Thursday, 31 July 2008

Alphabet of Nations - another idea for EDL?

Having spent a good while flicking between Youtube and Zamzar over the last couple of days, downloading and converting videos, I've had a chance to look over some of my 'favourited' videos once more, and came across this one.

I remember They Might Be Giants from their song Birdhouse in your soul - classic lyrics including 'blue canary in the outlet by the lightswitch who watches over you' and 'not to put too fine a point on it, say I'm the only bee in your bonnet' - and It's Istanbul not Constantinople - but here they are singing a song about the Alphabet of Nations. They cheat for X but otherwise a country for each letter.

I was thinking of using it as a challenge for European Day of Languages - some ideas:

  • learning the song would be the simplest
  • play the song each day for a week then have a quiz on countries
  • name the languages spoken in the countries
  • name the capital cities
  • challenge pupils to label the countries on a map
  • pupils rewrite the song with countries of their choice
  • write a collaborative Alphabet of Languages - then learn a word in each language
Doesn't have to be for EDL - it would be a good exercise for global awareness and ICU at any point.

There is an Animaniacs video naming countries too, but I prefer this one as it's shorter, less dated (in terms of look and also countries that no longer exist) and also funkier. ;o)

Wednesday, 30 July 2008


I came across Omniglot the other day and bookmarked it in my account for further investigation.
Omniglot is 'a guide to the languages, alphabets, syllabaries and other writing systems of the world'.

You can find out information about a myraid of languages including ones I've never heard of!

It's fascinating to look at all the different writing systems both real - some Mayanscript

and some imaginary - some Klingon!

There are tips on language learning, as well as a multilingual bookstore and articles on languages.

In fact, there's so much on there that it's hard to do it justice in a blogpost so I'd encourage you to look for yourself. However, here are three of my favourite parts.

1. Language related art
This is a piece of art by Venantius Pinto based on the Torcharian script and there are links to other examples of artwork such as Mike O'Connell's artwork featuring a number of different scripts and Peggy Shearn who is inspired by language and writing systems (see also below)

2. Useful foreign phrases

Ever wanted to know how to say 'Please speak more slowly' in Estonian?

Palun rääkige aeglasemalt
Or 'Where's the toilet?' if you're caught short in Greece?
Ποῦ εἶναι οἱ τουαλέτες
There is a quite long list of possible phrases in a wide range of languages - some with accompanying soundfiles to aid pronunciation. And there are also phrases that are possibly not as useful, but nonetheless amusing such as 'My hovercraft is full of eels' - here in Mandarin Chinese 我的氣墊船裝滿了鱔魚 and Polish Mój poduszkowiec jest pełen węgorzy and 'Stop the world, I want to get off!' in perhaps Czech Zastavte svět, chci vystoupit! or Armenian Աշխարհը կեցուր թարնալէն, հոս կուզեմ ելել:

You can also access in a variety of languages, again some with soundfiles-
for example -

Μιὰ πάπια μὰ ποιά πάπια;
(Miá pápia ma piá pápia)
A duck but which duck). (GREEK)

Esel essen Nesseln nicht, Nesseln essen Esel nicht.
Donkeys don't eat nettles, and nettles don't eat donkeys. (GERMAN)

Mae Llewellyn y llyfrgellydd o Lanelli wedi llyfu llawer o lyfaint.
Llewellyn, the librarian from Llanelli, licked many toads. (WELSH)

3.Proverbs and quotations about languages.

Omniglot has collected together proverbs and quotations in various tongues on the subject of languages. The majority are quite profound -

Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Una lengua natural es el archivo adonde han ido a parar las experiencias, saberes y creencias de una comunidad.
A natural language is the archive where the experiences, knowledge and beliefs of a community are stored.
- Fernando Lázaro Carreter (SPANISH)

Cenedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon.
A nation without a language is a nation without a heart. (WELSH)

but there are others that are less 'serious' -

Chan fhiach cuirm gun a còmhradh.
A feast is no use without good talk. (GAELIC-SCOTLAND)

It's no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase "As pretty as an airport" appear.
- Douglas Adams

(Tiān bù pà, dì bù pà, zhǐ pà Guǎngdōng rén shuō Pŭtōnghuà)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Cantonese speakers trying to speak Mandarin. (MANDARIN)

(Tìn m̀ gìng, deih m̀ gìng, jí gìng bākfòng yàhn góng Gwóngdùngwá m̀jeng)
I fear neither heaven nor earth, I only fear Mandarin speakers speaking Cantonese badly. (CANTONESE)

My particular favourites include

Any time you think some other language is strange, remember that yours is just as strange, you're just used to it.

Kolik jazyků znáš, tolikrát jsi člověkem.
You live a new life for every new language you speak.
If you know only one language, you live only once. (Czech)

and this French saying that I hope will soon be seen as untrue -

Un homme qui parle trois langues est trilingue.
Un homme qui parle deux langues est bilingue.
Un homme qui ne parle qu'une langue est anglais.
A man who speaks three language is trilingual.
A man who speaks two languages is bilingual.
A man who speaks only one language is English.

- Claude Gagnière

Looking at all the above 'favourites' I can see the OMNIGLOT site as an excellent resource for expanding the vision of languages in an interesting and fun way.

Why not use it as a resource for European Day of Languages on 26th September?

You could use the artwork to inspire your pupils to create their own having looked at the section on various scripts and writing systems.

Or challenge pupils to learn tongue twister in another language - the sound files are great for that!

Or each class could attempt to learn a phrase in as many languages as possible - and other classes could guess the phrase - I think we'll be doing this at WCPS!

Whatever you do, it's well worth a look!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Sastre gana el Tour.

First there was the Spanish football team winning Euro 08.

Then there was Rafa Nadal winning Wimbledon.

And now, Carlos Sastre has made it a hat trick of Spanish wins, riding into Paris as winner of this year's Tour de France.After my post on Saturday re my dilemna, I did feel rather sorry for Cadel Evans who lost out to a Spaniard in the time trial last year too (Alberto Contador who was unable to defend his title as his team Astana were not invited in the wake of Vinokourov-gate last year) but he was simply too tired I think to pull it out of the bag.

However, I must admit that I was secretly really pleased to see Sastre triumph as he rode out of his skin in the time trial. Not simply because he's Spanish and from one of my favourite towns (Avila), but because he was SO humble about it all. At every opportunity he praised his team who supported him so well throughout - and they deserved it too.

Without the Schleck brothers, Stuart O'Grady, Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt (who lost his saddle somewhere on the Champs d'Elysees!) Kurt Asle-Aversen, Nicky Sorensen and Volodymir Gustov, Sastre would have been as isolated and tired as Cadel Evans.

He dedicated his win to his brother-in-law, José María Jiménez, who was also a professional cyclist who died in 2004. As Sastre said 'su derrota era querer ganar esta carrera' so it made his win all the sweeter for him and his wife, Piedi, Jiménez's sister.

So here's to Carlos Sastre - ¡muy bien hecho!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Law of languages

With the Beijing Olympics a couple of weeks away, here's a news story from China about one policeman's efforts to make visitors feel welcome.

In an effort to help tourists, he has learned how to greet people in English, Spanish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Polish, Japanese, Russian, Finnish, Italian and Portuguese. Phew! And he did it by chatting to tourists from those countries - just the advice we give to learners - have go!

Not sure about his taste in movies though ;o)

Saturday, 26 July 2008


I've been trying to summer-clean my e-mails this evening, deleting ones that are no longer needed, bookmarking sites referenced and archiving ones from fora that contain resources. Whilst doing so, I came across an e-mail reminding me that I'd requested an invite to Twitterfone, and sending me the necessary code to get an account.

I must admit that I like shiny new things and like to be up to date with the latest 'thing', and sometimes forget what I've requested so I had to look up Twitterfone.

Glad I did!

Whilst I am becoming a bit of techno-chick (according to colleagues!), I still have a blindspot with one regard - I cannot get my head around predictive texting! I am a fast texter but predictive textig gets me all of a flutter. As I love texting and my only access to Twitter whilst at school is via my mobile, I sometimes become frustrated by my inability to text fast enough and wonder why I can't just dictate my message.

Now I can! Twitterfone works thus ...

Having registered with my invitation code, I've just tried it out - and it works!! I called the number, left my message and voilà - my tweet arrived a minute or so later, complete with a link to hear my dulcet tones dictating the message - just in case it's gobbledegook!!
As the info section points out, it isn't perfect, as it won't recognise @ replies or d messages which is a bit of a pain, but I guess they might sort it in time.

Want an invite? Click here!

Off to Twitterfone my blog post ;o)

PS Sadly, doesn't seem to spell in Spanish :o(

Qui gagnera?

Although I no longer regularly teach French, I still love the annual French phenomenon that is the Tour de France. I used to make a big fuss over it with an interactive map and daily updated chart - I think that was when my NQT year really seemed to reap rewards as the kids at the tough comp where I taught fought to be my 'updaters'.

Anyhow, I've been Tweeting all week with @sharongs and @etalbert amongst others about Le Tour, and my house has been a hive of Tour activity as my boys have been avidly watching ITV4 each night, and Mr S has been getting overexcited as his cycling fantasy teams have been doing rather well (his Vélo games team was in 87th place yesterday!)

So the big question is.... who will win?

I don't share the opinion of some fellow Twits who are missing Armstrong and Ullrich - I love the more open race this year. From the start, I've been rooting for Mark Cavendish for the sprints and Cadel Evans for GC. With Cavendish abandoning to concentrate on the Olympics - and to give other sprinters a bit of a chance too ;o) - all my supportive vibes have been channelled the Aussie's way.

However, Carlos Sastre is in yellow going into the penultimate stage - what shall I do? He's Spanish after all! Should I be loyal to my Spanish preferences and yell for Sastre, or to my original choice and scream for Evans to make up the deficit of just over a minute and a half? The likely outcome is a win for Evans as Sastre is not a great time trialler, but anything can happen in Le Tour!

But I really can't see this animation coming true - sorry, Bernhard Eisel - but, just to be on the safe side, watch out for cows, Carlos and Cadel!!

CBS socks!

Whilst blogging last night, I was reminded of a video on Youtube that I had seen 6 months ago (and commented upon, so I know it was six months ago!!) but forgotten about. A masterpiece of sock puppetry, and an advertisement for a great product! See for yourself!

Coffee Break Spanish, presented by Mark and Kara, is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to learn Spanish. Now nearing it's 100th episode, you can subscribe on iTunes and find out more about CBS at

And should you wish to learn other languages, check out where more of the prodigious output of Mr Mark Pentleton are showcased - including Coffee Break French, One Minute languages including Luxembourgish and Norwegian and MyDailyPhrase eg Italian. No froggycoffee here, eh Mark ;o)

Friday, 25 July 2008

Icelandic sock puppets.

I have made no secret of my love of puppets as evidenced by various blog posts over the last nine months and several dodgy pictures floating around the blogosphere. So a post on Linguahelp captured my attention.

I hadn't discovered the Linguahelp blog before, probably because my school doesn't subscribe to Linguascope. However, my Google alerts today included a link to the most recent post entitled Gimmick sites to help in the MFL classroom and it made lots of sense to me. I'm always up for finding innovative and captivating ways of engaging language learners so the idea of using the Iceland Socks site seemed appealing - and I tried it out!

I followed the advice offered on Linguahelp -

The idea is simple - you build up a mini ‘film’ using sock puppets, subtitles and a series of animated locations, which you can then email to friends - but the usefulness to language learning is immediately apparent. The puppets speak a ‘Pingu-esque’ nonsense chatter, which is made into intelligible dialogue by the user. Students could use the site to build up practice dialogues in a very up-to-date, hi-tech fashion - instead of potentially awkward and embarrassing role-play in class, they can create YouTube style cartoons full of the language they are learning. To top this, the resulting ‘films’ can then be emailed to the teacher for checking later! Not perhaps the original intention of the site designers, but a fun adaptation to liven up the lesson.
and you can see the results of my first attempt by clicking on the title, Lucía and Miguel go to Iceland.

In fact, it was so much fun, I made another! Mimi and Roberto go to Iceland.

And I'll probably make more!

Feel free to leave me links to your videos in the comments box - would love to see what others dream up!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Crossing phases.

Photo by zen
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License
Posts have been a bit sparse recently as the frantic end of term rush took over! Sports days, Year 6 leaving plays, Performance Management meetings and generally tying up loose ends got in the way of blogging. However, the holidays are here, and I'm hoping to make up for my failings over the next few weeks.

I noticed a couple of articles last week about schools in the news - Halesowen school wins award for languages and Loving languages on which I wanted to comment.

The first report is congratulating Earls High School in Halesowen (not too far from here!) on winning a European Award for Languages for their project , Project Croissant where older pupils from the High School mentor younger (primary) children through a weekly afterschool club.

I think this is a brilliant way of making links between local schools and of raising the profile of languages. I also think it's great that the older pupils are given responsibility for activities etc and, through the project, are gaining life skills. And the activities are very appealing too! Now onder they won an award!

The second article also highlights links between phases, this time in Portishead in Somerset. Pupils at Gordano School visited St Joseph's Primary School and taught them songs in french, Spanish and German as part of a project called Raise the Roof with Languages. Again, an activity that shows how older pupils can 'teach' younger pupils, making links and promoting languages. And the older pupils volunteered to help!

This kind of project is a brilliant model for encouraging language learning - not just for primary but for secondary. It's really important to make and maintain links between phases, particularly as the Primary Languages Framework increasingly impacts on Key Stage 3 and 4.

So well done Earls High and Gordano Schools!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Los de Abajo

I went out on Friday to a concert - happens so rarely that it's newsworthy! As part of the Lichfield Festival, there was a Mexican band playing the Lichfield Garrick, so I jumped at the chance to go when invited by a friend - thanks Sharon ;o)

The blurb advertising the award winning Los de Abajo looked interesting (see below)- and the evening proved to be just that!

I'm not sure that the Lichfield Garrick was the ideal venue for such a high energy performance, and I think the band were a bit fazed by the lack of dancing in the audience (well, it's Lichfield for heavens sake!!) but they gave it their all!

Memorable moments included reference by the vocalist to 'the horny section' (he meant the brass section!); the energetic dancing and gyrating of the saxophonist, Daniel Portugal, described by The Independent as 'tall and punkish with a saturnine beard, ... a wild dancing talisman' and member of the aforementioned 'horny section'; various members of the band donning wrestling masks and having a fight; and the encore when the entire band left the stage and went walkabout around the theatre, culminating in deafening the front few rows (including me!) with two saxophones, two trombones, two trumpets, two guitars and a wide variety of drumming!

Their music, lyrically, is not really suitable for use in the Primary classroom - it's very revolutionary and is peppered with colourful language, but it has a good beat and was very different to the pop perception of Latino music. (Check it out by clicking on the CD cover here and then choosing a song!)

If you want to find out more, here are a few sites about them, and one of their songs

Song lyrics | War 4 Peace lyrics

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

El Carnaval de los Animales - 4VH get animated!

*cross post with Animation for Education NING *

Having attended animation workshops, made a few plasticine model animations and talked up the use of animation in PLL (primary language learning), three weeks ago I decided to take the plunge and let the kids show me what they could do!

Year 4 are currently studying a Unit of the QCA Key Stage 2 Spanish Scheme of work that is based on the Saint Saëns musical suite, Le Carnaval des Animaux. I think it's a good unit as it allows lots of different cross curricular links to be made - you can read about it on my blog if you're interested! I had the idea whilst sitting in one of Oscar's workshops of using plastic animals to create an animated 'carnival' as an end of term project for the class - fun but also has a various purposes - enhancing linguistic skills as well as technological ones.

First step was working out how to do it! I bought a MacBook about six weeks ago and, after much deliberation as to whether I was willing to allow 31 9year olds to touch my lovely white Mac, I decided to be brave and use it. I had thought I might need to buy a webcam as the ones in school don't seem to work (not been used for a while ;o) ). However, the Macbook has an iSight camera built in and I wanted to get on with it. Next, I raided the Nursery class for some animals - there were Duplo ones as well but I liked the more 'realistic' looking ones, especially as some had adult and baby sized ones.

Next, I set up the equipment before the class came in and hit my first snag - how to make the animals seen. The iSight was focused higher that the animals and the only way to get the models in camera was to either incline the screen towards the table - not really an option - or to raise the stage which I did with two trays, covered with paper, and the MacBook as near as possible to the trays. I did wonder if the iSight could be 'zoomed' but a quick call to someone in the know told me that I would just have to make the best of it. (I got a tip later that there is something called iGlasses that will make it zoom - I'll be investigating before next time - ta Andrew!) Background was paper on a freestanding whiteboard, as close to the table as possible.

The class arrived and of course, everyone was fascinated by the set up and started crowding around. i like the enthusiasm but it did make some of them a little deaf to instructions! Having explained what we were going to do and how we might achieve it, the pupils got into pairs and chose their animal from the selection. Most had a couple of models for their chosen animal. We discussed our idea and how the 'story' might go, deciding that all the animals are on their way to the carnival; I left it to each group to decide how their animals might move / act on the way, so some are walking, others so excited that they're dancing and the hyena and the tiger are having a scrap!

I demonstrated what they needed to do using the elephants, emphasising small movements, 12 pictures for one second of film and instructing them to keep the animals far back on the stage to make sure they're as big as possible. Then, whilst I taught the rest of the class, I sent one pair at a time to the back table where they animated their section of the film, with the instruction to call the next group when their animals reached the centre of the stage.

The first morning we managed to do about six sets of animals and when we reviewed the footage, there were some speedy animals! A bit too much excitement I think for some to remember all the instructions.

As I have the class for two hours each week for Spanish and RE, I had to pack up the stuff until the next week which had it's problems as the backdrop had been drawn on by the next week, and everything needed resetting. Once done though, the second lot of groups paid more heed to the need for small movements and lots of shots, and by the end of the morning we had an animation!

Today we added 'finishing touches' - titles and credits, sound track and sound effects, and voiceovers using iMovie. It's amazing how long it took to 'finish' 1 minute 20 seconds of film! But then again, it was our first go and there was an air of general madness at school today ;o) ( rain and nearing the end of term!)

Finally, I've just shared it to Youtube from iMovie.

So, reflecting on the experience, I'd say the following;
It's our first attempt - please bear that in mind!!
By the end, the class had grasped the basics so the case of the flying pigs will not happen next time.
Background could've been brighter - we didn't want to detract from the animals but we'd use scenery next time.
I'd definitely want to be able to zoom in / out next time as the animals don't fill the screen.

Although I ended up with a splitting headache - hence my earlier tweet! -it was worth it! The class belongs to the ICT coordinator who was intrigued by what we were doing and several other members of staff came to have a nose at what we were doing. And the class were full of enthusiasm - they increasingly gave constructive criticism and helped one another, and were desparate to see the finished product.

So, here's the premiere (el estreno in Spanish) of El Carnaval de los Animales.
Please leave comments - the kids will love that! and be honest in a kind way please ;o)

Monday, 7 July 2008

¡España gana otra vez!

Although Fernando Alonso let the side down, Spain are at it again, winning!

On Saturday, Alejandro Valverde opened the Tour de France with a win on Stage one from Brest to Plumelec.

And then on Sunday, Rafael Nadal finally conquered Roger Federer on grass at Wimbledon after a roller coaster of a game. Without the good old English weather, Rafa would have won in straight sets, and saved much nailbiting, but we'd have missed an epic tussle between two incredible tennis players.
And to cap it all, he became the first player to ever climb into the Royal Box!!

Not sure how Rafa'd feel about the assertion that he's 'ante todo, español' as a proud Mallorquí, but all of Spain is proud of him!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Talkabout Primary MFL wikispace.

This weekend really is turning into 'catch-up' time as I blog things that I really should have mentioned over the last few weeks when they were 'hot off the press' but didn't due to time etc etc!

Talkabout Primary MFL, as I've told you before, is a Ning network started by Jo Rhys-Jones as 'an interactive network for those teaching (or considering teaching) foreign languages in Primary school; a place to share your worries/successes with supportive colleagues.'
When I joined in June last year, there were 10 members - now there are 203 and counting! I'm so pleased that word is out that it's the place to be for ideas, support and discussion. I certainly make sure that I tell everyone about it when I speak - in fact, joining Talkabout is one of my Top Tips!

Well, now Talkabout has gained a Wikispace! A wikispace is like a word processing document to which lots of people can contribute and share. There are so many people contributing great ideas, writing blog posts, sharing resources and experience, offering advice and support, that things could easily be missed. As Jo explains in her post that announces the arrival of the wikispace,

I'm hoping it will help organise the blog posts as this network grows bigger, and although documents can be uploaded directly, just adding a hyperlink saves space. I am also hoping that any members, particularly those who are members of groups, might like to add/edit their own group pages, simply by 'joining' the space. You do NOT have to join the wiki to view it - so to see what I'm trying to describe, click the link below. I've only just started adding things - so the more people who volunteer to 'join' and add things themselves, the jollier! This space is for YOU to use.
So why not pop along and check it out! And contribute! The more the merrier!

Note to self - that includes you!

Friday, 4 July 2008

Young Enterprise winners - LanguAges

Whilst checking my Google alerts for MFL a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a news article about Young Enterprise in the NorthEast. And as I read, I was excited to see that I knew the school whose virtues were being extolled.

Lesley Welsh, AST and SSAT LP, is the Madame Welsh referred to in the article, and it is pupils at her school, English Martyrs Schol and Sixth form College in Hartlepool, who have won not only Company of the Year but also Most Creative Company of the Year in the awards sponsored by the Arts Council North East to reward an innovative and creative way of running business.

Here the group from English Martyrs explain -

Our company, LanguAges, provides educational resources to aid the teaching and learning of French in primary schools at Key Stage 2. We have created a compilation of three different games, The Clothes Game, The Class Card Game and The Shopping Game, and an Interactive CD, which form the LanguAges Pack.

All of our games are tailored to be fun, yet educational, comprehensively covering the Key Stage 2 curriculum, and helping to improve vital comprehension and speaking skills.

The initial idea around which our product is based sprung from a discussion with our business adviser in which we discovered that, as of next year, it will become compulsory for all primary schools to teach a modern foreign language at Key Stage 2. This meant that there would definitely be a market for teaching and learning tools.

We then sold more than £100 worth of shares in our company to get us up and running, which allowed us to design and develop our own prototype games. We tested these in several classes across Key Stages 2 and 3, and realised the LanguAges Pack was bound to be a great success.

Indeed the team has gone from strength to strength, selling several packs, and scooping up the ‘Best Sales and Marketing’ award at the MetroCentre Trade Fair, then going on to gain an order for 12 packs from Stockton Schools and ultimately securing a contract for 34 packs via the Hartlepool Local Authority.

This means that at the start of the next academic year, every Primary School in Hartlepool will have a full LanguAges pack – a true achievement for any company!

Furthermore, we have impressed pupils, parents and teachers alike. In fact the representative from the Hartlepool local authority, Tom Argument, said about us: “Their materials are creative, fun, very practical, and of a high quality. The group present themselves in a business-like manner and have real entrepreneurial potential.”

Our sales revenue is nearly £2,000 which has generated a healthy profit. Shareholders will receive at least a 100% return on their investment, and LanguAges will make a donation to charity from the net profit. However, we, as the directors, will be receiving a well-earned director’s bonus!

Young Enterprise has opened our eyes to the world of business. We learnt about the different departments of a company and the importance of each. Since our product was very time consuming and labour intensive it was essential that we learnt time and resource management. This was the first time many of us worked in a large group, therefore this experience enabled us to gain valuable team working skills. We learnt that communication and problem solving are two of the most vital components for the success of a business.

Of the many highs involved in the running of LanguAges, the development of our sense of team camaraderie has certainly been one of the most enjoyable. The shared responsibilities and experiences have led to solid professional relationships and firm friendships. These particularly flourished during the creative process of developing our product, which we all found both testing and fascinating.

Of course, one of the biggest thrills of business is the pursuit and accomplishment of sales, and this we enjoyed thoroughly with some of the team finding their niche in enthusiastic and mostly successful sales pitches. However, the extensive manual labour involved in the production of our product has at times been difficult to manage, but with close and effective teamwork, this challenge has been overcome.

Our hard work and determination has been recognised with a number of awards. As well as winning ‘Best Sales and Marketing’ at the MetroCentre Trade Fair, we also won Best Company Report at the Tees Valley Area Finals.

We have furthermore very recently forged strong links with an international company, who are acting as business advisers and supporters after appreciating LanguAges’ potential as a viable commercial product at the Area Finals. Working with them has been hugely beneficial and we look forward to the possibilities that this connection will lead to.

We realise that LanguAges has a huge amount of potential, and are currently investigating the many options available to us. Several possibilities are being considered, such as selling the idea, or even continuing the company even after the Young Enterprise Company Programme is over.

The prospect of mass producing the LanguAges Pack and even expanding the range to include a variety of other modern foreign languages is a very exciting one. We also appreciate that there is much scope to produce games, not only for younger or older students, but even for companies who wish to train their staff. After all, you have to think big to be big!

Needless to say, as a company, we have shown creative flair, dedication, and determination to reach the top. We have all greatly enjoyed the valuable experience that is the Young Enterprise Company Programme, and have learnt so much throughout the process. The experience and skills acquired will be invaluable to us in the future, whichever careers we choose to pursue.

So, congratulations to Faye Greason, Gayatri Sivakumar, Sreenag Krishnamoorthy, Jennifer Laws, Joseph Harrison, Charanya Ravi, Stuart Christie, Katie Wheelhouse, Francesca Tosson and Mariusz Cichomski, and of course to Madame Welsh and Linda Ward.

What a great idea - no wonder they won awards by the bucket load! And I will be very interested to follow the progress of the group -hopefully thye will expand the project to other languages and market it outside of the North East. As they say - every school in England could potentially use the product!!

IoW Conference 2008

Having been told not to say anything for a bit, when I was given the all clear to blog about the IoW Conference, I've been a bit slow off the mark! But...más vale tarde que nunca as dear Nando would say!

October 25th and 26th 2008 will see many teachers from across the UK (and beyond?) gathering at Nodehill Middle School in Newport, Isle of Wight for Joe Dale's annual IOW Conference. As usual, the focus is on creative language teaching using ICT, and it promises to be a great weekend. This year, there's so much going on that it has been extended to two days with a Show and Tell event on the Saturday night so that everyone can share, not just those who are presenting.

And speaking of presenters - look at the line up!

They will be tackling topics including-
  • Mobile Phones
  • Wikis
  • Primary Languages
  • Ning networking
  • Songs
  • Virtual Learning Environments
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Games based learning
  • Gender differences
  • Videoconferencing
  • eTwinning
  • Digital Voice Recorders
  • One Stop Animation
  • PowerPoint
  • Interactive Whiteboards and Voting Systems
  • Blogging and Podcasting
  • Assessment for Learning
  • New KS3 curriculum
  • Web 2.0 tools
  • vodcasting
  • eCreativity
Having had the privilege of speaking last year on Primary Languages and eTwinning, I've been asked again - must have done something right ;o) - and this year I'll be co-presenting with Jo Rhys-Jones. It promises to be a highly entertaining session as we always end up in fits of giggles when we meet up, and I'm sure plenty of that fun will be manifest in the session.

So, watch out for the delegates pack that Joe will soon be launching, and take the opportunity as term nears a close (in England - I know Scotland has already broken up) to put in your PD request whilst there's still money in the budget, and while everyone else is just hanging out for the holidays!!

Check out Joe's blog for more information and for reports on last year too here and here. See also here, here, here and here. And not forgetting here! And for my response, read Trains Ferries Buses and Ford Anglias. (note to self - go via Southampton not Lymington this year!)

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