Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Las pulseras de Valladolid

A few weeks ago we received a parcel from our penpals in Colegio Compañía de María - La Enseñanza in Valladolid.  Among other exciting gifts there were some packets of elastic bands the kids use to make bracelets with, and Natalia, the class teacher wanted to share this activity with us.

 This is really popular with children in Spain at the moment and making bracelets seems a good chance for us to practise colour agreements, get to know Spanish speaking World Cup countries, follow intstructions in Spanish and learn to compliment each other's work.
I bought more elastic bands on ebay to have a bigger choice.
Today we started to make our jewelleries with the elastic bands... We made bracelets, rings and keyring charms while practising Spanish.
Beware! Complete chaos unless you work in small groups!:-)
I made a PowerPoint Presentation of the language content, printed the slides out and put them on the desks.
Colours that change their endings:
We were lucky, because Natalia sent us a video of some of her pupils showing us what to do. I have written the most important steps down.
Spanish speaking countries:I encouraged the children to use the flag colours of the World Cup.

I am very proud of my pupils' work. Watch this space for more elastic band jewellery!

 Thank you Mrs Krajewski, without you I simply couldn't cope, and thank you Natalia, you always make sure we are entertained:-)



Friday, 25 April 2014

Light Bulb Languages

While desperately looking for resources at the beginning of my primary teaching career 5 years ago, I came across the MFL Sunderland site. I was amazed at the wide range of resources and links it was offering for free! PowerPoints, quizzes, word searches and schemes  of work in one place. I got updates on Twitter about new resources so I just lived my life knowing that in every single topic I teach, there would be loads of support and fun material on the MFL Sunderland website.
Then on a dark day, a tweet announced the end of the MFL Sunderland website!

My heart stopped for a minute, my face turned pale, I started to shake, and got into a state of panic because I wanted to save and copy all the files from it before it would disappear. I felt frustrated that such an amazing site would close down so I was very happy and relieved when a bit later another tweet confirmed that it would come back under a different name....
And soon Light Bulb Languages opened its doors:-)


I love the site, because it is very clearly structured, and it is so easy to find what I need!

My favourite parts are:
  • the Primary Spanish links where you can find schemes of work, flashcards, assessment sheets, PowerPoints, games, puzzles and so many more things in a wide range of topics: numbers, days, animals, transport, weather, places in town, telling the time, etc...
  • the Intercultural Understanding links in the section quoted above
  • the transition links from KS2 to KS3,
  • the site's own blog  where I can find out about the latest updates and more teaching ideas (great World Cup activities!)
  • and of course the World Cup ideas!!!
Apart from Spanish, there are loads of materials in French, German and Italian for KS2, KS3, KS4 and A level, too.
You can follow @LightBulbLangs on Twitter for regular updates.

Please visit the the site if you haven't been there yet, you will love it! I am wishing you lots of light bulb moments of inspiration!:-)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Football World Cup activities

I am a big football fan! 2 years ago during the European Cup I was like a tiger in its cage because I was off on maternity leave and couldn't express all my football love in my lessons, which was very frustrating, so my poor newborn daughter had to celebrate Spain's victory with me, like this:

This year I have thought of some activities to celebrate the World Cup, it is payback time for the girls who really enjoyed making bracelets for Mother's Day :-)

I made a slide with the flags of  the Spanish speaking countries of the World Cup, we will practise the colours playing the "Who is quicker?" game with our dusters/ fly swatters.  We will play "red herring", a game between two teams of the class: while one team goes to sleep on their tables, a volunteer from the other team will point to a country in silence, and when the sleeping ones wake up, they have to guess which country is the "red herring". But there is a twist: they actually have to avoid this country, and they get points every time they say a different one. As soon as they say the red herring, the game is over and we count the points. We play it between boys and girls, twice each time. It is a very exciting game, and it gives us plenty of opportunities to practise the pronunciation of México, Argentina, España, Honduras. In most of my lessons we mention Colombus Day/ Día de la Hispanidad in October, now there is a good chance to ask whether they remember why they speak Spanish in all of these countries.


Players: another good chance to practise phonetics:-), although I have to be careful here because some players are Catalan and say their names differently. Casillas, Hernández, Sergio, David Villa, David Silva, isn't it fantastic to see all these written down and be able to say them correctly? The BBC football commentators definitely didn't do Spanish in school, I feel pain in my heart every time they say Sergio incorrectly, about a hundred times during each match. Apart from "Who is quicker?",  and "the red herring" we can play "Who am I?" describing them physically and saying how old they are.

Designing a mascot for the game or for a Spanish speaking country is a good chance to revisit the body parts.
Similarly, designing a national outfit for a Spanish speaking team using the flag colours gives a good opportunity to learn/revisit the names of the clothes.

And one more of those: design the winning trophy to practise writing. I have included England, too:-). I have trophy templates from 4 years ago, they can write the name of a country on it and decorate it with the flag colours (I keep pieces of crepe paper that fall off my colour pompoms).
 They can include praising words on them:

 And they can wish good luck to their favourite Spanish speaking team!

Before the Winter Olympics started, I  had said that I would give a chocolate medal for every medal a Spanish speaking country gets.... I had a big mouth because apart from Spain no Spanish speaking countries had ever received a medal...But when they were coming to me before the start of my lessons for two weeks to say that they had checked the results and there were no medals yet, I felt really sorry for them, so this time I will do another challenge: for every Spanish speaking goal they will get a mini sticker, as long as they can name the country correctly in Spanish. And if a Spanish speaking team wins the World Cup, there will be chocolate for everyone:-)) 
 At the beginning of the lessons, when we do our general Q&A, I will always ask whether they love football.
 And the big ones (Year 5 and Year 6) will get another question:

 They can answer using "porque" and "pero", how exciting!

I am still looking for a good catchy song to support Spain, so far this is the best, it has the names of the football players! It is a bit out of date, from 2010, so I will ask my Spanish penpal Natalia for a better one when she comes back from her Easter holidays and update the blog. Or we will just have to make up our own song, which will be just as good!
There are plenty of more resources on the web, my favourites are the activities on the Light Bulb Languages website (check out the other topics, too, fantastic page) and there are lots of links on the Janet Lloyd Network site here.
If you worry about my daughter's football identity, I can assure you that she supports England now!

Just like me! In case my husband or Glen Johnson read my blog:-) 



But when nobody sees me I shout "¡ ¡Villa Villa Maravilla!!"


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Spanish leaders

Before I left for maternity leave a few years ago, a lovely colleague of mine had come up with an idea to continue Spanish in the school. She organised a small group of Y5 and Y6 pupils, planned games and activities and got them to visit all the classes of KS2 once a week! They worked on "old" topics, each week a different one. I made help sheets of all the topics we had covered (vocabulary and sentences), wrote down our favourite songs and created a list of the most popular games.

some of the help sheets 

 our favourite song book with CDs

When I went back to teach later that year, we decided to continue with the Spanish leaders and gave them a different job description: instead of doing "old" topics, they did a follow up activity the same week. I had to plan different games for each class and meet the leaders for 5 minutes every week to talk about the activitites. I left the CD on top of the Spanish cupboard in the hall and copied our  youtube songs on the teachers' laptops for easy access. I got the leaders Spain badges from ebay they could put on while they were working:-).
 these are from ebay
Last term we didn't have Spanish leaders but they are back from next week and I would like to try this idea in my other school too, so got  more badges from the Little Linguist stand at Language World 2014.
 these are from the Little Linguist
The advantages are obvious, the children get to use the language more than once a week and the class teachers who are not confident won't need to feel the pressure to speak, the leaders are great helping the pupils! As a visiting teacher I often feel frustrated that with 1 lesson a week and 30 children in the classroom we are not getting far, but using the more able ones to do an extra activity a few days later actually helps a lot.
I have blogged about the 10-minute teachers, the Spanish leaders, next time I will write about my Spanish helpers!

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sant Jordi: love, roses and books!

I am very lucky to have spent a few years in Barcelona, a city that will stay in my heart forever! I went there to learn Spanish a long time ago, but at that time I didn't realise how wrong I was because they were all speaking Catalan around me. I soon fell in love with the language though, went on courses on Thursday nights (they were free:-) and got to meet lovely people. After going back to university in Hungary, I always had Catalan lessons and enjoyed them a lot.
When we learn Spanish in the KS2 classroom, I like promoting the Catalan language .The boys love Barça, the football team, so as a treat we listen to their anthem in Catalan and shout "Barça, Barça, Barça". I tell them that I had the chance to listen to it in Camp Nou a few times and it was an amazing experience.

Around the 23rd of April we celebrate "el dia de Sant Jordi", the Catalan Valentine's day, when the men give the ladies a rose, and the ladies give the men a book! The rose comes from the legend of Saint George and the dragon, and we celebrate Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare by giving books as a gift, they both died on the same day on 23 April 1616 (or very close anyway...). I tell them about Cervantes, I show them one of my favourite books: Don Quijote, which is about 900 pages but makes me laugh out loud a lot , so it is well worth reading.

It is such a special day in Barcelona, the city is full of bookstalls and rose sellers:

In the past few years I took a bouquet of roses in and we did counting, plurals, and colour agreements with them, we played our big favourites: the hiding (hot/cold) game and the secret signal.
This year we will focus more on the books and because it is going to be the first week of the half term, we will have a minibook competition with the following 2 categories:
1, a book about why it is good to learn Spanish or a language,
2, a dictionary of a favourite topic.
The deadline will be sometime in the middle of May and I will get our penpals to choose the best one which will get a prize. All the entrances will be rewarded with my special certificates I got at Language World 2014:-). I will post a photo of the children's work in May.

¡Feliç Sant Jordi!

I wrote this post in memory of my Catalan teacher, Eloi Castelló.