Sunday, 6 December 2015

The 12 joys of teaching: Day 7

On Day 7 of #12jot15 I am sharing the joy of singing a Hungarian song together with my Year 5 pupils. They will perform it at the Christmas Carol night, the theme is "Christmas around the world", where every class will represent a different country, and I am so pleased that Year 5 have chosen Hungary! 

It was such an emotional experience to be in the classroom practising the song... I really understand this quote now:

"If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart" (Nelson Mandela)

Update on 26 December: You can listen to them sing here:

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The 12 joys of teaching: Day 6

On day 6 of #12jot15 I am sharing the joy of belonging to the etwinning community! I love working with teachers from other countries and collaborating on projects like learning languages together, making cookbooks or teaching each other playground games. The playground project will be published in the Languages Today magazine ( by the Association of Language Learning) which is amazing! 
Thank you Natalia, Carmen and Sarah for being excellent partners and inspiring me and the children:-)
Some links: 
My visit to Valladolid last year:

Carmen's blog:

The etwinning website:

Today I am sending you greetings from the etwinning training event from Nottingham! (With Vikki Bruff and Lisa Stevens)

Friday, 4 December 2015

The 12 joys of teaching - Day 5

On Day 5 of #12jot15 I remind myself of one of the most inspirational people I know: Joe Dale. He is the founder of #mfltwitterati and knows everything about technology! He is very supportive and approachable, make sure you follow him on Twitter (@joedale).
I learnt many things from him, the latest is green screening on the iPad with the Do Ink App.
Thank you, Joe:-)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The 12 joys of teaching - Day 4

On Day 4 of #12jot15 I am copying the Facebook post I wrote this afternoon:-)

Erzsi Culshaw feeling proud.
6 hrs
Well, I don't make £65k and not even the lowest amount mentioned in the government teaching advert, but I feel very rich because an ex-pupil just told me that his high school teacher said that his primary Spanish teacher must have been very good:-)

What a lovely thing to say, it feels good to be complimented!

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The 12 joys of teaching: Day 3

On Day 3 of #12jot15 I am sharing the joy of teaching with TOYS! I love taking toys in to my lessons to illustrate and aid learning.  Yesterday I took these Happy Town people in for my Year 5 and 6 pupils to "play with". They had to choose a person and describe their clothing using the right agreement for the adjectives. It was an exciting and engaging activity!

The 12 joys of teaching - Day 2

Today I am sharing the joy of having friends who are like me! Sue, my French teacher friend made me these shoes last Christmas... aren't they pretty? I could even use the idea for the Reyes for January! 
Here is the link to the template:
Thank you, Sue!

The 12 joys of teaching - Day 1

The 12 joys of teaching is trending on Twitter (#12jot15) and I have decided to jump on the bandwagon and share my joys with you! 
Day 1 was yesterday, when I remembered how much joy I find in learning from others and seeing other people's ideas develop and change in my primary Spanish lessons. 
With Year 6 we played Jenga to practise opinions and connectives, I took this photo, and here is the link to my previous blog post explaining the game. Thank you for the inspiration Rebecca, Eleanor and Morgan!

Friday, 30 October 2015

#eTconf15 - 10 steps to effective communication in eTwinning projects

Last week I attended the eTwinning Conference in Brussels (#eTconf15). It was a fantastic event, I met amazing people, saw inspiring keynotes and participated in fantastic workshops.I learnt a lot and now I am ready to use my new skills and spread the passion!
We were spoilt with the amount of available workshops, click on the programme to see how difficult it was to choose! There was one I definitely wanted to see : 10 steps to effective communication in eTwinning projects run by Irene Pateraki and Paraskevi Belogia. 
I tweeted the whole workshop presentation, here on my blog I will briefly list the 10 steps the Irene and Paraskevi suggest:

1, The pupils need to be confident with the technology they use throughout the project. This includes getting to know Twinspace.

2, Create Twinspace accounts for your pupils, and encourage them to participate on this platform and interact with other pupils. (I am struggling with this as I am a visiting teacher and I haven't got enough time and computers to give everybody the chance but there must be a way around it and I won't give up!)

3, Respect each other online, because the online world is like the real world!

4, Plan ice breaking activities so that the children can get to know each other and build better relationships.

5, Use the Twinspace communication tools: Twinmail, Discussion Forums and the Teacher Bulletin.

6, Add regular live elements (games, quizzes, chats).

7, Integrate collaborative activities into your project (team work, group work).

8, Engage the pupils in active learning: plan fun and creative activities.

9, Provide feedback, because good feedback is where learning happens.

10, Use the right ICT tools! Some examples:
  • schedule an online meeting in Meetinfyre or Doodle
  • use Twiddla for brainstorming or creating a logo for your project
  • use Voxopop for discussing and debating ideas
  • find each other on Zeemap
  • watch a video together on Watch2gether
  • play and learn in Kahoot
  • evaluate in TodaysMeet
  • more:

If you want to see the slides, check my tweets (@Erzsiculshaw) or search for #eTconf15 on Twitter.

Next blog post coming soon: tablets in eTwinning projects!
Now off to do some exercise after all those Belgian waffles:-)

Monday, 7 September 2015

New Year - new toys (6): a teaching trolley

The last "new toy" blog post is the best one - my teaching trolley! 

Happy New Year to all of you working in schools! I am just as nervous as I was 30 years ago!!!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

New Year- new toys (5): clapperboards

These are not new either but I had to buy some because the old one broke after excessive usage by enthusiastic pupils:-) I saw them on Carmen's blog first, follow her for more amazing ideas!
We do lots of role plays in the lessons, I set the scene and give different jobs out: the pupils love to volunteer to be the directors with the clapperboard, hold the spotlights and record the "movie" on the iPad, many times with a green screen in the back. Use big microphones for more drama!
The clapperboards are under £2 on ebay or Amazon. 

New Year - new toys (4): a parachute

I have a very old photocopy called "Parachute games in the primary languages classroom", and every time I tidy my resources, I just look at it and say: one day I will try this, but not now...

This year I am teaching lots of little ones (Reception and Year 1), so I am finally ready to give it a go, even if I have to use a hammer to knock some classroom walls out:-)
I bought my parachute on Amazon, and then another one on a local Facebook selling page, so no excuses for me, I will let you know how I get on.

Have you tried parachute games? Leave a comment if you want to help me out!

New Year- new toys (3): window pens

We used window pens before, they are great to motivate the pupils to write sentences and the window will be a lovely display area. 
It was an expensive activity until I found some very cheap white window pens in a local store last week (the Range), 4 for £1. I tried one and the quality looks OK. I also bought some coloured pens, these were £8.
The one thing I have never tried are window crayons, but now I have a beautiful set of them, too.


Thursday, 3 September 2015

New Year - new toys (2): syringe pens

I am sick of the missing full stops in my pupils' written work, so I bought some syringe pens online- these will be used by the sentence surgeons who will walk around during the written activity and check the sentences!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

New year - new toys! (1): answer buzzers

If you have seen my previous post, you must be thinking that there is something wrong with me for buying new things, but if you look carefully, you will realise that there is a little room left in those boxes!
August is a great month because I don't pay for childcare so I think I am incredibly rich and buy quite a few things for work. I will post a toy each day for a week to celebrate the start of the new year:-)

Toy number one: Answer Buzzers from Amazon - I am planning to use these for quizzes.
Thank you for the idea, Vikki Bruff!

My new classroom

Wrong title... I haven't got one.
But if I had one, I would put all my lovely topic boxes in, I would have a permanent green screen and lots of display boards with the children's work.
I love my job and being a visiting teacher but I am very jealous when I see  all the beautiful new classrooms on Twitter and Facebook at this time of the year.
Comment if you have an empty room in your school, I can move in next week:-)

Friday, 28 August 2015


School is starting next week, so the other day I started planning the whole year ahead on a big paper table cover - I didn't want to miss any detail!

On the very same morning, a parcel arrived from Amazon  and this book was inside. Great timing, I thought, there are no coincidences so I interrupted my work and started to read it.

It is making me think a lot about the way I plan, I am going to finish reading it today and then return to do my planning a bit differently.....without worrying too much about the details and focusing on the important learning milestones.

Thanks for writing this very useful book, Peps Mccrea.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

YouTube videos for primary Spanish lessons

Here I am sharing the videos I use in my lessons, they are always on my pen drive and we can watch them several times during the year. Choosing a song/video/game is a treat for a birthday pupil or a reward in my lessons. Take a look at my  YouTube songs post from last week in case you have missed it.

How to make the perfect paella

Record breaking paella

La Tomatina

La piñata - they all know it, but they don't realise that it has the letter "ñ" in.

Rompe la piñata

Mexico- fun facts and series

Barcelona anthem - the favourite team of many boys I teach, the anthem is in Catalan, it is a good chance to mention the linguistic diversity in Spain

Colacao advert with Rafa Nadal - the advert contains many words we already know and the pupils have to listen out for these. We even drink Colacao sometimes in small glasses:-)

Wavin' flag with David Bisbal- I am sure you all know it, but have you heard the Spanish version? David Bisbal was one of the Operación Triunfo singers in Spain (like X-factor) and he is a very popular singer now.

Nuestra fuerza eres tú - Real Madrid players speaking in Spanish.... what else do you need to motivate those Year 6 boys???

 ¡A por ellos! - a very catchy tune to cheer the Spanish football team. They badly need it after the last World Cup, so be loud! We managed to sing it together with our Spanish penpals via Skype.

Torres Nike ad- it is quite old and I don't show it now, but it is a special one because Torres joined Liverpool the year I started teaching in the UK (near Liverpool) and the kids demanded it all the time 

Day of the Dead 

Las calaveras - if you only have a minute to show some images

Learn a language - funny video, a good one to celebrate languages

The History of the Spanish language

Yo soy Pat - in Year 3 we learn to say where we live and I have a Postman Pat soft to show "Vivo en Inglaterra" or "Vivo en Greendale." This video is a treat for the end of the lesson.

 Sant Jordi Day -it is a bit like Valentine's Day but in Barcelona. I lived there and experienced the atmosphere, if you have a little time in April, watch this video together with your pupils!

Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos - because Spanish children get their gifts in January!

"Happy New Year" video in 32 languages - I always start the new year with this video, we have to listen out for the Spanish sentence. Watch out for hands up when they say the Portuguese is very similar to the Spanish "Happy New Year"- a good opportunity to talk about language families and Latin.

Ballet Andino - Trajes típicos de Ecuador- for the clothes topic

Sanfermines- many pupils know Sanfermines from the television, it is a good opportunity to discuss bull fights.

Colours of Peru - Peruvian images - a nice video when we do the travel topic or when we celebrate Hispanic Day.

Music of the Andes - same as above

I would be happy to hear what YouTube videos you are using!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Christmas has come early for me this I have treated myself with a ticket for researchED2015!
I cannot tell you how excited I am!
But you might ask "What is a visiting primary languages teacher doing at this event???"
I got in touch with research about 2 years ago, when I read  Tom Bennett's "Teacher Proof". It was a cathartic experience for me, I learnt a lot from it -  I really wish I had read it at the start of my teaching career, it would have saved me quite a few headaches over planning the visual/auditory/kinesthetic components of my 3 part lessons:-).
Another favourite book of mine is "Why don't students like school?" by Daniel T. Willingham. It was a game changer in my teaching- I speak differently to my pupils because of what that book taught me.
So here I come researchED2015, I will teach more than 700 pupils in 6 schools from September, I really want to make the right impact and need to work out what works!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

YouTube songs for primary Spanish lessons

Teachers on Twitter and Facebook often wonder which YouTube songs can be used in primary language I am sharing what I have got on my pen drive! YouTube is blocked in most of my schools so I downloaded the videos with Freemake video converter. I have listed the songs by topics.


3 pececitos

En la granja de mi tío

A mi mono le gusta la lechuga

El baile de los pajaritos
La Vaca Lola

Soy una serpiente

Un pulpito



Soy una taza

Las verduras

A tomar la leche



Con mi dedito


La familia

Telling the time

Un, dos, tres...

Vuela la luna

Songs to celebrate languages

Let it go - multilanguage version

Pocahontas - Colours of the wind: multilanguage version

The Lego Movie- Everything is awesome: multilanguage version

Mother's Day
Mamá, te quiero...


Campana sobre campana

Cascabel, cascabel

Feliz Navidad


Un elefante se balanceaba

Mi tía

Valentine's Day

Hay un amigo en mí


Sol, solecito

Había una vez un avión

Pasear en tren


Arriba y abajo

Izquierda, derecha

Los puntos cardinales

Places in town

Este puente va a caer

El alfabeto

Yo tengo una casita

Los instrumentos musicales

Las cuatro estaciones

Why speak a foreign language? - holiday blog

Hello readers:-), I haven't blogged for a while..... full time teaching is very demanding and I am struggling with time management. My posts have always been long and detailed but due to my working hours (24/7 more or less:-) I will change the way I blog- by keeping my posts short and sweet!
Here is the first attempt.....

I speak 3 languages on a daily basis (Hungarian, English &Spanish) and I no longer feel that any of those are "foreign" or that they are special for some reason.
But when I go camping in the summer (tent, camper van, caravan- done it all:-) I always meet people from other countries on the campsites and if I can, I greet them in their own language...... it feels so good! When we camped in France a few years ago, me and my 4-year-old son said Bonjour to everybody who passed by our camper van in the morning and it felt great! Similarly, during our holiday we used Merci beaucoup, Danke schön, Guten Abend, etc.
 I said this to my pupils before the summer holidays: "If you go to Spain, speak Spanish, it will feel so good!" I am looking forward to hearing their Spanish speaking stories when we are back in school in 2 weeks and I will let you know about them:-)

Enjoy what is left of the summer holidays!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Green screen cartoons with Y1

Today we have made green screen videos again, I am a "bit" addicted to the Do Ink app now:-)
I have just created some cartoons out of the videos using Toon Camera and we will label the pictures next week. Here I will share some of the images I will laminate and give out as goodbye gifts next Tuesday, they will be coasters!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Green Screen in our Spanish lessons

Inspired by Joe Dale (of course), here is a photo journal of our green screen adventures. We used the Do Ink app and a big piece of green  muslin to create videos (role plays and weather reports).
This is the beginning of a journey... we are making mistakes but we will get better!:-)

Sunday, 21 June 2015

ALL Primary Languages Hub - Stories and Poems

The Primary Languages hub is back! As we agreed last time, we will share our favourite books and poems.
Come and share your thoughts with us! Here is the flyer with my book shelfie and fridge selfie:-)