Twizzle Stick Opposites!

Being in the target language country allows you to look for marvellous books - just to give you new inspiration!
In Spain last week I found this simple infant book and this led mt to think of a  creative idea.....that could be really useful to practise opposites with LKS2!  

The book in itself is a marvellous joining in text to practise opposites.The children can swivel the objects in the middle of the hard card page, can anticipate the opposite phrase used with  the next page.You can revisit the book  and play anticpation or memory games  too.

This made me think of "twizzle stick opposites"!
All we are going to need are lolly sticks,firm card, glue and seloptape,oh and some scissors!

First a little bit about the book!
The book shows  a picture of an item on each page and and a key word.It's opposite word and the same picture( but drawn to convey the new meaning) are shown on the reverse side of the page.The picture inbetween can be swivelled to match the key word .For example there is a smiley face with "contento" above it and when you swivel the face it is a sad face on the other side and reads "triste"

The pictures can be turned over or swizzled around! Just like this tortoise it can be "derecha" or can be flipped around and on the next page "izquierda"

Twizzle Stick Opposites Game 

  • This is my way of creating an interactive game to practise opposites using a physical activity.
  • Year 3 or 4 could create the twizzle sticks and share with KS1.
  • It will also help the Y3/4 children have a better understanding of the concept of "opposites" plus a physcial and visual memory of key words to describe or place objects.
  • I anticipate that each child should make 5 swizzle sticks and therefore explore the meaning of 10 words in 5 pairs of opposites.
  • The twizzle sticks can just have opposites written on them or could also have the nouns of ther objects the children have used too, hidden under a lift and reveal flap.

Making Twizzle Sticks

  • Ask the children to think of 5 pairs of opposites in English
  • Can they now find these woirds in the bilingual dictionary and cross reference their meaning in the front of the bilingual dictionary to check its meaning.(This could be a pair activity where the partner cross reference words and feeds back what they find)
  • The children need to write each word out in the target language on a separate small strip of firm card.
  • The children can now put the words with their opposite word in to 5 piles of opposite words e.g contento/triste or izquierda/derecha
  • For each pair of opposite words the children now need to think of an object that they can draw and use to explain both of the opposite words.For example with contente/triste - this will probably be the face of a child/person/animal etc or maybe with directions it could be a vehicle.
  • The children should draw the objects (twice per twizzle stick) so that the images of the objects conveys the meaning of the opposite words .
  • The drawings needs to be attached with glue or selotape to the top third of the lollipop stick and the correct opposite word card that they have chosen and written out needs to be glued or selotaped below the correct image of the object.

The Twizzle Stick Year 3 or Year 4 Game!

  • Each child shares with a partner all the twizzle sticks they have made and say the opposite word as they show each of the images.They will need to twizzle their sticks to share all the images and the opposite words
  • the first child lays out their sticks on the table with one side of the twizzle stick showing.
  • The second child  selects a twizzle stick , picks it up says the word that is face up on the stick, anticpates and says the opposite word and then twizzles the stick to see if he/she was correct.
  • If he/she is correct then the stick now belongs to the second child.
  • Which child wins the most sticks from am partner? 
  • Add extra challenge by giving each child a strip of coloured paper long enough to place across the five twizzle sticks of one player.The strip of paper should not conceal the picture but should conceal the face up word.
  • Who can now remember the face up word and the opposite word written on the face down side of the stick? 

The aliens have definitely landed! Year 4 Spring term observations.

We have an alien family in our JLN SOW.We introduce Year 4 to the family in Spring and then the children meet the aliens  to practise language across all four skills and grammar  at points later in Year 4,5 and 6. We love our aliens and they never fail to disappoint! Here is part of the family at carnival later in the school year! I say part of the family as our young learners keep on making us new members of the family.I have met the family several times in the last couple of weeks and what is remarkable is that each teacher adds their own style to the introduction and practise of the language around the aliens! 

Have a look at the difference in approaches between Ana's Spanish Year 4 lesson on the family.Janet W's Year 5 beginners French lesson on our alien family ,Emilie's Bonjour Madame blog post on her alien family lesson and the use of a Voice recording APP and now here below Joanne's Year 4 lesson in Spanish on the "familia alien" - full of drama and performance!


As you may know if you have been reading my blog posts on observations, I am currently undertaking a routine series of observations of the language assistants and teachers who work alongside me in our primary schools.They deliver primary language learning on a weekly basis.It is such a rewarding and pleasurable opportunity to see what is really taking place in schools.

This series of blogs is an additional support mechanism for these colleagues,as they can't be in each others classroom and as a team  we meet once per half term for a twilight CPD,So you can hopefully see that these blogs (with a cup of tea and a biscuit back at home) offer them an insight in to each others classrooms and schools. 

Joanne's "Familia alien" lesson

  • A warm up greetings song packed with actions and  whole class singing , as they gathered on the carpet for the Spanish 
  • Personal information questions and answers - using "the guest" (that was me) as a person to get to know.Praise for children - particularly those who don't always  speak Spanish confidently to new people in the classroom.
  • Incidental language all in Spanish and reminders to " sentaos" to a couple of children not quite sat down or "escuchad" and "miradme" and then an instruction to discuss with their talking partners the language they had met for the first time last week "la familia alien" .....
  • Looking for links (e.g papa/ mama or hermano and hermana) and praise for correct use of definite articles with reward " a star-cash" for someone who really thought hard before sharing a correct article! 
  • Now the whole class was moving around and being the characters with the actions the children had chosen for the characters last week .As many actions as there are syllables in the nouns reminded Joanne. A wagging finger for mama, hands behind the head and a yawn for papa, football kick for hermano and disco dancing for hermana  and  tiny moving fists and feet for bebe! Stereo -typical (as Joanne pointed out) but chosen ,owned  and liked by the children and acted out with gusto!
  • Now we started to use the question " Quien es?" and full sentence responses were expected " hola soy el bebe alien" etcetra...always in character , always with actions,accurate pronunciatrion expected and reinforced  and always performed well.
  • The children were so engaged that they just listened ,joined in and responded to incidental instructions without even noticing that these were in the target language.
  • Today  "abuelo" and "abuela" joined the family! This was a big moment  in this particular school,because when Year 6 were in Year 4 they designed the grandma and grandad to complete the alien family for us.It was their idea! They are precious to the school!
  • Joanne introduced "abuelo" and asked the children to look at the slide from the familia alien ppt and work out how to say "abuelo" before she shared correct pronunciation ... and what we heard was excellent!
  • Then she asked the children to be language detectives think about what they thought grandma might be in Spanish .... and with their talking partners we could hear them say "Well it's hermano  and hermana so perhaps the word ends in "a" (etc).Back came the response "abuela" and now Joanne could introduce Grandma.
  • Of course the class needed actions for the characters and decided on an action that conveyed what one of the children described "Ooh me back" for abuelo and for grandma the class decided on a knitting action.
  • "Can we play a dramatic Pedro dice?" asked one child. What a good idea was Joanne's response.Off they went to their standing spaces and how did the children own the game! Performance filled,volunteers as Pedro dice who had to say whole sentences for the rest of the class.One volunteer won a "starcash" reward for excellent pronunciation,intonation,speed of recall, use of complete phrases and correct use of "o" and "a" for our new characters - abuelo and abuela. How proud was that person!
  • Time for performance in groups.On their home tables,the children had to create a performance introduction to the familia alien for the rest of the class.Each child had to be a character from the family , keep and enhance the actions and add their own alien voice.Joanne clarified that what she was looking for, was clear confident introductions to the  familia alien.
  • As support she offered children the familia alien photo sacks (small card pictures of each character to help with recall of the nouns) but only if the children felt that they needed to use them .
  • As additional challenge  the children were encouraged to add their own sentences - names, ages, feelings etc....maybe even questions for other family members.
  • And off they went to spend 10 minutes creating their  entertaining Spanish familia alien performances for the rest of the class! 
  • Thank you Joanne and Year 4.The aliens have definitely landed!

Seeing progress in action!

I want to call this blog post - "you can always learn more!"

It's a post about progress and observations in the primary classroom from a school visit yesterday.

I am certain that many  of you who read this do achieve similar success in classes across the country.I think it's so important to create a written record of your successes to help others.
Firstly the record can celebrate what is taking place. 
Secondly it's a tool by which to share practitioners and learners progress.
Thirdly it is hopefully a fair record of what school are achieving across year groups and across the school academic year in primary language learning.

A little bit of background knowledge to set the scene
If you have followed my blog posts you probably already know that I work alongside a group of really committed and enthusiastic teachers and that we work every academic week of the school year in 37 schools to support the delivery of French ,Spanish and German. Part of my role is to guide and support the teachers and the schools as the project in their individual settings develops.

Yesterday was one of those wonderful days when I went in to a school, to observe a practitioner delivering language learning and to support the school to see how best to support staff and children with their language learning.
Below is an honest account of what was observed - simple language learning content and context that became one of those rare magical moments !Less about the teacher and more about the progress of the language learners

Ana is one of our Spanish native speaker QTS practitioners. She has worked alongside me now for four years and has worked in this specific school for just over two years. Her relationship with children,staff and SLT is excellent. Ana works with a core programme of learning across KS1 and KS2 and is happy to change or adapt learning to suit school needs and special events.
The core programme is in line with the network JLN SOW ,which means staff and especially the language coordinator can access the core language,activities and  resources and develop simple assessment opportunities with Ana.Ana has provided sound files for our SOW ,which help staff to listen again to those core words and structures too. Ana shares medium term planning for all year groups from YR to Y6 with the coordinator and staff.......

............but didn't I say you can always learn more ? !

Yesterday the observations made,were about the balance of the four skills in accordance with the new DfE POS and also about what progress young learners in the school are really making.
The Head and I observed two lessons.In both lessons the class teachers and TAs are always present and encouraged to participate.The school is still working toward what this participation will eventually look like and how the school, Ana and the staff can support different groups of learners.It's a case of positive SLT supported and staff implemented "work in progress".Spanish is now becoming an integral part of the learning curriculum across KS1 and KS2.

A lesson of two halves with Year 4!

Now here is an interesting thing! 
With Y4/5 mixed age class Ana was looking at the family and creating descriptions using familiar language of a new family- our alien family. She was concentrating also on our New Year's resolution to encourage children to apply rules of pronunciation to new language, applying knowledge of prior learning and to look for those semi- cognates and cognates.You may have read the blog post Look! Think! Read The children are in their second year of language learning and it was in the second half of the lesson,after we asked Ana to deliver everything in the target language- instructions , questions to the children and the speaking card game  to "describe people" (a DfE learning objective!) that the lesson came to life! 
Why? Well the children, it seemed to us, became really keen to engage with the learning through Spanish.It was great to see them all sat on the edge of their seats, listening for clues in the language Ana was using,with Ana carefully selecting the key language she used and actions to support what the children had to do e.g "Para" ,"Movea".......With not a word of English spoken the class wanted more!! 
What is important to remember here is that the children work every week with Ana, know her well and are used to her speaking Spanish with her - and she knows what they know too! 

It was this second half of the lesson that was most remarkable as every child was engaged ,some supported by teacher and TA  but all the children were trying to understand what Ana was saying....and the teachers were too!

The Head and I wanted to take this further so ....

A Year 3 lesson to remember!
The Head and I followed Ana to her next class and asked her this time to speak only Spanish from the beginning to the end of the lesson.These were Y3 children who have two years language learning with Ana, behind them. 
Ana wanted to teach the class how to read and write names of animals, some familiar spoken language and some unfamiliar language in preparation for the work on animals they see and find around them.
She asked the children to  put on their Spanish brains and to travel with her in their heads to Spain.From this moment on she explained everything in Spanish.They were Spanish children in a Spanish classroom with a Spanish teacher for the duration of the lesson.

We observed normal routine warm up language- questions and answers  about the date, month, what day was it yesterday or would it be tomorrow,personal information, favourite months, days , weather on the day , etc etc! 
When she asked the children where they lived,she reminded them that they now lived in Spain( all explained in the target language) and my favourite response had to be "Vivo en Real Madrid" !! 
Although most of the children wanted to live in Malaga, Barcelona or Sevilla- all places that Ana will have talked with them about when for example she talks about her home city Sevilla , or Gaudi and colours and Barcelona and Malaga because we have link schools in the city! 

Then  something magical happened..... one of those "goose pimples" teaching and learning moments which you want to keep forever !

Ana asked the children about their favourite animals and The children were able to tell Ana about the sea creatures they liked -pulpo, tiberon etcetra, without prompting ,from their Y2 language learning focus and recalled  farm animals from their Old Macdonald work in Y1 !! 
All the children were busy thinking about what they could say and remember....

From this point onwards we observed the clearly identifiable progress these young learners are making in language learning.
Ana asked children to come to the front and share how they thought these favourite animal words were written .Hands up all around the classroom! "Casi" said Ana as children added too many consonants or forgot that a "h" sound could be a"j" in Spanish! They weren't put off - the whole class wanted to help sort out the spelling! "Pez" was interesting and the child writing self corrected himself .It's not "th" it's "z" he said "because it's like diez"! Definitely a WOW moment!

Ana introduced new animal pictures and asked the children if they already knew the word for the animal and was it un or una....? Could they write the word if they already knew it? And the new animal words - well could they listen, repeat and then decide from prior learning of numbers , colours, etc how to spell for example "caballo" ( amarillo link) , conejo, pajaro (rojo/ jueves link) etcetra.

The children were applying prior learning to new language and making sound -spelling links and confidently coming to the front to volunteer the written word.Meantime the class teacher and TA were observing and  identifying the confidence of hesitant writers, happy to share their clear and exact writing in a different language and the way that the more able learners were being stretched by challenge of the target language.

These young language learners are inquisitive,keen to learn the language and confident that they can succeed.The thoughtful class practise of the pronunciation of "v" for "vaca" ,the additional information offered about the animals e.g.the impromptu spoken language from some of the children with the colour of the animals in the pictures and trying to describe this in a sentence and the links the children could make with their own experiences e.g raton- oh that's like "ratoncito Perez" said one pupil.(Her Spanish friend told her about this story, she added).

And Ana - well Ana was thriving on the engagement of the children and as an experienced primary classroom teacher and practitioner, using only target language, was being guided by the children and drawing the children further in to their application of language learning skills.

This was a lesson not to forget and needed to be recorded.
Progress of 7 year olds with some prior learning in Spanish across listening ,speaking , reading ,writing, culture and grammar.
Thank you so much Ana for a remarkable snapshot! 

What have we learned? 
Well  there is always room for improvement - perhaps more talking partner opportunities  and use of mini whiteboards ...... but truthfully it was the impact of the learning through the target language and the way the children naturally made those sound -spelling links, recalled language with ease and began to want to engage in sentence level activities outside the learning context that have caused Ana,the Head and I to stop and think!

Next steps?

  • To allow staff time to shadow Ana and see this progress in different year groups and the links the children can make between prior learning and new learning.
  • To begin to plan for Spanish learning which can support teachers and TAs with their own everyday learning skills observations of children
  • To plan for as much use of the target language as is sensible and supportive for the young  learners
  • To plan for staff CPD time to discuss what they have observed and what they think are the next achievable steps! 

Colourful French creativity

Just found this rhyme 

here on nounoud56.centerblog

You can listen to and sing along with the song


 on this page too! 

Thought this would be a great way to develop reading and dictionary skills with our LKS2 Y4 French learners during Spring term. It will enable is to extend their knowledge of colours and reinforce our knowledge of nouns ....and maybe look for verbs in the text.

I love the idea that the crayons play whilst the children are outside on their playtime break and I love the fact the poem starts with a question....just what do the crayons do when there are no children in the classroom?

Step One

Highlight or underline each sentence of the poem in the correct colour.

Spot the two sentences that contain no colours.

Step Two

Make the poem a picture in a picture frame .

  • Children should use the words in the question of the first sentence as the header of the frame and the words in the final statement at the end of the poem as the footer of the frame.
  • The sides of the frame are pencil calligrams:the colouring pencils mentioned written as word calligrams of the different colours.For example I might put red ,yellow and blue on one side and the black and grey on the other side.
  • Now ask the children to investigate the sentences in the poem that explain what the different coloured pencils have drawn.Ask the children to circle the nouns in the sentences and check or find the meaning of the nouns in a bi-lingual dictionary.
  • Have they spotted the unusual colours for the objects- let them share with you what they have found out! (e.g the mouse is red....or is it?)
  • Can the look at the picture evidence around the outside the written text and spot the anomalies? For example the "green" crayon has drawn a yellow sunshine etc 
  • Now all they have to do is create the drawing as described in the text!

Step Three

Make sense of the poem...

  • Ask the children to explain the meaning of the word "dessine" - you may encourage them to think of English words that are similar (e.g design)
  • Can they explain the role this word plays in the sentences in the text?
  • Ask the children to create a more sensible set of sentences for the poem completing the sentences below: 

le rouge dessine .............

le vert dessine ...............

le bleu dessine ...............

le gris dessine ................

le noir dessine................

  • Now they can become artists themselves and draw the objects they have decided are more sensible and match the colours and describe what is happening in French to a partner using the key sentences above.

And finally here is the You tube clip of the text above!

Summer celebration messages based upon Bloemenwinkel tradition

Thanks to Carmel @OHaganCarmel !Carmel shared with us this blog post called Traveling with Kids Belgian seaside and a very special Belgian seaside tradition for children.If you have been following some of my recent blog posts you will see that I have been focusing on the beach and the seaside.It's a big part of our Summer SOW. The blog posts so far have been about:

The tradition I love from the article about Belgian seaside is "Bloemenwinkel "

You can read about the tradition in the article linked to the picture to above  in the blog article I referred to at the top of this blog.I love the fact that children pay for the flowers with shells and also that these are made from tissue paper or crepe paper and are sold on the beach to the children who visit.
I think we can  make a wonderful final lesson for Year 3 and Year 4 just before Summer with this idea. 

We will firstly go shell counting.
Simply using shell shaped card templates with numbers on the reverse side and in lots of different colours we will hunt numbers.
Use eight different card colours and divide the cards into groups of eight (eight different colours and random ordered numbers written on the reverse side)

We need as many shell cards and numbers as there are children in the class and we need to use eight different colours of card each time.
We will play the game in groups of eight cards at a time in a random order or selection.
Can the children guess the shell number and if they can they win the shell and if they can't the shell is put back on the board.The children need to say the colour of the shell that they want the teacher to turn over  and guess the number.

Explain the Belgian seaside tradition to the children and share the pictures from the blog article with the children 
Locate the seaside resorts on the Belgian coast.Did the children realise that there was so much seaside in Belgium?Do they know where Belgium is and what languages are spoken there?
Can the children now help you to create your own Bloemenwinkel (flower corner shop)?

Creating the Bloemen

My "bloemen" will be like fortune cookies.There will be one each for every child with a celebration written message chosen and written by another classmate on the flower head,which is  made of a rolled coloured paper strip.

Each child needs a strip of coloured paper and a straw and some selotape.
Each child selects a strip of coloured card that is wide enough to write on and long enough to roll ,so it will fit on one end of a straw- just like miniature versions of the flowers you can see in the picture.
Provide the children with a range of phrases they can select from to write on their strips of coloured card in the target language.
For example:

Have a great holiday !
See you in September
Enjoy the school holidays
Have a good rest!
Enjoy playing in the park!
Enjoy playing with your friends!
Look forward to seeing you at school in September 
It's the school holidays ! Hurrah!
Summer is here!
No school in August 

Make sure your class can understand the phrases.You could practise them as "celebration sayings" with cheers and happy voices - celebrating the fact it's nearly the holidays 

Here are some Bloemenwinkel made by my colleague Joanne Hornby with her Year 4 class.They went outside and put them in a flower bed and drew lots to pick a flower from the bloemenwinkel.Joanne says that the children loved the whole activity and the fact they had something to take home at the end of the year 

Here are the phrases in French:

Passez de bonnes vacances !
Au mois de septembre!
Profitez bien des grandes vacances!
Reposez vous bien!
Amusez vous bien au parc!
Amusez vous bien avec vos amis!
J'ai hâte d'être en septembre!
C'est les grandes vacances! Youpi!
L'été est là !
Pas d'école au mois d'août!

And in German

Schöne Ferien!
 Bis September                      
Genießt die Sommerferien
Erholt euch gut!
Viel Spaß auf dem Spielplatz!
 Viel Spaß mit eueren Freunden!
Ich freue mich schon, wenn ich euch im September wieder sehe.
Es sind Sommerferien! Hurra!
Der Sommer ist da!
Keine Schule im August

And in Spanish
Que tengáis unas buenas vacaciones
Nos vemos en septiembre
disfruta de las vacaciones
que descanséis
disfruta jugando en el parque
disfruta jugando con tus amigos
nos vemos en el colegio en septiembre
son las vacaciones
 hurra el verano ya llegó
no hay colegio en agosto

Ask the children to select two messages and to write them on one side of the coloured paper strip.They need to write it clearly and carefully in the target language so another child can read the message clearly.
  • Now they need to roll the coloured card strips and attach one end to one end of  straw.
  • Collect in the flowers and attach one of the shell cards with the number showing to the base of each flower.
  • Now hand round a bag which has numbered shell cards inside .
  • Each child takes a shell and must say the number and then find the flower with that numbered shell card attached to it .This is his/her flower and s/he can unravel the coloured paper strip and see what his/her celebration saying written message is.