Thursday, 30 April 2009

Using puppets and audio to encourage speaking.

I was privileged to be asked by David Noble (@parslad) to join TeachMeet ASN-SEN Online tonight and invited to speak as well! A huge privilege when you look at the other speakers!

I choose to talk briefly about using puppets and sound recording to encourage speaking skills in the classroom. As I teach languages, my examples came from my experience in the primary language learning cl
assroom but, as I said, are equally applicable in other contexts.

If you want to catch what I said, you can watch the replay here

And here are some posts I've previously made about using puppets in the classroom -
Puppets! (video at the bottom of the post)
Los animales hablan
Inspired in IKEA pt 2

And about using sound recording-
5MW on Podomatic

And also moblogging -
La Primavera
Saved by the blog

Next steps in ICT for the primary language classroom - CAMBRIDGE.

On Tuesday I made my way to Cambridge for the second time in four days to deliver a day's training on behalf of CILT at Anglia Ruskin University.

The course was entitled NEXT STEPS IN ICT FOR THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE CLASSROOM and promised to address collaborative working, whole class ICT, digital voicerecording and assessment amongst other things.

I had a lovely day with the delegates and hope that they all went away with one or to things to try out in their classrooms - there was great enthusiasm for wikis and Voki, and TTS should expect a few orders for their sound recording products in the near future - especially as I need a new Easispeak as I seem to have left mine behind :O(

I made a wiki for the event on which I've put all my presentations and also as a place for the delegates to 'play around' with using wikis. I did record the sessions - mostly!- but in the afternoon we went off at a tangent and the audio won't fit my presentations so i won't be making slidecasts of everything. However, I have put the presentations below as they are full of hyperlinks to useful resources.

Hope you find it useful!

And if you want to go on the course, it is repeated in Lancaster on 19th May. Contact CILT for more details!

NB the first slideshow actually starts on slide 18 as slide 22 was triggered to the first 20 slides as examples!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Networking over cake and cocktails.

Hotel du Vin, originally uploaded by lisibo.

This weekend I discovered the ideal way of networking and sharing!

I'd been invited to Cambridge, along with Steph Hopkins, by Leigh McClelland with the idea of putting our heads together and sharing ideas about language teaching, as well as having some fun!

I've got to say that I think i got more from Leigh and Steph than I gave, but we chatted constantly with laptops primed for all of Saturday, not even breaking when we went to the Hotel du Vin in Cambridge for the biggest cream tea ever seen, followed by cocktails, and eventually calling out for Chinese takeaway at about 10pm!

This is SUCH a good model for CPD - I'd recommend it to anyone.

Thanks to Leigh for having us, and to Leigh and Steph for their inspirational ideas - they are truely very clever ladies!!

Sunday, 26 April 2009


Courtesy of @charte , a new Twitter follower, I've just discovered Picture trail, a tool for making pretty slideshows of your photos. Whilst you can't add music like on Animoto or OneTrueMedia, I do like the pretty effects, backgrounds and borders you can add to make attractive slideshows.

Have a look at the one I've just made of pictures of me climbing a wall at the recent Outdoor Show at the NEC - no mean feat as it was my first time climbing and I have very bad vertigo!

And read Chris' post for ideas of how to use it in class!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Primary Languages e-Zine

Received an e-mail from CILT today with the latest copy of the Primary Languages e-Zine.

This online magazine contains news of QCA units, CILT publications and more, and also takes a topic for consideration.

The focus for this edition is STORYTELLING with ideas of how to get started, how to move on and how it fits into the Primary Curriculum and some ideas for resources as CILT staff choose their favourite books.

There's also a section called 'What you're doing' which contains reports on how various people have used storytelling in the Primary language classroom - including Handa's Surprise, Jules Verne and Go away Big Green Monster - written by someone you might know ;o) - as well as ideas for where to obtain *free* resources for storytelling and what research says about the use of stories.

Well worth a read!

Tweeting with Year 5.

I had a visit today from Bren Taylor (AKA @edugame), Education consultant at Link2ICT, who wanted to have a look at how I used technology and especially social networking tools in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning.

He'd done his homework as he'd already seen my blog and the WCPS wikispace that I created as the next step for pupils to have their own area to showcase their work with me. We talked for a bit about previous projects and activities including replying to Ewan McIntosh's tweet, and using Twitter to ask questions in RE before he saw a Spanish lesson with year 5.

Today we were starting a new topic - Yo soy músico. The first lesson involves learning a song based on I am the musicman, taking about instruments that you can play and also beginning to give opinions about music. So, rather than stick to asking the kids, I decided to use my Twitter mates to help me.

I sent out a warning tweet last night (before the football overtook me!)

so people knew to be watching out for my request today - and I actually got several answers last night at people would be busy this morning.

In the lesson, we talked about Twitter and how we might use it, and the kids were fascinated by looking at my page, and seeing how many followers I had - they were particularly impressed by my being 'followed by' Robert Llewellyn from Scrap Heap Challenge!

I showed them the answers we had received already and we were able to look at them and discuss different types of music - a good debate about how to define 'alternative' music - and also instruments like bodhran and the harp. Highlight of this section was a demonstration of masterful ocarina playing on the iPhone by Bren!!

There was a response in Spanish and I was able to read this with the class and, even before I asked them, they were decoding the meaning using all their LLS and KAL skills. Proud teacher :o)

We then posted our tweet and refreshed my replies after a minute to see that we'd already had one response, soon to be followed by another 7 or 8 over the next few minutes.

We used the responses later in the lesson when we were forming sentences in Spanish. Again,we used a tweet in Spanish already as a starting point, pickd out key words and then used the tweets in English to give us ideas of how we might respond to the question ¿Tocas algún instrumento musical? Pupils then worked in pairs to form their sentences; these were shared and the class commented on what was good about each example and ideas for improvement , e.g. word order; use of connectives; varying the instruments from 'el piano'; using past vocabulary etc.

When asked if they'd enjoyed the lesson, many pupils said yes. And I could tell from their behaviour that the class were engaged. Definitely a thumbs up from class and teacher!

So, in case you missed it earlier -

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Get that fuzzy animation feeling!

When I met up with Oscar Stringer at the Primary Languages Show in Liverpool, he told me about his recent experience of using Fuzzy Felts when animating with younger pupils, so I was really excited to see some of the work he did last week on his blog.

In Animation with Reception (Early Years), Oscar shares how he used the farmyard Fuzzy Felts with small groups of pupils for 20 or so minutes, making up simple stories involving the animals and the farmer, taking the required shots before using iMovie to create the finished product with sound.

Several things excited me about this!

Firstly, it's so simple - no models to make- just take the pieces out of the box and off you go!
Secondly, it worked with young pupils - I made plasticine monster models with Yr2 but wasn't brave enough to animate them - yet!
And possibly the most exciting thing for me as Oscar told me, and I can see the evidence in the clip, is that it makes for very simple stories of the kind that are so useful in language learning.

Do cows eat apples? No!
Do ducks eat apples? No!
Do dogs eat apples? NO!
Do horses eat apples? YES!

¿Eres mi mamá? ( the chick asks the cow.) ¡No! etc

Une vache habite un étang? Non!
Une poule habite un étang? Non!
Le fermier habite un étang? Non!

And anyone could make up such a story, young or old, using simple language to create their own version.

So pop by Oscar's blog and see if it inspires you too!

I'm off to ELC to get myself some fuzzy felts - the house set is on offer as are ballerinas and pirates!

Monday, 13 April 2009

Absorbing Language Learning - Language World 2009

I was lucky enough to be asked to present this year at Language World, the annual conference of the Association for Language Learning (ALL), which took place at University of Leicester on 3rd and 4th April.

My presentation was entitled Absorbing Language Learning and offered ideas to engage enthuse and stimulate language learners, particularly focusing on the Primary Language Learning context although the ideas are all transferable.

I was really glad to be on the programme near the beginning of the conference as I was then able to relax and enjoy the rest of it. And I was also really chuffed that my session was so full - we only just had enough chairs!

As promised, here is the presentation with links to all the resources. The battery on my iRiver sadly gave up midway through the session, but the lovely Joe Dale had given the equally lovely Alex Blagona an iRiver to record me too so I will shortly add the audio to the Slideshare and then you'll be able to hear me too!

Links to sites and resources can also be found in my delicious bookmarks under lw09

photos -

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter ¡Felices pascuas!

Penrhyn Castle, originally uploaded by lisibo.

Wishing you all a happy Easter

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Recalling vocabulary!

Brilliant ideas on how to recall pets in French using 'pegging technique'-

un chien - a 'she' dog called Ann
un lapin - a rabbit on your lap in a pan
un hamster - a staring hamster
un perroquet - a parrot on your shoulder eating a pear saying OK
un souris - Sue the mouse looking for her friend Rhi(ann)
un cochon d'Inde - a cuddly guinea pig munching a dand(elion)
un poisson - a fish munching a croissant

Thanks Michelle!

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