snapshot of learning

Snapshot of learning : Revision lesson: Personal information Q&A and colours with Year 3 at Barrowhall Primary School.


This morning I went to observe Robert Artingstall teach Spanish to a Year 3 class at Barrowhall Primary School – the Easter holidays are just around the corner and after finishing off this term’s topics including World Book Day and the Gruffalo in Spanish today was the perfect opportunity for a revision lesson.

As I arrived Robert was doing the morning register in Spanish: ¿Comida caliente? ¿Tostada? ¿Uno, dos? Some children answering in Spanish others in English. Then Robert started chatting across the room to Gonzalo, a native speaker from the class – there was no mistake, we were here to learn Spanish!

The lesson started with a greeting song and then another ‘action’ song that got the children moving and singing in Spanish.

Robert then explained that the children were going to do some revision work today.

They started with the ‘hide and reveal’ powerpoint from the Ready-made SOW (Year 3 > Spring 2) – the instruction is to try guess the phrase or the question as it slowly appears on the screen and before it’s completely revealed. Children were asked to quietly tell their partner what they thought the phrase or the question was. They did really well and it allowed Robert to do some consolidation work on pronunciation and mention question word ‘Cómo’ in Spanish and the fact it’s used in 2 different familiar questions (Cómo te llamas? Cómo estas?). The last slide on the powerpoint is then used as a support slide for children to make up their own conversation.

Hide and Reveal 'Personal Information' powerpoint

Hide and Reveal 'Personal Information' powerpoint

¿Cómo..... te llamas or ... estas ? Place your bets! 

¿Cómo..... te llamas or ... estas ? Place your bets! 


Then they moved on to colours. First Robert asked the children to recap as many colours they could think of and write them on their whiteboard, they checked their answers and Robert took the opportunity to do some phonic work particularly about the sounds ‘j’, ‘ll’, z’ which are very different to English. They practiced the colours with actions and then played ‘Simon dice’.

Lovely writing from memory.

Lovely writing from memory.

Robert going over sound/spelling link and key sounds in Spanish.

Robert going over sound/spelling link and key sounds in Spanish.

Finally Robert used the ‘Rainbow writing sheet’ where children have to think of and draw an object that corresponds to each part/colour of the rainbow (for example a strawberry for red, a banana for yellow, etc.).


This task allows for bilingual dictionary work as children have to label the thing they are drawing. Before leaving the children to work independently or in pairs Robert checked that the children were confident using the dictionary and did a whole class example also reinforcing gender (fem/masc) recognition and understanding.

First, find the line in the middle of the dictionary, on one side it's Spanish to English, past the line it's English to Spanish - know which side you need to use.

First, find the line in the middle of the dictionary, on one side it's Spanish to English, past the line it's English to Spanish - know which side you need to use.

a cherry is 'cereza' and it's feminine because it says 'fem' and 'la'.

a cherry is 'cereza' and it's feminine because it says 'fem' and 'la'.

** All the resources mentioned are either from Youtube or from the Primary Languages Network VLE.

Snapshot of learning : Easter Poem with Year 1 at Palacefield’s Primary School


Today I went to visit Sarah Gibbons and the lovely Year 1 at Palacefield’s Primary School in Runcorn. As it is nearly Easter the focused of the lesson was an Easter Poem (in the Seasonal Specials folder on the PLN VLE) including colours, numbers and Easter vocabulary.

As the children came in and settled down, Sarah asked the children to help her display the weather on their ‘homemade’ weather chart – what a lovely idea!


Sarah started by recapping numbers to 10 using number flashcards that selected children became in charge of, then using a number song the children practiced counting up and down to 10 in Spanish. Children had to listen carefully for their number.


They, then, moved on to colours using the native speaker voice on the ‘Simply Colour’ powerpoint. The children had to first say the colour in English and then tried to remember the colour in Spanish, they were able to check if they were right by clicking on the colour. If they remembered correctly they received the matching coloured flashcard.


Finally they were ready to listen and join in the Easter Poem – they had already practiced it the week before so they were able to remember quite a lot. The children were also presented with the written word on the video clip so they were also practicing reading skills and the phoneme/grapheme link.

After a quick recap of the actions they were ready to act out the poem.

Finally after quite a long ‘carpet’ time the children went back to their table to make ‘Felices Pascuas’ cards to take home – Sarah encouraged them to think about the vocabulary from the poem and the colour work they did at the start. Whilst they were working independently Sarah walked around the class and asked children what colours (in Spanish) they had chosen



Well done Year 1 and Felices Pascuas a todos !

Snapshot of learning - Janet Wallbank

Last Friday, I went to visit Year 6 at St Andrew’s C.E Primary School learning French with Janet Wallbank. It was the end of the half-term and the class was just finishing off the topic of ‘sports and how do you play this sport?’

As I walked in, the class was just getting organised for the lesson and I noticed straight away the neatly kept French books on the children’s table and Janet’s tracking sheets – I knew it was going to be a good lesson!

Whilst Janet was getting ready for the lesson she asked the children to work with their partners and practiced as many personal information questions and answers as they could remember – I listened to a few children and heard some interesting and details statement such as ‘Ça va bien car je suis en pleine forme mais j’ai faim’ – evidence that the children are learning to extend basic language and making (huge) progress.

Then the class warmed up to a really fun song that they seemed to be really familiar with

Throughout the lesson, Janet explained EVERYTHING in the target language: going through different slides on her powerpoint presentation and revisiting various questions and opinions about sports: Qui fait un sport ? (opportunities to recap jouer / faire ) Qui veut décrire un sport? Mon sport preféré est… car…

The class had a mini-debate amongst themselves about the sports they liked and disliked reacting to one another’s statements J’adore la gymnastique car….’ Ah non, je déteste la gymnastique car…’ – evidence of children being able to relate their language learning to their own lives and using it for a real purpose: talking about themselves! To support themselves some children spontaneously opened their French book to refer back to previous work and to check words or opinions phrases for example.

Janet then invited volunteers to come to the front and read out descriptions of sport they had written the week before using the written sheet for this unit available on the VLE. These sheets have had excellent feedback both from primary and secondary colleagues.

The rest of the class had to guess which sport was being described and some children had put a lot thought into this activity, adding a lot of details to their description and so the children had to listen very carefully.

As a follow up to this activity Janet asked the children to work in pairs and play a card game describing sports to their partners who had to guess correctly which sport it was – the first step was to choose the correct verb: was it jouer or faire ? then the equipment, where to play the game, clothes, etc. The children appeared confident and fluent with the content of this unit and so the whole class was engaged, on task and …speaking French! 

Finally as it was the very last lesson of the half-term the children referred back to their assessment cloud sheet (stuck at the front of their book) and highlighted what they had been learning during the half-term and managed to tick quite a few boxes. Well done Year 6!

Snapshot of learning - Sally Riley

For my next observation I went to see Sally teaching Y3 at St Basil’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes.

Sally started teaching French at the school last Summer so the children are only just beginning their journey to language learning. She teaches half a day from Y3 to Y5 (30 minutes/lesson).

Sally started her lesson with a couple of songs about greetings and feelings and asking for names around the classroom – the children were clearly used to this routine and all felt confident answering Ça va ?’ ‘Comment t’appelles-tu?’.

In the song the children were practicing both ‘Comment t’appelles-tu? and ‘Tu t’appelles comment?’ as you do in normal, real life, you don’t always ask questions the same way and it reminded me that it is important to be a bit more spontaneous when we are doing this kind of Q&A with classes. The added bonus here was obviously Victor the frog puppet – very appropriate with young children.

Today’s lesson was about animals, masculine/feminine and plural nouns.

Sally started by recalling the nouns introduced the previous week and she mentioned strategies like using memory hooks to remember them.

Then the class played a game of stand-up bingo where each child has a picture card and they have to listen carefully for their animal, if the teacher calls your animal, you’re out and you have to sit down! 

Before moving on to the next activity, Sally asked about the fact that some animal nouns had un, others une in front of them and checked children remembered from the previous lesson about the difference. At this stage you would only except some awareness of the concept of gender and it was evident the class had talked about it before.

Sally reinforced the objective of the lesson about plural – linking it to English.

Next instruction was to find your animal group, using their picture from the previous game the children had to go around the classroom whispering and doing the action for their animal, then sit around a table with their group.

On the table Sally had put envelops with singular and plural nouns inside. Children had to sort out the nouns in feminine, masculine and plurals.

The class spotted 2 nouns that didn’t follow the pattern (plural nouns have an ‘s’ at the end):  un cheval> des chevaux and un oiseau> des oiseaux’ which gave an opportunity to talk about exceptions. Sally pointed out that in the English language they were also some exceptions for example: mouse/mice. I enjoyed this activity as now the children are more likely to remember what exceptions are and that there are exceptions since they investigated them for themselves rather than being told about them by the teacher.

One thing I really enjoyed about Sally’s lesson was the prompts she used with the class, phrases such as ‘you have to remember to put a question in your voice’ (to remind children about intonation when asking a question); ask ‘experts’ on your table if you’re stuck; ‘close your eyes and listen carefully’ (to practice un/une); let’s investigate and be language detectives, etc. I also loved her sticker box!

Watching Sally you could tell that she is an experienced primary teacher and there is something about teaching languages in a ‘primary’ way which I had to learn when I first started working in primary schools having come from Secondary teaching.

Thank you Sally and Year 3 !



Snapshot of learning - Kate Kennedy

For my second observation I visited Kate Kennedy at Penketh Community Primary School in Warrington. I observed Kate teaching Spanish to a Y5 class (40 minutes). Kate has been teaching there for 2 years and teaches 1 day a week from Reception to Year 6.

The lesson objectives were to introduce fruit and vegetable vocabulary (with a cross-curricular link to the class ‘Fairy Tales’ topic as an introduction), recap sound-spelling links and practice a dialogue ‘At the market’.

As the class walked in from playtime, Kate played a song ‘la canción de las frutas’ as a hint of what the new topic was. I thought it was really effective at setting the scene for the lesson and as a result the children were settling in quickly and quietly – without Kate having to raise her voice or give any kind of settling in instructions. The tune of the song was catchy and it created a positive and fun atmosphere in the classroom.

As soon as the video was finished there was already a couple of hands up from children offering some interesting comments: “I think I heard the word for an orange, because I heard the colour ‘naranja" “ I remember manzana from Year 4 when we wear doing ice-cream flavours’.

Kate praised the children for making links to other topics and remembering vocabulary from the previous year.

To link in with the class topic of Fairy Tale, Kate showed a picture of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage and led a pacey Q&A session on what other fruits or vegetable would make a good carriage and why/why not it would be a good alternative (using adjective of colour and size (i.e. grande/pequeno) – all in the target language supported by a powerpoint presention (reading) and actions to help understand adjectives.

Then Kate moved on to practice the new words with repetition and recall activities catering for all learning styles (auditory, visual, kinaesthetic).

After that, she introduced the written word as a way of consolidating the new vocabulary and used this opportunity to revisit what she called ‘tricksters’, sounds in Spanish words that don’t sound the same as in English (‘z’, ‘j’, etc.)  She gave the children 10 seconds in pairs to spot the tricksters (highlighted letter(s)) and practice pronouncing the word before taking feedback from volunteers.

The class then practiced writing the words from memory on laminates ‘Can you write the words on your laminate? Don’t worry about mistakes – we can rub it out and correct’. The class was reminded and encouraged to write the article (un/una) in front of the noun.

To finish, the class practiced a dialogue ‘at the market’ in pairs.

I really enjoyed watching this lesson and thought it was very cleverly put together with a lot of recalling without it being too repetitive, careful scaffolding leading the children to be able to read, understand and perform a dialogue (focussing on accurate pronunciation). I enjoyed Kate’s gentle and relaxed manners, use of target language (backed up by English) throughout. I noticed that Kate used up any opportunities for AfL through questioning and the class raised to the challenge.

After Kate’s lesson I met up with the MFL Co-ordinator and I was really impressed with the clear vision the school have for MFL and how well embedded MFL seems to be with the rest of the curriculum and the school through the award of the ‘class of the week’ in assembly, Spanish choir, Lingo club (where children can get a taste for other languages), link abroad, etc.  You could definitively feel that languages were valued.