Sunday 28 September 2014

'Juggling' with colours

Our theme this year, for European Day of Languages, was:

 ‘ A grand day out’: Let’s go on a trip to France, to Paris…..What might we see? What might we do?

The idea was to join in the street acts/performers we might come across when visiting Paris such as mimes, jugglers, music, etc.  It was our way of celebrating learning French and learning about France. You can read more about it on Janet’s blog.

An activity that went down really well was ‘juggling’ with colours  - it required hardly any preparation and did capture children’s imagination.

Jayne (@DewsnipJayne) – a fellow JLN Associate French/Spanish teacher – suggested introducing the colours as ‘blobs’ of colour to make them look like juggling balls. Here is my take on her idea!  

First, I asked the children to juggle with pretend balls.

Whilst juggling I introduced the colours (‘the balls’) one by one: rouge….bleu…vert…

After introducing all the colours we spend a couple of minutes reviewing pronunciation, checking we understood all the colours, etc.

Then we started juggling again, we choose 2 colours : bleu/vert – and started juggling with the 2 colours, slowly then faster, we added a 3rd colour and continued in the same manner. We repeated this with other colours adding more and more until we had all the colours.

Finally, in pairs, the children had a go at choosing which colours to juggle with and in which order, doing ‘tricks’, fast or slow, etc.  

It went down really well with Y2, Y3 and Y4, whether new to this vocabulary or as a revisiting activity.

Et voila!  Another way to introduce/revise colours in your lessons ! What do you think?

Monday 22 September 2014

From Primary to Secondary

Last Thursday, I was observed by Jo Gierl (@JoBeeG73) who is first and foremost a secondary MFL teacher and also part of the Janet Lloyd Network team as she is currently teaching French in one of the network’s primary school.

Jo is also involved in the DfE programme ‘Language learning for everyone’ – a training programme for primary and secondary schools in the north west of England (more information here).

She was with me for a couple of hours and saw Y3, Reception and Y6… a busy morning!
Jo posted on own her own blog her impressions, from her point of view as a Secondary teacher, and I’d like to share here what I hope, on my side, came across in my teaching.

With Year 3:
Primary languages offer an opportunity to learn about the target language (France) as a country, its culture. It lends itself very well to cross-curricular work. 
For example, at this time of the year or when I’m starting off with a new class, I like to spend 2 minutes at the beginning of the lessons to investigate the map of France using a child friendly map like the one I used in my virtual visit to Paris last year.
Children are interested to find out facts especially as they’re realising they can decipher a lot of information for themselves and so we can start develop language learning skills such as looking for cognates, etc.

Phonics –Now is the right time to have a go at phonics, children are eager, curious and keen to do well. They want to pronounce the words correctly and they enjoy 'putting on' their French accent.

With Reception:
This was my first lesson with this class as the children have just started full time after a couple of weeks of half-days. 

They were a little bit shy as you would expect but I wanted to show that a little language goes a long way.
We practiced : a greeting song ('Bonjour Madame') and added some actions;  saying ‘Bonjour’; played a circle game to practice Bonjour Madame/Monsieur and finally had a go at saying ‘Je m’appelle…’ 

So, not a lot of content, but lots of opportunities to listen and hear the language, have go at speaking through games, showing understanding through actions.

With Year 6:

The lesson was about school subjects and likes/dislikes. 

Unintentionally, it was a very ‘secondary language lesson’ and Jo commented on the fact that this is the style of lesson she would teach a Year 7 class. And, so, we mentioned briefly transition and how it will be crucial to understand the range of experiences that the children are already/will bring in with them in Year 7 and how it is important to work together to ensure a successful transition.

Thursday 11 September 2014

What went well last week #10


These are a few activities that worked really well for me last week. 

This is for me to remember in my practice what games, songs, etc. work and also share my ideas with you. 

Most of the ideas below are really simple, they are tried and tested in various schools and they work!

The rights of the language learner:

Janet brought this poster to our attention last year and I thought that the new school year would be a good time to introduce it with new classes/schools.

I used it with some UKS2 classes this week and it generated some interesting conversation also I made sure I referred back to it throughout the lesson.

I like the last point: ‘Can you think of any others?’ Someone in Year 5 said ‘ the right to find it hard’ and I thought that was a really good one! 

‘Eiffel tower’ to encourage participation:

As a visiting teacher I wanted to have a simple system to reward participation, good work, etc. Something that could work alongside the school’s own system: traffic light, names on the board, etc.

I came up with the Eiffel Tower, with its 3 levels going up from the 1st floor to the top floor.

Each week I’m going to choose 3 people to go on the Eiffel tower. I’ve printed and laminated the picture and blu-tacked it at the front of the classroom. I can simply write names with a white board pen and wipe it off the next week.  

‘Word’ tennis:

At this time of the year we are doing a lot of revision and I am conscious that for a few children it feels like ‘haven’t we done this before?’ so I thought of a fun ‘game’ to revise personal questions and answers

It’s NOT new and you’re probably doing this already but I think it is great for going over a list of vocab, numbers, etc.

We played ‘word tennis’ – It works really well when you ‘big it up’ (Let’s imagine that we’re at Wimbledon, stand every up and do a warm up, Who’s going to be the champion, etc.)
You can play: teacher vs. class, with a volunteer, children play in pairs, watch a match at the front between 2 children, etc.
Also, we added a stopwatch and set a match to 30 seconds, the last person to speak is the winner!

Songs: missing out words, being the ‘voice controller’ !

At the beginning of the year, the Janet Lloyd Network team had their own inset day and some of us contributed and shared something we were ‘good’ at. Joanne Hornby (@joanne_hornby) who is THE ‘Queen of Drama’ and our own in house songwriter/singer shared with us how to best set up the scene for singing.
She shared a game she plays once she’s introduced and practiced a new song a few time.

The teacher stands at the front and turn the volume up/down of a pretend volume dial: from quiet to normal to louder voices.

I tried it this week with our new greeting song and it was so much fun!

Also we had a go at singing missing out word but still doing the actions, that was fun too ! 

Simple ideas but SO effective !