Snapshot of learning - Jayne Dewnsip

Today for my first observation, I watched Jayne at St Wilfrid’s CE Primary School in Grappenhall and after a few months on maternity leave it felt really nice to be back in the school environment and I think I've missed being in the classroom.

I’d arranged to see Jayne at 9.30 am with Year 4 but I was a little early and as I walked in as she was finishing the Year 3 lesson on animals.

It was a really positive start as I saw so many children joining in an activity of sorting out (cuddly toys) animals in sound baskets: ‘oi’ ‘ou’ ‘i’ ‘ch’, etc. Very effective activity with a focus on phonics and as Jayne pointed out effective for sound/writing link as she rightly said ‘now when you hear a word with the ‘ch’ sound as in cheval you’ll know how to write the sound.’

At the end of the lesson, the children were eager to show off to me (the visitor, the ‘real’ French person): “Bonjour, je m’appelle…, j’ai 7 ans, mon anniversaire est le… et je suis un garçon” – I was very impressed with the confidence and knowledge of this Year 3 boy.

I followed Jayne to her next lesson – she teaches across this 2 form entry school, 1 day a week (finishing at 2pm) so in total she teaches eight 30 minute lessons back to back (with only a break for lunch).

The lesson was about introducing parts of the face and using the new words in a sentence to describe alien’s faces (hair/eye + colour).

While she set up the lesson, the class teacher led a round of personal information Q&A which warmed up the class.

Jayne started by doing a quick recap of the previous week lesson when she introduced the Alien family topic: ‘Je suis le papa extra terrestre’ etc. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the class answered Jayne’s questions in full sentences when asked about the different members of the family. This was prompted by Jayne’s actions for each part of the sentence: Je suis / le papa extra-terrestre for example.

She explained the learning objective and linked it to the previous lesson ‘so we can then describe what the aliens look like’.

She introduced the vocabulary by pointing to and naming the different parts of the face.

Then she used one of our newest resources: ‘C’est Emilie’ video clips and it was really interesting for me to see it how the children reacted to it and interacted with Emilie, for example: answering when they hear ‘Ça va ?’, copying the actions, etc. Jayne paused the video after each activity for extra practice.

Jayne encouraged the children to make links with English for example ‘n as in nose’ and she finished with a game of ‘Repeat if it’s true’ before moving on to using the new words in a sentence: “les yeux ? C’est de quelle couleur?” Children suggested a variety of colours showing they understood her question asked in the target language.

Jayne demonstrated with different coloured eyes/hair the new structure: j’ai les yeux/cheveux + colour using the picture of the alien and changing the eyes/hair accordingly.

She paused and asked the children why they thought she was insisting on ‘les yeux bleus’ – one little boy quickly put his hand up to mentioned that it rhymed (it was not the expected answer but still showed developing listening skills…interesting!) The class picked up on the order of the words and with the help of the class teacher were keen to refer back to the correct terminology of adjectives and together with Jayne established that in French (most) adjectives go after the noun the descibe.

Finally, volunteers were asked to come to the board and make a sentence ‘J’ai les yeux bleus’ J’ai les cheveux verts’ and stick on the appropriate parts on the blank alien face. They were encouraged to go for 2 colours and a lot of the children voluntarily chose to challenge themselves.

Well done Jayne!