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 )? 

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! 

Summertime Special Days' Suitcases

Summertime is one of those wonderful themes that allows us to explore so much language with children :going to the beach , the countryside, picnics, playing outside at the park,a day at the zoo etcetra!  
I have used this opportunity to focus on:

Reading and looking for language we already know and investigating nouns and verbs as infinitives that we may not know

The use of the near future in a target language . In fact here is a question.... can our young learners define for us first of all how we pass on a message in English that is on the near future? In fact what is the "near future" and why is it so useful ? (I am going to .......)

It's a chance maybe as well to explore

  • bilingual dictionairies
  • paradigm of a common verb (to go)

And we can produce an outcome that shows how we have been practising reading comprehension skills.

The sequence of activities is based around three types of cards:

  • noun cards

  • near future verb sentence cards

  • short text cards using the verbal phrase "there is/are and nouns"

an empty cut out card suitcase template that opens up as a book.

Step One 

  • Decide upon your contexts.(I chose : the zoo, the playground, the picnic, the beach and the countryside)
  • Create your noun cards
  • Write the each noun that describes the context on a card.These are your "noun cards"
  • Write full sentences using the first person plural of the verb "to go" in the target language - so that you have written "Let's go + an activity that describes the noun and the context.I have tried to differentiate the challeng by writing some of these sentences with less familiar language than others.Write these sentences on individual cards - these are your "near future sentence cards"
  • Write out a short text using "there is/are" in the target language and selection of familoar and unfamiliar nouns of objects you may find , take or use in the specific context.These are your "short text cards".
  • You will need a set of cards per two children on the class
Step Two 

  • Ask the children to be explorers of "summertime special language".
  • Can the children working in pairs to look through the cards
  • Can they spot cards that just have "nouns" on them.
  • Ask the children to see iof they recognise these nouns or do they need to investigate them further using a bilingual dictionary?
  • Have a time limit to this activity and take feedback afterwards.What do the nouns mane in English? Does everyone agree?
  • Ask the children to see if they can sport the other cards in to two piles- don't give them any other information.Again set a time limit suitable to the class
  • Take feedback how have they sorted the cards? discuss why- e.g each card in one pile starts with the same two words (in this case nous allons...) or each of the cards starts with "il y a".
  • Discuss with the children the meaning of for example in French "nous allons" on the near future verb sentence cards
  • Discuss with the children the dual meaning in English of for example in French "il y a "( there is/are"). 
  • Ask the children to investigate the cards further and see if they can find out what the whole message on each card is telling them? Again set a time limit and allow them to use a bilingual dictionary and then take feedback.
  • Play games of charades or Simon Says based on the verbs and nouns they have explored and fed back to you.
Step Three
  • Can the children in pairs put the cards in to family groups ? They need a noun,a near future verb sentence and a short text card.The three cards shpuld make a complete descriptive text : noun (context) , near future verb card(what we are going to do etc) , short text card (what we take,eat,use etc)
  • Ask the children to share their decisions with a second group.
Step Four
  • Ask the children to make their summertime special suitcases.
  • Each child should make at least two suitcases
  • Now you have choices:
  1. Children can select and stick the cards on to their suitcase templates
  2. Children can write out the phrases using writing prompts that have parts of the sentence removed
  3. Children can try to write their own sentences from memory based on the cards they have been investigating
The front of the suitcase conveys the context

The inside of the suitcase tells us what we are going to do and some more details about the activity

And finally - don't forget the all important pictures on the reverse of the share with us the possible activities we can take part in based on the text the children have investigated!

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!

Countryside comparisons :location detective lists and poster presentations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is the Sarah Nelson's  gingerbread shop in Grasmere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple seaside,geography comparison,verbs and sentence structure

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

It's so simple! 

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

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

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

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

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

All we need to do is:

San Sebastian


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

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? 

Fishing for feelings

We are going to be sharing ideas on "Seaside" at our DFE funded WTSA/JLN local network meeting twilights this next  half term. You would be very welcome to attend if you are near to one of these CPD twilights on the Training Schedule

Here is one of the story resources with accompanying  ideas that we will be sharing and can be used in KS1, KS2 (beginners,moving on or more advanced learners) and potentially KS3 Y7.
The ideas are based on this wonderful story book that I found last October in Germany and that I now have as well as a French story book too!

Inside are the most wonderful chalk drawings on black paper of fish, representing a plethera of feelings and emotions.On each page there is one adjective to follow the title page repeated phrase:  "I am ....." .Each adjective describes an emotion. The fish sketches convey the feeling or emotion through their size,colour ,shape, expressions. Here are two example pages: 

In German:

In French

A simple fishing rhyme with KS1 and Year 3 Beginners

Game One
Let's make our hands do the talking!
How often do we tell rhymes about animals and use our hands as characters in the rhyme.Well here let;s make "hand  fish" in class -using our hands as the different fish!
Well can you make your hand look big,small, courageous,curious, nervous, happy, sad etc?

  • Practise this with the children in the target language.
  • Call a feeling and ask the children to make their hand portray the action as if they   their hands are swimming fish ( swimming quickly, sadly, slowly, nosily etc to convey the emotion or feeling)
  • Make this in to a "Simon Says" game too.

Game Two
Let's make our whole bodies in to the fish! 
Let's take our favourite French and Spanish (thanks Emilie and Ana!) party rhyme and tweak it a little ....

In French
Petits poissons, venez, passez, 1,2,3 

In Spanish 
Pequeño pez, ven y pasa

So in German we can say
Kleiner Fisch , komm, schwimm 1,2,3

  • And this time let's take out of a pot one of the fish descriptive words.
  • On the count of three in the rhyme ,pull out of the pot the fish word and  call out the word to the class- can they be the fish with the characteristic or feeling you have just said? 
  • Make it in  to "a last one out" game by then asking the children to freeze frame in the action, as you count on to 10 slowly in the target language(4,5,6,7,8,9,10) Any movement and they are out of the game!
  • Start the rhyme again and add a new characteristic or feeling ..... 

Fishing for feelings with Year  3 or 4 beginner and moving on learners
Do you remember the wonderful magnetic fishing games, where you had a magnet on a string and you popped the "fishing rod over the side of a card pool and caught fish with magnetic noses?
(We have used this idea before in language learning- magnets on strings attached to rods and card fish with paper clip noses and we went fishing for sounds...We will be doing this again too!)

If you are lucky enough to have the story book , then read the book first and look at the characteristics.Look up some of the words in your bilingual dictionaries. 
  • Give each child a word to draw as a fish (from the adjectives in the book). Get the children to create the magnetic noses with the paper clips. 
  • Now pop all the fish in a class pool or pretend pond.
  • You need a fishing rod .... go fish feeling fishing with a magnet on the end too.
  • Can a child use  the fishing rod to pull out a fish drawn by one of the class?
  • Show it the class and then let the class decide which feeling the fish represents.
  • Up to  three guesses before the child  who drew the fish shares with the the class the adjective and writes the adjective up on the whiteboard. 
  • Collect at least 8 adjectives on the whiteboard that are visible to the class.Check their understanding of the adjectives.
  • Give all the children mini whiteboards and ask them to draw fish for a partner to represent feelings.Make the " fish sketching" a timed activity - maximum 60 seconds - can the partner guess which adjective the fish sketch conveys? 
  • Can the children help you to create a fishing for feelings art gallery using adjectives and the phrase in the target language "I am....."

Sea Creature Sketches .Year 4 and 5 Moving On Learners

The fish in the sketches in the book are masculine singular nouns  and therefore we can use the adjective exactly as it appears in the dictionary .
Discuss with the class what might change with the adjectives if you were using a feminine singular sea creature noun for example .......replace the fish with for example "a whale" in French or Spanish- feminine singular noun (la baleine/ la ballena).
Investigate the changes to the spelling to match the new sea creature.
Can the children draw for you a nervous or curious whale and write an accurate sentence to describe the whale's feelings?  

The verb "to be" sea creatures and the fishy feelings mobiles !Year 5/Year 6 and Year 7 Advanced Learners.

The book is based on the use of the first person singular form of the verb "to be " e.g in French "aujourd'hui je suis ....."

So let's unpack the verb "to be" with this story and create a whole ocean of sea creatures and feelings
You will need to first of all use the activity above , based on changing the adjectives from masculine singular to feminine singular and you will need to develop this further with plural nouns too.
Now the children can explore with you a sea creature gallery of feelings.
Share with the children pictures of sea creatures and ask them to help you describe the sea creatures feelings and to link appropriate groups of sea creatures to parts of the verb " to be"  .
For example one fish on its own could be "I am" or "you are" or "he is" but it can't be "she is" or any of the plural parts of the verb "to be". discuss with the children ehy this is the case.Why are the parts of the verb called "singular" or "plural" ?What do these words tell us?
As a class check out the plural spelling changes of the nouns you want to use for the sea creatures.
Discuss the ending changes to adjectives that the children may want to use to describe the emotions of the sea creatures. 
Create a whole class fishy sea creature verb " to be " paradigm and spend time discussing why certain parts of the verb can or cannot match with the sea creature pictures.

Can the children create their own "Sea creatures and fishy feeling mobiles"? 
  • Give out the paradigm ( pattern of the verb) "to be" in the target language.Print each part of the verb on  separate  strips of card ( blue card would be really good for this).Ask them to put the parts of the verb in to the paradigm order e.g.I am , you are, he is etc). 
  • Ask the children to add an adjective to each of the parts of the paradigm and to think carefully about the spelling of these adjectives and to try to match the spelling to the type of nouns they can use with this part of the paradigm.
  • Can they now draw their own sea creatures to match the part of the paradigm and to convey the specific emotion or feeling of the adjective. 
  • Ask the children to add their drawing to their strip of card too on the reverse of the card strip.
  • Now each pair has the parts of their fish mobile ready to be assembled and displayed.Each strip of card will have a part of the verb to be, an adjective to match the part of the verb and a picture of the reverse to convey the emotion or feeling of the adjective.

Conjugating a verb : A Verb Artist Talk Walk

So we are now moving on with quite a few of our young learners in UKS2, particularly in Year 6.It's Summer term when we get back and it's time to explore verbs in more detail and consolidate the knowledge we have been gathering and see how the big picture fits together- conjugation of a verb! The DFE POS for KS2 asks us to work with our young learners on the "conjugation of high frequency verbs".

It is in my opinion really important that we strengthen children's own perception of "moving on" and "getting better" at language learning and that we help them develop positive self efficacy that will carry them on in to KS3 language learning . Below hopefully is an opportunity to support our children to do this.

My intention in the activities below is to  revisit pockets of prior learning, to unpack processes with the children and  to get them (not me!) practise the whole present tense conjugation of some high frequency verbs. It is in my opinion important that we make sure that UKS2 children can access identify and use infinitives in a target language,can create the stem of the verb and then are able to add appropriate  present tense verb endings which match if required (depending on target language) the correct personal pronoun.
When you think about this ,it is a process that has to be identified,explored,unpacked, practised and children have to be allowed to then manipulate and produce their own (not always accurate of course) versions.The production needs to be memorable and valuable and part of a creative whole activity.

I love using Art to bring language learning to life.If you have read my previous blog posts on 3D Art and a Renoir picture, you will know that we can use a painting to good effect to explore grammar and link this to purposeful creative communication and performance:

I have been looking around for a painting linked to lifestyle,history and culture  to do this and have decided to use this painting by Georges Seurat - "la grande jatte".It will work so well.....

It's all about a Sunday afternoon stroll,a walk in the park and an observation of leisure activities.Take a look at the picture! What can you see?

Remember the ultimate aim of the activity is to ascertain that the children are secure in:
  1. Finding/recalling and identifying infinitives of high frequency verbs  
  2. Can change an infinitive in to a stem to which can be added appropriate verb endings which match with an appropriate personal pronoun.(I wrote a blog post on personal pronouns and a photo shoot drama activity that may be useful as a pre-cursor to this sequence of activities Getting used to personal pronouns
  3. Can create and recall the whole paradigm (pattern) of a present tense high frequency verb .What do I class as high frequency verbs? Well the suggested list of high frequency verbs proposed by the Assessment for MFL in Primary Schools  from the government's Expert Subject Advisory Group suggests these verbs amongst others "drink,look,like,,carry,make" .They fit very well in to the activities below.  
Here are the activity steps
1. Picture Exploratory Walk
2. Talk Walk
3.Verb Artist Talk Walks 
4.Verb artist sketches 
5. Live park talk walk

  1. Go on a "picture exploratory walk".Share with the children the Georges Seurat picture.Walk  with the lady and gentleman on the far right of the picture. Look around with the eyes of these two characters, what can they see? Ask the class to call out actions that they can see in English .Walk with the children from far right to far left of the picture and talk about the picture.
  2. Write these actions as they are spoken  on the white board in English (e.g swimming,watching,talking).
  3. Can the children help you to change the actions you have written in to infinitives ?Discuss with the children how we form infinitives in English.Use two of the actions you have written up on the flip chart as examples- so if you have written "swimming" ask the children to explain how we would need to change this to an infinitive by removing the ending and putting" to" at the front so it reads "to swim".Can they help you with one other action on your chart? I think that this is an important discussion process in English to go through before we assume that all children understand what an infinitive is and how to identify one in their own first spoken language.
  4. Give out bi-lingual dictionaries and ask the children in pairs to write on strips of white card.On these strips of card they are going to write down target language infinitives of the actions.Firstly ask them to select one of the actions you have listed on the white board but has not been changed to an infinitive in English.So if you have written walk or walking  ....can the children think of the infinitive in English( to walk) and then can they locate the target language  infinitive of the verb and write it down.I think that this is an important  process to go through here and to allow the children to work out that they can think of part of a verb but they are going to fond the verb they need in a bilingual dictionary as an infinitive - so they need to convert the word in their head in to the infinitive form and look for that.
  5. Now ask the children to work in pairs and to convert all the actions however they are written in English on the whiteboard in to target language infinitives. 

  1. Now share a "talk walk" with the class.Display a large version of the Georges Seurat picture.Invite volunteer pairs to the front to mime  one of the target language infinitives they have found and to show the card strip with the written out infinitive and say the infinitive in the target language.Can another volunteer come to the front,locate whereabouts on the picture we can see the action and  blu-tac the infinitive to the Georges Seurat picture in the correct place.Repeat this with all the actions you brainstormed and different volunteers from the class.
  2. Ask the children once you have completed your "talk walk" to look for spelling links between the ending of the written words they have blu-tacked to the picture.Explain that these endings are the key to making the infinitives come to life and to creating stems of the verbs we can then use.   
  3. Let's focus on one group of regular verbs in the target language and by this I mean that the infinitives all have the same "endings".I have selected to talk,to swim,to jump,to walk,to look (watch) for this picture as in German that's easy as verbs in the infinitive end in "en" , in French I have selected  "er" verbs and in Spanish these verbs end in "ar" in the infinitive.Remember the focus is on can the children go through the process and understand how to conjugate a verb and not can the children recite a verb accurately .We are therefore keeping the activity to one group in French and Spanish as this will help us to focus the practise of the process around the skill of "conjugation" and less so on memory and recall.
  4. Verb Artist Talk Walks .Share with the children a small portion of the picture.Ask them to help you to decide which of the verbs you are now focusing upon fits this portion of the  picture (for example the woman looking out on to the lake on the far left of the picture).Can the children help you to bring the action "looking" to life? To do this you are going to have to find the infinitive, create the stem of the verb- demonstrate how you can form the stem.I like to ask the children to think of the letters we need to remove from the end of the infinitive as box lid  suggest that you are opening the artist's paint box.In the paint box are 6 personal pronouns and 6 important matching endings.Now take a "verb artist talk walk" with the stem of the verb! Can they help you to sketch the character from head (infinitive , first person singular etc)to foot as the present tense verb ...? The children must talk you through the process otherwise you can not add the next part of the verb and you can not complete your artist's sketch of the character and their action.
  5. Ask the children to work in pairs and take Verb Artist Talk Walks with other characters and their actions in the picture.Add a time limit to the activity - so some groups may complete two characters and other pairs may complete more or less than this.They need to talk through the process with their partner and show their "workings out" - infinitive, create stem, add verb endings and personal pronouns on paper.
  6. Can they create an "Verb artists sketches "artist's sketch of one of their verbs as a paradigm( in the shape head to toe of the character in the painting who is performing the action ?
  7. These "Verb Artist Sketches" would make wonderful concertina characters - head and feet drawn in the style of Geroges Seurat ( notice they way he uses dots and lines) with the paradigm of the verb written as a concertina for the body.Add a QR and a recording of the children or take a photo with Chatterpix APP and record the children saying their paradigm and you have creative evidence of the children conjugating a high frequency verb.Take a photo of the "workings out" and you have evidence of the children working through the process of creating a paradigm and conjugating a high frequency verb. 

  1. You can take this one step further and probably know what is coming next - as I love performance! Make this in to a "live park talk walk" ! Each pair is responsible for a verb and must speak and perform the verb as an interpretation of the type of action associated with the verb and in the style of the artist.One child speaks for singular and both children speak for plural .You are now Georges Seurat walking around the park ,looking for the characters for his picture!Actions and verbs may be repeated but ask all the children to freeze frame in their first action positions and as you walk around the classroom.When you  the artist stands next to a pair they should come to life and start to perform their paradigm.The class are helping you the artist to step back in to the picture and create a "live park talk walk"!

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

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

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

Take the pose!

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

Hats away! Fashion show descriptive sentences and creative records

I have just read this fabulous article about Alexander McQueen and his fashion designs here in the Guardian Fierce ,feathered and fragile

With our Year 5 at the moment we are working on fashion shows and looking carefully at adjectival position and agreement after the verb "to wear" and the conjugation of the verb- so we can describe fashion shows.
It was the picture I noticed first of all. Inspriational! Let's really make our fashion shows come to life this year! How well take a look below....

  • Yakit for Kids Fashion Show

Last year Emilie Woodruffe shared with us non her blog how the children were able to create Yakit for Kids recorded designs of their outfits.Have a listen to one of theme here Je porte .......

  • Paradigm of porter

Last week Julie Prince took us through how we can create a physical paradigm of the verb porter.You can find out more in this Storify report of Julie Prince WTSA/JLN CPD

  • Hats Away!

And now what about Hats Away?
It's nearly Easter and this will make a final grand hurrah to our work on verbs and adjectives linked to clothes, colours and more detailed descriptions.Let's make our own " hat written and spoken records"
  • The hats can be fashion designer hats, sports hats, silly hats, Easter festival hats
  • All the hats can be 2D drawings or created as 3D hats in card (to be worn)
  • Each hat needs to contain a description of the hat, written into parts of the hat for example the butterfly hat in the picture could have the parts of full sentences written on individual butterflies which are colour coded so that you read all the blue butterflies for example to read  a full sentence: "je porte grand un chapeau multicolore (etc) 
  • Now let's take some talking photos- simplest form will be video or cam corder clips with the hat wearer speaking or Chatterpix if you can use APPS would be really effective.
  • One creative step further with Hats away!

Some of our schools have been looking at how to describe the characters of Alice in Wonderland.You can read the original blogpost Alice in Wonderland Describing People  and see the wonderful written results here in Progress in writing
So why not give your fashion show a theme : "A madhatters tea party .... and then it really will be "Hats away!"

  • Hat Links
Finally some of the links and photos in this blog post from February 2014 may be additional resources that you would like to add to your learning programme: Chapeau and carnival time