4 skills

Seaside Sequencing Story.Languages and Literacy

In sharing this animated sequencing story, I have to thank several people! 
Firstly Ana Lavado Garcia for her drawings and the original story power points some of us have used as part of the resources for JLN member schools.Secondly Ana and Emilie Woodruffe for their native speaker voices and time to put together authentic language in the simple story .Thirdly Little Red Languages for their work alongside WTSA/JLN to bring the "Alien family at the Seaside " story to animated life!

We love our extra terrestrial family and their adventures.
This year as part of our third local network meeting for the DFE funded WTSA/JLN language project "Language Learning for Everyone " we met the family at carnival for our "Carnival Triarama Conversations

Thanks to all the wonderful people above we are able to share this animated sequencing story about the seaside with you all.We hope you will enjoy exploring the story with your children in French and/or Spanish the following DFE KS2 POS learning objectives


  • listen attentively to spoken language
  • speak in sentences,using familar vocabulary,phrases and basic language structures 
  • read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing
  • appreciate stories ...in the language
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words
So here is the story - a short sentence or two per page with animations and sound files.
Take a look......

Thanks to Little Red Languages - you can pause the script, conceal the script, replay the sound file , go forwards , go backwards and watch the characters appear on the screen!

Spot the "space " theme throughout the pictures ( starry glasses, planet ice creams ,rocket sandcastle etcetra....thanks Ana!)"

Ways I would use the story file!
(Well it links so well with story telling in Literacy to be truthful!)

  • Share the front page and look for cognates in the story title.
  • Brainstorm words we may already know about the seaside and might expect to find in the story.
  • Categorise the words- nouns, adjectives, verbs, masculine/ feminine etcetra.
  • Encourage the children to look up words they really hope are in the seaside story.

  • Explore the instuctions on the second page and look up the key words forst in the bilingual dictionaries before actially clicking in the icons to see what they do and therefore understand the instructions 
  • Discuss and identify which words are adjectives, nouns and parts of verbs.

  • Listen to the story all the way through with the text and add actions for each page on a second hearing.

  • Listen to the story to explore the text on each page- show the text on each page, pause on key words, hide the text , practise as a class re-telling the story orally trying to be as exact and true to pronunciation as possible.
  • Explore replacement words and phrases- can we change the weather for example or describe dad's sunglasses or baby's enormous ice cream in more detail?

  • Spot the sequencing words.
  • Discuss the role of the sequencing words in the text.
  • Give out strips of card with the sentences written on the cards
  • Can the children in pairs put the story back together in order.
  • Listen to the text but this time conceal the words- can the pairs wave the correct sentence strip to match the sentence they hear?
  • Ask the children to rewrite the text in the order they want it to happen - moving the sequencing words around and therefore changing the order.

Of course as you may know I love drama - so.....
  • Let's learn the text and let's act it out 
  • Let's change the text and tell the story as a performance
  • Let's draw our own story and add our own sentences and sound files! 

We really hope you enjoy using this story and are able to join us next term if you are in the North West for one of our Local Network Meetings.
More details here

Going back, to get to the future!

Strange title I know - "going back,to get to the future" but this is a possible learning opportunity with Year 6 during this final Summer half term !

I am very excited about the work some of my colleagues will be undertaking this half term with their Year 6 language learners! 

Some of my local colleagues have decided this half term to work with their Year 6 classes to explore other target languages - 

  • to excite and enthuse  Year 6 learners with a new language 
  • to see how language learning skills  are transferable and can help access a new language
  • to help our young language learners realise that they are now ready for secondary school and KS3 language learning and maybe a new language challenge!
  • to encourage our young learners as they leave primary to see that they are at the start of a very exciting language learning journey not necessarily stuck in one foreign language!

Take a look at this message from our Janet Lloyd Network Facebook page from @Deprezprez on 31 May this year !

Looking forward to starting to teach Spanish to my Year 6s at Burtonwood CP and Locking Stumps CP this half-term after many years learning French!! Will be a great challenge for them and interest after the SATs come down!

In my opinion learning a language involves risk taking and involves the transfer of both prior learning and skills.
We all need to be able to make mistakes and feel that we can try again and certainly be able to overcome the feeling that if it's not perfect use of language then there is no communication! 
Primary language learners need to be able to take risks, make mistakes,have another go and try to improve!

The experiment is a sort of "blast from the past" for myself really!
In  1995 I began working as a primary languages teacher with Year 6 children in a local primary school.The children were in a feeder school to a language college where half the children would learn French and half the children would learn German in KS3 Y7. I decided to teach half a term of French followed by half a term of German througout the school academic year.The same content and activities were used in both  half terms but in alternate languages.So many of the children thought German was more fun and that it was easier and at first as a Germanist I was very excited about this .I had obviously created lots of "German" language  enthusiasts...then I realised what was actually happening.The young language learners were relaxed during the second half term as we re-applied skills and participated in  very similar activities from the first half term.  In my opinion they were relaxed and learned effectively because they had already practised the language learning skills in French!

Let's go back to when I started teaching in 1985... maybe a similar thing was happening there too? 
Our "top sets" learned a second foreign language and were called the "accelerated language learning group" because they started their second foreign language in their third year at high school.
"Mmm?"I ask myself as I look back , maybe other children could have achieved this too? Should we have identified more clearly the skills that we were practising with all our language learners? Just a thought!

And if we go right back in to my past..... why am I a Germanist? Well,I learned French as my first foreign language alongside Latin and then two years later- German. I thought I was better at German- but was I? 
Maybe I  applied skills effectively that I had already practised in French and this helped me to access German more quickly (memory,recall, listening,speaking, reading aloud confidently,using a bilingual dctionary etc)?  This was probably on reflection proven at University ,but I didn't realise this at the time.It was expected that we studied Dutch or Swedish for two years whilst studying German and within those two years we  reached A Level standard in the language. I love drama and reading texts such as  Miss Julie by Strindberg in Swedish was a delight and that has always stayed with me! Did I realise at the time that I was using transferable skills?

It seems to me that skills help make you more confident to try to communicate in another language.In the last couple of years I have had to begin to understand and communicate at a limited level in Spanish and I find my understanding of the transferable language learning skills so useful and so powerful! 

And why do I believe that this is for more then just the "linguistically" able?Well the truth is that I am a "trained" not "true" linguist!
Yes I love languages and exploring languages and helping others to do the same! 
My first love is being able to communicate and be creative with language and text! 
On reflection I have become very adept at transfering skills and analysing language and looking for grammatical and structural patterns.

So this half term is maybe less of a great experiment and more of a great celebration! 

The Year 6 learners are about to start the next stage in their great  language learning adventure. We hope our activities this half term will help our young learners see the links between languages and how the mystery of language learning, isn't really an unsolvable mystery and that language learning skills and tools are transferable life long powerful assets!

The experiment does demand that the children trust us,are confident and excited about exploring a new language/culture and  want to see how the practise of language learning skills during their primary career can be used to access language a new language.

Skills? Well ....here are a few for starters!

  • listening and responding in a new language
  • looking and listening for similarities between languages to aid comprehension, 
  • knowing how to listen to and practise the sounds of the new language
  • accessing bilingual dictionaries to find the words to aid comprehesnion and comminication
  • trying to accurately copy the sound and the spelling of new language
It also demands that the teacher is confident enough in some cases to say "I am the facilitator" not the expert- let's explore this new language together.Let's consider the skills and tools we have been developing and let's step out in to a new language and see if we can communicate at a simple level in this language". Life skills I think that could be invaluable to all concerned! 

Who knows what language someone may need to understand or speak during the course of their own lifetimes!

Six Characters in Search of an Author

At University I was a member of Theatre Group and one of my most memorable productions was Six Characters in Search of an author by Pirandello.
(Six characters arrive at a theatre - each in turn melodramatic but with a story to tell , which in turn is part of a whole story......It is theatre within theatre. They are looking for a producer to tell their story.)

In its simplest from this can allow us to explore all 4 skills of language learning, to encourage accurate use of grammar and punctuation and to develop pronunciation, intonation and emotion in spoken language.
The activities below can be used with UKS2,KS3, KS4 and KS5 language learners.the task set by the teacher can challenge the language learners at the level they can operate in the target language.

(You will need an equal number of groups - so that one group can swap work with a second group and then the two groups can come back together and share their work with each other)

  1. Share the idea of mystery characters with the class. Explain how these mystery characters want to tell their story and need a producer to help them put together their story.Can the class help you to write and perform the introductory utterances for the characters? 
  2. Share with the class a picture stimulus. This could be with a mystery picture as above or allow the class to think of characters for themselves.With younger learners maybe we could look at characters we have been  exploring in story ,history etc (pirates.Romans, Kings and Queens, a family from a different time period etc).with older learners maybe we want to link the characters to our investigations of characters we meet in target language poetry and literature. 
  3. Working in groups of six , ask each member of the group to focus on one particular character and to imagine how they might think, look and act (brave, bold, timid, angry, happy, young , old, role in the group).
  4. Depending on the language level and skills of your pupils decide what types of sentences you want the pupils to create as utterances spoken by the characters - so for example with UKS2 and Y7 learners we would want them to write spoken utterances based on : name, age,preferences and personality.With more advanced learners you may want opinions and  personal past history or future hopes.
  5. The pupils must write out their spoken utterances on a strip of paper or card. Each card from the group is gathered together and passed over to a second group.These two groups are now partner groups for the rest of the activities.
  6. The second group of six children must now read the utterances as a team and decide which character might say the utterances. 
  7. Now this second team must create a spoken dramatic performance as an introduction to the characters as if they were on set and speaking with the producer.They have to bring the utterances they have read to life.
  8. The second group should then act out their introduction performances and vice versa. What do the original authors of the characters' utterances think about the characters as they have been brought to life by the second group? 
  9. Finally can the original group that wrote the utterances , take back the characters and create a story board about each of the characters reflecting how the personality was brought to life by the second group? 

Active conjunctions

Thanks to Vicky Bruff on Facebook for sharing with us this picture of an activity from Teaching Ideas
It is a very simple and effective way of explaining visually the use of link words in sentences.

I am currently working with the wonderful Julie Prince on ways to make grammar in primary foreign languages "active and kinaesthetic" plus how we can link the activities to learning objectives from the DFE KS2 POS. 

The picture inspired a really simple "active grammar" learning idea that could be so effective!

In this activity I am concentrating on conjunctions (connectives ) to link two sentences together to  make a more complex primary foreign language sentence.
In doing this we could explore with the children one or more of the following DFE POS KS2 learning objectives:
  • speak in sentences,using familiar vocabulary,phrases and basic language structures
  • read carefully and show understanding of words,phrases and simple writing 
  • broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words
  • understand basic grammar .....how to build sentences
What's the idea?
Well just as you probably already do,ask the children to draft write simple sentences on mini white boards that are linked to the content you are currently covering .Effective contexts for this activity may be: the market, describing a monster, clothes, the weather ........

e.g. here are some fruit examples.....
les pommes sont rouges
les bananes sont grandes et jaunes
moi j'adore les raisins

moi j'aime les oranges

First activity

  1. Ask the children to write a simple sentence using language content you have been practising with them.
  2. Ask the children to share their sentence with a partner and take turns to proof read each of the sentences.
  3. Ask the children to write the sentence on to a strip of paper or card- large enough for other people to be able to read from a distance.
  4. Stand the children in a circle with the sentences on card facing in to the circle.
  5. Take it in turns for each child to read out their sentence still holding the card facing toward the other children in the circle.
  6. Share with the children your conjunction cards.You can decide which are appropriate conjunctions for this activity- but I suggest that you have at least 5 options.
  7. Place the conjunction cards in the middle of the circle .
  8. Check with the children that they are confident about the meaning of the conjunctions and how to pronounce the words.I would play a "sounds like game" here.Can they make the word sound like the job the conjunction does in the sentence e.g contradicts/ joins together/offers another option etc....
  9. Invite a child to read out his/her sentence and to select a conjunction ,pick it up from the floor and walk over to  a second child and ask him/her to read out his/her  sentence.Now ask the two children to stand in the middle of the circle and say the whole new complex sentence together. 
  10. Repeat the activity with two more children and a new selected conjunction.
  11. How many sentences can the children write independently when they return to their tables that include a conjunction to connect two sentences together?  
Second Activity

  1. Blu-tac the conjunctions to the whiteboard or flip chart so they are visible to all the children .
  2. Play the "Sounds like" game" from above.This time though ask the class to say for you a conjunction that "contradicts" or "joins together" etc- do they all select the same conjunction?
  3. Divide the children in to groups of four.
  4. Can they connect each of their sentences to the other sentences using some of the conjunctions they can see on the board? They can not use the same conjunction twice in a row.
  5. Ask the children to write their "long" sentence containing conjunctions out on a mini whiteboard.
  6. Ask the children to practise speaking their sentence together.Can they remember how to say their complex sentence without looking at the written word?Ask them to add actions to help them with this.
  7. They must create a spoken performance of the class to include actions and a connecting movement  and "sounds like" performance of the conjunctions between clauses so that each of the original sentences flows via a conjunction on to the next sentence.
  8. Ask each group to perform their complex sentence for the class

Reading and Writing in the Primary Foreign Language

Yesterday I delivered an afternoon of CPD based around reading and writing in primary foreign languages.
The CPD was based around DfE KS2 POS Learning Objectives:

First of all we explored how all four skills (listening,speaking,reading and writing) are interconnected and support the development of each of the other skills.
This was a light bulb moment for some of the delegates and led to group discussion about how much,when,what to introduce in different skill areas.

During the CPD we considered  these objectives from the KS2 POS specifically:
  • Explore the patterns and sounds of the language and show understanding by joining in and responding.
  • Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing.
  • Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language.
  • Broaden their vocabulary and develop the ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written materials, including using a dictionary
  • Describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
  • Understand basic grammar……….how to apply these, for instance  to build sentences.
The highlighted key words and phrases helped us to discuss and explore the links across skills (so for example "show understanding of words"  can be explored,practised and  demonstrated across all four skills). 

Consideration One 
 We considered how the four skills can be interlinked right from an early start using some of the activities here in this blog post Stretchy sound and letter balloon .All linked to this learning objective
  • Explore the patterns and sounds of the language and show understanding by joining in and responding.
And we discussed how the development of this skill is always important to the linguist no matter what level of language they may be able to operate with.We looked at how the types of activities here could be adapted for different stages of learning and new content/contexts.

Consideration Two
Our next consideration was the use of bilingual dictionaries and the teachers discussed ways they might introduce dictionaries for the first time to young learners and the suitability of certain types of dictionaries and pictionaries for different children.
  • Take some time to look at alphabetical order and play some alphabet sorting games
  • Pop a variety of dictionaries from different languages in a basket in the reading area perhaps including home languages of children in the class or school 
  • Let the children explore the"mystery" book on their tables with no information or clues.What do they think it is? How does it seem to be organised etc?
We discussed how bilingual dictionaries can play such a key role in  language learning across all types of activities and how children need to see the resource as a valuable language learning tool which they will use and refer to often .
This led to discussion of the use of simple pictionaries with younger children, the use of junior dictionaries with KS2 children and the introduction of more detailed dictionaries with Year 6 UKS2. 

I was really impressed by the way the teachers wanted to explore how the language was presented in the junior dictionaries, the colour -coding and the way that examples supported or could potentially  confuse the young learners.
We decided that 15 bilingual dictionaries could be sufficient for a class activity (pairs for example) and that schools could have a signing in and out process on the staff room so that the dictionaries could be booked in and out. Most of the teachers felt 30 copies would suffice across KS2 (Y3/4 and Y5/6 split).

We considered  the activities here in this blog post as introductory activities or 10 minute revisit activities to familiarise the children with how to use a bilingual dictionary.

Bilingual Dictionary Wizards

And the teachers tried out the sequence of activities that they could take back in to school and link using a bilingual dictionary to the exploration of nouns

I spy nouns

Really importantly we identified that bilingual dictionaries are not just to 

  • "broaden ... vocabulary and develop the ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written materials, including using a dictionary".
Bilingual dictionaries could become an integral available resource whatever the language learning taking place and we considered how we may use the dictionaries in any of the objectives being considered in the CPD session.

Consideration Three
Our next step was to explore this learning objective:
  • Read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and simple writing

and to do this we looked at how the learning objective can be a driver for a series of activities that are very "primary" and "age appropriate" linking language learning across the curriculum.
We explored: the activities in this blog post .What is important to understand is that the activities are not just linked to the context and content described in the blog post but that the type of activities and stages of learning can be lifted and used in other contexts and with other content.We were able to identify the progression and deeper learning that potentially is taking place and how all four skills are interlinked and support development in of the other skills.

Consideration Four
We looked  at the learning objective below from the immediately obvious viewpoint of authentic books, rhymes and songs for young children and how they bring " authenticity and colour" in to the language learning classroom.

  • Appreciate stories, songs, poems and rhymes in the language.

  • I shared a range of materials that could be used as a  resource to listen to or read for pleasure, maybe because the resource links to the content being practised or also because it allows the teacher  to explore and reinforce another curriculum focus but in a foreign language. We thought about how we could create our own mini versions of books and create written sentences about characters and link our reading in a foreign language to World Book Day for example. Here are three examples we discussed: 

    We also looked at how poetry could be a resource to support literacy and creating written images ,an example of this is here in the blog post on a French authentic poem which allows us to engage with French poem painting of a Summer's Day.
    Familiar nursery rhymes can be used as a listening and reading resource to link all four skills together.Here in this blog post Dame Tartine we are able to link phonics,listening,joining in,speaking,singing, reading writing, APPs and DT!  I felt that this was really important to consider this as some colleagues were uncertain as to how in short limited language learning time all skills and progression could be catered for .Here  in Dame Tartine is just one example of how this can be planned and catered for over a series of lessons and week.

    Consideration Five
    And finally we were able to bring all our considerations together and look at how if we focus on developing progression in the other four considerations we can work toward Year 6 learners in their fourth formal year of learning becoming competent writers in the target language, who are able to .....
    • Describe people, places, things and actions orally and in writing
    • Understand basic grammar……….how to apply these, for instance  to build sentences.
    Perhaps by looking for real writing opportunities that link across the curriculum then the writing has a dynamic purpose ?
    Here is one recent topical example that some of my colleagues are working on: 

    Beginning with languages blog 4

    Across our network we work with schools who are all at different stages of setting up and delivering primary language learning and each year we welcome new schools who want to set off on their own individual school's language learning journey.

    This year these specific 

    "Beginning with languages "

     blogs will try to offer "bite size chunks" of indirect help and support to schools, who are doing exactly that .... just setting off and implementing  a language learning curriculum 


    Take a look back at"beginning with languages" blogs 






    Your checklists so far have been:

    Sept - Oct ,(first half term) Checklist

    • It's all about establishing a whole school support system for all your staff
    • It's about small steps and simple language learning
    • It's about children and staff beginning to enjoy language learning

    Mid October (end of the first half term), an additional new checklist bullet point!

    • So how are you all getting on? How do you know that primary languages are being implemented in all the classes and are the teachers and children having fun in their learning? 

    November (moving in to the second half term of language learning),we added a couple of new challenges to your checklist!

    • How successfully have you been able to build in "revisiting" opportunities to build the children and staff's confidence with the language you introduced last half term? 
    • Are you introducing,revisiting and re-using familiar games with familiar and unfamiliar language for example (e.g Bingo or Splat or maybe a game of Quiz Quiz Swap?)
    • Have you encouraged all staff to practise key language using sound files and songs?
    • Can all staff and children practise and learn a Christmas song or carol in the target language? (In beginning with languages blog three you can find links to You ~tube clips of a Christmas songl in French, Spanish and German

    And now your December checklist bullet points(to review a term's progress and prepare for next term) are:

    • Encourage all your staff to try out a simple listening and speaking Christmas activity based on a Christmas wishes song 

    Ring out those bells tonight

     (learning a simple Christmas wishes song and listening for key phrases to a familiar refrain of London's Burning)

    Extend this activity to a listening,speaking,reading and phonics activity with your more confident staff!Follow the suggested activities in 

    Ding Dong Bell Phonics

     using the same Christmas wishes song as in the activity above,but breaking down the words in to sound s and their letter combinations

    Using the Christmas wishes in these songs ,you have the basis for simple Christmas cards from the children to friends and family .Now the children are listening,speaking,reading and writing familiar language!

    • Ask staff to see the links between activities we may use in KS1 when encouraging children to read and KS2 beginners language learning.

    And forward planning.....

    Next term as a school you need to plan to celebrate the cultural events in the target language country .Start with your first week back and Epiphany. 

    Provide staff with the facts about Epiphany and the celebrations that will take place in early January  across Europe and particularly in France and Spain. Epiphany.

    Let your children be Kings for the day!

    The link here on the 

    mama lisa blog

     will provide your staff with the French facts and information and a song to sing with their classes in the week of Epiphany 

    The link here on the 

    mama lisa blog

     will provide your staff with the Spanish facts and information and a song to sing with their classes in the week of Epiphany

    Continuing to make progress

    • In Spring  first half term consolidate prior learning and build upon knowledge.Share the activities below with staff and ask them to select and use the activities to revisit prior learning: 

    Listening sticks

     (numbers and colours)

    Open and reveal for corners

     ( days/months/colours and numbers)

    Sunflower song and maths


    Totem pole prompt sticks

     (personal information questions)

    • Now you can build in a new language content focus linked to a DfE POS learning objective "broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words ...." . Let's begin to look at nouns! 
    1. Select your content focus (for example animals I like and don't like) and create simple opportunities for children to explore nouns. 
    2. Ask the children to become language detectives and to become noun collectors.
    3. Encourage each member of staff to think of creative ways to collect nouns with the children and to begin to explore the ways that nouns can have different sounds and written words to represent the word "the" or "a" in the target language.
    4. Some of the idea here will help school to do this :noun collectors nets and treasure boxes

    5. To support staff to understand more about nouns in a target language and the use of "the"  and "a" , share this blog post with them and put aside some time in a staff or key stage meeting to discuss what they have read and understood.

    Starting to understand nouns

    APPs and links between KS2 and KS3: first achievable steps

    I am not an expert with IT and would never suggest that I was, but I do love my ipad and the fun you can have with all sorts of APPs to use in language learning! So yesterday was exciting CPD opportunity for myself as well as others because yesterday Joe Dale visited us here in Warrington for a twilight linked to our DfE project Language Learning for everyone

    We had 55 teachers in the room ,six high schools were represented plus we had primary WSTA SCITT students too.
    There were teachers from St Helens,Halton,Knowsley,Warrington.Wigan ,St Helens and Cheshire who ranged from novices and beginners with ipads to more experienced ipad and APP users.It was fast and furious but there was plenty of food for thought and ideas, plus I think every teacher went away with next steps to try out in the world of APPs!

    Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity,transition activities again spring to mind!

    I have had an ipad for a year now and love it.I enjoy looking at the ways we can use the APPs often recommended on Twitter to create learning opportunities for the language learning primary school children we work with.
    We have had great success with Yakit , Pic Collage and Sock Puppets plus colleagues have tried out Tellagami and Zondle. We also love a programme from www.smule.com (Autorap) to record children and create raps of their simple recordings.

    This Christmas we are using Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with both Yakit for Kids with younger children and Autorap with the older children  Most of my colleagues have to work with one Ipad in class their own and a VGA cable to connect to the main system and share via the screen in their classrooms. 

    One of the main intentions of the CPD twilight was to bring primary and secondary teachers together at the same training event to meet and to consider links through technology between KS2 and KS3. 
    So now I am putting on my KS3 hat and looking at the possible links between the APPs Joe shared with us and how we can create purposeful learning opportunities between Y6 and and KS3. Thanks to Joe for the answers to my questions during CPD about possible ways to do this.......

    Google Drive 
    Setting up a shared folder on Google Drive between KS2 and KS3 language teaching colleagues seems to me the first step! 
    Teachers can see what children are doing and share good practice plus shared activities can be accessed from these folders.These can be across all 4 skills and look at grammar too! Words such as AfL,quality assurance, support,creativity, continuity , transition activities spring to mind!

     Yakit for Kids 
    Joe showed us how to create the characters and then add voice recordings with this APP.I asked Joe if one person could create the characters and then if this was shared in Google Drive could another person add the voice recordings and I was delighted to hear the answer was yes!  Well there is potential here for a Year 6 challenge . 

    • One Yakit for Kids clip with characters  (it takes about 5 minutes maximum to source and make) 
    • Shared on Google Drive by a KS3 teacher,downloaded by the KS2 Y6 teacher for the Y6 children to add the voice recordings .
    • What do they think the characters are saying? 
    • I can see this being a termly challenge based on a theme or focus that is pertinent to Y7 term 1- revisiting personal information, talking about objects and describing them etc.
    • There is limited time of 15 seconds but then Joe showed us a clever technique to stitch Yakit clips together so children who can or want to  say more can stitch together the identical clips but with continued question and answer dialogues! Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

    Ever since I found out about QRs I have really liked them. I can see links between drama, music and QRs and performance ! In a primary language learning context I have suggested using QRs on display to share good language work with parents and carers or sending QRs home to parents to see the work they have done. 
    A teacher  in the audience did ask the question yesterday about what happens if parents don't have the correct equipment to read the QR and Joe does know a way to do this but maybe you need to ask him this....
    And yesterday I realised once again what an easy way this would be to:

    •  set up question and answer treasure hunts for Y6 children 
    • created by either language assistants in high school or older pupils.
    • Simply create a set of recordings (either visual and spoken or just spoken), 
    • load on Google Drive in a "treasure hunt" folder and share with Y6 teachers.
    • Can the Y6 children piece the  QRs together so that they make sense and flow as one piece of information text or dialogue.......  Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind! 

    Book Creator
    I have tried out Book Creator as a class activity with one class at KS2. I would say that the children are more adept than myself at using this and enjoyed showing me how to add, insert , put in sound clips.
    Joe showed us how to add sound clips though that become transparent icons on the pictures and again it occurred to me that this could be a Y7 - Y6 activity:

    • Simply take photos of objects in a Y7 classroom and school.
    • Ask your Y7 to record a description of some of the items in the pictures
    • Conceal the sound files and then pop in to a book creator  template.
    • Share via Google Drive with Y6 teachers and the children in Y6 can have a virtual tour of the high school in the target language.
    • All the class needs to do is hover over each object and listen to what has been recorded. 
    • It works the other way round too - allowing Y7 language teachers to meet the class of Y6 at a specific school in a specific year via a photograph.
    • Simply take a photo of the class and ask each child to introduce themselves in the target language (personal information,likes,dislikes etc) Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

    Book Creator can allow the children to share writing,to annotate work and to add pictures of events that have taken place or performances the class have taken part in- not necessarily one book per child,but one "special 2 book per class over the course of KS2 or throughout Y6 would enable KS3 teachers to look and see and be able to refer to prior learning activities and events with their new Y7 intake.

    Using Book Creator KS3 colleagues could set up activities based on nouns, adjectives and verbs by simply sharing on Google Drive via the Book Creator APP.Accessed and used by the classes in Y6 as one off revisiting and practising activities and the results recorded in Book Creator and shared back to KS3 teachers via Google Drive.  Words such as AfL ,understanding of prior learning, shared learning,continuity ,transition activities again spring to mind!

    As with all CPD events, a health warning needs to be applied here.

    • Small  and achievable steps are best .One simple trial project with a small and willing group of schools or with one link primary school.
    • Careful and clearly planned activities and expectations
    • Carefully selected APPs that all staff and children understand and can use
    • Realistic time limits 
    • Activities that can be achieved with one ipad in the room or with a class of children with access to ipads
    But what a way to build transition links ... AfL, shared learning, quality assurance and support, continuity and creativity.

    A triarama with speaking and writing attitude!

    Tomorrow I will be working with teachers on linking drama and language learning and I will be considering the new DfE POS learning objectives for KS2 and also how we can lay the foundations in our learning for KS3 languages.
    We will look at all sorts of activities from beginners to advanced KS2 language learning.The following activities are targeted at learners who are either moving on or are advanced learners.
    My activities hopefully will allow teachers to offer children opportunities to progress and work with the following objectives from the new DfE POS:

    • speak in sentences using familiar vocabulary
    • broaden their vocabulary
    • read carefully and show understanding of words,phrases and simple writing
    • write phrases from memory

    I was introduced to Triaramas by Clare Seccombe here  and have decided that triaramas are a way to  link all four skill (L.S.R.W) and drama! 

    • First you need to create a sketch for the children. (We will base ours on Christmas and family- maybe presents or a meal).There needs to be a dramatic or funny ending to the sketch.Use familiar language with some new language that they will need to understand and offer the children tools such as bilingual dictionaries to find meanings etc
    • Then you need to write out the sketch without stage directions for the class.
    • Give each child a script and organise the class into differentiated ability groups with the right number of children in the group for the roles in the sketch. 
    • Can the children read the sketch out in the target language around the table?
    • Can the children tell each other what has happened in the sketch? Have they understood the ending of the sketch?
    • Ask the children to read the sketch a second time and allocate roles and decide upon actions and voices of the characters
    • What props will they need?
    • Now can the children decide what the stage directions should be?
    It's time to be a set designer and sketch director!
    Each child must decide which moment in the sketch they want to depict in a snap shot set.

    It's blank set time.
    Give each child a piece of paper and ask them to create a triarama following instructions.

    This is there opportunity to create the set for the sketch and to record how they perceive the sketch that their group has been working on.

    Now they need to add information to their triarama so that they create a dynamic record of the reading of the sketch.Each character in the foreground needs their name/role  and an adjective that help other people understand what the character is like e.g.  tired /excited/ friendly/ angry /surprised/ confused etc .First the children need to make cut outs and write in the target language on them - the role/ the adjective:

    The children can now place the characters as they want them on set?

    ....And the children can add key phrases from the sketch and additional objects and other characters.Can they write the phrases from memory.

    Do they want to add any other characters too? What are these characters saying or thinking at that exact moment?

    I have blu-tacked my characters to the set so that they can be moved and have blu-tacked their phrases too to the characters so the dialogue can be changed.

    Now it's time to share their set with the sets of the other children - firstly in their group and then in the class.
    Have they chosen the same moment in the sketch?
    How do they imagine their characters sound when they speak.Can they bring their snap- shot set to life?

    Changing Faces and Creative Popart Challenge

    This evening on my Pinterest board janet's language learning  this pinned item from a few months ago caught my attention! 

    Changing faces 
    This Popart picture is made up of the faces of Tintin and it caught my eye immediately - as it could be such a great shared language learning tool across UKS2 and then into Y7!

    With young learners who are beginners in the target language we can play Quiz Quiz Swap / partner or group guessing games/ create our own written Art work replacing the image of the hair with a written target language phrase etc

    With young learners who are moving on in their learning we can give Tintin a personality based on each picture - emotions, names, age, likes and dislikes etc 
    We can bring the pictures out again in a different lesson and  revisit,recall and build upon knowledge of sentence structure.

    And what about practising those common present tense verbs to describe someone or something? We can practise first to third person verb changes,develop conversations rather than dialogues and generate new Popart challenges for other pupils in the class or add voices and sound via QRs and Yakit!

    Dame Tartine

    This week at our conference we had the opportunity to consider ways to develop phonics activities in target languages that help children understand the reading code of the new language. We consider the use of song, phonics in a target language,ways to record creatively written work, use of APPS and we briefly considered simple drama activities .
    Let's bring these all together and celebrate their use linking this to an authentic text in the target language!
    I have chosen for this example the comptine "Dame Tartine" ,as it's nearly the end of the school year and has a feel of a celebration cake!
    We will be focusing on one verse only but here are two video clips with subtitles that can help your class to read and practise and sing along with the comptine.

    Here is the verse we will focus on....

    Il était une dame Tartine,
    Dans un beau palais de beurre frais.
    La muraille était de praline,
    Le parquet était de croquets.
    La chambre à coucher
    De crème de lait ,
    Le lit de biscuits,

    Les rideaux d’anis.

    It's an amazing palace that's being described made from tasty sweets and cake ingredients.

    Step One - let's practise the comptine (listening,reading,joining in and singing)
    • Let's listen to the whole comptine.
    • Now let's listen to the first verse again with the subtitles visible.
    • Now let's join in and try to practise the first verse
    • Now let's sing along.
    • Play the first verse again and conceal the screen - how well can the children remember song?
    Step Two:Phonics and phoneme-grapheme/letter string recognition
    • Draw an outline of the bedroom(walls/floor/bed/curtains) described in this verse and give each table an outline.Give out the five ingredients as word cards to each table.Ask the tables to decide where they would put each ingredient from the rhyme. Ask the table to say the rhyme to each other and decide where their ingredients should be stuck with blu-tac on the outline.Share the tables decisions.
    • Now take the children phoneme - grapheme/letter string shopping like Julie Prince demonstrated at the conference.Each table needs a bag with a grapheme or letter string of a sound contained in one or more of the ingredients.Take a look at the picture here.

    This really brings out the competitive element! More than one table may have a sound on their bag this is contained in the ingredient noun. The table that reacts quickest and loudest will win the ingredient!

    Step Three:Word recognition/memory and listening-reading
    • Can the children match the items in the rhyme to the ingredients.Give out to pairs the words for the items and the words for the ingredients .
    • First they must say them and match them
    • Then they must say them , match them and order them as they remember them in the comptine
    • Play the comptine first verse again ....where they correct? Or do they need to reorder some of the components?
    Step Four:Speaking for a creative purpose with drama and the use of Yakit APP   
    • Now add a touch of drama and performance.Ask the children to imagine that they are museum curators. Can they take it in turns working with a partner to show visitors around an the very special bedroom of this "palace".Can they not only make it sound delicious but also look delicious too?
    • The children could draw the "delicious" bedroom and create a Yakit voice over of the bedroom- just like Emilie showed us at the conference. Take a look here at Emilie's fashion show  Yakit to give you an idea how this could work
    Step Five:Making a written record and writing creatively in the target language.
    • Let's make a mini book record of the Dame Tartine.A glorious celebration cake shaped mini book with flaps for the door where "la dame Tartine " can be seen and a flap (upon which is written the description of the items from the comptine) .When you open the flap it reveals the bedroom with the floor, the walls, the bed and the curtains all decorated as calligrams with the words for the ingredients.
    • Why not let the children create another bedroom in the palace with calligrams of different ingredients - you can decide how many of the ingredients must rhyme with the items depending on how challenging you want this to be.

    Find out more about @vallesco's mini books here.

    Using the template described in the blog above to create your own sequence of lessons 
    One sequence of lessons leads to another and one of the great things about the colleagues mentioned in this blog is that we all inspire each other and challenge each other to try new ideas. Julie Prince has developed a sequence of lessons, inspired by this blog post on one of her favourite action rhymes trois petits chats. I love it! Hope you find it useful too!

    Mirror mimes and silent movie adverbs

    I really enjoy this simple sequence of drama based activities to practise action verbs and commands with children and also as a staff CPD activity.

    In their simplest form they are activities,which allow you to work through a sequence of language skills with the children:

    • to listen and respond, 
    • to repeat after you and perform   
    • to speak independently and practise with a partner.

    The activity add a purposeful twist to the simple language practise.It's all about mirrors.Moving in time with someone , remember the rules of a reflection and focusing on a target language utterance all at the same time is more challenging than you may think!Especially if you ask the children to be as accurate as possible i everything they say and do.

    You may want to link the activities below to the ideas in this blog post

    five little commands


    Listen and respond

    :with a partner perform what you hear - but remember one partner takes the lead and the other partner must follow exactly the action of the lead partner but as if s/he is a mirror reflection. 

    Repeat and perform

    :copy exactly the way the teacher says the commands e.g slowly , quickly,timidly,courageously etc and make the mirror mime activity reflect the sound they hear and then reproduce of the command and the style in which it is uttered.

    Speak independently and practise with a partner

    :children can select the commands they want to say and perform as a mirror mime or can be prompted by a picture card.

    Now let's take this further..................

    A command performance!

    This involves the children looking with the teacher at the pattern thye can see that is being repeated in the formation of the imperative( commands). For example in French with "er" verbs can they see that we use "ez" when we want everyone to do something. Ask the children to find three new verbs in a bilingual dictionary and to create their own "command performances" ,where they take a second pair through the three stages detailed above with three new verbs and the commands they have constructed using the pattern they have identified.As a teacher you could make sure that the children select verbs with the "er" ending b writing a suggested list of 10 verbs on the white board so that the children are guided to look for correct types of infinitives to which to apply the pattern.    

    Silent movie adverbs

    Adding adverbs increases the ways you can use the commands to create performances.Once again take the children through the three stages above,introducing adverbs this time too e.g bougez lentement/ move slowly/ grimpez vite /climb quickly etc. 

    Now give groups of four children written target language instructions for commands and adverbs that describe the movements in more detail. Can the children in their groups create the silent movie performance of their list of target language instructions.They must perform them as they are described and in the order they are described.

    Why not create simple clips of the silent movie adverbs and add sub titles in the target language and a music as a background?

    Circus ! An independent project for early target language learners

    Summer time and all across Europe you will find  the circus is coming to town!
    Last year I sat down with a local teacher to plan and consider how we could link the target language  learning of her Year 5 and 6 to the language and context of the circus and the culture of circuses at the seaside in France and Spain.Circus was the focus of the UKS2 children and the school was trying to encourage independent learning at the end of the school year, looking back at what they had learned throughout the year

    We set out to be the facilitators of the Summer focus and give the children the time to explore the language skills and knowledge of the language they had acquired during the year.

    The children were at the stage in language learning where they could understand ,say,read and write simple spoken and written sentences using nouns, verbs and adjectives in the present tense.

    The important points were that we wanted to 

    1. to allow the children the opportunity to explore the language of the circus by independent access to text be it written or spoken
    2. to allow the children to create their own final product - an advertisement for a Summer circus in the target language in either spoken or written form.
    • The task
    The children were asked to work in groups of four - differentiated ability- and to include in their project:

    1. A poster (dates, times, venue,cost,participants). 
    2. A simple description of the circus  ( simple present tense description of a circus using there is/are and third person singular of the verb (to be and to have). 
    3. A rhyme, song or poem about the circus ( simple "advertisement jingle" style poem/ song/rhyme describing the circus and giving simple opinions e.g it's good/fantastic/ fun etc).

    The expectation was that the children would use their prior knowledge of language and the skills required to access key language to generate the three components mentioned above.

    • Core language gathering 
    We let the children explore the language of the circus through simple authentic text.In groups we asked the children to explore an authentic text (here a French book or a Spanish video) and to find the key words for acrobat, trapeze artists, magician , the circus clowns etc, giving them access to bi-lingual dictionaries to check the language.

    We found a brilliant book about in French about the circus

    And this great simple video clip in Spanish introducing the key nouns associated with the circus. We gave the children the hyper-link for the clip on their chrome books

    • Let the children explore how to create their own circus posters 
    Using posters of the circus coming to town we decided to ask the children to use these as information banks they could  access to find and see how to use  target language in their own posters. The important thing was that the children should access the posters to find out for themselves for example how to describe the action , how to write the date and times etc.

    Care was taken to select posters that had sufficient examples of key information so that the children had a text from which they could find examples for their own posters.

    • Generating your own advertisement jingle 
    We understood that these would need to be simple as the children had limited language but we wanted also to consider how added a flavour of the circus to their advertisements 
    We watched with them video clips  and asked them to discuss how they could make sure their jingles had a circus flavour. We added the hyper- links to their chrome books so they could watch again for inspiration!

    Here is a Spanish example 

    Here is a French example 

    • Over to the groups 

    Then it was over to the groups to create a package that sold their circus to the class!

    We found that the children really enjoyed the feeling of independence when using the target language and having to think of ways of accessing and checking language.The children valued the material that each group.

    The  project worked because the challenges were not beyond the limits of the language but the project allowed the Year 5 and 6 children to feel the responsibility we often bestow upon them in other subject areas to organise, access and generate their own materials and outcomes! 

    A great end of year project !