Snapshot of language learning eight

Meet Kate and her class of Y5 French learners straight after lunch, on what has been a very  cold wintry day .What enthusiasm from start to finish in this lesson! Kate worked with me when I was the Languages Consultant for Warrington, as a language assistant.She was a degree level linguist and worked for a drama school but had decided to try out primary "teaching" A year later she went off to train as Primary PGCE teacher and returned to us in Warrington  as a classroom teacher.As a mum , she now works part time,several days a week as a classroom teacher, and on a Thursday she works as an associate of Primary Languages Network in a local primary school.She brings to the learning environment all the "craft of the primary classroom",Everything was calm, well organised and well structured.The flip chart conversation was up already for the starter..... !

It was staight in to the class starter.Working in pairs the children had to ask likes,dislikes and give a preference using the phrases they could read and the fruits and vegetables the children had learnt in earlier lessons.Kate explained this in French and it was obvious that this was part of the normal classroom warm up routine, as every one understood the activity- just needed to recap the language they were using. Everyone focused and joined in.

I noticed self correcting , trying to remember not use the text on the flip chart and children supporting each other. At the end of the short starter, the class was asked "Who was  ready for the sticker challenge?" As you can see in the picture at the top of this blog post , hands shot up.It's regular routine and motovator! Two children were selected and shared their dialogue  with the class to win their challenge stickers! The class were asked to follow and listen and check how the two children delivered their dialogue.Kate praised the children for the way they added good expression to make it a proper conversationand used intonation to ask the French question.

She asked the class to remind her about what she meant by intonation and the French question and children explained that the spoken question goes up at the end. The curly line  above the question written on the flip chart and   the question finger with the flick at the end are two techniques Kate uses to help these children remember intonation and keep on practising this.

. The children volunteered to represent the boys and the girls in "Splat"  in this lesson and two other volunteers kept the scores.Earlier today I discusssed with a colleague the use of "Splat" in the language classrooom , not just to be a game for a game's sake but to have a purposeful learning intention.The challenge however was not just to splat an item , the children were listening for likes amongst a variety of spoekn sentences about fruit and vegetables linked to the starter activity.They could only splat the item if the sentence spoken by Kate contained a like .The second team were given a greater challenge to splat more than one item and only if it was a" like "statement.The third game swapped to splatting items in sentences using dislikes.Some of the sentences contained a like and a dislike so only one item could be "splatted" , the one in the clause were a like was mentioned.Simple effective way of getting the children to listen for specific words  and phrases.The children  in the class were kept engaged and involved by suggesting which French phrases were likes/dislikes/ counting up scores in French , listening to help their own team etc


Today the class focus was on "devising roleplays" .Kate shared with the class the PLN SOW AFL Clouds filled in last lesson and highlighted that some had confidently coloured in green the "say what you would like in French and how much it would cost" , but others had coloured this in amber.Kate and the class were going to explore this in more detail so that everyone would be able to go "green"! The class have been learning French for one year but this is the first year with a PLN Associate Language  Teacher.Kate is focusing on making sure learning is thorough and there is clear progression

What I liked about the next activity was that there was choice.You could either read and sort cards or try writing from memory on a whiteboard with a partner the market role play conversation that class had practised last lesson. Kate asked "Who was up for the challenge of writing from memory?". The card sort had an added challenge because it was in French cursive handwriting.It was the independent work that was noticeable and the fact that once the children had sorted the conversation or written a conversation from memory they just swapped activities or added a twist of their own. 

Conversation card sorting.....

Independent writing of the conversation from memory.....

Adding their own twist, finding in the French cursive handwriting text specific sounds and letter combinations and counting up how many times they found  these.

As the children were working. I walked around and asked the children to read aloud for me what they were reading or writing. As has been the case in the other snapshot lessons I have observed , the children read aloud with confidence and good pronunciation. Maybe the feedback approach Kate uses ,is one way of reinforcing accurate pronunciation.The children read the text that she had now blu-tacked to the wall with her and she picked up on items the teaching assistant ,who is in the classroom with her and working with the children had noticed - such things as "don't forget even  if the number is written as a figure we need to say this in French and it's ok to count on on your fingers until this is automatic!".  

Finally Kate set the scene for the "French market traders game"and the independent speaking activity ,devising roleplays. She showed the children a picture of a French market and drew their attention to the funny ways the numbers are written and to the names of the fruits and vegetables written in cursive handwriting that they already knew or had heard.This was the backdrop to their performances!

She divided the class into market traders .....carrying cards with fruits or vegetables on the front and price in euros on the reverse side

All the children had to walk around on the command "marchez!" and only pause when they heard Kate's bell ring ....

Then the children had to team up with a partner ,so there was always a trader and a buyer and devise role plays to buy the item,ask the price and then swap roles and get ready to move on.

She increased the challenge with additional items and prices and then held "spotlight moments" where the class stood still and listened to a pair deliver their own role play .Feedback from Kate and the class was given e.g "bananes" has a silent "s" or "loved the way you added a question etc ....".Another craft of the classroom routine moment here as the children applied their primary learning approaches and sharing learning to the target language classroom!