Where's Wally? 0-31 and prepositions

I have to say thank you straight away to Twitter for this very simple last minute World Book Day primary languages activity , which I think could become a class challenge for the rest of the term too! I saw this tweet from Murdishaw West and thought we could create a last minute a simple sequence of activities to link language learning and Where's Wally. 

Numbers 0-31 and Wally

  • Practise your numbers 0-31 in the target language.
  • Put selected number cards (picked from between 0 and 31) on the board and hide Wally behind a number.
  • Ask the children to find Wally. How many attempts does it take?
  • Practise this activity several times.
  • Give each table a set of number cards and a picture of Wally .One person hides Wally under a number card, whilst the rest of ther table look away. How many guesses does it take to find Wally? 

Wally is somewhere in the classroom! Prepositions and photos

  • Practise some prepositions with the children in the target language- infront of , behind, on , in ,under.
  • Practise the nouns for items of furniture in the class.
  • Place a picture of Wally with furniture and ask the children to help you speak and write out on the whiteboard phrases to describe where Wally can be seen.
  • Time to add poses ,photos and find Wally! Ask for volunteers to be Wally .You will need a striped hat and some glasses for this.Dress the volunteer in the items.
  • Ask the class to suggest a place in the classroom where Wally could be e.g. under the table , on the chair, behind the chair, next to the cupboard.
  • Ask the volunteer to pose as Wally in the place suggested by the class.
  • Take a quick photo , load up on your IPad and share on the class screen.
  • Can the class helo you to write your "Where's Wally?" sentence e.g "Wally is behind the chair" to label the photo.
  • Repeat the activity several times and build up a gallery of "Where's Wally?" photos with the class.
  • Now the children can draw and create their own "Where's Wally?" cartoon picture with a simple sentence using a preposition and piece of classrom furniture.

More fun and games! 

  • Just before playtime/break ask the children to help you number 5 different pieces of class furniture with you - e.g. a table , a chair, a cupboard, a door, a box. The children can pick the numbers between 0 and 31.Blu-tac the number to the selected piece of furniture.
  • Hide the picture of Wally .in a specific place (e.g under the table or in the cupboard) whilst the children are out for playtime
  • Ask the children when they return to class "Where's Wally?".Invite  a volunteer to select and say one of the  numbers you have used and another volunteer must go to that piece of classroom furniture with the  number blu-tacked on it, look for Wally and if Wally is there, show Wally's position to the class.
  • Ask the children with a partner to try to say an accurate phrase or sentence using a preposition to describe where Wally was found.  
  • If Wally isn't there then start again.
  • You can play the game again after lunch, after assembly or the following day first thing in the morning!

Let's open the window on the target language World

I love buildings and I love doors and windows.I like to imagine who may be behind the door etc.

With our more advanced learners at the start of the academic year it is a great opportunity to get them talking again! 

Let's give them a picture stimulus for this!

Here are  some photos I have taken this year in France and Spain that we are going to use to get our children using prior knowledge in the target language in a creative way!

All the pictures involve the children pretending to open a window or a door to reveal the person behind the door and create the character.

Just who is behind the door or the window?

This activity and the picture stimulus is a great device to focus on grammar from the previous year.

We can ask the children to use adjectives to describe the person behind a specific window or door.

We can ask the children to use verbs to allow the person behind the window or the door to explain what he/she is doing or whet he/she likes to do

We can use questions and answres to find out more in the first and secind person singular about the person behind the window or door.

All the children need to do is open the door or window of their choice and create the imaginary character behind the door or window! 

Let them stick the picture in their record books and ask them to cut round three sides of their chosen window or the frame of the door and add a drawn sketch of their imaginary person or creature behind the closed window or door.

This can be a spoken activity or it could be a written text ........

Great fun and creative use of language at the same time and an opportunity to revisit and re-use language and structure from prior learning.

Physical Tour de France Grammar Game !

The class need to decide on three symbols to represent nouns, adjectives and verbs.

Stand up right for a noun, wiggle your body for an adjective and pump your arms for a verb 

(just like you would have symbols in Charades for book, film, musical etc).

Warm up the class first -

  • Show the written word for a noun (discuss this) and ask the children to show you the correct actions
  • Show the children the written word for a verb (discuss this) and ask the children to show you the correct action
  • Show the children the written word for an adjective (discuss this) and ask the children to show you the correct action.
  • Show the same cards again but don't say of these are nouns/verbs or adjectives.Ask the children to demonstrate the action. they think matches the word type.

Divide your class into “Tour de France t-shirt teams- different coloured t-shirts . No team should be le maillot jaune/la camiseta amarilla or das gelbe Tshirt. This one is for the winners at the end of the game! 

Let’s brainstorm nouns, adjectives and verbs that we associate with sport and particulary with the Tour de France. You couod suggest that the children check and access these in the target language in bilingual dictionaries first!

Here are some to start us off  ……….


Cyclist , bike , wheel, tyre, puncture , race ,helmet , t-shirt , shorts ,road ,city ,start, finish ,speed, power….


fast , fit ,tired, thirsty, determined , exciting, powerful , competitive ,breathless,sporty


to push , to pedal ,to race ,to compete, to challenge , to cheer, to watch , to participate, to win , to lose , to pass , to crash, to celebrate

Put the individual words as written target language words on to cards in a bag.Select five nouns, five adjectives and five verbs .

Check that the children have had time to look at and remember the meaning of the words with a partner in their team before you put the words in the bag. 

Rules of the team competition!

  1. A volunteer  from a team selects a word from the bag and decides if it’s a noun, an adjective or a verb. 
  2. They must mime the word type action to their team.
  3. The team receive one point for guessing this correctly
  4. The volunteer must mime the meaning of the word- one more point for the team if they can guess and say it in the target language.
  5. If you play this UKS2 Year 6 or with KS3  there are two bonus points if they can put the noun or the adjective in to a simple sentence e.g the helmet is blue (etc)
  6. There is one more bonus point if the team can create a first person singular present tense statement if the volungteer has pulled a verbmout of the bag! (e.g. I push , I pedal, I race etc )? 

Superlative Tshirts!

Look at the tshirts awarded in the Tour de France - explain that the tshirts are awarded for the fastest cyclist  up a mountain, the fastest on the road, the person who wins the most races during the tour etc.

Discuss in English what the "most" really tellls us- it means that on this tour no one can do better in that particular race or on the whole tour.
Share le maillot jaune with the class

Take a look at how to form the superlative in the target language!
It's a good activity at the end of Year 5 or Yerar 6 and would work well in KS3 Year 7 too.

Search for characteristics
Ask the class to help you to find adjectives in the bilingual dictionary that describe "positive " qualities in a person (e.g helpful, kind, funny, friendly, supportive,organised, tidy, sporty etc)

Take vote
Give out card yellow tshirts as voting cards - one per child.

  • Ask the class to take a vote on the most important characteristic they have found in the list of adjectives you have compiled if ..... they needed help learning something / wanted to be cheered up / wanted someone to keep them company etc

  • Now take a vote on which four characteristics have been most important in your class this week/ this half term/ this term/ this year?

Who is the most .....?
Practise with the children creating the superlative of the adjective. for "the most organised boy" / " the most organised girl" ,"the most creative boy " "the most creative girl etc - the tidiest , the most helpful, the kindest.
Can the children spot the changes when we are describing a boy and when we are describing a girl?

Design your class tshirts 
Ask the class to design a tshirt to award to their partner to say what the best quality of this person is.
They must design the tshirt and add the superlative phrase

Our class reward tshirts
Now can your class help you to design reward t-shirts for the duration of the Tour de France?
These can be awarded on a daily basis for the “superlative” people in your class during the Tour de France!
Display the t-shirts with their superlative labels for all to see and add the faces of the children who win these t-shirts one by one.

Storing memories until next year!

We are getting toward the end of another academic year and its time to ask the children to reflect on their learning this year.

It's almost the Summer holdiays and time to go off perhaps to the beach .Beach huts are places to keep equipment safe until the next time you visit the beach .... and this made me think about asking the children to store language they have enjoyed this year safely ,until we come back off holiday.

I like the idea of beach huts ,because they are bright colourful and can act as "piggy bank visuals" to show how we need to collect,collate,categorise and  store prior learning and our new knowledge this year.Also a great opportunity for AfL for both the child and yourself!  

All you need are boxes with rooves, coloured in bright primary colours.The rooves need to be detachable, so you can lift off the roof of a hut and put written cards inside.Each beach hut needs a sign "nouns" or "adjectives " or "verbs" etc. 

The DFE POS asks us to encourage children to "broaden their vocabulary" and I think it is really important that we help our young learners to understand how you store this vocabulary, ready for use another time.

So here is the idea!

  • Ask each child needs a rectangular piece of card with which to create a postcard.Once finished they will post this card in one of the class beach huts.
  • On one side of the card the children need to write the address. (Does the card need to be sent to the nouns or adjectives or verbs hut etc?).This means that their postcard will be stored in the correct beach hut if you have more than one category of hut.
  • Instead of a stamp the children should draw their own face and add their name (this means you can see who has written the card and also hand back out next year to the correct child)
  • Where you normally write a message on a postcard,the children need to write down key language they have learnt and like the look or sound of this year.They need to make sure that the words are written on the correct postcard- are the words nouns, adjective,verbs etc?
  • Each postcard needs visual symbols on the other side- drawn by the children to represent the words they have selected and want to store and have written down in their message section.

With our Year 3 learners we have been focusing very much on nouns.... so let's have our own "noun beach huts" postcard collection.

With our Year 4 learners we have been focusing on nouns and adjectives - so let's have own beach huts postcard collections - one for nouns and one for adjectives.

With our Year 5 and 6 learners we have focused on nouns, verbs and adjectives plus we may have considered prepositions and conjunctions too.

We are going to need several beach hut postcard collections.

  • Now post the cards in the correct beach huts
  • Take time to bring out cards and ask the sender to try to tell the class the words they have put on their postcard and what type of words these are.
  • Take time to look at the pictures too.
  • Finally discuss how we use our memories to store language and challenge the children to try to remember some of their written messages on the postcards right through until the start of school in September!  
  • Maybe you will be able to hand the cards back out at the start of the year and see if the children can still recognise and understand the words on their postcards

Spin the wheel with German nouns and articles!

This is a simple game for UKS2 or KS3 German language learners who are exploring the relationship between articles and cases in German.

All you need are pictures of nouns you are practising e.g foods and a "Spinning Wheel" made of card - see my diagram- with an arrow that can move and is fixed to the centre of the circle.

Step One
Divide you class into differentiated ability teams of 6 children

Step Two
Place a picture of a noun or place the object itself in the centre of the Spinning Wheel Circle.
With the arrow at 12 o'clock invite a member of a team to say the noun  for the class (1 point)
Can the team decide and say the definite article that goes with the noun? (1 point)

Step Three 
Turn the arrow to one of the other written phrases.Can the team now say the noun after the word or phrase with an accurate definite artcile in the correct case? ( 2 points)
Can a member of the team explain why they have used this definite article  e.g it is how you say it after "ich habe..."  (1 point)
They can double the score if they can say what "case" they have used- Accusative or Dative  

Noun Nets and German

The challenge of nouns and definite/ indefinite articles in German and cases with young learners can seem like a huge challenge but I think we need to break this down and look for small steps of progression over four years.
The beauty of German is that there are very clear rules as qe use nouns in the nominative, accustaive, dative and genitive cases
I think that over four years we can help the children in primary German rto have "basic understanding of nouns"
What I am describing below will take the four stages ( four years of primary language learning to develop.

  • Let's go catching nouns , like you would catch butterflies.Preciuous , to be looked after carefully and to be  examined and observed!
  • Let's make it exciting - I mean how exciting is it that there are three types of nouns in German masculine , feminine and neuter.Let's make it an exciting exploration!!
  • Let's make sure from the beginning that the young learners do not asscoaite thes three terms with sexual gender but see the titles "masculine","feminine" and "neuter"  as tags or labels.The blog post here on tags and labels for nouns may help you too .Nouns, definite articles,indefinite articles and colour card tricks
  • Let's keep on talking about nouns, revisiting and reviewing nouns with our young learners too- across content and contexts and year groups and stages of learning.
  • Let's put our nouns and finding about nouns as we explore the four cases - Nominative,Accusative,Dative and Genitive in to noun nets and let's reviit and explore them throughout the year and then across the year groups as we find out more! 

Noun Nets One!
In our first noun  net with stage one / beginner German learners Let's just collect singular nouns  and let's collect tags or labels.
Let's put the nouns we are learning (e.g. animal nouns) in to one large net as written word cards with the definitie article
Let's take the nouns out of the net one by one and examine the nouns carefully.Can we spot the different definite articles? 

Why not use my idea of the magnifying glass for this? 
The mysterious World of grammar and the maginfying glass

Let's add a new category and add plural nouns and the definitie article "die"
Let's explore plural endings and how we can spot the difference between for example "die Schlange" and "die Schlangen" 
Let's catch and sort our feminine nouns in two different nets! 

Noun Nets Two!
Let's sort our nouns! 
Can we categorise the nouns and place them in three nets - "der/ die and das" nets.
Let's be honest with the choldren and explain that the nouns have speical titles "masculine,feminine and neuter" 
Let's right from the start explain that the masculine does notr mean male etc
We can continue over four years to gently remind our learners so they have lots of chances to understand the "basic grammar facts "

Let's sort nouns using the game in this blog post I Spy Nouns- we can revist this activity many time too! 

Noun Nets Three!
With stage two , moving on learners on Year 4...
Let's look at nouns after the verb "haben".
Let's be positive and let' use "ich habe...."
Can we spot the difference in the spelling of the definite article 
Can we  create four new nets and place these below the first four nets that we already use. 
Where are we going to put the nouns now?
Ich habe den Hund
Ich habe die Schlange
Ich habe das Kaninchen
Ich habe die Katzen

Let's apply the rule we have made as a class and see if it works with a question..."Hast du....?"
(Maybe at this point you want to talk with the children about the "object" of the sentence... answering the question "What item are we talking about?" )
Remember it will be important to keep on talking about nouns, revisiting and reviewing nouns with our young learners too- across content and contexts and year groups and stages of learning.

Let's apply this rule to indefinite singular article nouns too now ......
Bring out I Spy Nouns again- a familiar activity but a new challenge to ask and answer questions with the verb "haben" and to use indefinite articles with the nouns....before sorting in to "noun nets"!

Noun Nets Four!
With stage three, moving on learners  at the start of Year 5 ....
Let's introduce some important prepositions and the effect that these prepositions have upon the definite and indefinote articles....
Break this down - don't bombard them- start with an accusative preposition "für"and investigate and apply the rules the children already used in"noun nets 3 
Now make it the changes and track the family of the nouns definite article- introduce a dative preposition "mit".
Can the children create the next layer of noun nets - "dem / der/ dem/ den!".

Take time over the year to explore some more useful prepositions and their relationships with definite artciles - zu / von / nach .Try to keep these  explorations to prepositions that don't change from Accustaive to Dative.
do talk with the children about these fascinating words "Nominative" "Accusative" "Dative " use them just like with UKS2 you might use the term"Algebra" or "Fraction"
Give your learners the chance over a period of time to just see these words as labels and signposts and useful as list headings for prepositions.....

You may like to use the Spin the Wheel Game to practise use of Nominative,Accusative and Dative Definite Articles.

Noun Nets Five! 
With stage three or four , moving on learners  at the end of Year 5, moving in to Year 5 ....
Let's explore the Genitive case ....
Let's once again use all our apporaches from Noun Nets 1,2,3,4 and let's make it an exciting discovery .
Ask the children if they can define for you what power the definite article in the Genitive has .... Can they suggest a sense of belonging or ownership? Lead them to see this relationship 
And guess what set up your Noun Nets again!

Abracadabra Adjectives and Magic Tricks!

Here is one post unashamedly for my colleagues who teach German.
Grammar in German can be such fun! You just have to think of ways around the adjectives and the cases.
Let's make magic with adjectives!
We have a lovely short sketch that we use with Year 6 in our JLN SOW for German about a magician and his hat and all thew wonderful things he pulls out of his hat ....but not the rabbit he is looking for!
The activity below will help you to reinforce adjectival endings used with singualr indefinite nominative nouns or with indefinite accusative nouns, create a performance and hopefully have some fun!
There are probably 3 - 4 lessons of activities here.
You may also like to practise the verbs "haben" and "sein" prior to these activities.The following blog post have activities

Cinderella,carnival masks and the verb "to be "

The verb "to have" and a wizard's potion

Magician's steps:
You will need 

  • a magician's hat or bag
  • 6 animal cards - each animal all white balnk pictures ( a dog,a fish, a cat , a snake, a rabbit and a guinea pig)
  • 6  more of the same animal cards - but each of the animals must now be a different colour -(e.g a red dog , a green cat , a purple guinea pig)  

Step One 
Practise the magic word- all magicians need a magic word "Abracdabra!

Step Two
Introduce the animal cards for your magic trick (two masculine , two feminine and two neuter nouns.)
Pop them in your magician's hat and ask the children to say the nouns as they disapper in to the hat.

Step Three- the magic word!
Create a speed chant - saying "Abracadabra and the noun for the animals in your magic hat/bag as they appear - using the singular indefinite nominative case e.g. ein Fisch, eine Katze , ein Kaninchen etc.
Say the magic phrase and nouns with "gusto"!  

Step Four- the magic signal trick!
Now add a magic signal to identify masculine nouns maybe a twirl of the hand , for feminine nouns maybe a swipe of the forehead, for neuter nouns a click of the fingers.Ask the children without your help to say the animal nouns with their magic symbols as you pop them back in the hat/bag!
Invite volunteers to come out and be magician's apprentices - can they say the magic word and then pull an animal out of the hat/bag.Can they say the correct singular indefinite nominative article and the animal noun plus also make the correct magic sign? 
There should be a round of applause from the audience (the other children ) after each magic trick

Step Five - Magik Menu and adding a touch of white!
Pop your white animal cards on the flip chart.
At the top of the flipchart write the title "Magik Menu"
Write next to each animal the sungular nominative indefinite article plus the coluor white with correct adjectival agreement and the animal noun.
Ask the children to see if they can see a magic pattern?
Try your magic pattern with three new animal words ( one masculine, one feminine and one neuter)
Does the pattern still work?

Step Six- Magik Menu and adding a touch of colour
Remove the white cards and the key phrases you have written
Add the coloured card animal pictures
Can the children on whiteboards and working in pairs, write the Magik Menu list that they think is now required?
e.g ein roter Hund, eine schwarze Schlange , ein graues Kaninchen) 
See if as a class the apprentice magicians can complete the flipchart "Magik Menu"

Step Seven
The class is almost ready to try out a colour changing magic trick!
First they need to watch, listen and observe an expert magician - you! 
You need a magician's bag or hat with the six colured animal cards already concealed in the hat.We are goig to use the verb "haben" so that we can now share with the children the change in adjecrival ending when the noun has a singular indefinite article in the accusative (..... einen Hund/ eine Katze/ ein Meerschweinchen) 

You must use the following phrases to make the magic work
Show the white animal card to the audience 

Say : 

 Hier ist ein weisser Hund

Pop the card in the magician's bag or hat

Ask the class to help you say the magic word!


Pull out the coloured version of the animal and say 

Ich habe einen roten Hund 

  • Ask the children to talk with each other about the words they have heard and the changes they may also have heard.Take feedback .
  • Try the activity again with a second masculine noun
  • Ask the children to see if what they think they notiiced happens again?
  • On whiteboards start a Magik Menu with the phrase "ich habe..." and the animals , colours and the changes to the article and the clour they hear.
  • Check and take feedback
  • Ask the children ro try out the magic trick with the third masculine animal noun you have used in step five. 
Repeat the activities above with feminine nouns and then with neuter nouns!
With the class make some simple rules about the use of adjectives with nouns using the verbal phrase "hier ist ..." and simple rules about the use of adjectives using the verb "haben"  
Make sure that these are visible in the classroom for the next step.....

Step Eight - our magician's show!
Can the children working in differentiated abiloty groups of four create their own colur changing magic show but this time with fruits or vegetables and colours?
They must make the props.
Use the phrases in Step Seven and write their own scripts and then perform their "abracadbra adjective magic tricks" for the class!

People Pillar Portrait Poem

I am looking for really easy and effective ways to create writing opportunities with young learners who are working out how to use nouns and the relationship between nouns and adjectives in the target language.
For all the ideas you need a picture stimulus and bilingual dictionaries and card strips  to write down their people pillar portrait poems .
i think that this activity would work  really well to for a Father's Day focus, for a Year 6 leavers focus on what describes  a Year 7 "ready to learn" new starter etc .... the potential is almost limitless

Stage One  
Focus on one masculine singular noun and a stimulus picture e.g "un clown"

  • Ask the children to look up and cross reference adjectives to describe a clown
  • Are there any adjectives that the children need to write in French before the noun- talk about these first!
  • Ask the children on rough paper to write the adjective in the correct position next to the noun in a list - therefore you repeat thre noun"clown" and write a different adjective next to the noun each time.

Un clown amusant,
un clown actif,
un grand clown,
un clown .........,
  • The children can now make your first "people pillar portrait poem".All they need to do is to write their list written in rough on to the card strip. 
  • Create plasticine or blu-tac feet for the card strip and add clown heads to the pillars.
Stage Two 
Focus on a feminine singular noun and a stimulus picture e.g. "une reine" 

  • Ask the children to look up and cross reference adjectives to describe a queen.
  • Ask the children to anticipate the familiar changes that they can remember to the spelling of the adjectives if they are being written next to a feminine noun
  • Explore the spelling of unfamiloar adjectives and find the feminine ending spelling 
  • Are there any adjectives that the children need to write in French before the noun- talk about these first!
  • Ask the children on rough paper to write the adjective in the correct position next to the noun in a list - therefore you repeat thre noun " reine"  and write a different adjective next to the noun each time.

  • Une belle reine, 
    une reine magnifique,
    une  petite reine,
    une reine.....

    • The children can now make your second "people pillar portraipoem".All they need to do is to write their list written in rough on to a new card strip. 
    • Attach the new card strip to the  plasticine or blu-tac feet  so that the card strips for the clown and the queen are back to back.Add  a queen's clown head to the new card pillar.
    Stage Three 
    • Ask the children to find their own two nouns -one masculine and one feminine.The nouns should represent people or professions.
    • Ask the children to create their own people pillar poems and challenge the children to try to use some of the same adjectives to describe both the masculine and feminine nouns.
    • This will allow the children to make comparisopns on spelling of the adjectives when being used with a masculine or feminine singular noun.
    Making the activity 3D
    Clare Seccombe and I have been busy challengimng each other to take ideas we have generated or found and add a twist.Recently I challenged clare to create a 3D version of the People Pillar Portrait Poem. The challenge was successfu; and here is Clare's blpog post response....

    Animals ,actions and verb paradigms

    I wanted to think of a way today to explore with some teachers how we can explore verbs in the present tense with UKS2 language learners ,who are "advanced" UKS2 primary language learners.
    I wanted to explore discussion,team work and creating a paradigm of a verb as well as understanding the mechanics and meta- language of verb conjugation..... 
    This is what I created.

    My ideas are based around this small book in French , which I have used so many times with children to explore actions , animals and infinitives of verbs associated with each animal.(With younger children we have explored nouns,as names of types of animals that may do the action e.g . "la grenouille" and "sauter" .This can lead to great lift the flap books or pelmanism cards games made by the children).

    Firstly I decided which verbs I was going to focus upon.With a group of 20 teachers I needed two "er" verbs,so I selected voler and nager
    Then I thought of two types of animals that I could link with the key actions in the verbs
    (I was training 20 teachers - so I needed two verbs and 10 picture cards per verb.For the activity there are two teams of teachers).
    I sourced animal pictures of birds and fish
    I needed 10 bird pictures and 10 fish pictures?
    Why?Well all will be revealed.....

    Step One 
    • Print out on card the bird pictures and the fish pictures

    • Write one part of the paradigm in the present tense of the verb "voler" on the reverse of each bird picture 
    • Write  one part of the paradigm in the present tense of the verb "nager" on the reverse of each fish picture

    • You could decide on an another action and another animal so that you have 30 cards (make sure you have enough -one for every child in a class of 30 etc)
    • For each verb card set of ten cards you will have enough cards for each of the first,second,third person singular/plural in French.You will have enough cards left over to write the infinitive on one card and the plural command form on another card.(The number of verb cards in a set may vary depending on the language)

    Step Two
    • Keep the plural command cards to one side.
    • Ask two children (one per verb so if you have three verbs,you will ask three children) to observe with you and to not join in the first part of the activity.
    • Muddle up the rest of the bird and fish cards and hand out randomly -one to each child
    • Ask the children to find their animal families by walking around and saying the noun of their animal card e.g "l'oiseau" or "le poisson"
    • Can the children gather together with their animal family in one area of the classroom
    • Now ask the children to turn over the picture cards and show all the other members of their animal family, the phrase that is written on the back of each card.
    • Can the children recognise what type or phrases are written on the back of the cards?
    • Do they realise that they all have parts of the same verb paradigm?
    • Designate an "observer" to each team- can they help to organise the group in to a paradigm of the verb - infinitive, first,second, third person singular and first,second ,third person plural ?
    Step Three
    • Can they form the paradigm of the verb in to the shape of the animal or the action?
    • Ask the group to discuss what magic word they require to make the static shape verb paradigm come to life.Wait and listen , take feedback.Which children realise that we need a command and it must be a plural command to make every part of the verb move?
    • Ask the group to decide what the plural command would be for their verb.
    • Ask the group to send the "observer" to the teacher to say the target language word for the plural command
    • Give the "observer" the correct plural word command form card!

    • Now can the team think about how the verb paradigm could "come to life" and add an action for each part of the verb that explains the action of the verb?
    Step Four 
    • Ask the observer to lay the paradigm of the verb out on a table or display area so that other groups can see and read their verb paradigm. 
    Add a twist- come back and revisit it again!
    • Create enough sets of verb cards for the children in your class but this time you must  omit one or two parts of each of the verbs  e.g.

    • As the children create their paradigms of the verbs can they spot the missing parts? 
    • Ask the teams to write the missing parts down (as they think they should be written) and send the observer to request the missing parts.
    • Ask them to check the correct version against their own written version(s)
    • Can they now complete their paradigm with the new cards? 

    Grammar Explorers in Primary Languages

    Getting to grips with grammar in primary language learning is so important!

    This week I have delivered staff CPD ,primary NQT CPD and subject coordinator CPD and we have considered the exploration of grammar in the primary learning context.

    The more I talk with my colleagues, the more they tell me that their children ask about the patterns they see, want to manipulate language and want to be able to understand,say and write more! I find this fabulous!

    It has always been the case!

    Quite a few  years ago I worked on the idea of "language detectives".... now in light of the new DFE POS and the requirement to "understand basic grammar", I think it's time for our young learners to become "language explorers" too! 

    It is the doorway to independence and confidence in their ability to understand and communicate effectively in foreign languages! 

    You will notice that I have said "getting to grips with grammar in



     I acknowledge and accept that as the Expert Subject Advisory Group to the Government suggests in  " Assessment in Modern Foreign Languages "  children at the end of KS2 should be "Secondary ready".

    I believe though that primary language learning must be about a consistent primary approach to language learning,building ultimately to quality transition into secondary language learning.

    Remember there are four years in KS2 in which to explore the grammar of the language.

    The "Grammar Stepping Stones" I shared last year,seek to give teachers some guidance  on when and how in KS2 to work with  






     - and to consider the progress that can be made over two, three , four years.

    Remember that "stepping stones" require careful thought out movements and you can go back and retrace your steps on stepping stones too!

    Considerations of primary grammar explorations!

    • Careful and clear explanations of grammatical structures and terminology can take the fear factor away for lots of primary classroom teachers.Once a teacher is clear about masculine and feminine (neuter) nouns and understands the terminology such as  definite and indefinite article, first second third person singular and plural , paradigm ...then the teacher too wants to be a grammar explorer! 
    • Just like the children,teachers need to explore the world of grammar step by step.I train and support lots of classroom teachers.What is remarkable,is how once they understand this terminology,they become great facilitators of primary grammar exploration! Here is some food for thought- a quote from a primary class teacher at a staff meeting CPD yesterday evening "I liked languages and if someone had made the grammar as clear as the grammar we have explored this evening I think that I would have continued learning a language"
    • Teachers need to consider how and when to plan for exploration of grammar in primary school in a manner that is age and stage appropriate.We need to share examples with them and give them time to think of the ways they can apply the basic grammatical exploration strategies to their own language learning content and contexts.
    • We need to provide the learners with primary appropriate content and contexts within which to explore the grammar focus.
    • Grammar explorations in primary language learning can be so exciting and creative!The primary learning environment allows for dynamic explorations-not on one's own but sharing ideas and ways to be "grammar explorers"
    • Don't forget the primary in grammar explorations! Think of ways to explore grammar to suit the learning preferences of all your children- building, drawing, singing, acting, through PE ,creating, discussing ... and make it primary successful explorations.
    • Primary colleagues should see themselves as the facilitator of grammar explorations.
    • Think of the process as well as the creative outcome! Make the stages of the process as learner friendly , step by step engaging the learner in enquiry about how and why a pattern is being formed. 

    Here are the activities that I am sharing with different colleagues this week.

    •  I hope that the activities are stepping stones to help them facilitate grammar exploration in dynamic ways with young language learners!
    • I hope that colleagues don't see the activities as static and set in stone but that they can manipulate and adapt ideas to suit the content and contexts that they are exploring.  

    Sandcastle Sentence Building

    One of our focus themes this next term is "Seaside" and synonymous with the seaside must be building sandcastles! As teachers of young language learners we are endeavouring to develop children's understanding of basic grammar and sentence construction.

    Seems to me that "building sandcastle sentences" could be  a great way to enable our moving on and advanced language learning KS2 children to reflect  upon and apply their  growing knowledge of how language works!  
    As the class teacher you can decide on the appropriate context,content and the structures (nouns,personal pronouns,parts of verbs, adjectives, conjunctions etc).

    We can build simple sentences, sentences made of two clauses, sentences requiring conjunctions to make their more complex and apply word order rules and build our own new sentences with words and structures we select and  want to use .Just like we will fond lots of sandcastle building competitions on war m teachers in target language countries such as France and Spain then we can hold our own sandcastle sentence building competitions and set challenges that match the level of our language learners!

    The "Sandcastle Sentence Building Challenges below are based on: 

    • context - describing what we eat at the seaside
    • content- ice creams
    • grammar focuses- identifying and constructing simple present tense sentences using the personal pronouns and the verb " to eat"
    In developing the following activities with your class, you must consider the language and word order of target language sentences, consider the punctuation of the sentences as signposts to the construction of the more complex sentences and select a context and content base that fits with your own class' target language knowledge.

    Sandcastle Sentence Building 

    Share with the children the building blocks of an empty simple sentence.
    Can the children discuss with you how many parts the think are going to be in your sandcastle sentence (five in this sandcastle).Set the scene- if we are describing eating an ice cream ,do they think with a partner they can discuss what might words and phrases  be in the sandcastle?(Encourage them to think of words like je / manger/ glace/ flavours of ice creams)

    Explain that every good sandcastle needs a flag to mark the spot and to go on top of the sandcastle.
    In our sentences explain that this is going to be a personal pronoun.
    Share with them the blue flag shape with the personal pronoun you want to use,written on it.I have chosen "Je" in French in this case.
    Can they tell you the meaning of the word and explain its function in the sentence?
    Give them pair talking and thinking time to do this. 

    Now share with the class the building blocks of the first "sandcastle sentence".Can they decide in which order the sandcastle, starting with the personal pronoun flag at the top, should be built?
    Why do they think that the word "mange" is written on an orange piece of card? 
    Discuss with the class what this word represents as a structure ( verb) and why is it important  in the construction of a good sandcastle SENTENCE

    In their heads can they "virtually" build your sandcastle?
    Who wants to come out and build the sandcastle? 
    Does everyone agree with the construction? 
    What is the the sandcastle message?   

    Share with the children a second personal pronoun flag.What does this allow us to do as sandcastle sentence builders? (We can build a new sentence).On mini whiteboards can the children try to build a new sandcastle sentence about a different flavour of ice cream?

    Remind them of the importance of the orange building block in the sandcastle to make certain that they are building a SENTENCE .

    Listen, look and share as a class some of the sandcastle sentences they have constructed and drawn .

    Now share your new building blocks for the sentence that you would like a volunteer to construct as your new  "two tower sandcastle" made up of two clauses, so this time it will have "two tower sandcastle".
    How does the class know which personal prononun to start with (capital letter on "Je")
    How does the class know which flavour goes with the first ice cream here ( comma after "au chocolat,") 
    How does the class know which is the final word of the two tower sentence and why? (Well it is the correct word order but also it has a full stop "vanille.")

    Invite a  volunteer up to build what is now the "two tower two clause sandcastle sentence"!  
    Can they cut out and write in pairs a "two tower two clause sandcastle sentence" as a challenge for another pair?

    Sandcastles often have bridges and become more elaborate.We can introduce the use of conjunctions in this way too to our "Sandcastle Sentence Building" challenges.
    Here are two conjunction bridges in French below.

    Discuss with the children what role these two red bridges play on the sentence and identify that they have target language conjunctions written in them. Make sure that the conjunctions are familiar words for the children.

    Can they change and improve the  "two tower two clause sandcastle sentence"above with one of these conjunction bridges ?
    Which conjunction would they like to use?

    For my example  below , I selected the conjunction bridge "et" in French to join my two clauses.
    Can the class design and build their own "two clause conjunction sandcastle tower sentences" to share with the rest of the class?Their designs must also be based on the content you have been practising.

    With more advanced language learners set up a "Sandcastle building challenge".
    Give each pair a set of sandcastle building blocks in random order as below, to construct a "three tower,two conjunction sandcastle complex sentence". 

    Here the children need to select the correct part of the verb to match the personal pronouns and to identify which flavour can not be at the end of the sentence(because of the comma) but also to decide which of the other two flavours will be at the end and make sure that they remember to add that full stop!

    They need to decide where and how they want to use the two conjunction bridges- maybe they want to use two new conjunctions.....

    ........and then they can construct their "three tower,two conjunction sandcastle complex sentence".

    Now it is time for the class to get on their construction thinking hats and build new sandcastle tower challenges for the rest of the class!

    The class can now hold their own "Grand Class Sandcastle Sentence Building Competition!"