Thursday, 8 April 2010

¡Vámonos! is moving!

This is the final post to appear on ¡Vámonos! 1.0 as I have a new website –

I like Blogger for many reasons, not least that it’s free and it was my first blog, and will always be special.

However, the time has come to have my own domain and take another step up the ‘web ladder’.

Hopefully you, my loyal readers will soon get used to the less vibrant surroundings over at ¡Vámonos! version 2.0 and new readers will appreciate the mellow pinky lilac tones!

Click here to enter the brave new world of

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Just realised that I hadn't blogged the Wallwisher made by Year 5 just before Language World.

It was the first time I'd used this online tool - which allows you to 'stick' Post-it notes on a virtual wall - with this group, and it was done as a sort of 'Mexican wave' type exercise.

Five pupils got out a laptop and I showed them what to do. They posted their notes then passed on their laptop - and expertise - to the next person. By the end of the lesson, everyone had posted their version of the poem extract from La Primavera by Antonio Machado, and also tried and mastered a new tool.

You'll have to move the notes around to read them all; there are so many!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Language World 2010 - Liz Black

Embedding languages was also the theme of the last session I attended at Language World.

In Unlocking potential Liz Black talked about a project, or as she prefers to call them ‘series of work in context’ inspired by Le Grand Parc - Puy de fou, a demonstration of community problem solving - in an area of poverty but with lots of land, the community got together to solve it by building a theme park. All the materials she used can be downloaded from Liz’s school website -

Her school has a cross curricular day each Wednesday duirng which departments work together, and this project covered history, drama, literacy, French, PSHE, enterprise and finances and more. She shared some brilliant ideas including using Latin roots to provoke pupils to think of words in English with those roots, and gladiator drama to encourage reluctant boys to speak French.

Feedback from staff and pupils was very positive with one child saying ‘I like it when teachers work together’.

I have to say that the website itself for Puy de Fou is absolutely beautiful to look at, with lots of things to click and see. Certainly makes you want to go there !

Language World 2010 - Claire Dodd

I made friends with Claire on Facebook just before Language World - what a great decision that was! She's as mad and lively as me!

Her session was on Embedding Languages in the Curriculum and gave plenty of ideas for doing just that!

Highlights including dancing to (just tried it out again with Isaac - a big hit!) and learning a song in Italian about food! It went to the tune of La Cucharacha and I think the words were

macaroni, ravioli
pizza pasta e ragu
trapitini e (missed that word)
panna e tiramisu

Then Claire asked me if I'd contribute some French / Spanish which I happily did! I shared and the duck song - Peux-tu marcher comme un canard? and then demonstrated the 'animal symphony' activity I used to link Spanish, music and literacy. Materials and instructions to replicate it can be found here.

Molto bene Claire!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Language World 2010 - Cynthia Martin

The Keynote on Saturday morning at Language World was delivered by Cynthia Martin, President of ALL this year, and was report on research that she and others have carried out into Primary languages. Rather than try to write it all down, I took lots of pictures of the slides and made a movie. And here are a few comments that I hope will shed light on the slides.

The researchers took 40 schools who they felt would be representative of the country. Al were early adopters of PLL so the study was looking at oracy and literacy, and the potential problems facing them as they worked towards the four year entitlement. On the whole, staff were found to be positive and committed but acknowledged concerns.
General finding were that there was an increasing focus on phoneme/grapheme links but that this had not yet made a big effect by 2008-9 and that verb useage in writing was poorer than in spoken activities, but that comprehension was very good. Most pupils enjoyed their lessons and the vast majority of them were looking forward to further learning at secondary school, listing their least favourite thing as 'going over the same things over and over'.

The full report can be downloaded from the DCSF website, all 170 pages of it! Or you can go for the 7 page summary ;o)

I found the session really interesting - and encouraging too. Wonder what the findings would be a year or two on?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

La Semana Santa se acerca

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Creativity talks!

Rachel Hawkes is an absolute genius who I’m certain rarely sleeps or else has her own TARDIS as she can’t possibly have the hours in the day to teach and do all the things she does!

Her ‘Major talk’ was all about speaking - the most undeveloped but most important skill in terms of motivation as our perception of being good at languages hangs on our ability to speak.

If you want to experience the presentation, you will no doubt soon see it on Rachel’s blog, but some key points were-

Key strategies -

sound-written pattern

building a framework for spontaneous talk

providing opps for planned and unplanned talk

focusing on key structures

providing a range of stimulus materials to respond to

using tech to enhance interactions

Teaching phonics is very important - the first thing that happens in year 7 at Comberton. The phonics aare linked to a gesture and once learned, the pupils are given words to pronounce - it could be people’s names or shopping lists.

Other ideas for geting pupils talking were

  1. using a Morph clip and asking What are they saying? Can you give Morph and Chas some words? Or to give pupils the words and ask them to put them in order.
  2. an iPhone clip that practiced ‘Puedo.......’ and could be used to reinforce ‘¿se puede....?
  3. the Obama reggaeton rap
  4. posing a question eg ¿Tienes hermanos o hermanas? and stipulating ‘tu respuesta debe tener 7 palabras‘ then ¿Cómo puedes contestar con más de 10 palabras
  5. Odd one out connecting triangles
  6. pilla al intruso ; and, one of my favourites,
  7. what isn’t going to happen??? What didn’t happen?

All the clips Rachel used are bookmarked in her account there - RachelHawkes60.

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