Sunday, 29 June 2008

¡Campeones! ¡Campeones! ¡Olé, olé, olé!

There's been lots of football going on around here - I'm making no apologies for it as it's part of me and therefore part of my blog. Added to that, it is relevant to my 'mission statement' of making PLL relevant and fun, as proved earlier this week.

It was my assembly on Thursday - actually it seems to be my assembly every Thursday! - and the theme for the week was Happiness. I talked about Sunday night when Spain had been playing Italy and how I had felt sick when it went to penalties, and then about the match that was happening that evening between Spain and Russia. I talked about my friend Nick who supports Russia and how one of us would be very happy and one would be sad on Friday morning.
Come Friday morning, I walked down the path into the playground and felt like royalty as so many kids stared cheering and shouting and hugging me as if I had personally led the Spanish to victory. It was amazing! And what's even better, they were shouting in Spanish! They love learning Spanish, and this has given them another reasn why their learning is relevant to their lives. Some of them even commented on John Motson's pronunciation - good on you, kids!

So I am SO looking forward to seeing them tomorrow - it's my day off but I'm going in anyway, just so we can all dance around the playground, chanting
¡Campeones! ¡Campeones! ¡Olé, olé, olé!

España - Reyes de Europa


Spain are the champions of Europe!

And we're very happy!

¡Podemos contra Alemania!

Millones de gargantas y un solo grito ...


Friday, 27 June 2008

España 3 - Rusia 0

Miss the match last night? Here are the highlights, complete with commentary in Spanish, footage of the crowd in Vienna and in Madrid, and shots of the Royal Box.

The LAFTAs - have you voted yet?

The Language and Film Talent Awards (LAFTAs) is a competition for 13-21 year olds, run by CILT, the National Centre for Languages. Over the course of the competition, CILT asked young people to send in two-minute videos showing why languages are important.

CILT received over 160 entries from all across the UK, showing why we need languages: from being lost in a foreign country, to meeting the love of your life, to being attacked by sharks, cannibals or dragons…

The deadline for this year’s competition has now passed, but you still have the chance to get involved by joining in the ‘People’s Vote’, hosted by Vote on your favourite clips from the CILT shortlist and see how your favourites compare with the views of our celebrity judging panel, including Sir Trevor McDonald and comedian Eddie Izzard.

The winner of the ‘People’s Vote’ will receive a special prize sponsored by at the LAFTAs awards ceremony, taking place in London in September 2008.

I've just popped over to the website to have a look at the 25 films that the celebrity panel shortlisted (that's a short list!??) and cast my vote.
They include a HappyStreet disco (very familiar looking???), Barbie and Ken, some Geordie wide boys, a stuck lift, a spoof Mastercard advert and a Prime Minister showing his languages skills or lack of.

A couple of my favourites are below - the first, a rap, is very amusing although not sure it completely fits the brief.

Then there's this one about False Friends. How many mistakes like this have I made! Not as good as the one someone on my degree course made on her year abroad when there were cockroaches in her kitchen , but that's another story...

And finally, a couple of examples of animation using plasticine (as it's my current preoccupation!)

So pop along to register your votes!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Languages in my Classroom - Coventry June 26th

Today I had the pleasure of speaking at Coventry's Primary Language Conference. After a morning at WCPS teaching Year 6 who were rewriting The Snack Song (more of that later in the week when I blog Unit23 of QCA Spanish SOW), I raced over to Coventry to deliver two sessions entitled Languages i my classroom. Sian James, the Primary Languages Strategy Consultant for Coventry had asked me to split each session into three sections - my top tips, some of my favourite games and then to teach something as I would in the classroom. Phew - lots to fit into an hour!

So, speaking in hyperdrive (what's new? exactly!), I launched into a shorter version of the presentation I did at Tile Hill Wood last week (see my blog post for the notes) before highlighting some of favourite games - see below for notes.

I showed how to play some of the games as I endeavoured to teach Unit 11 of QCA SOW - El Carnaval de los animales in 20 minutes (it took 6-7hours with Yr4- and we might've done so much more!). La orquesta went down well as did my attempts to draw animals in Pictionary and the delegates also proved to be excellent lipreaders. (all resources can be downloaded from a previous blog post!)

The conference was really well attended and had a real buzz about it. Coventry is the home of the Language Investigators model of PLL, and the updated version will be launched in September. Sian has also been working on a brilliant resource called Living Languages, featuring six Coventry children whose first language is not English, celebrating languages, the children who speak them, and the similarities and differences we can see through their eyes. The official launch of this will be Sept 25th - more news nearer the time. Well done, Sian for a really successful day!

Spain using voodoo at Euro 08??

According to the Euro 08 blog, Spain have been reported to be using voodoo in their pursuit of that elusive championship win.

Originally reported in Russia Today (bit suspicious that, eh?),

Someone in Spain has been making and selling football player voodoo dolls, which come with a pack of flags. La Furia Roja fans can simply fix the flag of whoever Spain are playing onto the doll, and write a name and number on the back, then perform some amateur voodoo on whichever player they want.

The article seeks to give credence to this by citing the example of Luca toni who spent the quarter final inexplicably rolling around in pain, and suggests that..
.. if you see a certain Russian playmaker inexplicably holding his sides in agony or his legs doing things he clearly doesn’t intend tomorrow, you’ll know it’s due to an army of Spain fans poking a “10 Arshavin” doll with sharp sticks.
To be honest, I think the dolls are quite cute and remind me of Cobi, the Barcelona 1992 mascot. And if Spain win, well.....

La Furia Amarilla

I'm finally sat in my lounge, clad in my Spain shirt with a glass of wine in hand watching the big match. When José Picardo enquired via Twitter ¿estás lista? whilst I was at music group practice, I tweeted in response that 'La Furia Roja marcha adelante'.

As José pointed out for me, tonight it's La Furia Amarilla. Doesn't sound as scary I'm afraid. And what's more, I predicted that the best team would win - and they'd be wearing red when my mate Nick (who supports Russia) asked me yesterday.

Oh dear!

Let's hope that's the end of my woes for the night!

STOP PRESS - Xavi has just scored!!!!

Comenius West Midlands Primary Languages Conference 23rd June

On Monday, Comenius West Midlands held its Primary Languages Conference at the Novotel in Wolverhampton. Sandwiched between keynotes by Joe Brown from CILT that involved song rhyme and lots of action, and Steven Fawkes from ALL who thrilled us with his 'Banane', delegates had to choose sessions from a range including :

  • It's magic!
  • International Perspective
  • Let's play - Language games and activities for the playground.
  • Numeracy through Languages
  • Animation
  • Italian for the Primary classroom - a cross curricular approach.
  • Music and songs in the Primary classroom
  • Animation in the languages classroom (double session)
  • Creative use of ICT

A tricky choice for many, judging from the feedback at the end of the day! I for one will be emailing presenters for notes from their sessions as I was presenting and missed out on all of the sessions!

Actually, I didn't completely miss out as I was able to attend the plenaries and also began the day by acting as 'roadie' for Oscar Stringer as he presented a whistle stop double session on animation from idea through planning, modelling, filming, adding finishing touches and publishing. Phew! In a very short time (less that two hours), the participants made short films in French and Spanish which can be viewed below and on his NING network. Just shows what you can do in a short time with good instruction, imagination and a bit of plasticine. ;o)

Find more videos like this on Animation For Education

Definitely inspired me! So much so that, after a quick chat with Oscar, I decided to have a go with my Year 4 class this week. More of that in a later post!

My session was entitled Creative use of ICT and centred on the use of some tools that i thnk are useful to enhance and enable PLL.

The idea had been to introduce delegates to Voki, Voicethread, Audacity and Photostory, explain how I've used them in my classroom, and then let delegates have a go at using one of the tools. I'd prepared notes for people that went into everyone's pack so those who couldn't attend were able to benefit too, and these pointed to online tutorials for the tools as well as examples from my experience and research. I'd also requested a laptop between two to be provided with a microphone and Internet access, and Audacity and Photostory3 uploaded ready. I'd prepared a Voicethread and Voki account for the day so all outcomes could be saved together for future reference, and I'd also added some examples to get people started.

Best laid plans and all! There were three laptops provided, the speakers didn't work, and Internet access was at best infuriatingly slow and at worst non-existent (at 20€ per laptop, I hope the orgnisers got a refund!) Anyhow, it left me rather embarrassed as my examples took an age to load (Voki) or didn't play sound (Voicethread AND Voki at times) - next tie I'll save them for offline access using Camtasia or similar - and I've found that there is a facility on Voicethread now to save for offline access.

However, I did manage to highlight the use of which i hadn't intended to mention but proved to be one of the most popular ideas with delegates. My account of how I use Audacity led to lots of smiles and there was a general hum of interest as I made a Photostory in three minutes.

I must say was a little disheartened by the first session, especially as I had to repeat it after lunch, but several people came up to me and seemed to be buzzing about something I'd shared, so I went into the repeat feeling a little more confident, especially as I was prepared for the problems this time! The make up of the group was different this time and they asked lots of questions - I think they were the G&T group ;o)

At the end of the afternoon when the evaluations were returned, I was rather surprised, and very pleased as well!- to read several who said things like
"The ICT session was the best bit!'
"Brilliant session on ICT - can you do a whole session on Voicethread and podcasting next time please?"
"the notes were so useful - I'm going to check them out on - and I'm going to tell my staff about it too"

If you want to have the notes, see below. and all the sites / references can be found on my account -

Creative uses of ICT in the PLL classroom - Get more College Essays

Monday, 23 June 2008

A cuerpo - Spanish theatre company!

I was really excited to read a blog post on Talkabout Primary MFL entitled Theatre in Spanish for Primary children. Clare Secombe, who (amongst other things) is webmistress of the Sunderland MFL site, reported that there is a group called A Cuerpo based in Leicester who offer performances, workshops and resources in Spanish for children aged 6-11.

As Clare rightly points out, Spanish is often the poor cousin of French when it comes to such things so it's great to hear the news. And looking at the A Cuerpo site, I'm even more excited! Here are a couple of extracts about the play they are currently touring - El Viaje de Matilde- check it out for yourself though.

A Cuerpo: Matilde's Journey

A Cuerpo is thrilled to present El viaje de Matilde (Matilde’s Journey). El viaje de Matilde is a newly devised theatre performance in Spanish with an original script for children aged six to eleven, which offers the unique opportunity to learn Spanish whilst having fun.

El viaje de Matilde is an innovative theatre performance that uses an interaction of film with live theatre, as well as puppetry and music


A Cuerpo: Matilde's Journey

The main character is a cheeky eight year-old Spanish girl called Matilde (a real size body puppet).

Matilde leads a normal life, she lives in a small town in Spain with her family, goes to school and has friends…but she is not completely happy, as she dreams of travelling to the jungle and having lots of adventures.

Luckily Matilde’s dad is an inventor and he is working on an instant travelling machine…

Well, Matilde can’t help herself and decides to build the machine herself…

As you can imagine things aren’t as easy as they look and Matilde gets into one or two tight spots…

They provide pre and post performance materials as well as the opportunity to ask questions of the actors; they also offer workshops. WOW!

I'm off to contact them now to find out when they can visit, especially as we're supposed to be having a Language Focus Week next academic year!

ETR Weekly 1

I've mentioned EdTechRoundup on ¡Vámonos! before and have to say that I continue to be enlightened each Sunday night (when singing permits) by the chat about all things technological (and not so technological!) at the weekly Flashmeeting.

Therefore, I'm pleased to say that we've decided to share the conversations with others who cant attend or access the replay of the meeting, and today we've published the first of 'ETR Weekly' podcast in which we talk about starting out in the edublogosphere. You can listen to the podcast and see the show notes on the ETR blog -

Sunday, 22 June 2008

6000 hits - ¡no lo creo!

6000 Views, originally uploaded by andrew_mrt1976.

Whilst Spain were playing Italy this evening, an exciting thing happened to my Hit counter on ¡Vámonos! - it topped 6000!

As it reached 4000 in April - 26th April to be precise, that's less than 2 months to amass another 2000 hits. I'm impressed!

In my 4000 hit post I said 'Here's to reaching 5000 by the end of the summer term' - seems I need to aim higher!

Thank you so much to everyone for coming back - I'll keep blogging as long as you keep reading :o)

Build your Wild Self

I blogged about this great site a while back - but thought I'd mention it again, and post a picture of MY Wildself as I intend to mention it tomorrow when I speak about Using ICT in the Primary Language Classroom for Comenius West Midlands in Wolverhampton, and also as I mentioned it in my post about El Carnaval de los Animales.

So here's Lisibo - the Rein-pol-conda-ger-guin-peacock (always said I was a bit mixed up )

As I mentioned in my post on Unit 11, my idea is to use the image above as the stimulus for descriptive writing. Pupils could describe

  • the physical attributes of their Wild self
  • the character traits that their Wild self displays
  • the environment in which it lives
  • the food it eats

So - my example would be:

Me llamo Lisibo. Tengo la cabeza de una niña. Tengo las orejas de un oso polar y las cuernas de un reno. Tengo la lengua larga de una anaconda. Tengo los brazos de un tigre y el cuerpo y piernas de un pinguino. Y tengo la cola muy bonita de un pavo real. Soy simpática y cariñosa pero a veces soy feroz. Me gusta el sol aunque tengo que sentarme en un palo de hielo porque mi trasero es de pinguino ;o) Como las hormigas y los gusanos con la lengua, y mi comida preferida es una hamburguesa.

There are probably other things you could add - feel free to add suggestions to the comments below. I like it when you talk back!

¡La Furia Roja!

In advance of this evening's main event (sorry boys, there's something more important than the ETR flashmeeting this week!) I'd like you to watch the following videos, consider their message and then ....

¡Hazte de la peña de la Selección!

And in case you haven't got the message yet as you can't speak Spanish, here it is in English!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

QCA Spanish Unit 14 - Yo soy músico

yo soy músico

Here comes part three of my reflections on the units I'm currently using in KS2 Spanish. If you've read the other parts on Units 5 and 11, you'll recall that I've taught the units to half of the school and am now teaching the parallel classes until the summer break. So the current groups are probably getting a better deal as I refine and adapt from the first run, but may not finish the unit in its entirety as the end of term leads to much lesson disruption!

As with Units 5 and 11, Unit 14 has an opening stimulus from which the unit stems. In this case, a song. Based on the well known children's song, I am the Music Man, Yo soy músico has proved popular with Year 5. The QCA Unit which can be downloaded from here in PDF and RTF, gives the lyrics - you just have to sing it! Helen Myers has recorded a music only version - clever lady!- which can be found here, and if you want to hear how it sounds with a class in full voice, check out the WCPS Spanish podcast in the right hand column - although I'm sure you've all subscribed to it in iTunes ;o)

At the top of the post is the Powerpoint I made to go with the song. Note that it has two parts. The first half is in the first person singular - Yo soy músico, which is the version used in the first instance when the teacher (or volunteer class member!) is the Music Man. The second part is in the first person plural - Somos músicos - as the class join in with the whole song and we all become Music Men. I used animations having listened to Nick Mair talking in Oxford about boys learning best when there is action and movement in the graphics. There is an initial disadvantage as the class comment on the guitar playing pig etc mid-song, but after the first view, this stops and it really helps memorisation.

Scheme of work for Year5 spanish summer yo soy musico

Looking at the medium term plan above, you can see that the objectives for the first lesson are to express simple opinions about music. This proved popular as we listened to some different types of music and decided if we liked them or not. In a previous unit on free time we had learned the phrase la música pop / rock / clásica and most recalled the phrase - and the accompanying action -

  • la música - hands on ears like you're listening to music then ..
  • ...pop - makes your hands pop from fists to spread fingers whilst making your eyes wide
  • ...rock - rock from side to side
  • ...clásica - conduct an orchestra
  • ...heavy - mosh!! (a clear favourite I must say!)
We added jazz (jazz hands) and folclórica (play a guitar) which took some explaining as few knew what it was! Several pupils commented on the use of cognates - and when one asked what tecno music would be, another piped up that 'it'd be la música tecno, silly'

I expressed an opinion in Spanish about the music using facial expression then encouraged the class to offer their own opinion in Spanish. Again, the phrase was not unfamiliar but, for some, had to be dragged from memory banks!

We then sang the song which soon involved the whole class. The first couple of times, everyone sang all the instruments to learn and fix the words - and of course we did actions for those who are kinaesthetic learners (and to keep everyone awake!). Having looked at pronunciation of the words we had a quick look at accents - why do música / saxofón / batería have accents - I explained it using people's names - when we see a name in English we know (usually!) how to say it as there are stress patterns - it's AlexANder not AlEXander and accents help show us how to say words. Pupils completed a simple sheet to finish the lesson - labelling and also trying to use their LLS to work out what six instruments were in English. Some of the words were obvious and others needed a bit of thought - but a few did work out los platillos are cymbals by thinking of plates!

instruments lesson 1 - Get more College Essays

Next lesson began with a recap of vocabulary and game of Simóm dice. Then we sang the song, firstly using Soy músico but with each table alloted the flashcard of a musical instrument to represent. This led to hilarity as the 'piano' table worked out that they had to stand up and sit down every verse - as you can guess I chose this table carefully!! We looked at the words of the opening to the song and used Sé tocar... and then Toco ..... to say which instruments we could and couldn't play - an 'on the ball' pupil suggested 'toco regular el piano' and 'no toco la guitarra muy bien' as answers - not bad eh? It's really encouraging when pupils 'play around' with language because they're trying to express themselves more accurately.
We then looked at the second half - Somos músicos, venimos de Madrid etc' and discussed how this might differ in meaning from the first half.

We went on to recap our opinions about music genres and this time tried to add some simple reasons for the opinion - because it's slow, because it's boring, because it has rhythm etc. Pupils made up sentences in groups adding all the bits from the two lessons to see how long a sentence they could make using connectives such as 'y' and 'porque'.

types of music flashcards

At the start of the next lesson we recapped our opinions and started to present them in written form on graffiti wall posters - the word 'graffiti' made eyes sparkle although it was somewhat controlled graffiti! Whilst the class worked on this, I worked in the corner with my laptop and and microphone to record members of the class expressing their opinions about music - this was the start of WCPS Spanish podcast. The look of wonder on pupils' faces when they heard their voice comin gout of my laptop and then the IWB was great - one lad, Zach, commented 'But I sound really Spanish!'. (Pictures of posters to follow!)

Next we listened to some Spanish music and Latin American music, comparing and contrasting the instruments heard. I borrowed a CD from the library that had a vast array of South American music types on it, and I took in some of my own music - Tomatito, Heroes del Silencio, Joan Manuel Serrat, Los Nikis, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz, Operación Triunfo. We listened and decided which instruments we heard, and gave opinions on the singers / groups.
Then I role played buying a CD - using a ActivPrimary flipchart (in Box of Goodies as can't upload to .DocStoc). In pairs with one as customer and one as assistant, the customer had to
  • say they wanted to buy a CD
  • express their opinion about a type of music and say which type they prefer
  • agree to buy an item., and we recorded some examples (see podcast!)
The roles were swapped so that everyone got to play each character. We recorded some examples for the WCPS Spanish podcast as well. This time I'm going to add discussing buying an MP3 file to this bit ;o)

Having looked at accents and stress patterns as well as considering types of music, looking at the rhythm, especially the rhythm of words made perfect sense and we spent a good while clapping out phrases and trying to copy rhythms in the next session. At times it was rather haphazard, freestyle clapping but there were signs of promise from some who managed to copy accurately and understood the use of dynamics to mark stress. 'Guess the phrase from the rhythm' was a popular game - it's amazing how much concentration it takes to clap a simple phrase!

The last few sessions were given over to Year 5 producing their own rap/song in Spanish. I allowed them free rein over this with the proviso that it had to be in Spanish (obvious to me but you'd be surprised!) As a whole class we discussed how the task might be tackled and we came up with a start for those who couldn't think of a way in, then it was up to the groups to do their bit!
There were several things to note from these lessons for next time.
  1. Some groups needed more support than they were given - perhaps more time working together as a whole class before setting groups off on their own.
  2. Groupings are key, and all the 'musical' kids ended up in two groups - they would've been better perhaps split up to help those whose rhythm was a bit off!
  3. When recording pupils' final productions, don't put your iRiver anywhere near the drums! Sadly, a couple of good outcomes are drowned out by the percussion.
I'll upload those that will not damage eardrums to the podcast and/or Box of Goodies as soon as this post is finished ;o)
There were a couple of groups that tried to sing their performances to tunes from The Sound of Music - good idea, I thought. Some stuck to opinions on music, others tried to work in vocabulary from other units such as Personal introduction vocabulary and sporting likes and dislikes.

The other Year 5 class are very different to the first group and I expect this half term to pan out differently to the previous one. I think this time we'll look at the pre-performance interview suggested in the QCA Unit and perhaps try to adapt a song rather than write rap. I'll keep you informed!

NOTE - if you'd like ideas on this Unit in french, check out Talkabout Primary MFL where Jo Rhys Jones has spookily just blogged about the same unit!

Top tips for Primary Language Teaching and Learning.

I had the privilege to speak at Tile Hill Wood School and Language College on Thursday evening. I was really pleased to be asked by Ana Neofitou, Head of Languages, who I've met a couple of times at Language World and other more local conferences, and Jo Redford who is Assistant Head and who I met in Oxford this year when she introduced The ALL London Show and Tell session in which I participated.

My session was the last of three sessions for Primary teachers in teaching and learning Primary Languages. Previously the group of about 40 teachers had been working in language specific groups and focusing on vocabulary for topics such as sport and animals. My session, entitled Top tips for Primary Languages, aimed to give them an insight into how to deliver PL in an engaging way, making use of free resources and easily acquired skills. I enjoyed expanding on my presentation from Oxford (you can see and listen to it in this slidecast) which I delivered there in 10 minutes - just over an hour was still too short, but I was happier! I just get so excited that I could talk for hours!

Below is the presentation, and also the notes I made for delegates so that there wasn't too much mad scribbling as I gabbled away! Even as a standalone document, I think you can see what I'm trying to say!

Top tips for Primary Languages

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Twittering TeddyBears!

I thought I'd share this with you because it amused me! Courtesy of Lucy Gray's (@elemenous) links, here's how to make a teddy bear that speaks your friends' tweets.

I don't think I'll be making one - seems rather too complicated for me - but it would be rather amusing to have. Anyone up for making me one?

How 2.0: How to Make a Twittering Teddy Bear from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo.

Monday, 16 June 2008


You may have noticed that I'm a fan of 'pretty things' - avatars, Flickr photos, widgits etc - and also of words (current favourites include kerpoof as said by Drew Buddie) so when Wordle was recommended in last night's EdTechRoundup Flashmeeting, and I then saw a post by Langwitches in my Google Reader telling me that 'Wordle produces 'beautiful word clouds'', my interest was piqued.
clipped from

Wordle is a toy for generating
“word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds
give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently
in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different
fonts, layouts, and color schemes.
The images you create with Wordle are yours
to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them
to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

blog it
I had a little go at making some. You can use your own - or someone else's username to create a cloud - here's one for

and another for (my school account)

I love these visual representations of my bookmarks as they highlight the most popular tags so clearly(the text size for each word is related to the number of times it appears) and it's pleasing to see that the focus of my tagging is where I thought it was ;o)

You can also input random words to create a cloud. So I tried pasting my last blog post into the text box and came out with this -

There are some other great examples in the Wordle gallery including:
How to survive a Zombie attack

Here's a French one - very topical too -
Le Coupe d'Europe

and a Spanish one -
Inteligencia emocional

I think these are great fun and could be used in the classroom as a way of presenting information e.g. new vocabulary such as food and drink, things based on popularity when doing likes and dislikes as well as creating visual poems and stories. And how about inputting some text that children have written and graphically showing them how many times the word 'said' or 'went' appear - that should bring the point home ;o)

So let's get Wordle-ing!

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Animation for Education goes NING!

After a conversation with a few of us in Nottingham at the UK National eTwinning Conference yesterday, and a crash course in NING building from NING queen Jo Rhys Jones, Oscar Stringer has created a NING network called Animation for Education for those wanting to discover more about animation in education.

As Oscar explains in the site's blurb, he aims for it to be -
A place to share ideas, thoughts and examples of work. With the aim to help you develop confidence in using animation in the classroom.

So, why not do as Isabelle Jones and SpookingDorf did after reading my tweet about it and join? You've got nothing to lose and lots to gain :o)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Getting animated in Nottingham

I'm currently in Nottingham at the NCSL at the British eTwinning Conference.

This morning I went to a workshop by Oscar Stringer on animation - the theory being that it will become ingrained in my brain if I do the workshop enough time ;o)

Here's the video I made with Jo Rhys-Jones and a lovely lady called Sue based on minibeasts. Hope you enjoy it - we're very proud.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

QCA Unit 11 El Carnaval de los animales.

Here's the second of four posts on the Spanish QCA units I'm using with KS2 this term. The first, QCA Unit 5, Los Cuatro amigos seemed to be popular so I hope you find this one helpful too.

First thing to say is that I really enjoyed teaching this unit - and the class seemed to be equally enthused. The combination of music, literacy and Spanish proved popular, and this half term the cross curricular element is extended as habitats is a topic in Science. And I was really pleased with the outcomes of the unit.

You can download the Unit in PDF or R
TF from the QCA website.
Below is my medium term plans - being adapted as I go along and discover what does and doesn't work.

Medium term planning QCA Unit11 El Carnaval del os Animales

Unit 11 is based around and inspired by the Saint Saens piece,
Le carnaval des animaux, and the opening lesson was heavily reliant on music. I borrowed the CD of The carnival of the animals from the library, but then found a great website that provided snippets for each animal theme. The site being in Spanish with short comments on the music makes it a possible resource for more experienced linguists to use in the discussion of music in Spanish rather than the English we used for ours. And it's a gift for the teacher who can point the pupils in the right direction if they're struggling.

We began by looking at the title of the Unit. I asked pupils to suggest what they might be learning in this topic, encouraging them to explain their ideas e.g. it's something about animals I think - the last word looks like animals; 'carnaval' looks like carnival etc. None of the class made the association with the piece of music as none had heard of it. Having established the title, I asked them to suggest what sorts of things they might learn - they're good at this as AfL is a focus this year at WCPS. Lots of suggestions hit the mark and others would've been good avenues for exploration given more time.
Then we listened to snippets of th
e music, in order, and I asked for suggestions as to the animal it represented. As I've already mentioned, this was done in English and was much more successful than I had thought it might be. As my lesson allocation for the class covered their music lesson too, we were able to spend more time on Spanish by combining the two lessons. The music topic was based on rhythm and this fitted well. The pupils love contemporary music but it was good to see and hear them discussing a classical piece and passing positive comment. The suggestions of animals were sometimes accurate but some were off mark and this was probably due to not being given an idea of the animals we might be considering, so this half term when I did the same lesson with the other class, I began the same but introduced the vocabulary in Spanish prior to playing the music. This allowed more accurate identification of animals and moved us onto discussion of how the animal was represented / suggested by the music much more immediately. I introduced the animals using the PPT below, accompanied by actions e.g un león was two hands like paws ready to pounce; un gallo, one hand on top of head, one under chin with wiggling fingers like the comb and crop; un elefante with your arm as a trunk etc. Using images and actions we played Beat the teacher, ¿Dónde está ...? Simon dice, name the animal from the action and viceversa, to reinforce the vocabulary.

El Carnaval de los animales

The second lesson began with a video of Los pollitos dicen..,I'd downloaded it from Youtube which was fortunate as Youtube is now blocked at school.

We watched a number of times an
d pupils began to join in with the opening lines as they wanted. Having looked at the video, I challenged the pupils once more to think about one of the objectives for the lesson. Several suggestions were made including habitat, food, mummies and babies, and, the correct answer, animal noises.

We recapped the animal vocabulary using actions, images and also rhythm. As we repeated the words, I clapped the rhythm. Pupils echoed the clap back again and we played games around the rhythm of the words. More of that later..

Moving on, we listened to a number of animal noises and asked the pupils to make educated guesses on the animal that made e
ach noise, commenting on similarities and differences. We made a great cacophony of animal noises, akin to an unruly zoo as we practiced Spanish animal noises - the class were very amused that Spanish animals spoke another language too! With the noises came additional animals, extending beyond the initial stimulus. Below is a consolidation worksheet that we used to round off the section of the lesson as well as the PPT I used.

Los sonidos de los animales

Worksheet lesson 2 Unit 11

After the lunch break, we decided to make an animal symphony using percussion and voice! This met the objectives of the music unit as well as suggested activities in the QCA guidelines for the Spanish unit. Pairs of pupils were given an animal picture and a percussion instrument to create firstly a sound effect for their animal, and then used it to beat the rhythm of the word in Spanish. we took this further by individually presenting our pie
ces and then joining them together with teacher in the role of conductor bringing in and cueing out animals. The resulting 'symphony' was very interesting and you can listen to it here on our podcast WCPS Spanish (sounded better live, I must add!) A very enjoyable activity and an excellent for trying to maintain a steady rhythm and stay in time with others!

The next lesson was based around time and concluded with a class full of hot sweaty children and two children in first aid! Having recapped numbers 1-12 using a soft ball and various games - always a winner when I start chucking things around the room as I am hopeless at hand-eye coordination - I used an ELC clock to model the time for one and two o'clock before several bright sparks took over for three o'clock, half the class for four o'clock and 28/30 by five o'clock. We played time bingo and completed some questions from the IWB (sadly can't save those in Doc.Stoc so will have to put them in My Box of Goodies)
With o'clock times stuck in our heads and consolidated with a written exercise, I ventured to suggest we could go out onto the playground and play a game. This was a popular idea - although not so popular when the class discovered that there were three other classes outside and they weren't working, just running around. However, to their credit, they mostly concentrated and several children from other classes came to see wha
t we were doing! We played ¿Qué hora es, Señor Elefante? , a variant on What's the time Mr Wolf in which the animal changes each time, and the players have to move like the animal named e.g like an elephant for Sr. Elefante, like a swan for Sra. Cisne etc for the number of steps that corresponds to the time. More practice needed on the movement - never seen a tortoise run, nor a fish! However, lots of volunteers to be 'on'. We also played El Carnaval de los animales, very like fruit salad but with animals instead of fruit. Having given each child the name of one of six animals in Spanish, I called an animal and all those with that name had to move around the outside of the circle back to their space in the manner of their animal. If I called El Carnaval de los Animales, everyone had to move around the circle like their animal. This was the cause of the scrapped knees in first aid I'm afraid :o( but the injured parties weren't too sad so it was OK (phew!)

Next we looked at adjectives. Pupils had already commented on the colours of the nouns on their wordlist (see initial PPT) and had met colours in a previous unit. Some recalled the need for agreement and noted why there were two versions of most adjectives.
I used Querido Zoo (Dear Zoo) as the stimulus for the lesson - a familiar story to many and again introducing another couple of animals for those who had already grasped the others as well as great for introducing adjectives describing animals, and the word for 'too' - demasiado. Having read the book on PPT, pupils made their own conclusions in groups about the meaning of the adjectives before we discussed (and corrected!) ideas together. Having introduced a few more ideas including rápido / lento, fuerte/débil etc, pupils made up some sentences using es and no es to describe animals. This tur
ned into a guessing game with definitions being offered and others trying to guess the animal, and there was also a pleasing clamour to find out more adjectives using a dictionary - cue impromptu lesson in bilingual dictionary skills!

Habitats came into play next - using the suggested habitats from the QCA unit in a IWB flipchart (again, will have to put it into My Goodie Box!) we looked at pictures and guessed the theme of the lesson before placing animal cards into the appropriate habitat, making statements about where the animals lived. We used the first person, pretending that we were the animal preparing for the written part of the lesson when pupils took the role of an animal to be interviewed. We reviewed personal identification questions and modelled a couple of examples on the IWB before pupils went away to produce their own introductions.

4AT had heard that 5MW had been recor
ding and they wanted in on the act. So we set up our recording studio in a corner and several pupils came to record their work for WCPS Spanish, our podcast. It was great to see all abilities represented in the volunteers, including all SEN pupils, and there were some who were reluctant to go to lunch as they hadn't had a chance to record. In fact, we even moved the studio to the library during their library session to allow more participation. Great to see them so motivated.

I actually had an extra lesson with the class and decided to continue on the animal theme! We looked at the Build my WildSelf site and discussed the different animals and body parts included (this recapped vocabulary learned in year 3) Having designed their own Wild Self (a very amusing task attacked with great gusto), pupils designed their own hybrid animals on paper and wrote simple sentences about them such as;
Tiene la cabeza de un elefante.
Tiene el cuerpo de un pez.

Tiene la cola de un lagarto.
Tiene las piernas de una jirafa.

I made a display as part of the Unit too, well received by all of KS2 including the staff who liked its vibrant images and interactive quality - all the stuff to make it below! Just laminate! You can see more of the display here .


Since completing the Unit, I've discovered the following resources

Again, hope you found this useful.
Next I'll report on Unit 14 Yo soy músico - that was a goody too :o)

Have you pledged your support?

Download Day 2008
I have stopped gazing in awestruck wonder at the beauty of my new 'baby' and am now trying to get to grips with it. For those who don't know (I wonder how this is possible?) I have moved to the 'light side' and am now the proud owner of a shiny white MacBook. And she is most gorgeous.
However, even gorgeous things can be improved and one of the first things I did was to download Firefox. This great web browser is free - always a bonus - and in five days, on Download Day, the much awaited and talked of Version3 will officially be launched.
To mark the occasion, Mozilla Firefox are aiming to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the most software downloads in 24 hours. You can join the effort by putting your name on the pledge map, planning a download fest, or by promoting the day on your blog. Why not?
Download Day 2008

Televisión española

Great news from José Picardo's blog that you don't need SKY or a superduper mega satellite dish to access Spanish TV. As he reports, you can watch several channels online including Canal+ and Telecinco. I agree with José about RTVE being the best though - after nearly a fortnight in Spain, I really miss it. And what's more, my children miss it too. Youngest was quite taken with the children's programmes and was quite annoyed when we went to dinner before Los Lunnis had concluded, and the eldest was doing well with the sports programmes. Added to that, the advertisements were obviously very effective as they both recall numerous slogans and songs ;o)

And, as José reports, you can capture the programmes in RealPlayer for use in the classroom. Great news I say.

España 4- Rusia 1

Please note - this blog has not been taken over by football - 'proper' post coming later ;o)

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Los guapos

And for those of you who are not in the least bit interested in football, but watch for the 'aesthetic appeal'...

Who's your favourite?


I know that Euro08 actually kicked off last Saturday, but for me, it all starts tonight when Spain take on Russia. As the only house in the street displaying a flag in the window (how different from previous football tournaments - and a little sad!, you can't miss my allegiances. At least without England, I have the loyalties of my children too. Well, half of the eldest's as he is rather fond of Cristiano Ronaldo. Husband is supporting Turkey - less said about that the better.

So in honour of the kick off at 5pm, and to get you in the mood ..... ;o)

To help you recognise the some of the players (I don't think Raúl is quite past it yet though!)

And here's Raúl himself, with his own take on El Himno Nacional-

More pictures of the team -

Voices of the World - May task

Having missed a few tasks, I'm really pleased that the Whitehouse Common Primary have contributed to this month's task for Voices of the World.

The May task is the last one for this academic year and is based around saying Goodbye.

Firstly, we recorded a goodbye greeting in Spanish using Voki-

Get a Voki now!

Then we went around the school taking snapshots to show the other participants what our school is like. We uploaded them to Photostory3 to make a slideshow.

Finally, 4AT listened to and watched all the Voki produced by the other participants and, using the microphone on my laptop (still having issues with microphones at school), recorded the various greetings. And what a great job they did!

Once we'd added a funky soundtrack, the presentation was completed and uploaded to Teachertube for all to see!

Here it is - hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

I'm back!

Having had a lovely ten days enjoying the sun, sea, sand, sights, sounds and cerveza in Spain ( I know it begins with c- say it like an Andalucian!), I've just got back to rainy England - not very impressed, I can tell you.

I've been catching up with emails and reading this evening - as well as emptying and loading the washing machine several times.

Normal service will be resumed shortly - I may have been on holiday, but my brain didn't completely seize up and there are several posts floating around up there!

So, to help me re-acclimatise, here's a picture of where I've been -
¡ojalá que estuviera todavía allí!

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