Friday, 29 November 2013

Roscón de Reyes

It's here!  The 2013 Spanish Christmas card.  It represents the Roscón de Reyes, the cake that is traditionally eaten in Spain on 6th January, el Día de Reyes.  The Roscón is made with a rich dough flavoured with orange and lemon, and has brightly-coloured candied fruits on the top.  Inside is hidden a little figure or toy (in 1986 I found a minute china vase in a Roscón!) and also a bean.  Whoever finds the figure is crowned king or queen for the day, and whoever finds the bean has to pay for the Roscón the following year.

Here's how to make the card:

You will need: a piece of A4 card, scraps of red, gold, green and silver shiny paper (Christmas wrapping paper is ideal and much cheaper than packs of foiled card!), scissors, glue, a pen and colours.  Most importantly you'll need a copy of the Roscón on roscón-coloured paper, a copy of the crown on card to use as a template and a copy of the title banner, which will be fine on white paper.  Download the Roscón, crown and banner from here.
1.  Fold the A4 card in half.  Cut out the Roscón and stick it on the middle of the card.  Don't throw away the scraps of Roscón paper - you'll need them later.
2.  Draw round the crown template three times on the reverse of the gold paper, and cut the crowns out. Stick them across the top of your card.  You could decorate the crowns if you want.  I have written on the names of the Reyes Magos: Melchor, Baltasar and Gaspar.
3.  Colour in the lettering on the banner and stick it on the bottom of the card.

4.  Use the scraps of red, gold and green paper to make round shapes and lozenge shapes to represent the candied fruits that are put on top of the Roscón.  Stick them on, leaving one space.
5.  On the reverse of the silver paper, draw the shape of a trinket that will be hidden "in" the Roscón.  I have done a simple round silver coin.  Cut it out and stick it on the space that you left.  Then, using the scraps of roscón-coloured paper from step 1, make a little flap to cover the trinket and stick it on.  You could put another candied fruit on top of the flap.

Before the children make these, we are going to look at the ingredients, probably as a pair exercise with dictionaries or even a Tarsia, and watch this video of a baker making roscones.  There are also lots of photos of Roscón ingredients, like this one.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Spirals and waves

I was reminded on Twitter yesterday of Festisite Text Layout, which I have used for about a year now to make word spirals and waves.  I started to use it as a way of making short activities to help students to practise vocabulary in lots of different ways, following this seminar by Heather Rendall.  I use them mostly in sheets like this one.

When you're using Festisite, I recommend for your settings the middle font, as it's clearest, a large font size and the A3 paper setting:

When you've made your spiral or wave, the website generates a PDF for you.  All you need to do then is to do a screen capture and then crop the image in your usual way.  If you make it in a big font on the A3 setting, your resulting spiral or wave will be clearer once you shrink it.

You can use the wave generator to make waves like this one, or do just one line to make a word snake, like the one here.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Magical Miró

I have a confession to make.  This isn't my idea.  Well, it started off as my idea, and had another idea added to it by a very clever student.

I always liked working with NQTs back in my secondary days, as they always brought with them lots of fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.  I'm now a language tutor on the Primary PGCE course at Manchester University, and I am learning from the students there.  My input on their first language day in September was ideas for promoting reading and writing in the languages classroom, and one of the things I showed them was how to make calligrams like these.  Their second session was language-specific, and the Spanish group talked about using the works of Joan Miró to inspire lessons.  Yesterday we went to a junior school in Stockport, where the students had the task of teaching a 30 minute language activity to a small group of Year 5 or Year 6 children.

For me, one of the students stood out from the rest.  She presented the colours in Spanish to the children and then gave them a black-and-white Miró-style picture (that she had drawn herself) which they coloured in and labelled calligram-style.

Now I don't know much about Miró, as my artistic endeavours thus far have been limited to Gaudí and mosaics.  So I did a bit of digging to see what it was all about, and have had a go at the calligramming myself.  I created my Miró-esque picture using this resource as a guide.  Then I coloured it with coloured pencils, and used coloured fineliners to write the colours in:

I'm determined now to find out more about Miró's art and to incorporate this activity into the colours section of my Key Stage 2 Spanish scheme of work.  Ya-boo-sucks to the new curriculum and its lack of desire for culture.

Here are some of the Miró links that I've found so far:
Draw like Miró, collage style
Another way of making Miró-style artwork
TES Miró resources
Rachel Hawkes's Miró resources

Of course you could use other artists for the same idea:
Arcimboldo (and perhaps write the food names in instead of the colours)
Kandinsky (perhaps)
Van Gogh (in simplified form)
Matisse (also see this blogpost)

So thank you to the very clever student for taking two ideas and making something so much better by putting them together.

UPDATE 18.11.13:

My Year 2 class have been working on 2D shapes and numbers to 15.  We have been counting shapes in pictures and writing numbers, and have also used colours to help us.   (The resources are here if you'd like to use them.)  I've used the Miró idea and a box of 2D shapes to create pictures like these:

There is a space at the bottom of the A3 sheet, under the frame, for them to complete the sentence "En mi cuadro hay ____ círculos, ____ cuadrados y ____ triángulos."  

Another great Miró link for you as well, again via the wonders of Twitter.  This is another Miró dice roll activity, but for making Miró-style people.