Saturday, 20 December 2014

Christmas wishes and a plea

This is my blog's first Christmas... it has had almost 23k views since the middle of January. My intentions at the start were giving and sharing, and this Christmas time I would like to ask you to do the same...if you like my blog and have used any of the ideas, please consider donating £3 (or more) to UNICEF  on this link. This will buy a hat and gloves for a child in Syria this winter.
I have young kids and celebrate Christmas with all the magic, but I am also heartbroken for the millions of children who are victims of wars and who starve every day.
Please make a small difference.
Thank you for reading this.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Red herring

One of our favourite games in the classroom is red herring - a very engaging and competitive reading activity! We play it in groups, girls against boys most of the time. It works on a word level (list of numbers, etc) sentence level (list of 6 weather sentences, etc.) and text level (a postcard, role plays....).

  • The girls close their eyes and put their heads down on the tables (to resist the temptation to cheat...).
  • I pick a volunteer boy who comes to the board, and points to a word or sentence. That will be the red herring
  • The girls wake up and put their hands up to say the words or sentences. Every time they say one that is not the red herring, they get a point. 
  • But as soon as they find the red herring, the game is over, I count the points and the boys go to sleep.

An advice: write the answers down ( at least the initials), because they might try to say the same word/sentence twice by mistake or to gain more points.

It is a very useful reading activity, the pupils are really engaged and they all look at the board, you can easily praise the pupil for not saying the "h" in the word , for remembering what sound "j" makes or just to remind them of the upside down exclamation/question marks. 
Because of the mystery and excitement, they are all motivated to speak and don't get shy because I make them read in front of their classmates.
This game was also shared in my hub meeting in October, Janet my colleague likes playing it with her pupils and calls the game pommes empoisonées.

Which is your "red herring"?:-)

Saturday, 13 December 2014

West Lancs ALL Primary Languages Hub - 3rd meeting

The next West Lancashire ALL Primary Hub meeting will be on 14/01/2015. We will focus on the grammar part of the new PoS and discuss our favourite grammar activities.

Pupils should be taught to...
...understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where
relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency
verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to
build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English.
Languages programmes of study: key stage 2
National curriculum in England

Our hub offers peer to peer support to staff involved in primary languages, please come and share your ideas and thoughts with us! 
This will be our 3rd meeting, everybody is welcome, find out about what we have done before here.

For more information about the Association for Language Learning, go on the ALL website.

Friday, 12 December 2014

eTwinning - tools for collaboration ( #eTconf14, Rome)

At the end of November I was invited to participate in the eTwinning annual conference in Rome (#eTconf14). It was an amazing experience, I learnt a lot, met wonderful people, came home really inspired and decided to share my experiences on my blog.This post is about a workshop called Collaborative Activities: the key to successful eTwinning projects.

The whole point of the workshop was that instead of just presenting ideas, slides and presentations, the teams should collaborate in the projects and produce something together using different tools.We all had iPads/laptops and had fun testing these websites.

You can introduce yourself using Padlet. We all said a few words about ourselves, and my UK partner Vivienne and I even linked a photo of  some conference dessert with our introduction. (Right at the beginning of the workshop, the presenters said that you had to be careful with projects including UK teachers, because they are always on holiday...:-) We clarified this little misunderstanding by pointing out that we only had 6 weeks in the summer, and longer breaks during the school year.)

You can find a name for your group in Easypollsthe participants can vote for the best one.

You can design a logo together using Draw It Live.

You can write a poem together using TitanPad, it was good fun to read it together.

  AnswerGarden  is a good tool for evaluating the project, not just at the end, but during the project, as well.

 "Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress but working together is success."  (quote from the workshop description)
Thank you Paraskevi Belogia and Irene Pateraki!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas ideas (2)

Secret signal with the Advent calendar:
This is one of our favourite games we play in Spanish. It works really well with lists (days, months) and numbers. In this Advent version, two Santa detectives leave the room, the class agrees on who gives the signal (pulling an ear, winking, scratching the head etc.), and when the detectives are back, they have to guess who gives the secret signal: they have 2 chances each. The class can only say the next word if they see the secret signal.
I bought a big Advent calendar from Imaginarium at the airport duty free shop in Rome for under £5 (link here), but it is easy to make your own or use a chocolate Advent calendar instead. We practised saying the dates by playing this game but you can just say the numbers 1-24 to start with.
I also hid stickers in some of the pockets, the pupils had to say the date and they could check whether it was a lucky pocket! They love competitions!

Merry Christmas bunting:

I printed and laminated a multilingual Christmas bunting designed by Lively Languages who make the most amazing resources, check out their website on the link above. I challenged the pupils to learn to say "Merry Christmas" in different languages for some stickers, I am hoping to hear a lot of languages next Wednesday!

Roscón de Reyes:
I found a simple Roscón recipe and baked 8 mini cakes. It is not as hard as it sounds and I only made it for one class. It took about an hour to make them and we spent 10 minutes decorating them and 10 minutes writing about them. In Year 4 we are learning to describe people this half term, this cake project was good to revisit adjectives and plurals. For decorations we used smarties and haribos, they are easy to buy and handle. The class teacher decided which was the best one....number 5:-) (He is a minimalist!)

A song in assembly:

Y3 are planning to sing a Christmas song in Spanish, this is the one we chose:

We invented actions to go with the words: waving, drawing a Christmas tree in the air, putting our thumbs up, and shaking our bells. 

Here are Santa's helpers doing all the bunting laminating:-)