video clip of how well some of the children could follow their own written French and read  this aloud in the target language!

Below is a lovely moment I captured when a chld in the class tried to say from memory her sentence and was so pleased to receive praise from a native French speaker Emilie on her pronunciation and accuracy!  Bravo!

And finally was recording time! First record and then play back the recording "alien style" to the class!