Envelope Explorers of the Near Future

I bought some cards recently in France and they came with their own envelopes - which were just as wonderful as the pictures on the cards inside!.
Take a look at the envelope on the left !
I like the envelope because it prepares you for the message that could be possibly inside .
It allows you to get ready to open the envlope and imagine the message inside too!

So take a look at the envelope again and think....
What can you see?
What type of day is it?
Where are the people?
What are they doing?

Activity One :All about the envelope and setting the scene
Above we have our "Talk Prompts"
Give the children time to gather the language they need to try to convey the responses to the questions you are going to ask them about the envelope.This could be a group,pair or individual activity.These answers will be present tense of course.

Activity Two: All about the invitation in the envelope
Now prepare for the invitation inside the envelope.
Explain to the children that inside is an invitation and the picture on the envelope gives the class a clue as to the verbs we might find inside the envelope.In this instance it will be verbs we asscoiate with the seaside- to swim, to play football , to build a sandcastle , to have a picnic, to sunbathe, to eat an ice cream ......
The invitation is a suggestion of what you will be doing so discuss how we use the phrase "let's go....the verb describing the activity"
Ask the children to decide which verb (so which activity) they want to put in the envelope.Again this could be a pair or individual activity and could involve the use of bilingual dictionaries.
Invite children to suggest the verb they want in the envelope and write it out ,show the class and pop it inside the envelope.To go in the envelope it needs to be the infinitive of the verb- ask the class to help you check it is an infinitive that is written on the card before it goes in!

Activity Three: An invitation to the near future!  
One by one take the cards out of the envelope and play a game of charades with the class.Can they guess the target language infinitive?
Once the class has guessed the infinitive correctly add it to the invitation list.
The invitation list is basically the list of infinitives underneath the heading "Allons" (French) or "Gehen wir..." or "Vamos" (Spanish) ....let's go ....!
Practise forming the near future tense with the title of the invitation list and the infinitives.
Can the children write out clear invites- a sentence made up of 1st person plural of the verb "to go" in the target language and the infinitive of their choice.
Pop the invitation card sentences back in to the envelope.

Activity Four :Envelope Explorers - over to you!
Each child is now the creator of an "envelope to explore" for another child.

Step One 
Think of a scene - draw/paint the front picture on your envelope of this scene.
A birthday?Christmas? A party? A football match? A walk on the countryside?

Step Two 
Add infinitive verb cards in the target language that you associate with this scene in to the envelope.

Step Three
Pass the envelope to a partner.
Can the partner write a list of the infinitives they anticpate will be in the enevelope?

The partner can then open the envelope and see if the verbs are already written on verb cards inside the envelope.If they have thought of additional infinitives then these should be added,written on card and placed inside the envelope.

Step Four
Pass the envelope back to the designer of the envelope.
Can  the child now write full sentence near future invitation sentences to go in the envelope using the infinitives that are in the envelope?

Step five
Invite volunteers to share their envelopes with the class.
Ask the class to suggest possible infinitves that may be in the envelope
Ask the volunteer with the envelope to rread out some of their near future invitation sentences from the envelope.

Step six - celebrate the work!
Make a display of the envelopes and allow the children to open the envelopes and see what invitation sentences are written in cards inside.

Or create talking envelopes
Record the children sayimng their sentences using either a QR code or Chatterpix.
Play these back for the class! 

Shades of meaning,building vocabulary in a target language

I have just seen this tweet from @JaneConsidine .Thank you Jane! 
You can find this and more on The Training Space website
Such an effective tools for literacy but also such an effective tool for target language learning- "shades of meaning from "subtle " to intense" 

Time to get those bilingual dictionaries out again and this time pose the pupils individual  tasks to find "shades of meaning" based on an adjective that they may or may not already know.
You will need 6 adjective cards and sufficient of these cards for one card each .The pupils will swap cards as they repeat the activity three times with different adjectives.
(Immediately adjectives such as small / big/ naughty/ beautiful/ sweet/ lively.....come to mind)

  1. Give them a blank piece of paper
  2. Ask them to draw the "shades of meaning scale" on the left handside and ask them to help you to locate the descriptors for "intense" and "subtle" in the bilingual dictionary.Can the pupils help you to work out how to say "subtle" and then ask all the class to put the key language on the scale but in the target language .(in this instance in a foreign language I think "subtle" means - a gentle type of adjective and "intense" means a powerfuland strong adjective.
  3. Now give each pupil an adjective card.They mjust decide whereabouts on the scale they would place this card - first of all they may need to find the meaning of the adjective!
  4. Set the class a time limit for the next search and ask them to think of 3 adjectives that mean something similar and then find these in the target language dictionary.they must record them on their scale by writing them down in the target language.
  5. Set up a new "shades of meaning" challenge with a new piece of paper and ask the children to swap adjective cards.Can they find 3 adjectives they think have similar meanings to this adjective? (e.g big - tall,large,huge).Whereabouts on the chart do they think these words fit?
  6. Repeat the activity one more time.
  7. Now invite pupils to give feedback as you read out one of the 6 adjective cards. Can they say whether the adjectives they have found linked to the original adjective are more or less subtle or more or less intense- in their opinions? 
  8. How many different words have the class found? 
  9. You could record these on a class "shades of meaning" list in the target language. 
  10. Now you can encourage the pupils to alternate and use these new adjectives when describing people, things and places in speaking and writing.

French story books with purpose 2015!

Last month whilst in France I had a shopping list of books that I wanted to buy and spent a brilliant hour in Cultura in Carcassonne doing just that! 

The books I had on my list are to support and extend the work we already have organised in our SOW.

Here are the books and my reason for buying thjem:

Books that are linked to festivals and are also stories based on popular French story characters.
Our young learners like the idea that they are looking at books that real French children enjoy.So Tchoupi and Petit Ours Brun cam immediately to mind!




Books that are educational books for French children that we can use to introduce or investigate a specific learning context that we cover.

The first two books I selected are for LKS2, short stories about visitrs to sepcific places.They are   inexpensive and again I chose two from the Petit Ours Brun series:

I found these three Kididoc books ( I love Kididoc) and feel that they can be used in UKS2 too as we can discuss how we can make books to help younger learners, focusing on the way the books inmtroduce language and use visuals , flaps etc.The books are also very informative and the text is accessible.With these books non specialist teachers can also  be creative aswell- I am thinking display made by the children etc.
I chose these three themes:

School for our Y5 school focus

The beach again for our Y5 focus

......and finally this Kididoc book caught my eye.We are extending our cross curricular work and here is a gift all about planet earth .Each double page spread is a different focus withon this context.Brilliant!

Our cross curricular focuses are already part of the network packages we create and whilst looking for stories within a series based on a fictional French character. I came across the character Barri and could not leave this book behind!It is beautiful .On each page it poses a question and then you need to lift the flowers or the pond or the grass flaps to see what mini beasts are hidden underneath! Fantastic.
Great for our KS1 mini beast focus and new resource for a theme we use each year plus what a great book to use with KS2  linked to DT and making lift the flap books for KS1 - or even a performance and use of questions and answers.

Last year I saw both of the following books but just didn't have room to bring them home! As I have just mentioned we are working in mofr detail on our cross curricular themes in the next couple of months I decided to hunt them out and bring them home! 

First a sophisticated look at travel to France by ferry- so UKS2 definitely!.Makes  lot of sense as so many of our children travel by ferry to France!  Several sentences per page , very detailed pictures to discuss what we can see in English and to look up key nouns in dictionaries etc and then to create our info docs!

And this wonderful book from larousse!" Le bord de mer" .It is a book to cherish I think .On some pages there are facts on others just pictures to discuss.There is a story that explains how to get to the seaide , pages on sea animals, rock pools ,under the sea, divers, keeping safe by the sea..... and  the list goes on.I love it!!

...And finally I wanted to find a book using instuctional text for Year 6 and our cafe culture theme! I found the most incredible recipe book which will be so easy to use in class because it is all about making sandwiches.
Double page spread, colour pictures and the most clear instructions and pictures! Great ideas that link to alsorts of themes too so you can use it with Y3,4,5 and down in KS1 too and not just in primary foreign language teaching either!


Making a statement to describe jobs and roles in the future with Year 6 leavers

As our KS2 Year 6 get ready to leave primary school, next half term could be a wonderful time to ask them to reflect on what they want to be in the future.

It is also a time to celebrate what they can now do in a foreign language. 

Last week in Spain I found this wonderful book and it gave me an idea about how we can could create similar books with our Y6 language learners in all languages! 

They can demonstrate  how they can now use a bilingual dictionary to access the language they want to use.They can show how they can manipulate simple sentence stucture , nouns and present tense verbs too!

The book is made up of pictures of different types of people.You can see four characters on the front of the book .
As a concept itself it's a brilliant book- just to read and have fun reading and muddling up the sentences with the children on Spanish 

However the concept translates really well in to language work on sentence structure in any language.On each double page spread there is a bright colourful caricature picture of a type of person (pirate/cook/clown etc) and on the left hand page of the double page spread, the page is divided in to three sections and each section can be turned over individually.

The top section is the statement about the character (present tense of the verb to be in first perspn singylar e.g I am / soy / je suis /ich bin ) plus the noun  for the character (e.g. pirate / cowboy etc)

The middle section is the verb in the first person singular present tense associated with the character's actions ( e.g. cowboy - I ride   / cook - I prepare etc) plus the noun that is linked to the action ( e.g cowboy- I ride - my horse  / coook - I prepare - the meal) .

The third section is about where the character's actions take place (e.g. cook- in the kitchen/ in the restaurant etc)

(Turn over one of the three sections and the sentence  is correct grammatically -but the meaning becomes slightly odd or bizarre.That is part of the beauty of the book!)

I think we can use the idea of the double page spread though to create our own entertaining end of our primary school career book .
Each child needs to generate their own three section statement to explain what they want to be when they grow up.It's a description of the job, the role and the objects/people /place involved in the role.

Section one - first person singular of the verb to be and the appropriate nooun for the role or job chosen
Section two - present tense first person singular verb associated with an action involved in the role or the job plus a noun representing an object or person connected to the actipon
Section three - the place the action takes place

e.g"  I am a doctor/ and I help the patients/ in the hospital " 

  • All we need to do now is create a large card book with double page spreads for each child in the class. The children draw a caricature on paper of the role or job they have chosen.This is glued on to the right hand side of the double page spread.
  • The children then write their messages in the three sections which have been ruled  off on the left hand side of the double page spread.
  • Once the book is complete all you need to do is cut to the centre fold the three sections along the ruled lines .

Now we have our own book! 
We can read it as it should be read or see also what types of entertaining sentences we can make by turning individual sections and understanding the new information  we read!

Languages ,Literacy , Joined up thinking -making primary languages special!

I do love joined up thinking!
As you may already know we have a network of 110 schools, all loosely working aournd a shared SOW or atleast able to dip in and use resources as they fit best with the individual school curriculum and language learners.

Should you want to know more about JLN membership here is a link
Membership of Janet Lloyd Network (full or local) 

Below is an example of how working as part of team and a network plus sharing information that we learn from others is benefitting our young language learners!

In Year 4 we introduce our learners to the extra terrestrial family - our aliens .Everyone loves the aliens and most of our network members will introduce and use the resources with their classes at sometime in their teaching and learning! 
It is very miuch a case of  team work between four primary language teaching practitioners!
Ana Garcia draws the family,I create the simple stories and activities around the family and then Emilie ,Barbara and Ana provide the accurate French,Spanish and German language and authenticity! 

Thanks to Little Red Languages Company we are now creating several animated stories in French and Spanish to share with our network members and the schools participating in the DFE Language Learning for Everyone  programme too. 

This project though is very much Janet Wallbank's (one of our associate language teachers and the class teacher and children from Parish CE in St Helens!

  • I visited the school to observe Janet W.She was introducing the alien family.
  • I  happened to explain to the children that the grandma and grandad alien had been created by Barrowhall CP School in Warrington ,the year before! They were fascinated by the fact the children at Barrowhall  had added to the story ppt and began to suggest their own additional characters.
  • Janet W and the class teacher decided it would be a good idea to ask the children to create their own drawings of new family members,The class selected  an uncle, an aunt and the pets: an alien dog and an alien cat ! 
  • As the family alien focus in  Spring 1  leads to describing the physical features of monsters and aliens in Spring 2, describing the new characters fitted in really well too!  
  • First of all though the characters drawings had to be judged and who better to judge the characters than the artist and the alien stories' author (Ana and myself!) 
  • Here is the winning picture of the Aunt alien....

  • .....and here is the winning picture of the Uncle alien

  •  With a "special congratulations letter" from the author and the artist, the winners were revealed to the class and all the class received mini easter eggs for their efforts!
  • Janet W and the class had real purpose to learning -how to make physical descriptions of people  because the children needed to be able to do this to complete own JLN story ppt - about their characters! They added names too.Below is  "Asteroide " the dog.

  • Last week Janet W shared  the finished ppt with us and then thanks to a tweet by @valleseco Janet W was inspired to create a Youpublisher PDF Flipbook of the story! Hey presto ! We have magic! We have a page turning book ...... and now we can share the book with our other network member schools and  hopefully inspire them too!  

La famille extra terrestre Parish CE

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.


World Book Day and a celebration of languages and literacy!

World Book Day allows us a language teachers to open the window on languages and share with the children how language is a vehicle through which we can tell stories and encourage imaginative  communication.

This year we are focusing on three of the World Book Day 2015 themes: 

Elmer : 

Elmer Explorers

Pirates : 

Pirates ahoy!

Dennis the Menace : 

Dennis the Menace concertina characters

In previous years we have explored fairy tales,listened to and performed familiar texts such as the Hungry Caterpillar in different languages and  encouraged our local schools to invite people from the wider community in to school to read stories in other languages.

Last year,some of us explored this wonderful book :"Vive les livres",which exists in German and Spanish too!

Here is the blog post from last year:

Long Live Books !

Some other ideas to explore books and stories.........

You may want to explore other themes and stories so I thought I would pop here in the blog post links to blog posts I have written about "story telling and writing" and looking at books - both fiction and non fiction! 

We have recently been exploring "describing people in writing" and linking our UKS2 language work with Alice in Wonderland - to great effect!

Alice in Wonderland

We are exploring stretchy word carnival balloons- and this idea was inspired by Mick Inkpen's "Blue Balloon" 

stretchy balloon


Great way to link a story in English with language work in another language 

We love taking KS1 on a "Bear Hunt" and here is the example of the rhyme and game  in Spanish that we adapt and use in French and German too! Everyone loves this one!

Going on a Bear Hunt rhyme and game

Here's an idea to use shadow puppets to retell in a very simple way using familiar stories- in this instance-  Goldilocks and the Three Bears .

Goldilocks and the Three Bears shadow puppet show

"Toujours rien"

is a book I love and a great way to talk about Springtime and growing things .Here's my blog post from last year .

Springtime and growing plants

Maybe you have some target language non-fiction books on your shelves - like I do.The Noune" story above is available in lots of languages.Perhaps you could explore these in language learning.

Here are my thoughts about how we can explore non-fiction with UKS2 more advanced language learners 

non fiction in the target language and making language learning links

Or maybe finally you want to create your own "target language book shop window"....  writing full sentences  demonstrating understanding of basic grammar at the same time! Hope this blog post can help you..... 

Nouns, adjectives and verbs to create our own book covers and book shop window

Elmer Explorers with KS1 and LKS2,listening,speaking and writing

I am busy thinking of ideas for World Book Day and as Elmer is one of the books that children will receive,I decided that this was an ideal focus for our KS1 and also KS2 Year 3.It is also an ideal opportunity to share with students I train how we link across curriculum areas and can take one focus and develop primary language learning games,songs, role-play and our own writing opportunities - if we just think out of the box a little! 

Dressing Elmer with KS1!

With KS1 , we can practise our colours and our colour question"Which colour is it?" with a dice game where we roll the dice and say the question together and then the colour  the die lands on.

Now we can add a patch to our class Elmer( who as you can see is colourless at the moment!)  

Going on a colour hunt with KS1 and Year 3

We can pretend to be jungle explorers and hunt round our classroom for coloured elephants.With KS1 let's play "hot and cold" and hide coloured  card cut outs of elephants.

With KS2 Year 3 let's make it an Elmer treasure hunt and hide our multi coloured elmers around the room and ask two volunteers at a time to follow simple instructions to find the coloured Elmers (left ,right , straight ahead, turn around, stop , hot and cold).The class can hide the elephants and then help you call the directions as the two volunteers look for the elephants.  

Singing an Elmer song

We have found a great Elmer song in French.,

Here are the French words


E.L.M.E.R. je m’appelle Elmer.

E.L.M.E.R. et puis j’en suis fier.

De tout le troupeau je suis le plus beau,

l’éléphant le plus elegant.

Je suis bariolé de la tête aux pieds

Tout le  monde me reconnaît

E.L.M.E.R. je m’appelle Elmer.

E.L.M.E.R. et puis j’en suis fier.

Être différent c’est parfois pesant

je voudrais comme mes amis

être un éléphant qui de temps en temps deviendrait simplement tout gris.

E.L.M.E.R. je m’appelle Elmer.

E.L.M.E.R. et puis j’en suis fier.

E.L.M.E.R. je m’appelle Elmer.

E.L.M.E.R. et puis j’en suis fier.

Chaque année pour fêter la fin de l’été

Tout le monde se deguisait,

Bariolés, decorés furent mes amis et moi je me suis peint en gris

E.L.M.E.R. je m’appelle Elmer.

E.L.M.E.R. et puis j’en suis fier.

and here is the clip we found ......

Elmer Explorer Roleplays

Finally what about with KS2 Year 3 or Year 4 some Elmer totem pole prompt sticks for an Elmer role-play?

You can find out more about the totem pole prompt sticks and their general use


Here is an example of my Elmer totem pole prompt stick- one between two .It's a coliumn of four picture prompts.

You will also need rolled tubes with a letter box cut in it,so you can feed the totem pole prompt stick through slowly and look at each picture.This is the "Elmer explorer" telescope.

Each partner takes in turns to be the "Elmer explorer" and with their "jungle telescope " as they feed the totem pole prompt stick through the tube , they can ask a specific question of their partner.The partner looks through the binoculars , see the picture and uses this to help them form their response to the question. 

With these Elmer totem pole prompt sticks, the cue pictures invite us to ask:

What are you called?  (I am called Elmer)

Where do you live? (in the jungle)

What colours are you?  (opportunity for lots of colours here)

And one final question is one to be made up by the totem pole prompt stick holder- hence the question mark... (This could be age, personality , likes, dislikes .....)

Elmer mini books and describing things in writing

Now let's bring together all this work in our own mini book.I just followed this 

You Tube Origami mini book clip

 and created the book I needed.

Firstly I used familiar pictures from the totem poles - so the children can write down famiioar phrases and then I added colour clouds so that the children can then write their own colour sentences about Elmer.

The task in itself will be differentiated by outcome - as some children may write short phrases and single words and other children may write sentences , whilst other children may write questions and answers as if it was a story between Elmer and the narrator.

Here are some pictures of my mini book ready to be written in.

Autumn Markets and simple effective links with Maths and Literacy

For many of us in October in our own Primary Schools,it's the season of Harvest festivals, Autumn Fayres and celebrating the produce we have seen growing around us.
What a wonderful opportunity to practise those numbers ,colours, simple transactional language phrases we have introduced in our language learning plus an even better authentic opportunity to explore the fruits and vegetables of a target language country!I was in Germany a week or two ago and spent a very happy morning wandering around the local fruit and vegetable market looking at all the wonderful produce!

Simple ways to incorporate this into language learning

First of all.."What in the World is it?" Why not touch, feel and taste some of these new vegetables and sort them alongside more familiar tasting fruit and vegetables? Create your own  "Taste and Look Like Venn Diagrams" to record the results ....but in the target language of course! 

Number of.....: if you are just practising numbers with the children - when then an obvious activity would be to practise counting up what you can see in a picture or the fruits and vegetables you have brought into class

Number, fruits and vegetables  guesstimations : if the children are practising the names of the new vegetables and already know the name of some common fruits and vegetables ,then why not create guesstimation games where they have to say or write the number of each item they think may be in your "shopping bag" of  fruit and vegetable items.

Guesstimate!  You could guesstimate the weight! Guesstimate the circumference or length! Teach the children the key phrases for measurement and weight( in the target language) and apply the target language to a Maths challenge of guesstimation and compare the guesstimations to actual weight and measurement (circumference or length)

Investigating description: Use prior knowledge of language and the use of bilingual dictionaries to find and use adjectives alongside the names of the items and the verb "to be" to write your own class descriptions of fruit and vegetables,(best after a class food tasting of the produce of course!).Use both familiar and unfamiliar produce.   

Market Stalls Museums : create your own class display of autumn fruits and vegetables but use the target language to label the produce- colour, shape, size and name. Ask the children to create the labels (and you could make these moveable labels for simple individual reading activities so that the children can read and place the labels where they think they fit best) 

French percussion and poem performance les feuilles mortes

Using this simple , effective and beautiful poem about Autumn in French we can explore and interpret and perform linking languages to percussion music. This could be a poem to be explored by the children in UKS2 (with two or three years language learning) or possibly in KS3 Y7. 

  1. Can the children identify for you the verbs in the text. Can they spot the repetition of the verbs?
  2. How do they know that the poet is speaking (j'entends)
  3. Can they identify the nouns in the poem and can they identify the noun which is repeated over and over again in the text . Is it singular or plural and how so they know? Maybe they are able to tell you whether the noun is masculine or feminine using detective work and looking at the spelling of the adjectives after the noun.
  4. In each verse explore the descriptions of the leaves,looking up the final adjectives in each line where necessary ,using a bi-lingual dictionary.
  5. Can they practise the nouns and adjectives for the leaves and descriptions as sound bites ( saying the description e.g les feuilles rousses/molles/d'or and making the sound of the words create a "sound bite picture of the leaves as they fall to the floor)
  6. In each verse explore what the poet tells us he can hear- which words for seasons and weather can they identify in the individual sentences that start with "j'entends....".
  7. Identify the pattern of each verse and the use of the verbs in each verse and the repetitive nature of the verb "tombent" and ask the children to suggest reasons why this might be the case (i.e perhaps to suggest leaves falling gently from the sky over and over again)
  8. Identify the rhymes at the end of each sentence in each verse.
  9. Write down in random order on the whiteboard the final words in each sentence.Can the children match up the rhyming pairs?
  10. Ask the children to read the poem with you and to visualise what is happening and how Winter is drawing in.Ask them to describe to a talk partner what they have visualised. 
  11. Give out the poem as cut up sentence strips . Can the children reconstruct the poem?
  12. Can they now close their eyes and listen again to the poem and imagine Autumn moving toward Winter as they listen to the poem with their eyes closed?
  13. Read and practise the poem out loud with the children.
  14. Ask the children to suggest musical percussion instruments to portray the falling leaves and also to portray the weather or seasonal changes in each verse. Ask the children to work in groups with percussion instruments to create the sense and  rhythm and  to convey the description in one of the verses of the poem. they can select their favourite verse to match the percussion instrument they have been given on their table.
  15. Ask the groups /tables to create a performance with spoken language , actions and music of their chosen verse. Ask them children to create the dynamics of the verse through the actions , music and the way they alter their voices (volume and stress etc)  
  16. Listen to the groups performances of the verses.
  17. Can the class decide which percussion performance matches the French poem description the best? 
  18. Can the class read the poem with you and can four children representing the selected percussion performances create the different music effects for each of the verses as the class reads out the poem?

Celebrating Roald Dahl Day in foreign language learning

September is Roald Dahl month and it's also his birthday on 13 September plus it's the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It seems to me an opportunity this month to make links between languages and literacy!

This is a good opportunity to switch that "cultural lightbulb on" and allow children to realise that stories we love in english are also loved in other languages too!

What's the story? 
This is a simple reading recognition activity
A really simple idea is to share with the children the front covers of Dahl's novels in the target language and ask the children to decide what the title in English of each Dahl story book  must be.
For example ask the children which books are these and how do you know?(Key words,names and picture clues)
Maybe you can show the children these books in familiar and unfamiliar languages 

What's our favourite story!
This is a speaking and listening activity based on a question and a response 
If you have shared a range of story book covers in the target language that the children are learning then you are now ready for a class survey. Let's make it just a simple tally survey where children interview each other and ask each other  "Which is your favourite book?" (using the book titles that you have introduced in step one of course- so the children are familiar  with the book titles!).

Building characters
This is a bilingual dictionary adjective search which can be developed into a focus on adjectival agreement and the use of verbs to have and to be create simple sentences 
Using bi-lingual dictionaries and pictures on the screen at the front of the classroom can your class help you to build an adjective profile of some of the most famous Dahl characters?
with more advanced learners can the children create full sentence descriptions of their Roald Dahl characters and can they add descriptions of the characters clothes and looks?

Silhouette characters.
This is an activity where the children can compose their own character descriptions at different levels:
Adjective gathering
Adjectives in simple sentences
Addition of nouns such as clothes and facial features
Choice of verbs in present tense 
Writing and speaking activities 
Now you can create Dahl outlines. 
Ask the children to pick their favourite character and to draw the silhouette outline of the chosen  character and fill the outline with the adjectives that make up the character's personality.
With more advanced learners or more able children encourage them to add adverbs and interesting verbs 
Why not hold a character identity parade?
Ask child  to introduce and describe their silhouettes in either the first of the third person singular!

Celebrating international literacy day

It’s “International Literacy Day” on Monday 8 September- so what better way to put a marker in the sand and make those cross curricular first steps between target language learning and literacy."Literacy and sustainable development" is the strap line and when you reflect on what we hope to achieve for our young learners it's that they will become competent young linguists who can communicate for work and business in another language sometime in their futures. who knows what communication and language challenges in their work and personal lives they may have to face.

Languages and Literacy belong together so this is an ideal opportunity to investigate and celebrate links between languages  and the structure of languages. Here are a few ideas we can easily incorporate in to our language teaching and learning next week – even if it’s a day or two after the official international literacy day!!

Possibility One :Exploring the World family of languages 

Who has the book below on their shelves.....somewhere?
Take the children on an exploration of another language  - maybe one that is spoken by children in school or maybe one that is unfamiliar to all your learners.
I love the fact that the subtitle says "talk your way around the world"!
The  book has short histories of each language , simple and useful phrases, pronunciation guides and a structure focus e.g in Turkish it’s explained that there are two words for “you” … how easy is that to link to French , German…..??

Possibility Two: a international story read by the author is his/her original language

Does it matter is the children don’t understand each word? In this instance it’s about the children seeing that stories exist in other languages. We love using this Eric Carle clip of the Hungry Caterpillar read in German by the author himself.

 Possibility Three: Taking a thought for a walk in two languages!

Why not explore some simple writing in the target language you teach in school. I love this cartoon and the blog I wrote last academic year is all about how we can encourage young language learners to take a thought for a walk in any language!

Possibility four  :Links between Literacy,target language grammar and drama