Sunday, 31 May 2009

The art of persuasion.

I picked up the above tweet earlier from Chris Craft, a teacher at CrossRoads Middle School.

Intrigued, I checked it out and found the following.

A few things struck me;

You might also want to check out SpanTube, Chris' channe on which you can find videos made by his classes. they include a series of films featuring Eugene who really should pay more attention in Spanish class as she seems to misunderstand lots of signs around school!

Can I join your class, Sr Craft??

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Response to Next Steps in ICT for the Primary Language Classroom - LANCASTER

Jayne Jackson, one of the delegates who attended the Next Steps in ICT for the Primary Languages Classroom (And active member of Talkabout Primary MFL) has made the following in response to the course. She tried to embed it as a comment on the blog post but unfortunately the comment feature in Blogger is limited in its use of html code so I've posted it here.

Jayne also let me know that she's started a wiki for her school following on from the course.
It's always good to know what happens 'after the event'.

PS I'm in the middle of making all the Slideshares of my presentations into Slidecasts - it is taking some time but the first session is done!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Força Barça!

Altogether now .....

Blaugrana al vent,
un crit valent,
tenim un nom,
el sap tothom:
Barça, Barça, Barça!

Monday, 25 May 2009

¡Hasta la próxima!

The Premiership season is over - how will I get to sleep at the weekend without Gary and Adrian?

Liverpool may not have won the Premiership, nor the Champions League but they still have the one and only 'Nando xx

Looking forward to seeing him in action for Spain soon!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

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

PhotobucketI had the pleasure of delivering the Next steps in ICT for the Primary Language Classroom at University of Cumbria in Lancaster on Tuesday. I had delivered the same in Cambridge last month, and whilst the presentations were identical, the days were quite different with the delegates taking a greater lead this time in guiding where we went. That always keeps you on your toes!

Below are my presentations from the day - you can also find these on the event wiki which was set up for us to 'play around'.

Thank you to my 6 'victims' as I referred to them on Twitter; to my Tweetmates who responded to my request to say hello; and to CILT for giving me this opportunity to share my enthusiasm for ICT and Primary Languages with others.

Don't stop movin

Not a post about S Club 7 (athough I will say that my boys are big fans of Hannah who's in Primeval now!) but about something that was reinforced in my mind last night.

The Assistant Head at school had been asked to run part of the PDM on EAL (English as an additional language) and to give some brief ideas on how to make life easier for EAL pupils at school. We don't have many but it is an important issue - and one that is relevant in general too! On a recent course she had attended, the presenter had taught them some Welsh to put the delegates in the position of an EAL learner, and Jan had asked me to emulate this - her exact request was 'you know an oscure Spanish dialect don't you? Could you teach us some?' Not sure how the Catalans would respond to hearing Catalan described as such but I took the challenge.

The idea was to teach numbers 1-12 and then do some basic maths but without using visual prompts like fingers, cards, notes, actions or mimes until about half way through the session. Thus the staff were put in the place of a learner who is capable to doing the task - all our staff can add and subtract numbers up to 12!- but don't have the vocabulary to understand the task.

What struck me was how hard I found it to teach without using actions - I literally had to put my hands in my pockets or hold them together to stop myself gesturing. I found it really uncomfortable to see the looks on my colleagues' faces as they tried to work out what I wanted them to do - and I think I caved in quicker than I should have done. My style is very much waving my arms around, pointing, miming and using any clue I can to enable the pupils to understand.

When asked how they'd felt, it was obvious that the exercise had hit the mark as the staff immediately pinpointed the difficulty of understanding the task being the biggest stumbling block, and how much easier it had been once actions had been introduced, or the list of numbers being written on the wall. One colleague said that she'd given up trying after a few minutes as she was so baffled; another that she'd felt so inadequate and small as others had caught on more quickly than her, and almost humiliated (once she'd understood it) by the simplicity of the task that she'd been unable to do.

So, despite my discomfort at teaching in a way that is alien to me, I think the exercise served to underline just how important gesture and mime are in enabling understanding.

We played a game from Digital Dialects as part of my mini-lesson. Well worth a look if you want to learn - or even just look at - some basics in a wide range of different languages!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Let the kids lead the way!

One thing of which I have been reminded this weekend is how effective it is to let the kids do the evangelising for you when it comes to the use of new technologies.

It started at Teachmeet when we were brainstorming ideas for encouraging the reluctant teacher / colleague to get involved in exploring and using new tools. As I have grown in confidence with my use of technology and used it in the classroom, pupils have told their class teachers about things we have done and asked if they can use it in other areas of the curriculum. And I've been asked to tell the staff about podcasting and recording audio at a staffmeeting next month which is real progress.

That was Friday. Then on Saturday, my eldest asked me to help him make a Photostory for his Victorians topic. He found the pictures, worked on the transitions and cropping them to size, then worked on the script before recording the narration and composing some music as background. Isaac had got the idea from watching me learning how to make Photostory last year and has used them in a previous topics too - water and Egyptians. He's also become adept at searching for relevant Youtube video clips. And his use of technology has sparked an epidemic in his class. Once he'd shared his presentations, others in the class went home and emulated him.

On Sunday, I spent the afternoon making an animation with my other son Jude. He'd previously found plasticine left over from model making with Year 2 (we made monsters to describe in Spanish) and decided to make some models. Jude's a fan of 'show and tell' at school, and had taken a couple of the models in with him. When he got home he announced that he'd put his name down for show and tell next week to show 'the animation I'm going to make'. This was a week or so ago and he announced on Sunday that his slot was on Thursday so could we get on with it please!

Having got over probems with webcams in the house either missing driver CDs or being incompatible with my Mac, we used the iSight camera, ICan Animate and iMovie to produce the below. And Jude is very pleased with himself, having saved it onto a memory stick to take into school. And he's particularly pleased to have posted it onto Youtube. No doubt Jude too will start a spate of 'copying' but that's a good thing.

I'm really proud of my boys - and I'll continue to hope that their hard work inspires their peers.
And their teachers too! Isaac's teacher has been inspired to use Nintendo DS for Numeracy having watched his niece playing Brain Training so let's see what happens next.


IMG_2055, originally uploaded by José Picardo.

Having spent all day in London animating, I leapt onto a train to Birmingham, then home where I picked up my car and drove rapidly (but within the speed limit!) to the NCSL in Nottingham for TeachMeetMidlands09.

I'd been looking forward to this for ages and it was unfortunate that I arrived too late to hear the presentations by likes of Dan Needlestone (@nstone) and Ian Usher (@iusher).

I did catch lots of great presentations though and you too can see them by going to the Flashmeeting replay. You can also see my presentation about what's been going on at my school, showing examples of the sorts of things I've been using with pupils - Voki, Voicethread, Twitter, Slideshare - all saved on our new wiki.

And I had a lovely time chatting to friends old and new, having my Macbook customised with green Post-its and glacier mints, and leading the way in making the most of the provisions ;o)

Looking forward to the next TeachMeet I can attend - I've heard talk of TeachMeetGran Canaria......

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Animating at the Institute of Education

Friday was a busy day, starting off in London with an animation course run by Oscar Stringer at Institute of Education.

Working in two groups, we spent the day developing our animation skills, producing two short animations from initial idea to finished film complete with transitions, titles, sound and music. We used ICanAnimate to capture the animation then exported the film to iMovie to 'finish' it. My group used my Macbook and a Hue webcam - and it was lovely to meet the man behind Hue in the UK during the day as well (mine's on order from Amazon - went for the blue one in the end!) whilst the other group used an iMac and a driverless webcam.

James, Carolyn and I took our inspiration from the Mr Men. Firstly, our models followed the principles of Mr Men (which are also important principles for plasticine animation - big features, bold shapes and simple designs) and secondly, we made an animation with a message - suitable for PSHE and based on friendship in the playground - a lonely girl on a bench wanting to join in with a game of ball.

The day reinforced all that I already knew about animating - the importance of keeping things simple, of planning well before you start, of working in collaboration and of how much fun it is!
We laughed so much making the animations - my group's is posted below. This is the English version. We recorded three different ending - with the bench saying THE END in English, French and Spanish - so that we can use it in our classrooms and dub it in different languages.

If you want to find out more about animating, I can't recommend Oscar's courses enough. He has a real gift for making it all seem very simple (and it is) and conveys the great potential that animation has as a tool for creativity, collaboration, innovation and progression. Check out his website and his blog to find out more.

Amazing what you can do with a carpet tile, some plasticine and an idea!

Lisibo talks! - Again!

I was really touched to read the latest post on Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom in which Joe Dale talks about my podcast Lisibo talks!
His opening sentence - 'Primary language teacher and MFL blogger Lisa Stevens is an inspiration to many thanks to her indefatigable enthusiasm and willingness to experiment with new technologies' - made me blush furiously as did many of the other kind things Joe said. However, I really do hope that those who read the post choose to watch the video clip from Teachmeet at BETT09 as I really want to encourage people to have a go and experiment with technology and new ideas. And I've added the video here too.

PS Just posted a new episode of Lisibo talks! from the eTwinning Spanish links meeting in Manchester last Tuesday.


I'm very excited to pass on the news from Val Thornber of Little Tales of the Unexpected and Beelingua fame.

Her message reads -

I am delighted to inform you that a unique collection of GrowstoryGrow’s wonderful stories has just been published by Beelingua Products Ltd (makers of Little Tails of the Unexpected).

The stories are all designed to help primary school children effectively learn a foreign language.

Each story has sentence-building tasks, games, fun lesson plans and many other useful resources.

All of these stories are currently available “Free of Charge” for a trial period.

COMING SOON - over 100 extra stories will be available in many languages including German, Italian, Urdu, Russian, Hindi, Portuguese, Arabic and Polish.

Over the course of the next few months we will be regularly publishing these new stories. If you would like us to tell you about these new publications you need to subscribe to our newsletter.

Please forward tell parents, teachers and friends who you think may find GrowStoryGrow stories useful. Why not try out the stories with your children TODAY and please let us have any feedback by sending an email to Valerie Thornber (creator of GSG):

To access the stories you will need to log-in to the website

There you will receive a trial login and be able to try out the product for a while.

I love Les sacs en plastique - very simple but with an important message; and Le monstre de la musique is very amusing too - if only it were in Spanish, I could use it wth Year 5 in their current unit of work!

Can't wait for more languages and more stories to be added.

If yu check out the site in detail, you'll find details of the methodology behind the resource, how the Scheme of work will be comprised and also details of pricing for September.

Well done Val and keep up the hard work!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

¡Viva Eurovision!

Getting into the Eurovision spirit ....

Here's the Andorran entry La teva decisió sung partly in Catalan (disappointed that it switches to English for the chorus but I guess that's so more people understand it!)

And the Spanish entry by Soraya called La noche es para mi (again has English in the chorus!)

Here are the words in case you feel the need to join in!
Vuelvo a mirar, tus ojos son un volcán
No escaparás, tu fuego dirá la verdad
No importa si quieres o no, porque hoy mando yo

Come on and take me, come on and shake me
Quiero saber lo que sientes por mí
Come on and take me, come on and shake me
¿Que no lo ves que estoy loca por ti?
Come set me free, just you and me
La noche es para mí

No puedo más, juro que mío serás
Ven a bailar, ya no podrás escapar
No importa si quieres o no, porque hoy mando yo

Come on and take me, come on and shake me
Quiero saber lo que sientes por mí
Come on and take me, come on and shake me
¿Que no lo ves que estoy loca por ti?
Come set me free, just you and me
La noche es para mí

Take me, shake me, take me

Brilla la luz, mi mágica noche eres tu
Ya no hay tabús
Quiero clavarte mi cruz

Come on and take me, come on and shake me
Quiero saber lo que sientes por mí
Come on and take me, come on and shake me
¿Que no lo ves que estoy loca por ti?
La noche es para mí
La noche es para mí
Come set me free, just you and me
La noche es para mí

Wonder who'll win? Could it be Jade and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber? Or Soraya? Who knows with the way the voting works at times!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

eTwinning Spanish links - Manchester 12th May

I spent this afternoon taking part in an eTwinning event at the British Council in Manchester, delivering a case study and explaining a bit about eTwinning.

Below is my presentation (soon to have sound added to it so you can listen and look!):

Spanish links seminar - Manchester.

Currently listening to Paz from the Consejeria de Educación talking about all the wonderful things that they do to promote Spanish within the UK and Ireland.

  • Courses for Primary teachers to improve their language skills,
  • Arsenal Double Club,
  • classes for Spanish children in the UK,
  • Ruta Quetzal,
  • resources held at Manchester University School of Language and Linguistics that you can borrow,
  • awards for Spanish Primary and Secondary School of the year
  • facilitating links between Local Authorities in UK and Ireland, and Consejerías de Educación of autonomous regions in Spain,
  • training British Council language assistants,
  • Spanish workshops
  • publications for Primary and Secondary including TECLA and Acti/España - published online
Check out their website for more information of the great work they do!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Los Miserables

I love musicals and thought I'd share this clip from Los Miserables with you as I love it!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Cinco de mayo

Fed up at going back to work after the Bank Holiday? Here's a quick guide to How to celebrate Cinco de mayo!

Here's a video giving details of how and why Cinco de mayo is celebrated.


And this is hilarious!!

Monday, 4 May 2009

Happy Star Wars Day!

Hope you're all having a lovely Bank Holiday. A little clip to amuse you all on this, Star Wars Day! You can't go wrong with the Muppets!

May the fourth be with you!!

Sunday, 3 May 2009

MFL Flashmeeting - 4th May 2009

Language teacher? Fancy finding meeting up with other language teachers for an hour or so without leaving your own home? Why not join in the Bank Holiday MFL Flashmeeting at 9pm GMT tomorrow (Monday). All you need to join in is a computer with speakers although a microphone and a webcam will allow you to get more involved.

The brainchild of Joe Dale, you can read all about it on his blog here including instructions on how to join in by signing the wiki, and how to make sure you're prepared.

The suggested agenda is -

  • what is your favourite technology at the moment and how is it enhancing language learning?
  • the Rose Review and the proposals that technology be at the core of the primary curriculum
  • the value of creating your personal learning network and does the microblogging tool have a place in the classroom?
  • Web 2.0 CPD opportunities for next academic year - anyone like to organise a conference for language teachers interested in using ICT?
NB - the wiki is looking very full so if you find you can't get in, please don't despair. Master of technology Mr Dale will make sure that you can see the replay as soon as the meeting is over and will no doubt blog it too - unless I get there first ;o)

¡Adiós Señorita Ovejita Rosita! ¡Hola Pablito Pingüino!

Many of you who are regular visitors may have been puzzled at one time or another by a odd munching noise that started a few seconds after the page opened and went on sporadically whilst you read, Some worked out what it was, others remained puzzled, whilst still more asked me what it was.

For those who are still none the wiser, the noise was Señorita Ovejita Rosita, my virtual pet pink pig, who was a bit of a greedy guts and was constantly munching grass. There was an 'off' switch for her noise and as I had set it to 'off' I was unaware of how noisy she was.

However, after she freaked out attendees at a recent Flashmeeting and provoked comment in the chat, I felt enough was enough, and Señorita Ovejita Rosita has been moved on to greater things.

Her replacement is the altogether more placid (and silent!) Pablito Pingüino. Feel free to toss him a fish every so often - he'd very much like that.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Using puppets and audio to encourage speaking - Update.

Following on from my post on Thursday about Teachmeet ASN-SEN, I have now extracted the audio from my very brief presentation using Audacity and Soundflower, levelled it with the Levelator, edited it to remove the numerous 'ums' and published as episode 5 of my podcast - )Lisibo talks!
Feeling very proud of myself (and I can now recognise the wave pattern of an 'um'!

Make sure you catch the replay of the whole meeting though as it is well worth listening to the other presenters who were brilliant! See for yourself below - and watch here.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Absorbing Language Learning - Slidecast

Thanks to Alex Blagona and Joe Dale who recorded and edited the audio, here's the Slidecast of my recent presentation at Language World in Leicester.

And if you want to listen on your mp3 player, you can download my podcast Lisibo talks!

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