cross curricular

Countryside comparisons :location detective lists and poster presentations

Having spent some time last week in Pays Basque, visiting France and Spain, I not only found an ideal way to compare seaside between France and Spain,using the target language Simple seaside comparison with verbs, conjunctions and sentence structure , but I also visited Ainhoa!
What another gift!I realised that with UKS2 we could create a simple unit of work comparing Grasmere in the Lake district and this French/Spanish border town.

So why do I think that we can make a comparison between Grasmere and Ainhoa and why am I so specific in my choice? 
We are going to be "location detectives" and eventually create our own poster presentations.(It would work well using Book Creator too with sound clips etc)

Ask the children to keep two lists of key comparisons between Ainhoa and Grasmere.
Each list has a heading phrase "Ainhoa" or "Grasmere".These lists are called the "location detective lists"

Now let's start our comparison investigations.....

Here is the first clue! Take a look at this!

The Gingerbread shop in Ainhoa is in a very old building and is just a small counter where you can buy the flat oat- like gingerbread.If you have ever visited theSarah Nelson's Gingerbread shop in Grasmere you will know that this is a very small old building with a counter and the gingerbread is the same consistency.
So bingo! Here we have our first comparisons......

Step One :A "Gingerbread" investigation 
  • Share this video of the Ainhoa shop and making gingerbread wth the children- just to give them a sense of the produce
  • Taste some simple gingerbread biscuits
  • Can the children collect adjectives to describe the look of the gingerbread and the flavours in gingerbread?

  • Take a look at the buildings where the shops are in Grasmere and Ainhoa

Here is the Sarah Nelson's  gingerbread shop in Grasmere

And here is the building in which you find the gingerbread shop in Ainhoa.

You could also discuss the fact that we share traditional tales and listen to the shared traditional tale about the Gingerbread Man in French

Step Two
Make a comparison record on our "location detectives lists"

  • Can the children working individually or a small supprted group start their comparison lists.
  • Can they use infinitives of verbs to describe:

What you can buy (On peut acheter....) 
Where you can find this (On peut trouver le magasin dans un vieux magasin)
What you can eat and what it tastes like (On peut manger...... C'est ......)_

You may like the children to look at recipe for both gingerbreads and compare ingredients using bilingual dictionaries. 

Step Three 
Both villages are beautiful and traditional and are visited every year by many tourists.They are both situated in the heartof the countryside. So here we can make our second comparisons!

  • Share pictures of the two villages - you can google pictures of the two towns to find the schools, the churches, the rivers , the hillside and the village/town centres.

  • Ask the children to note down the names in French for the buildings- both villages have a church , hotels , a cafe, a primary school,shops
  • And the countryside features  they can see in both villages? Both villages are surrounded by hills and mountains and there is a river in each village.
  • What colours can they see? Ainhoa is red and white and Grasmere is grey stone with black and white buildings.
  • Are there any other adjectives they want to use to describe what they can see? Give the children time to find these in bilingual dictionaries.

Step Four
Make a comparison record on our "location detectives lists"

  • Can the children,working individually or a small supprted group,continue their comparison lists
  • Can they use the phrase "il y a...." and the correct use of the indefinite article to describe:

The buildings and use colours / additional descriptive adjectives
(Il y a...........C'est .....)
The countryside around the town and use colours / additional descriptive adjectives(Il y a .....C'est ......)

Step Five 
You can also describe the local sports! 
In Ainhoa you can play pelota and there is a court on the side of the church building with seating for spectators.
  • Try the game with your class.
  • You need a tennis ball (rather than  the traditional hard ball) and  bats- for the  players.Play the game against a wall.

  • Watch some of this lonely planet video , which shares the game of "pelota".(You may want to watch the video first to check you are happy to share this with your class)

  • And now take a look at the Grsmere Games ( the sports of tug of war, wrestling, tossing gthe caber, and fell runnig all come to mind!)
  • On You Tube you can find examples of "fell running" during the Grasmere Games ro show the children.Share some of the video clips of the Fell run with the class

Step Six
Make a comparison record on our "location detectives lists"
  • Can the children explain the sport of "Pelota" in Ainhoa- ask the children to write down a simple description with the verb "jouer" - Where do you play? How many people play? What do they play with?
  • Can the children explain the sport of fell running using the verb "courir"- Where do they run?(Up a hill/over a stream/ in the mud/ across fields etc) How many people run at one time?
Now it's over to your location detectives to create a poster presentation, comparing a country village in French Pays basque with a country village in the English Lake District!

Simple seaside,geography comparison,verbs and sentence structure

It's great to actually visit the target language countries and cultures of the languages we try to share with our young language learners and last week I was lucky enough to be able to do just that!
I spent part of the week in Basque France and Basque Spain. This next half term with Year 5 our focus is the seaside .We have looked at the seaside before with our younger learners and so I am always looking for more sophisticated approaches to the theme of seaside.
Well here staring straight back at me was a                                                                             sophisticated seaside and geography focus!

It's so simple! 

  • Take a look at the map. Last week I visited Biarritz and then later in the week San Sebastian! 
  • Here we have an ideal describe,compare and contrast series of activities .
  • These seaside resorts are so near to each other!
  • The activities can be completed in French or Spanish and will engage our learners in sentence structrure, use of common verbs and the use of conjunctions to make comparisons......

Step One - the country,the resorts and language investigation!

  1. Share  the map with the class.Ask them to look at the seaside and coast.Can the class identify the border between two countries? (You may want to explain too about the basque country and their own language- can the children think of similarities in the United Kingdom e.g English and Welsh/ the coast in NW England and North Wales etc)   
  2. Can the children investigate the map and find the three resorts.
  3. Can they work out how far away the resorts are from each other?
  4. Can they decide which languages are spoken in the three seaside towns? Can they write a simple present tense sentence using the verb " to speak" to explain the target language they think they would hear in each town - e.g "A San Sebastian on parle espagnol" and "A Biarritz  on parle français
  5. Can they now add a conjunction and create an extended sentence with the two sentences they have written? Give the children a choice of conjunctions - which do they prefer to use e.g et/ mais/pourtant ? 
Step Two - the weather report

  1. Ask the children to investigate the weather with you in Biarritz and in San Sebastian during one specific week.All you need to do is google the weather for the two places and find the weather forecast for that week. Can they write a weather report for the two towns using conjunctions e.g "Le lundi  à Biarritz il fait beau mais à San Sebastian il pleut"?
Step Three - the resorts and the food 
  1. Let's investigate the food.Can the children find out what food they would eat if they had "tapas" in San Sebastian or ordered cakes in a "salon de thé" in Biarritz?
  2. Can the children help you to make a list of foods that they could eat in these two places...."On peut manger ............ à Biarritz, on peut manger ............à Saint Jean de Luz et on peut manger ........... à San Sebastian"
  3. Can they now add their own preferences from the lists of food using the conjunction "pourtant"?
Step Four- the places and the activities

It's here that the children will see that the seaside resorts may have different foods, sometimes share or have different weather but that the resorts share similar geography and seaside activities! 

All we need to do is:

San Sebastian


  • Give out two pictures of the beach- one of San Sebastian and one of Biarritz- to pairs of children (same pictures for each pair).
  • Can the children make a list in the target language of the geographical features and the buildings they can see in the pictures?
  • How similar are their lists for San Sebastian and Biarritz?
  • Can the children investigate the pictures and make a list of verbs as infinitives to describe the activities they think they can see on the beach in each picture?
  • Can they now make a list using "you can ..." e.g in French "on peut..." of the activities and explain that the same activities take place in Biarritz and in San Sebastian?
Step Five -Writing a description
Can the children now write a descriptive text comparing the seaside in San Sebastian and Biarritz?
What  have they found out?
What are the similarities and differences between the two resorts? 

Putting poetry in to French primary language learning

Today is a "clearing the decks" type of day and I have collated the blog posts I have written about using poetry in French primary language learning in to one blog post- mainly because a school recently asked me to recommend a poem and I had to scroll through my blog posts to find the one I wanted.Could be useful to others too though! (nearly all are based on authentic texts, but where i have added a poem we have created ourselves I have added an asterisk *) 
Practising a simple rhyme with actions: mon chapeau a quatre bosses

*Creating a very simple rhyme to remember numbers sunflower rhyme 1-10

School daily routine verbal phrases  A performance rhyme for daily routine

An authentic seaside song/rhyme  as part of unit of work on the seaside les petits poissons

Drama and cafe culture with UKS2 dejeuner du matin ,jacques prevert

Making our own eye in the sky poems

Addressing 4 skills and grammar with an authentic children's poem Dame Tartine

Travelling the world in a poem Sept couleurs magiques

French "poem painting" of a Summer's Day

Writing about a day at the seaside using a poem as stimulus summer french authentic poem

*Hearing and identifying prepositions of place with a nonsense rhyme positioning rhyme

KS2 leavers' poems using a text in which we explore how colours make memories through a poem

School, memories and doodle poems based on Pierre Gamara's mon cartable 

Autumn percussion and performance poem based on French poem  les feuilles mortes

*Fireworks performance poem 

House,home,prepositions,performance all based on the personification of  la nuit

Possessive pronouns mon,ma ,mes , performance too with this poem in French mon chocolat

A twist of grammar to the familiar French poem/song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Aspects of Winter in a poem for UKS2 onwards  about icicles

Colourful creative poetry using les crayons as a stimulus text and scaffold.


"Who are you?" and scarecrow caricatures of "I am....".

A few years ago on holiday in France , we drove in to a small bastide to find a very special festival taking place! A celebration of the local jobs and shops in the village! What a gift to a teacher of foreign languages .
Every shop keeper had created a full size caricature version of him or herself and his/her role in the village! 
These pictures allow us to practise and  consolidate children's knowledge of  the first person and second person singular of the verb "to be".

Scarecrow caricatures 
Take a look here!
Can you spot the baker,hotelier, butcher (!!!),pharmacist and doctor?

Take the pose!

  • Share the pictures with your class.Can they decide what jobs they might do in a town or village?
  • Do they know the names of the jobs in English? Can they find the names in a bilingual dictionary in the target language.What might they notice about jobs in the target languages - is there a different word for a male or a female person with that job title? What do they think about this? Do they think this is a good idea?
  • Ask them to find some new nouns for jobs in the target language using the dictionaries- are there male and female versions here too?
  • Write up on the flip-chart all the nouns you have found.Can the children "take the role" and in a voice which reflects the job they do  e.g mixing the dough or slicing the meat ,carrying heavy suitcases or looking carefully at medicine ,can they practise full sentence spoken introductions of each of the people and their jobs. The children will be using the first singular of the verb to do this (I am .....)
Guided scarecrow caricature tour of the town
  • Now let's try adding "Who are you?" and begin to conjugate the verb "to be" 
  • Ask children to volunteer to be a character  and help create a "scarecrow caricature tour" of the town.
  • Each volunteer  must think of an action representing the job you give them (If you can get hold of  the dressing up box from KS1 then they can get in to character with an item of clothing or a prop too). 
  • Can they take the pose?
  • Can they create the voice - what do the characters sound like? 
  • Can they add an action?
  • Can they put it altogether and become the scarecrow caricature?
  • Can the rest of the class ask as a choral question of each scarecrow  caricature in turn..."Who are you?"
Scarecrow caricatures
  • Can the children design their a scarecrow sculpture of one of the people you may find working in a town.Can they add the written question "Who are you? and the full sentence response "I am ....." ?      

Primary Physical Target Language Maths

This week at a local primary school,where the staff are working together to establish a pattern of language learning delivered by the class teacher I wanted to look at some simple Maths activities to help the teachers see how language learning can be both useful and easy to link across the curriculum.

Physical Maths

Last week I was reminded by my colleague Emilie in her

bonjour madame blogpost

 how much the children love "physical maths in the target language".  

This tried and tested activity led to discussion amongst the staff about how this would make a good simple AfL activity both in the target language and listening /responding and also if we then thought about how this could become a Maths pen and paper activity.Here are a few of these very simple and easy to manage ideas..... 

  • You could  ask the children to write on their whiteboards the mathematical sentences that they have just watched in the physical target language maths
  • You could give out mathematical sentences and ask children to create the physical French/ Spanish/German etc maths performance for other children to then say in the target language  
  • You could give out a written French/Spanish /German maths sentences and ask pairs to create the physical performance which then the class need to write on their whiteboards as mathematical sentences and compare against the original card instructions.

Months and Physical Bar Charts

We then went on to consider months of the year as this is part of our


 next half term Year 3.The teachers were all very comfortable with the idea of physical bar charts and counting up children to see who had a birthday in which month etc. We added a twist - because the months of the year labels were randomly placed around the room and the teachers had to first find their birthday month, reading and recognising their month of the year in French.

Once the teachers had gathered around the correct month, they had to put themselves into calendar order.This meant that each birthday month group  called out its month in French and one volunteer listened and organised the groups into calendar order and then into a bar chart formation.

All they had to do then was count up the number of birthdays in each month and create a written target language record - month and number!

Months,physical bar charts and dates 

With Year 4 onwards I have added a challenge to this physical bar chart in the past. With children who knew numbers 1-31 or with children who can form the date in the target language then the individual month groups can share with each other their birthdays e.g "10 August" and put themselves as a birthday month in to numerical order within their bar chart line!  

This allows you now to  handle data - by asking children to say their birthdate in French/ Spanish and German etc and asking a volunteer to spot the same date but different month - so let's put all the children who have a birthday on the second of a month for example together etc!

PE games in French and Spanish

Yesterday evening with a group of coordinators and SLT who are looking for simple ways to develop staff confidence in primary language teaching and learning we took a look at a couple of simple PE games. 

Traffic light colours and numbers 
We watched a clip of local children playing a very simple French traffic light game in the playground where colours prompted physical activities. Red meant stop, orange meant walk and vert meant the children had to run. when the teacher called jaune ,the children jumped in start shapes counting up to ten and then when she called bleu they jumped in star shapes all the way down to zero. These were Year 2 children and they were having fun!

Very easy to facilitate and the teacher and the children were revisiting colours and numbers.The light bulb independent moment here must be to then allow the children to create their own rules with the colours and Lightbulb mocreate their own warm up games in groups. These activities will work well across KS2 too!

Reaction times!Ball!
Our children and teachers love this game!It's a five minute sitting down at the desk activity or a five minute running and seeking/retrieving activity in PE or a pair activity sitting cross legged in the hall at the end or start of a PE lesson.
We call it ball because initially it can be played with a ball . Teachers could then add other items/ objects/ a choice of the same items but in different colours or sizes.
Place the "ball" (any object) in between a pair of students or place the ball/item in one of the corners of the room etc.
Students must respond to teacher instruction by touching what is called out
When teacher shouts BALL, the first student that grabs the ball is the winner
Make it a simple reaction game with the words to the song of heads ,shoulders ,knees and toes- first to touch "head" when the teacher or a child calls a body part from the song!

Light bulb moment! Make it an  ongoing team challenge and ask the children to make the descriptions of items ever more challenging e.g have three balls all the same colour but different sizes or three pictures of an animal but with a slight;y different feature e.g blue eyes/brown eye/ green eyes.

North East South West-
This is a game we are sure you already play with the children in PE.
Label each wall of the hall North, East, South and West in the target language.
Generate a warm up activity ,where the children standing on the spot stretch toward each compass point as it is called and hold each stretch for a number of counted seconds (in the target language of course!)
Now it's a speed challenge!
When teacher calls out wall label e.g. ‘North’, students must run to the wall without being last to arrive.
(The labels can be changed to whatever your learning focus is - so they could be clothes items/ foods/ days of the week/ months of the year/ a group of nouns on one corner/ verbs in anther and adjectives and adverbs in the other corners)
Progress the game by incorporating rules such as ‘freeze’ where if "freeze" is shouted, pupils must freeze immediately. 
Incorporate mini –forfeits for the losing pupil e.g. Name 5 colours in French

Spanish words to help you ....


French words to help you......


Light bulb moment would be to ask the children to take turns in being the teacher from the initial warm up to the playing of the different games. Children could also decide what language to put in each corner of the room.

Red light/ green light
Again we think this will be a game you already play with your classes.However here we have added a target language touch!
Students line up, touching one wall in the hall or room.
Aim is to get to the opposite side of the hall and back first
When teacher shouts ‘green light’ they can go, when teacher shouts ‘red light’ they must stop
If pupils fail to stop, or move when red light is called they must return to the start.
The teacher chooses the method of travel for pupils for example ‘come back to the start hopping’, skipping, jumping , swimming , sliding,

Spanish words to help you ....

Red light
Luz roja
Green light
Luz verde
Return to the start
Vuelve a la salida
Saltando a pata coja
Saltando a la cuerda

French words to help you ......

Red light
Feu rouge
Green light
Feu vert
Return to the start
Retourne au départ
En sautant à cloche pied
En sautillant
En sautant
En nageant
En glissant

Light bulb moment! Ring the changes and give the children three different types of movements they need to make to get back to their starting position or change the movement command mid activity or add the word "Freeze"! Let children take the role of teacher and call the actions etc.

Role Tag Game
2 players selected  as ‘the person’
The ‘the person “’ players have a list of skills cards
If a pupil gets tagged by the ‘the person" they are provided with a task to complete to free themselves.
Tasks could be ask a question , tell me your name  or an activity such as :count to 10 , greet me ,
The tagged pupil has to move to the side and complete the task before they are free to move on.
You could add children who are the ‘referees’, and stand at the side of the hall and decide whether the children who are tagged have completed the task 
You will need task cards.

Light bulb moment will be to ask the children to create their own task cards and decide what spoken target language challenges they want to ask other classmates to do before they are freed. 


Abstract art and beginners target language learning.

Sometimes the simplest things inspire! Take  a look at this simple but wonderful book that I have just bought  myself ! I love "Art" and particularly abstract art. 

Simple ideas that many of us already consider and ways that many of us already plan for and use to generate additional language learning.These ideas work just as well where the class teacher delivers the language learning or where the class teacher engages with the languages teacher, be it a visiting teacher or a PPA swap.In these instances there is definitely the scope to add five and ten minute "class teacher ownership " learning opportunities.Why not go cross curricular?

So how do the book at the top of this blog and the article about time allocation link together? Well this book is just one example of how we can create effective cross curricular links with language learning ,.... (and possibly use authentic target language literature as well)

Take a look inside! Go to here

30 cercles

 and get a taste for this very simple book which could be used in target language learning for five minute additional activities to 

  • practise numbers, (Maths)

  • colours, size, (Maths)

  • commands like "find","touch","draw" (classroom communication skills)

  • explore famous Art and artists. (Art)

For example why not google the paintings mentioned here

Vassily Kandinsky cercles concentriques 1913 (concentric circles)

Kasimir Malevitch cercle noir vers 1923 (black circles)

I am certain that primary minds are now buzzing... why not create your own abstract art books with colours or squares or lines?????

Mondrian comes to mine and Kandinsky once again....

World Cup Warm Ups

World Cup Warm Ups

To get the children up, moving and participating!

The 3 World Cup power point stories in French, Spanish and German can be accessed here.

The World Cup Warm up lesson or lessons are easy to deliver and link language learning with physical activity and even measuring pulse rates.There is even the opportunity to create a musical performance of the World Cup Warm Up song.

  • Revisit numbers
  • Practise simple commands 
  • Play simon says with the commands 
  • Share the ppt story with the class .
  • Give out the picture with out the captions
  • Can the class match the written caption to the correct picture 
  • Can the class perform the warm up .Check your pulse rates before and after the activity! 
  • Set up challenges where one group challenges another table to do an activity ten times
  • Now the children are ready in groups of four or six to create their own world cup warm ups- reordering the activities and changing the amount of times each activity should be done .
  • They could record themselves performing the routines and train a second group to carry out their routine.
  • Create a World Cup Warm Up class song to familiar sporting themes tune such as Match of the Day as your PE warm up for the Summer last half term using this language!

Plant pot story actions and song

Plant pot story , actions and song 

Last year as part of a JLN  network project during the Spring term I created a series of simple activities to link to KS1 growing things science focus we developed a these materials and the activities below . 
Thanks to Ana Garcia Lavado who drew the pictures and Emilie Woodruffe @EWoodruffe, Barbara and Flora who  provided the target language phrases and Joanne who created the simplest of plant growing songs based on the familiar refrain of Frère Jacques.

Our Learning Objectives 
To understand how a plant grows and the conditions it requires 
To listen and respond to commands in a target language
To practise performing a simple sequence of actions in the target language
To learn a song in the target language 

(As some of our schools have now developed their own vegetable gardens and plots we found real examples from the target  language countries to share with the children .
Here is a project at a school in Limoges , where you can find a chart explaining what they planted and in which month and pictures of the young gardeners planting their vegetable seeds

The Simple Lesson Activities
The activities below are based on  five simple pictures made in to a story that describes how we grow a plant from seed .Here's a plant pot pictures downloadable zip file 

Here is the   French plant pot story

.......and here are the PDF power point plant pot stories  in the other target languages : 

1. Discuss with the children the conditions required to grow a seed or a plant .
2. Look at crops from the target language country . We selected sunflowers in France, water melons in spain , Kohlrabi in Germany and rice in China. Share with the children pictures of these crops and compare the pictures of real crops with art work linked to the crops :  

And shared with them art work that depicted crops as paintings .Here is a goauche after Rufino Tamayo 

And don't forget the all time favourite Van Gogh's  Sunflowers

3. Read the story power point slides to the children . 
Here is a sound file of the reading of the story in Mandarin Chinese Mandarin plant pot story

Give out the pictures from the plant pot picture zip file to five children and ask the class  to help you to reorganise the pictures into the order that you saw them on the ppt story .Move the children holding the pictures into the correct order and then retell the story a second time . 

4. Order the plant pot pictures on the flip chart in the correct order . Ask the children to help you tell the  story this time .Can they help you to create actions for each story slide .

5 . We then shared with the children the simple song to the refrain of Frère Jacques in the target language .It's made up of the sentences on the power point.  For example in French we sang : 

Plante les graines
Arrose les graine 
Brille soleil brille 
Brille soleil brille 
Regarde comme elles poussent 
Regarde comme elles poussent 
Voilà vos fleurs 
Voilà vos fleurs 

Here's the sound file of the Mandarin version Mandarin plant pot song

We asked the children to stand up and listen and join in with the correct actions .
Then we encouraged the children to practise the song with us and try to sing along and join in with the actions
Finally the children were able to perform the song on their own!

You could go on to link this work with previous blogposts 

Springtime story drama and performance


Last year on holiday I bought this wonderful story Toujours rien and decided that it would be the basis of a sequence of lessons on Springtime

The story  is about an impatient gardener and how every day he expects to see shoots above the ground of the seed he has planted . Everyday he finds nothing and everyday a bird flies by too . Until he gives up and doesn't visit and that's the day the bird spots a shoot and picks the shoot and flies off and guess what the gardener comes along the following day ...... There is still nothing to see! 

Today I found this You Tube clip of a retelling of the story with animation and music by a class of French children

Why do I like this clip ? The children are  retelling the story , the story is animated simply and there is music as an accompaniment . Shown to the class , this could be the model from which our classes in UKS2 or Year 7 could create their own performance or their own photo story .

All you need is to read the story to the class, watch the story , cut up the story into sentences and ask the children to reconstruct the story .

Can the children make this into a recount with utterances from the gardener .

Maybe with language learner who are competent they could add asides for the bird. What's the bird thinking ( e.g j'ai faim / miam miam /  la plante pousse )

Combined with this recount of a story you could link the learning to science and use this resource about 

Le cycle du haricot

Or with younger children you could plant and grow seeds and practise this simple rhyme with actions from this French blog 

Le petit jardinier

Spring is on the way ! Growing number sunflowers

Spring is on the way ! Growing number sunflowers
Last year we introduced a very simple “sunflower song to our work with Y2 , which even when they got into Year 3 they still select as their class favourite when asked what do they want to sing and perform

The sunflower song
It’s really simple. In Year 1 and 2 we start to sing the sunflower song.All you need to do is put a sequence of numbers  to the familiar refrain of frère Jacques and explain to the class that the song is all about growing from a seed to a beautiful sunflower. 

I based it on sunflowers   because of the fields and fields of sunflowers I see when I visit Europe. 
We look at pictures of sunflowers and challenge the children once they know their numbers 0-10 to count as many as they can before they run out of target language numbers ….we often end up saying numbers beyond 10, but the number 10 is our class target!
Here are two of the pictures I use that I took on holiday .

One of my colleagues practised the Mandarin version  with her Year 3 children as an extension to their learning in French . They learned the song in French and then used the actions , the skills of listening for key sounds and the performance they already knew to create a performance song in Mandarin!

The Sunflower song and performance

The performance is simple .Children crouch down tight like seeds in the ground and grow slowly upwards until they reach 10 , when they should be stretched up tall with their hands and fingers spread out so that their hands are like sunflowers . One hand represents each sunflower on the number 10. In any language the song simply goes.....


Sunflower maths

In Year 3 this Spring half term we are busy revisiting language with our classes and will use this simple sunflower maths activity with all our year groups to keep on revisiting those all important numbers .

I introduced and used this activity last year with classes and then shared it at the start of the academic year with PGCE Primary MFL ITTs at Manchester University  . I know that quite a few of them have gone on to use this activity and have found it very effective, whether they were specialist or non-specialist primary linguists .

In Year 3  we revisit numbers  from KS1 or introduce  for the first time numbers 0-12 in the first couple of weeks in Autumn term .Now we can revisit them and use this activity to consolidate knowledge and extend knowledge . 

We can link it to our Science projects of growing seeds and read a story about the cycle of the sunflower and engage children in very simple number bond activities.

I like to use these two stories in French and in Spanish ,Diez semillas /
dix petites graines to reinforce the cycle of the sunflower and its seeds

The sunflower maths activity is simple and effective....

Stage one

Show twelve individual petals on a flip chart . Ask children to discuss with their partners  the number that they think the numbers and the simple mathematical sentence on the petal represents

Stage Two :

Show them the sunflower pictures of the flowers in the fields. Ask them to join in with the sunflower song from KS1 (see above)
Now ask them to help you to grow your class maths sunflower .

Stage Three

Show the empty sunflower with no petals on your flip chart .

Ask the children to find for you the petals and place them in the correct position on the sunflower . 
Find “one” first  and then find “six “ next as this allows he children to see the order like the clock face. 

Even if you are using higher numbers or odds/ evens etc  finding the first petal and then  the petal with the number which goes at the bottom of the sunflower seems to help the children to position the other petals .You should expect the children to place the petals on the flipchart without support – which means they have to think about the order of the numbers and number bonds etc.

You should end up with an almost complete sunflower- with just one petal missing! 

Now ask the children to write on their whiteboards the possible number sentences for the missing petal (in this case the number “ten”) . 
Once the children know the words for plus/ minus / equals they can share their idea with a partner . (With older children expect more complex number sentences and teach the words or phrases for multiply and divide )

Pair and group activities :

Children can then create their own games and with some core language “find” / “where is ..?” they can play the game with a partner or a table of classmates

Moving on with higher numbers and more advanced learners

With Year 4 and 5 we can use the Pocoyo video clips for longer more engaged listening although the younger children like these clips too!

"Pocoyo la graine "

Or in Spanish "Pocoyo la semilla "

 or I love the French story book about growing seeds: toujours rien?
Here is a You Tube clip of the story 

We can link the sunflower activity to higher numbers and more challenging use of the four functions in Maths in mathematical sentences! 

Children can write the mathematical sentences as words rather than figures to add challenge both for the child writing and for the child reading the message on the petal