Snapshot of learning - Kate Kennedy

For my second observation I visited Kate Kennedy at Penketh Community Primary School in Warrington. I observed Kate teaching Spanish to a Y5 class (40 minutes). Kate has been teaching there for 2 years and teaches 1 day a week from Reception to Year 6.

The lesson objectives were to introduce fruit and vegetable vocabulary (with a cross-curricular link to the class ‘Fairy Tales’ topic as an introduction), recap sound-spelling links and practice a dialogue ‘At the market’.

As the class walked in from playtime, Kate played a song ‘la canción de las frutas’ as a hint of what the new topic was. I thought it was really effective at setting the scene for the lesson and as a result the children were settling in quickly and quietly – without Kate having to raise her voice or give any kind of settling in instructions. The tune of the song was catchy and it created a positive and fun atmosphere in the classroom.

As soon as the video was finished there was already a couple of hands up from children offering some interesting comments: “I think I heard the word for an orange, because I heard the colour ‘naranja" “ I remember manzana from Year 4 when we wear doing ice-cream flavours’.

Kate praised the children for making links to other topics and remembering vocabulary from the previous year.

To link in with the class topic of Fairy Tale, Kate showed a picture of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and led a pacey Q&A session on what other fruits or vegetable would make a good carriage and why/why not it would be a good alternative (using adjective of colour and size (i.e. grande/pequeno) – all in the target language supported by a powerpoint presention (reading) and actions to help understand adjectives.

Then Kate moved on to practice the new words with repetition and recall activities catering for all learning styles (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic).

After that, she introduced the written word as a way of consolidating the new vocabulary and used this opportunity to revisit what she called ‘tricksters’, sounds in Spanish words that don’t sound the same as in English (‘z’, ‘j’, etc.)  She gave the children 10 seconds in pairs to spot the tricksters (highlighted letter(s)) and practice pronouncing the word before taking feedback from volunteers.

The class then practiced writing the words from memory on laminates ‘Can you write the words on your laminate? Don’t worry about mistakes – we can rub it out and correct’. The class was reminded and encouraged to write the article (un/una) in front of the noun.

To finish, the class practiced a dialogue ‘at the market’ in pairs.

I really enjoyed watching this lesson and thought it was very cleverly put together with a lot of recalling without it being too repetitive, careful scaffolding leading the children to be able to read, understand and perform a dialogue (focussing on accurate pronunciation). I enjoyed Kate’s gentle and relaxed manners, use of target language (backed up by English) throughout. I noticed that Kate used up any opportunities for AfL through questioning and the class raised to the challenge.

After Kate’s lesson I met up with the MFL Co-ordinator and I was really impressed with the clear vision the school have for MFL and how well embedded MFL seems to be with the rest of the curriculum and the school through the award of the ‘class of the week’ in assembly, Spanish choir, Lingo club (where children can get a taste for other languages), link abroad, etc.  You could definitively feel that languages were valued.