Friday, 25 June 2010

Mi bandera

I thought I would share with you a sequence of lessons that has been particularly successful with my KS2s.
As you'll no doubt be aware, I gave presentations in 2006 about using the World Cup in lessons, and also produced a lot of materials. In school, however, I barely touched it with my classes. If I remember rightly, it clashed with exam and reports season.

This year, 2010, I've done the same. Given presentations, produced resources. But the big difference is of course that this time round the World Cup fitted into my sequence of lessons perfectly.

Since September I have covered some of the Y3 Intercultural Understanding objectives of the KS2 Framework, but am conscious that they are something that you have to reinforce quite frequently to embed them in the children's brains! The World Cup gave us an excellent opportunity to re-explore the countries and continents of the world and to talk about where Spanish is spoken. Then we focussed on the flags. We have done a lot of work on nouns and gender (and they understand it really well) and I wanted to start to introduce the notion of adjectival agreement.

You can download the PowerPoint for the first flag lesson here, and if you read the notes at the bottom of each slide, you can see how the language is built up. It was inspired by a workshop given by Jim McElwee at the recent NE Regional Primary Languages Conference "Read all about it Write now". Jim builds up sentences describing pictures using repetition of phrases and actions for colours and shapes. I bent his ear about it and we worked out actions for the 6 colours and the shapes. The children caught onto it very quickly and we spent a large part of the lesson speaking Spanish together to describe the flags. I used the flags of the World Cup nations to illustrate the colours and shapes, and we had some good discussions about flag colours and shapes and which flag is which.  We also discussed and worked out the rule for the agreement of the colours - why did we say "rojo" when learning the colours, but then "mi bandera es roja"?  Why doesn't "azul" change?  At the end of that first lesson, the children designed their own flags using the 6 colours (with the exception of orange, there aren't really any other colours which appear on flags) and the 5 shapes that we had been working on.

This week was the second lesson of the sequence. We revised the phrases, colours and shapes to describe the flags. Then I showed them the flags of the Spanish-speaking countries who are not in the World Cup and asked each table to work together to describe the flags. Cue lots of loud independent speaking in Spanish ! They loved trying to describe each flag as thoroughly as possible. Then they had a little time to work out how to describe their own flag, again using the structure and actions that I had introduced at the beginning.

So where to now? One of my Y6 suggested we started a new wall for our flag work. (The children at my school LOVE Wallwisher!) So I have - if you would like to contribute, please visit our school blog where you will find all the information. Your contributions would provide us with some excellent lesson material, so gracias in advance!

The main thing that I have learned from this is that actions work!  I've always been scared of them before, but now have seen the light.  Because the children are actively doing something, the repetition is more focussed and successful, and the action fixes the word more effectively in their heads.  If you want to find out more about actions in the MFL classroom, I recommend this blog post by Samantha Lunn. 

I have also learned that some little boys have an encyclopaedic knowledge of flags!

No comments:

Post a Comment