listening and responding

Touch Base AfL Game

Start of the new academic year and what can the children remember from last year? 

A great and easy game to play to revisit core language that you want the children to be able to use throughout this next academic year!

The game allows you the chance to do some AfL aswell.

You can observe and see if children react correctly and you can also collect in their scores and see how well each child listened and responded to key language.

You need a "buzzer" card (just a circle of coloured paper) - one between two children. Make sure that is equi-distant between the two children.

The game is simple.

You can play this with so many elements of language:

  • basic language- numbers/ colours/days of the week/ months of the year 
  • questions to find out about someone
  • spotting verbs
  • spotting adjectives
  • spotting nouns

How to play Touch Base!

One child is "the player" and the other child is "the counter".

The counter must observe and count how many times the child who is the player touches the buzzer card.

Ask the player to listen to key language that you say.They are listening for specific language content (e.g. numbers or nouns or adjectives).

Say several items- the children need to touch their buzzer card when they hear key language that is within the category you have asked them to listen for.

Ask the "counters" to let you now how many times their partner touched the buzzer.All they have to do is jot the number down on a piece of paper  with the name of their partner and the buzzer game they took part in.You could just opt for a show of hands from the counters when you call out the number of times that the player might have pressed their many hands go up on the correct amount you are expecting?

Now ask the children to swap roles and play a new but similar the game  of "Touch Base"

With learners who are moving on or are advanced primary learners, you can make this a game where they have to identify the nouns or the adjectrives or the verbs in  spoken list.  

Listening,responding and comprehending UKS2: une fourmi rouge

Just been listening to this silly but entertaining song which I think will be another way to extend and practise listening with our UKS2. Last week I shared Quiz Quiz Swap Listening and Responding with a twist- restaurant style as an activity to develop listening skills and here is another opportunity .Plus this would make a great song to practise ,sing in the end of year Y6 or leavers assembly and have some of your best actors performing the story too! 

Here is a link on Momes website to the words too une fourmi rouge

It fits in well with our UKS2 JLN SOW cafe culture focus too!

In the song I can identify the following key words as words we already know:

rouge,bleus,points,petits,cafe au lait, morceau,sucre,nez, cuillere

Listening ,Responding and Comprehending Activities Step by Step:
  1. .Explain that the song is about an ant taking a walk over a cup of coffee,attracted by the sugar.Ask the children to listen for pleasure- perhaps clicking or clapping along to the beat.
  2. Give out the text and ask the children with a finger to follow the words as they are being sung.Pause the recording and ask the children what word they have just heard.Restart the recording and then pause later in the text etcetra.
  3. Give out the key words that you think the children have already met.Can they tell you the meaning of the words?
  4. Ask the children to draw a large cup and saucer on a piece of rough paper or a whiteboard, as them  to listen to the song again and as they hear the key words to put them in the 2D cup and saucer.
  5. Ask the children with a bilingual dictionary to try and work out three important things from the text- the description of the ant ,the journey the ant takes across the cup of coffee and what happens to the ant.Take feedback.
  6. Now ask the children to listen a final time and to hold up the key words as they hear them in the text.

And now it's over to the class, to use the text and the sound recording to put together a class performance of the song , with rhythm (clapping or clicking) and a performance of the events in the text bu two of the class actors or actresses!

Quiz Quiz Swap with a Listening and Responding Twist- Restaurant Style

We love Quiz Quiz Swap and can play the game from from a very early stage in our young language learners' target language acquisition journey. 
All you need are sets of cards with picture items on them and you can set up simple guessing activities or asking and answering questions activities too.
The activities below are for our UKS2 learners,linked to eating out at a seaside fish restaurant in Spain but could easily be altered for other languages too!

With our UKS2 learners I want to look at how well they listen and respond and how quickly they can hear differences.It's a fun activity based on simple cafe culture conversations and add a listening and responding twist that they will enjoy!

Quiz Quiz Swap with a Listening and Responding Twist

  1. Practise the core language to create a simple cafe dialogue between a waiter and a customer.You may like to start  by using my Happy Meal dialogues.
  2. Share the specific dishes with the children which you want to use in this activity.Below are my dishes for a Spanish meal.
  3. Play two games of Quiz Quiz Swap.First game a guessing game where each child has to guess what card the other player is concealing from them and then they swap cards and move to new partners.Second game build in questions and answers to create a cafe dialogue,with a freeze ,stop and listen built in, where you call "Freeze" the children stop talking etc and you select a pair for the class to listen in to and hear their conversation.
  4. Now you can add the listening and responding twist! It's simple really.You need a bag of the pictures that the children have as Quiz Quiz Swap cards.As the children are performing their Quiz quiz Swap dialogues,randomly select a picture and call out "I would like + the item you can see on your picture".The children need to be both focusing on their conversation and ready also to listen and respond if they have the picture on their cards you are looking for.Children with that picture must raise it in the air and shout out the name of the dish.The child you hear first,wins a point for their class group or table. 
  5. Once the class are confident you can ask members of the class to be the "caller" and draw pictures from the bag and call out the request with the  name of the dish.    

Here are some of the Spanish dishes I am going to use .I took these photos during a meal at a seaside fish restaurant meal.I deliberately chose items that either could sound similar (e.g the children must decide what type of olives they hear called out or can they hear when it's bread and water or bread with tomatoes?) The items chosen,specifically address the fact that our Year 6 KS2 learners have already met foods ,drinks and simple meals in the JLN SOW  .Now we are taking them on a "Cafe culture" trip -at the end of their KS2 language learning journey.
So for our Spanish cafe culture here are a few of the dishes I selected :

aceitunas (con queso/pulpo/boqueron) 


pan con tomate

pescado con patatas

A taste of chocolate!

Well it's nearly Easter and therefore I can mention " chocolate...!
Here are some ideas that could make for a fun last lesson before Easter or even a celebration lesson later in the year as we break up for Summer.

UKS2 Free Trade Chocolate Video

Brilliant gift to the language learning classroom and also for global citizenship too!The clip is English and French with Spanish subtitles and  Free trade share the daily life of children who live in communities where the cocoa beans are picked for Free trade so chocolate can be made.

Letter Strings and Sounds in Spanish
This is the simplest of videos.....

  • We can practise key letter strings in the word "chocolate" 
  • We can investigate likes and dislikes of chocolates with additional flavours (lemon/ginger/chili/orange/raisin) in a class survey after singing the song
  • We can create our own version of the song using higher numbers and /or adding our addidtional flavoring
  • We can just song a long and enjoy the song  or conceal the screen and listen for numbers and hold up number cards or fans when we hear the numbers.
Chaud chocolat 
A very simple song to listen to and then create our own class version.
I like the clip because it's real and take a moment or two to settle the choir and the audience and then it's a brilliant at performance!

Un bon chocolat chaud
For older children why not ask them to listen to this wonderful song about getting milk from the cow to make a hot chocolate...listen out for "un bon chocolat chaud" add a clicking along with the song and then adding the spoken phrase "un bon chocolat chaud" with an action of drinking hot chocolate and again have fun listening,responding and joining in.

You can also get the words online (just google un bon chocolat chaud lyrics) so you could print them off and use this as a follow with your finger reading text too with more advanced readers).Thanks for the idea Vicky Cooke!  

And as a French grand finale at Easter 

Why not just enjoy listening to this beautiful song performed by les enfantastiques choir.
"La chanson chocolat".

A taste of German "Schokolade"
Here is a German song with the Gummy Bears just for fun and to join in with the chorus "Schoko Schoko Cho KaKao"
Perhaps a chance to hand out cards for each syllable and have cheer leaders with the cards at the front just to add to the fun!

Revisiting food in German but "the children eat chocolate!"
Great way to revisit foods and meals during the day .... practising word recognition of foods first with the screen visible , watching and listening and then with the screen concealed or minimised.
Second time round ask the children to order pictures if food on their tables as they hear them being sung.Can the class join in with the chorus "Die Kinder essen Schokolade"?

Creating a simple playground clapping game speed challenge 

The game below shown in the video clip (thanks to Fatima Duerden for reminding where to find this) works in Spanish and German with the original word "chocolate"
and in French we have tried it with cho-co-lat chaud ( four syllables) too!

and just because we can and it's bouncy fun and lively ....

La tartine au chocolat!

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!

Easter Egg Trail and beyond. (Moving on learners) Adapting an Epiphany idea !

In December ready for Epiphany I wrote the blog post "Pass the galette or the roscon de reyes", It has proved to be very popular and I have really enjoyed looking at people's ideas and ways of adapting the activity to suit their own learners.A delight!

You can read the original blog and ideas here galette or roscon de reyes

All these shared wonderful ideas made me think a bit more about ways to adapt the activity.You see I think it's important to revisit and reuse familiar activities to allow the children to explore the language in more details.

So here are my notes to self!

Easter time 

Let's create an Easter Egg trail with the same type of activities, in the shape of an Easter egg maybe or one of those wonderful "Easter egg" clocks I always wanted as a child.This is a circular clock with each small egg representing one of the numbers on the face of the clock (so twelve eggs in total).

The treasure hunt idea  would work wonderfully in German trying to look for the Osterhase or in French looking for the bells from Rome that fly the eggs in to the gardens!

Handing the activity over to the learners 

I do think it is so important that we remember that the actiivities are purposeful and about encouraging the learners to play the games and do the activities so that they either learn something new or consolidate prior learning. 

To this end I think that this would be a great activity to ask the children in UKS2 to engage in the making process equipped with the principles of the learning activities e.g. recognising and using sounds and letter strings and revisiting familiar language.

The UKS2 children can then make a gift galette/ rosocn de reyes/Easter egg trail etc for their younger LKS2 classes .Cutting, sticking and glueing- yes- but also thinking through links between phonemes and graphemes and remembering previous learned language!

Thanks to everyone who has made me think through the potential  of these ideas a little bit more!

And should you want to use ready made templates then thanks to Sue Cave,she has shared here phonics galette template in smart notebook on this page of Sharing Primary Languages

0-100 percent! It's the Winter sales!

Les soldes!

It's January and it's the Winter sales - what a gift to help us practise familiar and new numbers between 0 and 100 with our moving on language learners. You can add a mathematical twist for our older learners too and revisit familiar content such as clothes, colours and Christmas gifts. 

These activities will work well with our Year 5 and 6 children but could also be useful with Year 7 too.

The steps are:

  1. Practise those numbers 
  2. Take virtual tour of a sale
  3. Getting to grips with percentages and written numbers
  4. Play the percentage converter game 
  5. Convert the real price and find out where the sale tag belongs!

Simple first steps: practise those numbers! 
  • Counting up in fives or tens from 0-100
  • Counting down from 100- 0 against a count down clock in fives and tens  
  • Un-muddling mixed up number words- e.g. which two numbers in French can you see below?


Why not take a virtual tour of the sales in the target language country? For example here are the sales in the French department store Galerie Lafayette for Winter 2015

Getting to grips with percentages and the written form of numbers  

  • Step one with your class may be to practise percentages with the class in English 
  • Now you need some cards or bags labelled like the bags you can see on the picture below. It works best if each table has a set of bags or cards to sort- so all the class are actively working with numbers.
  • Ask your tables to sort the bags/cards in ascending order or in descending order
  • Ask the tables to listen carefully to a percentage reduction you call out and to use two bags from their table to create the number you called out.

  • Share written labels with the class and ask the tables to call out what they can read on your labels - loudest and most well pronounced "call out" wins the label for the correct bag on their table.
  • We are asking our children to really think about how they read and write familiar spoken words so there may be an opportunity here to ask the children to Look, think ,link and read
  • Ask your tables to label the bags in the target language with a written number card.
  • Ask each table to place the cards they have written labels on into the bags or under the percentage cards- they can decide to out incorrect labels in to the bags / under the cards.Ask a second table to investigate the labels and bags and to reorder the labels correctly .

Where does the sale tag belong?
You will need some sale tags like the ones in the picture below and pictures of/ or real items that you are going to reduce on price.

  • Try a percentage converter game in the target language.Say a cost and then ask the class to say the reduced cost when you write the percentage reduction on the flip chart .Let the children work in pairs or groups and use mini whiteboards to work out the new cost.
  • Ask the class to help you convert the real price to a sale price on items of clothing that the children are already familiar with in the target language.This makes a great listening activity.Share items or pictures of items of clothing with the children.(You could make this a challenge by saying each item of clothing adds so many seconds on working out time in the game - e.g 30 seconds per item of clothing remembered accurately) On the flip chart share as a written percentage the sale reduction for an item - you say the item in the target language and the normal cost of the item and the class must work in pairs on mini whiteboards to convert the price to the sale price. Who is confident to come to the front and label the item with the new sale price? Does the class agree?

Count down to Epiphany! Numbers and dates.

Thanks to one of my wonderful associate teachers Andrea for this simple idea to start the New Year in Spanish ,,,,and I think this will work in other languages too!
Andrea brought home from Spain a couple of weekends ago this advent calendar with a difference if you are a Spanish child waiting for the three Kings to bring your presents on 5 January!

The activities below would  transfer to other languages too where there is a festive celebration of Epiphany.
The activities are about numbers and dates

Puzzle It Out 
  • Give out number cards on each card is the figure for one of the numbers 
  • Ask the volunteers with the cards to stand at the front of the class
  • Don't give any of the children any clues but ask the class to decide how to put these numbers in to a sensible order.
  • Can they work out that these are dates of the calendar month from 25th December to 5 January?
  • Explain the significance of these numbers and how they are linked to the dates from 25 December to 5th of January.
  • Can the children say the numbers with you?
  • Can the children count with a partner the missing numbers from 6 to 24?
  • Listen to volunteers count the missing numbers.

Hunt the first!
  • Share with the children the written form of the number as a date.
  • Can the children spot an odd one out because the first of the month will be el primero in Spanish and le premier in French.  
  • Can the children identify and explain the difference between the first of the month and the other dates they can see.
  • Can the children now help you to write some of the dates in the target language between 25th December and 5th January
e.g. Spanish 
el primero de enero / el triente de diciembre

le premier janvier/ le trente décembre

Dates and a Quiz Quiz Swap Game of "Happy New Year" or "Kings for the Day"!
  • Give out date cards - one to each child (each card is between 25th December and 5th January).
  • Ask the children to remind you what is special about the date "first of January~" and why it's different to the other dates they can see on their cards.Have they remembered that its el primero /le premier...? Share with the children the importance too of 1st January or ask the children do they know the significance of the date. Practise with the children wishing  each other a "Happy New Year" in the target language.
  • The children must walk around the room whispering the question "What  date is it" to  another child.
  • The other child says the date on his /her  card.
  • The two children swap roles and then when they have completed the question and answer this second time, they swap cards and move to a new partner.
  • Hold pauses in the game and anyone holding the date card for 1st January must sit out the next round of questions and answers until you pause the game again.The class should wish them a "Happy New Year" in the target language: "
  • Anyone with the date card of 5th January gets a team their Epiphany treat! At the end of the game which team will have most points and be "Kings for the Day" ?
Happy New Year in Spanish!

Happy New Year in French!

Last week before Christmas simple language learning activities

For the week before Christmas are some language learning activities that are easy to create and simple to use.

Stars,colours, numbers and a link to Van Gogh "Starry Night"

A target language song in French and Spanish to a familiar refrain to sing in the round,with a listening,speaking and reading element to the activity.

Using the song above,but breaking it down in to the sounds and letter combinations to create a listen, respond and reconstruct activity, based upon the theme of  "bell ringing"

"Knock! knock!Who's there?" activity/game with Rudolph pictures and a focus on the use of colours with ,masculine and feminine nouns. 

Using the simple open and reveal game to create "open and reveal "Christmas presents.
Take a look on this page too ,for the Christmas style open and reveal game 

One resource and three levels of Christmas character question and answer dialogues and conversations.

Pass the galette or the roscon de reyes

We will be celebrating Epiphany and the customs and traditions of the target language countries at the start of the New Year.

Let's play "Pass the galette" or "Pass the roscon de reyes"

We can revisit familiar language and remind children of the sound letter combination links in the target language you are learning in school whilst celebrating the culture.

It's a really easy game that involves the children working in teams and they have loved it when I have played this before.

  • You need two circles of card. One circle is made of white card and the second card circle is made up of at least 12 different colours.
  • Cut the second card circle into 12 slices (each a different colour)

  • On the reverse of five of the pieces of coloured card, glue a picture of one of the three Kings.
  • On the other side of each piece of coloured card from your cake,add sound- letter combinations from words that you know you have practised and used during last term in the target language with the chilren(e.g sound- letter combinations from numbers/colours/months/days/shops/subjects etc)

  • Blu-tac each of your card pieces in the shape of a circle back on to your white card circle with the Kings hidden on the underside and randomly placed in the circle.
  • All the sound - letter combination clues should be visible to the children
And now to play the game 

  • Show the children a real picture of a galette or a roscon de reyes or even better share a real cake with them !
  • Explain that normally the children take a piece and hope to be the child who finds the special counter to become King for the day.
  • Show the children a picture of the three Kings 
  • Split the class into teams of six.Explain that they are now King seekers
  • The team that wins the most Kings (up to a maximum of three Kings) will be the winning King team for the day.Remind the children the object of the game is to win the pictures of the three Kings hidden on the underside of  the pieces of your card cake  
  • Each team must ask politely for a piece of your cake.They must ask for the colour of the piece of cake they want and then the team must look at the sound -letter combination and think of a word they know in the target language that has the letter combination they can see written  on their piece of cake.
  • Ask a member of the team to say the word out loud and to try to write it up on the white board
  • Does the class agree that this word has the sound- letter combination in it ?
  • If they are correct they win that piece of cake and can turn it over .If it has a King on the back then they have won one of their three Kings and can keep the piece of card.
  • If it does not have a King pop it back in your cake circle 
  • Now it's the turn of another team
  • The game ends when one team  has collected three Kings 
  • At the end of the game if there is no clear winning team then which team has the most Kings?
You can play this game multiple times and also with children at different stages of language learning with different clue types on your pieces of cake..It's great fun and allows the children to revisit familiar language and make those all important sound- letter links in the target language. 

Ring out those bells tonight! Christmas greetings

Getting ready for CPD and thinking of ways to practise simple language with beginner target language learners and with a Christmas focus and also to encourage the development of listening, speaking and reading skills I have put together these two simple ideas.

The first ideas was based upon 

counting stars and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

The  idea below is based on Christmas bells and singing a simple song based on Christmas greetings.This will work in all languages .

The example below is in Spanish .We sing this style of Christmas greetings song in French and German too and it's to a very familiar refrain "London's Burning".It's all about getting the children familiar with how to say "Happy Christmas" to family and friends.Here are the Spanish words,you just need to put them together and into an order that suits the refrain!

We will be using this  as a possible song to sing with the younger children at Christmas etc.add actions and sing in the round- but it will make a great listening and responding activity too with KS2.

  • Show the children the three main phrases from the song .I have added a bell symbol to represent the bell - but they would be really great if they were printed out on hand size bell shapes ......
  • Ask the children to practise each phrase with you as if they were bell ringers- it would be great to have some bells and chimes for this activity too.Each syllable to the tune of the refrain is a bell ring or chime- so each syllable must be a movement as if ringing bells.
  • Now invite three children to the front to be the bell ringers.Give each child one of the key phrases and ask them to listen out for their key phrase as you sing the song as a class and they must ring their bell throughout the whole time their phrase is being sung.
  • Now give out bell cards to all the class and ask the class to listen out for their phrases and to ring their bells when they hear their phrase.
  • Ask the children to walk around their room with their key phrase card,saying their phrase from the song that is written on the card and find other children who are saying the same phrase.Can the children gather together and make a group with the same phrase.Now we have carol singers and bell ringers! Simply sing the song and ask the children in each group to wave their cards as if they were bells as their phrase is sung in the song.Sing the song several times.
  • Time to add some percussion too now I think ......

Sound in the French word for numbers and colours : ladders and scaffold games

These activities are  quick to create and simple to develop and involve key sounds in numbers and colours for teachers just starting to work with French (or any language- but it really works well in French)  with their primary school children.The games  can easily be used as a revisiting activity at any time in a language learner's career.They can lead to puzzles and performance opportunities 

The games in the first instance involve numbers 1-11 and  simple colours (bleu,jaune,orange,vert,noir,blanc )

  • As  the teacher think about the numbers and colours you have taught. 
  • Practise with the children key sounds in the words 
  • Create a chart of key sounds as letter combinations for sounds that are in both colours and numbers or just in the colours or just in the numbers.
  • Take a look here: 

Can you see the key sounds and letter combinations in the numbers 1-11 and the colours:  bleu,jaune,orange,vert,marron,noir,blanc?

Take  quick look some of the sounds and letter combinations are in both the colours and the numbers.

Sound in the word ladders and scafffolds

  • Ask your class first of all to create a "sound in the word ladder or scaffold " of the words they think that the key sounds come from- they may think of both a number and a colour for some of the boxes in the table
  • Can they add performance (mime,actions and volume)  to their sound in the word  ladders and scaffolds. They can decide to work across the table in horizontal lines or run down one column and then the other column of the table. Maybe they want to start from the bottom and work upwards etc .They can decide!
  • Can they perform their "sound in the word ladder or scaffold "for another group of children and can thwy trace the path that has been followed on the table of sounds?

Step Two !All shook up!

  • Cut up the table in to individual sound cards and put them out on the table.One set per four children works best.

The groups of children  can now play several different games:

  • Take it in turns to select a sound and say a number or colour
  • Take it in turns and collect number cards only - who has the most when the sounds' cards  the children can use run out?
  • Take it in turns to create a run of cards of all the colours or all the numbers 
  • Take it in turns to create a run of cards of all the colours but in French alphabetical order/ try this with numbers but in numerical order or in reverse order