Monday, 31 August 2015

Phonics activities and the school year calendar

Throughout last academic year I wrote up a series of blog posts linked to times in the school calendar about activities we either had already used or were developing, to practise phonics and phoneme -grapheme/ letter string -spoken recognition in the target language.

At the start of this new academic year I have collated some of these  activities and blog posts so that we can revisit and use these as we work through the academic year 2015 -2016.

Autumn Term

We went on Autumn sound walks and hunted card leaves with key letter strings from target language colours 

.....and we used a favourite KS1 language game too.It's called Crocodile Paths but became our Autumn leaves march :

Crocodile Paths -listening and responding- can the children make a marching rhyme of their favourite sounds. Create stepping stone cards om the floor of the sounds - repeated several times so for instance if we are using 6 sounds then we can have 4 sets of each sound so that there are 24 stepping stones. Ask the class to march across the stepping stones and say/sing their marching rhyme.Call "crocodile" and the children must freeze. Pull a one of the sounds written on small cards out of a bag or a box and say the sound for the class. any children stood on that sound stepping stone must sit out the "crocodile has  caught the child

We practised sounds with our Firework rhyme n KS1 and our Firework poem in KS2

KS1 Rockets and Firework Colour Song 

Fireworks LKS2 performance poem

We created a simple Christmas greetings song and broke the song down in to sounds and bells and created a "Ding Dong Bell Phonics and Song activity

Ding !Dong! Bell!


We began the year with na celebration of epiphany and created letter string "galette des rois" and "roscon de reyes"

For Carnival we had our wonderful stretchy letter and sound carnival balloons!

Take a look Stretchy sound and letter carnival balloons

We hunted Easter egg sounds to create target language Easter greetings

Easter egg sounds


We went fishing for sounds Fishing for sounds

Striding out a sentence

With our young language learners who are now in their second year or beyond of learning a language in KS2 we will be encouraging them all to try to form sentences- both spoken and written- in the target language this year.
These will range from simple noun, verb,adjective sentences  (KS2 second year of language learning)  to sentences using adverbs and maybe prepositions or that use conjunctions to create more complex sentences (KS2 fourth year of language learning). 

Here is a game that can be repeated and it is also a way to measure progress informally- take stock at the beginning of the year and repeat later in the year and see how much improvement there is over the year.

  • You need a space and a straight walk way.
  • You need a picture or prompt stimulus- with a familiar context and content

When you first play the game , invite a volunteer to stride along the line and make up their own sentence to reach the picture or prompt.Each stride is a part of the sentences

e.g.- take a very simple sentence and picture : the dog is black" 

First stride : "The"
Second stride: " dog"
Third stride: "is"
Fourth stride: "black" 

Can the volunteer complete the four strides independently or does the volunteer need to ask for help?
If he/she needs help then a signpost is needed! The signpost is a second child who can show the first child the word or help the child to create the verb correctly etc, so that the first child can keep on striding to the picture or prompt.
Great opportunity here for AfL
You could ask the rest of the class ot think what thewy would say and to write this on mini whiteboards to show at the end when their classmate has completed his or her "striding sentence". 

To take this further,make it a timed challenge! 
You need a stop watch or timer.
How quickly can a child complete an accurate striding sentence

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Klee facial expression flap phrases and picture gallery

I love Paul Klee and the way he uses building blocks of colour in his Art to convey emotion and meaning.... so what an ideal artist to use to allow the children to create their own "facial expression" art work .

I suggest that you use this picture,Senecio:

This Art and writing lesson follows on from the lesson blog post I posted  Universal facial expressions ,emotions and different languages.

We will be using the ideas in both these blog posts to celebrate Euroepan Day of Languages 2015.
Additional resources and lessons guides are available on the VLE  for the Janet Lloyd Network 
  1. Revisit emotions, facial expressions and target language phrases the children can say that add "sound and language" to the emotion.
  2. You could hold a "physical face display " here with a card picture frame that the children use, by holiding up and using their face and the emotion and target language phrase to fill the picture frame and become the picture.You will need to model this first.
  3. Take a look with the class at Klee's picture "Senecio"
  4. Ask the children to follow Klee's model and to draw a picture of  the outline of a face.
  5. Give the children coloured card or paper and ask the children to add blocks of colur made from the card on the face .
  6. Each block of colour represents an emotion and acts as a flap under which the child draws a symbol or face to represent the emotion and writes the appropriate target language or target languages phrase linked to the emotion.
  7. Create a class display of "Klee facial expression flap phrases and pictures"


Monday, 24 August 2015

Universal facial expressions, emotions and different languages

Everyone's face is different , but every face tells a story and can convey emotions. 

We will  be using this clip and the clip below from Marcel Marceau on European Day of Languages this year to celebrate faces, facial expression and how we can convey so many emotions using our faces.

Our theme is " How are you feeling?" and we will explore different languages and how the face is a universal tool to share feelings and emotions but how different languages use differnet sound patterns and words to express the universal message of  "facial expressions" .

I would suggest you only use part of the World Faces clip - partly because it is quite long and also because two of the adult faces appear with a cigarette in hand.

The Marcel Marceau clip below is ideal to explore how you can use your face to change the mood etc.You can discuss with the children how he conveys emotions without speaking and creates lots of different masks with just his face!

We will be creating a pack of resources and a lesson plan guide for network members so we can explore key phrases, their sounds in different languages and how to say and express facially these pharses.This can be accessed on the VLE - should you be a member- in the seasonal specials European Languages folder.

However the simplest approach that everyone can use is shared below.I have based this on  using any the target language that you may be teaching your children.You could teach a new language or combine familiar targte language and a new language or two! 

  1. Select some key emotions
  2. Select key phrases to express these emotions in the target language.
  3. Play a short excerpt of the world Faces clip and ask the children to decide what emotion they think is being converyed by certain faces , when you pause the clip.
  4. Can the children think of a phrase or a way of adding spoken language to the feeling they can see?
  5. Share you selected phrases and facial expressions with the class
  6. Can the children guess what emotion you are trying to convey.
  7. Discuss emotions
  8. Watch a short excerpt of the Marcel Marceau clip and ask the children to watch how his face can change so quickly.
  9. Ask the class to practise facial expressions of emotions with some simple familiar target language phrases (greetings ,farewells, how feeling, birthday greetings, etc)
  10. Observing another child in the class ,listening to their target language phrases and if necessary using a  bilingual dictionary to access the language can they read the facial expressions of another person in the class (e.g sad, happy,excited,tired.....)
  11. If you can - why not teach key phrases in a new language and ask the children to explore the sound of these key phrases and how they can use the same facial expressions  from the familoar target language activity to explain the meaning of the phrases. 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Revisiting language.Observation Game -Watching,Reading,Speaking

This activity works well with a video clip linked to culture or festivals – so a party, an event , a festival, a journey through the target language country, a visit to a famous place or town in the target language country.

At the start of the year it is a great activity to use with moving on learners to revisit familiar language and take a tour around the taret language country or set the scene for the academic year's learning with a cultural focus.

So select your video clip stimulus material!
Watch the clip carefully and select the key words (nouns,adjectives, verbs will all work well here!)

It's a game that I have played lots of times with all age groups of learners.Works well with adult learmers too.

You can revisit know language, practise new language or investigate unknown language using a bilingual dictionary first ..... 

Game One
Give each child five word cards. Each word is a noun of an object, place, person or building they will see in the video.
 Ask the children to watch the video clip and pick up a specific word card and wave it when they think they have seen one of the five words they have in front of them.
Ask the children to then share their order of the written words cards with a partner, by saying them in the order they have placed them and as they observed them appear on the video clip

Game Two
Working in pairs give them all the noun cards. The object of the game is to place the nouns face down in a pile when they see that object. Each partner should be holding 9 cards or have 9 cards face upwards on the table so that they can see the words. When they see one of their objects  , they place the correct word card in a growing pile of cards.
After they have watched the whole video clip, they should compare the words in their pile with those of   another pair. They must carefully pick up the pile. Turn it face up and take it in turns to read the noun at the top of the pile. Once read they should put this word at the bottom of the pile. Do both pairs have the cards in the same order?

Report back
Can the pairs now create a tourist information report using the phrase  e.g. “ A Paris il y a + nouns” in their pile , in the order they saw the places and objects etc.

Volunteer pairs to say their “Tourist information report” to the class.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Let's open the window on the target language World

I love buildings and I love doors and windows.I like to imagine who may be behind the door etc.
With our more advanced learners at the start of the academic year it is a great opportunity to get them talking again! 
Let's give them a picture stimulus for this!

Here are  some photos I have taken this year in France and Spain that we are going to use to get our children using prior knowledge in the target language in a creative way!

All the pictures involve the children pretending to open a window or a door to reveal the person behind the door and create the character.
Just who is behind the door or the window?

This activity and the picture stimulus is a great device to focus on grammar from the previous year.

We can ask the children to use adjectives to describe the person behind a specific window or door.
We can ask the children to use verbs to allow the person behind the window or the door to explain what he/she is doing or whet he/she likes to do
We can use questions and answres to find out more in the first and secind person singular about the person behind the window or door.

All the children need to do is open the door or window of their choice and create the imaginary character behind the door or window! 
Let them stick the picture in their record books and ask them to cut round three sides of their chosen window or the frame of the door and add a drawn sketch of their imaginary person or creature behind the closed window or door.

This can be a spoken activity or it could be a written text ........
Great fun and creative use of language at the same time and an opportunity to revisit and re-use language and structure from prior learning.

A bouquet of greetings for European Day of Languages!

Just been out for coffee and have bought this origami flower from the charity box on the coffee shop counter.Brilliant idea for back to school and starting language learning again for the year or also for European Day of Languages.
Take a look at the flower head below and the ideas it made me think about!This is where the activity starts! 

Each child needs a printed small map of the target language country- as this is what the flower head is created from and a green straw or a stick covered in coloured paper.
I have a found a tutorial step by step guide to making the flowers here 
Craftus Paper Flower Bouquet

Below is my ideas for the language classroom,using these origami flowers on European Day of Languages.

Make a class bouquet of flowers for European Day of Languages.

  • First take a look at a map of Europe
  • Identify countries and languages spoken.
  • Practise greetings in different target languages
  • Give each  child a square piece of paper map print out of Europe.Ask the children to write five favourite target language greetings in or next to the country where the target language greeting is used.
  • Create the folded flowers .
  • Now you have a class bouquet of greetings from European countries!
  • You could do something very similar with a map of the world or a map of a continent e.g Africa where lots of European languages are spoken.
(I think that we could use this idea just as effectively at the start of the year , as an opportunity with UKS2 to look at a map of the target language country. We could then ask the children to write on the reverse of the map as many words/ or a selection of their favourite words that they can remember from last year's language learning.The children can make their flowers and take them home to give to a parent or carer and to announce that they are learning a language again this year on school!) 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Touch Base AfL Game

Start of the new academic year and what can the children remember from last year? 
A great and easy game to play to revisit core language that you want the children to be able to use throughout this next academic year!

The game allows you the chance to do some AfL aswell.
You can observe and see if children react correctly and you can also collect in their scores and see how well each child listened and responded to key language.

You need a "buzzer" card (just a circle of coloured paper) - one between two children. Make sure that is equi-distant between the two children.

The game is simple.
You can play this with so many elements of language:

  • basic language- numbers/ colours/days of the week/ months of the year 
  • questions to find out about someone
  • spotting verbs
  • spotting adjectives
  • spotting nouns
How to play Touch Base!
One child is "the player" and the other child is "the counter".
The counter must observe and count how many times the child who is the player touches the buzzer card.

Ask the player to listen to key language that you say.They are listening for specific language content (e.g. numbers or nouns or adjectives).
Say several items- the children need to touch their buzzer card when they hear key language that is within the category you have asked them to listen for.

Ask the "counters" to let you now how many times their partner touched the buzzer.All they have to do is jot the number down on a piece of paper  with the name of their partner and the buzzer game they took part in.You could just opt for a show of hands from the counters when you call out the number of times that the player might have pressed their many hands go up on the correct amount you are expecting?

Now ask the children to swap roles and play a new but similar the game  of "Touch Base"

With learners who are moving on or are advanced primary learners, you can make this a game where they have to identify the nouns or the adjectrives or the verbs in  spoken list.  

Revisiting numbers and physical listening and responding.

Every year you think that all the children have "got" those numbers ....and then at the beginning of the year you realise that ssome of the children really haven't "got" those numbers yet!!
Here is a physical and  novel ways to revisit and practise the numbers and keep everyone engaged and interested, no matter if you are still practising one to ten or counting up in tens or even three digit numbers!

Firstly children need to be standing in a clear space- away from chairs and tables and with sufficient space inbetween each child.The hall or the playground woud be an ideal space.

Physical Warm Up with Numbers (Listening and responding activity) 

  • Everyone stands up .
  • Tell the class that the number they represent standing up is a specific number e.g "eleven".You decide the number and this  number can be changed as you go along.
  • Ask the class to stand very still and listen...
  • If they hear a number higher than "eleven" (if that's the number you have chosen as the standing up straight number) they must reach to the sky with their arms and hands.
  • If they hear a number lower than "eleven" they need to touch their toes.
  • Start with one number and say it slowly 
  • Speed up the numbers- who can keep up?
  • Say a sequence of numbers (mixture of numbers,higher and lower than eleven ) which children can deminstarte a correct pattern of movements.
  • Ask for a volunteer to lead the activity.
  • Play the game as "the slowest to react is out"!  

Mirror mirror on the wall......

Start of the new school year and time to revisit the personal information questions and answers from previous years of language learning.
We have put in to place lots of games and activities over the last couple of years to make the revisiting of core language a challenge, a competition, a way to reflect on what we have learnt.

Here is another way that I think we can use at the start of the year to bring back in to focus the language we learnt last year etc to describe ourselves and ask questions of others.

The idea of the mirror on the wall allows us to practise first and second person singular questions and responses!
Each child needs an oval piece of paper:

Question and Answer Mirrors
On one side of the paper ask the children to write down the key information they think they can say about themselves in the target language.So for example a beginner learner from last year should be able to say  a name phrase/ a feeling/ where he/she lives/ his or her age and something he/ she likes (animal or colour or food).This is the "answer mirror"

On the other side of the paper (remember this is a mirror on the wall) ask the children to draw some symbol prompts for the questions: for example a beginner learner's symbols could be : a name tag / a house outline/ a birthday cake with candles/ a smiley face/ a heart shape.This is the "question mirror".

Play a game of spot the question and answer!
  • Ask the children to have their oval shapes infront of them on the desk with the answer mirror face up. 
  • Call out a question to elicit the information the children have put on their oval shapes.
  • Ask the children to listen to your question and to point to the response they would give.
  • Ask a child the specific question and ask them to read out their resonse.
  • Ask the children to turn over their ovals and this time to listen to the question, identify the symbol they have drawn as the question prompt and whisper to a partner the question that you as the teacher have just said.  

Mirror Mirror on the Wall!
Working with a partner, ask the children to take it in turns to ask and answer the questions  on their mirror oval shapes.
One child places his /her mirror "question mirror" face up on the table or on the wall with blu-tac.
The other child must look at the question prompt symbols, point to the symbol  and ask a question.
Can the first child give the answer that he/she has written on the answer side of the mirror?

Mirrors on the Wall .
Create with the children card versions of mirrors - whichever shape the child wants to use.
Ask the children to draw a sketch of their own faces on the mirrors.They will need to use pastel colours for this
Over the top ask the children to write their favourite five questions and five answers about themselves that they can say on the target language.They will need to use a dark crayon or felt tip for this.
On the reverse side of the mirror ask the children to write in English two more details they would like to be able to use in their personal information questions and answers this year in the target language to describe themselves in more detail.
Hang the mirrors on the wall - as a mirror mobile!


Monday, 17 August 2015

"Stepping Stones" and a first lesson back!

Time to get back to learning and to build on prior learning and move on forwards.
Here is a simple context that can help all our learners no matter how much or how little they have already learnt in the target language.Take a look at the picture above .....

Ask the children to look at the picture and to see the stepping stones in the picture.
Should we as a class find out how securely we can stand on the first three stepping stones 

Stepping Stones.

Stepping Stone One:
Reflect on what we already know - our numbers,our colours, our greetings....

  • Think of a rhyme, a song or a game we can create,use or do which will allow us as a class to practise the language we already know.(Great way for a new class teacher to find out the strengths and knowledge of a class from the previous language learning)

Now we are standing securely on our first stepping stone.....

Stepping Stone Two:
Recall and remember an authentic song or rhyme that we learnt last year.

  • Can we still sing it or say it? Are there actions to go with it?
  • How does it feel to be able to remember the song or rhyme from last year and to still be able to join in with the rest of the class and perform it?
  • Can the class teach the teacher the song or rhyme and its actions?
Now we are standing securely on our second stepping stone.......

Stepping Stone Three:  
Recall and  remember the questions and answers we can use about ourselves and to find out about others.

  • What can we say about ourselves? How can we help each other to remember the answers?
  • What questions can we ask about others?How can we help each other to remember the questions? 
Now we are standing securely on our third stepping stone.......

Stepping Stone Four:
Take a look at the picture at the top of the blog post again.
Take a look at the picture with the children - the stepping stones are about to turn a corner.
Let's use the fourth stepping stone to lay down the ground rules so that we can move securely from stepping stone to stepping stone and off in to the distance!
Let's ask ourselves:

  • Why was the game or the song or the rhyme enjoyable and how did this help us to remember language?
  • Why do we like learning authentic songs and rhymes?
  • How do actions help us?
  • Why do we like being able to ask and answer questions about ourselves?
Stepping Stone Five:
Now we are ready to step off and move in to unknown territory and our final stepping stone needs to be something new..... over to you and your class!