This is my presentation on cross-curricular links from Language World 2014. The theme was “something old, something new, something borrowed….” and the slides are blue.
I see this area as a continuum from embedding (e.g. doing the register in French) to CLIL (teaching other subjects in the foreign language). Cross-curricular links sits somewhere in the middle. The following ideas can be used for a single lesson or as part of a series of lessons.
I have taken 4 areas of the curriculum to link with languages: science, geography, history and English. Everything has been checked against the new PoS for KS2 for those subjects and for languages.
The first example, in Spanish, is from Growing Things. You can find a whole unit of work on this in the QCA sow http://www.primarylanguages.org.uk/resources/qca_schemes_of_work.aspxThe story book Diez Semillas (Dix Petites Graines) fits in beautifully with this. There are lots of activities you can do with this text such as sequencing, acting it out with mimes, you say it and they do the actions, supplying the missing words, true or false, matching text to pics, etc. There is also an opportunity to draw attention to sing and pl verb forms. Why is it “crecen las raices” but “crece el brote”?
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Next is an example that I first heard presented by Malcolm Hope – MFL adviser for Oxfordshire – at an RSG many years ago. When I looked at the original handout it seems that it was first presented at the PLS – but that was 15 years ago so I thought it was time to remind people about this. It is as relevant as ever…Here’s what the NC says about Forces: Pupils should be taught to: explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object; identify the effects of air resistance, water resistance and friction, that act between moving surfacesOn this first slide is some of the language the T could use. We start by introducing the key vocab and materials the children will need. This can then be practised by asking ch to pass you certain objects.Next, the ch are in groups and are given a number. Then you ask the number 1s from each group to come out and pass the scissors, no. 2 to pass the wallpaper, etc.The next step is start making the spinners. The language is very clear and simple. Once the ch have made their spinners they test them to see how well they fly. This is an ideal activity for practising command forms and also adverbs. It’s rather nice to be focussing on verbs and adverbs for a change rather than yet more nouns.
You can then go on to conduct experiments by changing the variables - the types of material used, the dimensions of the spinner, the width of the wings, the ballast or by creating damage to one of the wings.There are opportunities for asking and answering questions in a feedback session. The ch can also record their findings on a chart…
The second, and perhaps the most obvious, curriculum area I have chosen is Geography. In the new NC PoS for KS2 under Locational Knowledge it states that ps should be taught to “locate the world’s countries” with a focus on “Europe, N and S America.”Under Place Knowledge, ch should be taught to “understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America”. Perfect! Here is an example of some work comparing and contrasting a UK city (Belfast) with a Mexican one (Mexico City) that might be familiar to KS2 teachers here.Slide 6 shows some of the things we can do linguistically with this topic. Of course, this is also an ideal opportunity for some intercultural work too!
History next. If I have ever been teaching the vocab for family members I have tried to do it in a context – eg the Simpsosn as it can be distressing for some ch to have to describe their family. You may have seen some units of work linking family and Henry VIII. I decided to choose a brand new context – Ancient Greece but I soon realised that I may be on dodgy ground with this one! My advice is to extremely careful with this one – while I was planning this I was writing something about Demeter being Persephone’s aunt. She is. But she also happens to be her mother!Linguistically we can practise asking and answering questions – e.g. Qui est la mere de Zeus? Comment s’appelle la soeur de Demeter?However, I have devised a short sketch, which would be ideal for a class assembly. It also means, with so many gods and goddesses to pick from, that this suits any class size and everyone gets a part.
At the LW session delegates acted out the sketch, with audience participation! I gave 10 participants a badge with the name of a Greek god or goddess (there was a fight for the role of Zeus between Chris Wakely and Bill Musk!) Artemis was on stage at the beginning and all others were in the wings. There was a door (an invisible one) on the ‘stage’.
Artemis introduced herself and then there was a “toc toc” at the door. That was the cue for the audience to chorus “qui est la?” Artmeis opened the door and said “Ah, c’est mon pere, Zeus.” Zeus enters. There is plenty of opportunity to add all sorts of language. The audience greeted Zeus. Next there was another “toc, toc” at the door, and again the audience exclaim “Qui est la?” This time Zeus goes to answer and proclaims “Ah, c’est mon freer, Hades”. This goes on until all the gods and goddesses are on stage. There is a final knock at the door. When Minos (the last god to enter) goes to answer it there is Artemis. At this the audience exclaim “Quoi?!” (they had been prompted to say this at the start of the play in the event of something weird occurring). Artemis couldn’t possibly be at the door as she was the first person on stage! (Actually, the person playing Artemis had been told beforehand to sneak to the back of the line when the audience weren’t looking - a little like those panorama photos where some fool always tries to get on the left hand side AND the right-hand side). This was to add a little funny twist at the end.
The final subject area I chose was English and the fascinating area of…Relative clauses!On slide 8 are some quotations from famous story books, showing examples of relative clauses. We have ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’, a famous French nursery rhyme and the story Plouf!. I have not given the book for the final quotation as I wondered if anyone could guess it. (It’s ‘El Grufalo’). The final 2 bullet points show examples of sentences that I thought the ch could aim to write themselves. Using a word such as “qui” can make so much difference to the children’s writing or speaking, making it sound much more elegant and fluent. You may be familiar with units of work that include getting the ch to create longer sentences using connectives (such as the Solar System). This is very similar but is using who rather than and.Delegates then participated in an activity to practise this. We played a version of the human sentences game. 2 people were chosen to be the relative pronouns and they stood in one corner with a large text card each, saying ‘qui’ and ‘que’ respectively.The rest of the participants where each given a large text card. The text on the card was either blue or black. On the command “un, deux, trois, allez!” the participants had to get into 2 teams, according to the colour of their text cards. They then had to arrange themselves in order to create a complex sentence, select the correct relative pronoun and bring that person over to join the group. The first team to create a complete sentence with a relative clause was the winner.This was a great opportunity to discuss the difference between qui and que and talk about the subject and object of a sentence.
As Easter is just around the corner, I decided to share an Easter poem with the delegates. It is thanks to Cynthia Martin and her wonderful CILT Resource File - Rhythm and Rhyme.I have used this in the past to practise dictionary skills and have asked the ch to change the words underlined. However, I recently bought a new French story book entitled, ‘Petite taupe, ouvre-moi ta porte!’ and inside it I found the following sentence……“Un petit écureuil qui tremble comme une feuille”“Un petit ecureuil qui tremble comme une feuille.” Here we have a simile but it involves a verb, rather than simply comparing one noun with another noun, as we saw in the Easter poem. So, I thought the ch could write some similar sentences of their own…perhaps using a writing frame such as the one on slide 10 for support.
Finally, if anyone suggests that you should not be doing this sort of work and that the ch don’t need to know the names of the planets in French etc etc, and should be doing more ‘traditional’ topics such as House & Home, bear in mind Bernadette Holmes’ words that no language should be demonised. You could also ask them this…..“How useful is the word ‘tortoise’ to someone who doesn’t have one?"