Sunday 29 June 2014

Word for the day

Today’s word is…..

la poubelle = the bin

I don’t have to tell you why your KS1 and KS2 learners will love this word!

Saturday 28 June 2014

Word for the day

Back to Spanish for today’s word. I love the sound of it and I think it’s the longest Spanish word I know.

Here are some clues….

No. of letters = 18
No. of phonemes = 18
No. of syllables = 8

And the word is……

desafortunadamente = unfortunately

The learners will need to take their time and practise saying it but once they’ve got it, they’ll love it. It’s a very useful word but I think what they’ll enjoy about it is being able to show off with the longest word they know. I wonder if they know any English words that are longer? Or a word in another language?

Friday 27 June 2014

Word for the day

Following my little anecdote from yesterday here is the 2nd of the 2 words I mentioned….

un nénuphar = a water lily

Of course, you can’t think of water lilies without thinking of Monet. Surely this is a word that will come in handy if doing some cross-curricular work with art at KS2. I am thinking of some of the wonderful work teachers have done combining a discussion of Kandinsky’s work with simple adjectives and colours.

At KS4, of course, we are always encouraging the learners to include more unusual vocabulary. Teach them this and I can guarantee they’ll never forget it!

Thursday 26 June 2014

Word of the day

Today’s word is French but, like yesterday’s, has a little memory attached. I remember being in the Upper 6th (Yr13) at school and almost ready to leave and head off to uni. My head teacher was chatting to me one day about French (she was a French specialist) and told me that it is often the more obscure and unusual words that we remember in a foreign language. She was right! The 2 words that she shared with me have stuck in my memory ever since. I can even picture myself standing in her office…
Anyway, the first of the words is…

une libellule = dragonfly

I love the sound of the word. Admittedly it’s not the most useful in the world but I’m sure many KS2 children would love to know it and might use it in creative writing - especially if writing a little poem. 

I’ll share the 2nd of the 2 words tomorrow. 

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Becquer poems

Following my last post, with the little poem I’d written myself, I thought I’d go from one extreme to the other and share with you some of my favourite poems by the Spanish poet, Bécquer. I have used some these as a Valentine’s activity with Year 9 but I think they could even be used with KS2 children. Just one word of warning - they are very lovey-dovey so have the wax-lined bags ready for the boys!

Poems by Gustavo Adolfo   Bécquer  (1836-1870)

Hoy la tierra y los cielos me sonríen;
hoy llega al fondo de mi alma el sol;
hoy la he visto…, la he visto y me ha mirado:
¡Hoy creo en Dios!

¿Qué es poesía?, dices mientras clavas
en mi pupila tu pupila azul.
¿Qué es poesía? ¿Y tú me lo preguntas?
Poesía…eres tú.

Por una mirada, un mundo.
Por una sonrisa un cielo
Por un beso…, ¡yo no sé
Lo que diera por un beso!

Los suspiros son aire y van al aire
Las lágrimas son agua y van al mar.
Dime, mujer: cuando el amor se olvida,
¿sabes tú dónde va?

El Arco Iris del Fútbol - poem

Inspired by a poem on Janet Lloyd’s blog I have had a go at writing my own colours poem but this time focussing on football teams (the World Cup’s still on, you know). 

I think this will be useful for practising nationalities and plural endings. 

Just in case you were wondering, “vieneses” are people from Vienna and “florentinos” are people from Florence. 

El Arco Iris del Fútbol

Rojo como los españoles
Naranja como los holandeses
Amarillo como los colombianos
Verde como los mejicanos
Azul como los franceses
Añil como los vieneses
Violeta como los florentinos

Un arco iris de trajes finos

Word for the day

I follow Oxford University Press @OxfordEdMFL on twitter and receive their word for the day. Inspired by this, I have decided to do my own.  These won’t always be obscure words, as I am aware that many of the teachers who are delivering language lessons, particularly at primary, are not language specialists.

My languages are French, Spanish and Latin so those are the ones you’ll get! (mainly the first 2). 

So, here’s my first ever Word of the Day:


It is one of my favourite Spanish words (yes, I have favourite words!!). I particularly love words that don’t always have an equivalent in English. Tampoco usually translates as “neither” but sometimes you just can’t translate it.

I remember staying with my Spanish penpal when I was 17. He had used a word I didn’t understand and so tried an alternative. When I still failed to understand he said to me, in a slightly surprised voice, "¿tampoco?” I think, in English, you’d have to say, “You don’t know that one either?” but in Spanish just one word does the trick. 

I think children will love the sound of this word and we should teach it more often (I bet it often gets omitted at KS2). 

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Trois P’tits Chats

Inspired by the Janet Lloyd network conference and Janet’s subsequent blog post on bringing together ideas from the other presenters, I have created some teaching activities based on the traditional song Trois P’tits Chats.

Here is a link to the song
3 ptits chats on You Tube

Here are the lyrics…

Trois p'tits chats, trois p'tits chats, trois p'tits chats, chats, chats, (3 little chats)
Chapeau d' paille, chapeau d' paille, chapeau d' paille, paille, paille, (straw hat)
Paillasson, paillasson, paillasson, -son, -son, (doormat)
Somnambule, somnambule, somnambule, -bule, -bule, (sleepwalker)
Bulletin, bulletin, bulletin, -tin, -tin, (bulletin)
Tintamarre, tintamarre, tintamarre, -marre, -marre, (din, hullabaloo)
Marabout, marabout, marabout, -bout, -bout, (marabout - african bird)
Bout de ficelle, Bout de ficelle, Bout de ficelle, -celle, -celle, (piece of string)
Selle de cheval, Selle de cheval, Selle de cheval, cheval, cheval, (saddle)
Cheval de Troie, cheval de Troie, cheval de Troie, Troie, Troie, (Trojan horse)
Trois p'tits chats, trois p'tits chats, trois p'tits chats, chats, chats

Clever, isn’t it?

Here are the activities based on it…

1) Introduce the key vocab. but in a random order (not the order of the song).

2) Now let’s have some Janet Lloyd-inspired drama. Introduce actions such as...

Trois p'tits chats = stroking whiskers
Chapeau d’ paille =  putting on hat
Paillasson = wiping feet
Somnambule = arms outstretched in front, eyes shut
Bulletin = writing
Tintamarre = beating drum / blowing trumpet
Marabout = flapping wings
Bout de ficelle = drawing out hands to either side as if along string
Selle de cheval = riding horse
Cheval de Troie = hiding face / looking furtive

3) Group work. Give each group a set of picture cards of the items in the song. Ask them to arrange them in the order they think they appear in the song, starting with the 3 cats. Explain that the ending of one item is the start of the next.

4) Check the answers then sing the song with actions. 

5) Play “Volume Control’. This is a great idea that the wonderful Joanne Hornby presented at the Janet Lloyd Network conference this year. The T controls the volume of the singing by miming a volume button. Turn down the volume for most of the song so that the ch are just miming. Turn the volume back up at the end of each line so that they sing the repeated bits such as “-tin, -tin”. This will help them focus on the sounds.  

6) Phonic Focus. Arrange the ch into 4 or 5 groups and give each group a card with one of the following letter strings (graphemes): in; ou; u; ch; and (if you have 5 groups) è. That represented the sound they are to collect. Now we are ready to play the Shopping Baskets game! Give each team a shopping basket or bag e.g. 

Hold up each picture card in turn and say the word e.g. “chapeau”. Often there will always be 2 groups wanting the same object, which adds an element of competition and excitement. E.g. both the ‘in’ group and the ‘u’ group will be wanting ‘bulletin’.

7) Speaking activity in groups. This is a memory game based on “I went to market and I bought…” Each member of the group repeats what the previous person said and adds an item. It will help the ch if they go in the order of the song as each item leads on from the previous. You can use as long or as short a phrase as you wish, e.g. “Pour mon anniversaries on m’a donné trois petits chats et un chapeau”.

8) Writing. The ch can create a concertina mini book - a lovely idea from Clare Seccombe at Light Bulb Languages. Clare’s mini books

Here’s the one I did…..

9) Finally the ch could create their own cartoon version. They can add text and record themselves. I created one using Wondershare Fantashow...

Thursday 19 June 2014

Aussie Animals Song

Here’s my counting song about Aussie animals, in Spanish.
I did this with reception-age children in Australia.

We sang the song to the tune of Frere Jacques (sort-of). I sang the first bit e.g. “ocho demonios” and they repeated it.

I didn’t actually use a powerpoint. I used a huge foam board (A1) with pics of the animals on it, but no written words. The first 4 animals were on one side of the board and then I flipped it over to reveal the remaining animals (the second half of the song) on the reverse.

It was great for practising our numbers.

Aussie Animals Song

Healthy Eating Song

Here’s a song about healthy eating that I created a few years ago while teaching Spanish in Australia. You sing it to the tune of Dynamite by Taio Cruz…

The particular food items may seem a strange selection but I chose them to fit in with a storybook I was using in a unit of work on healthy eating.