Monday, 15 January 2018

Phrase du jour

I have been reading today about when and how primary children in France learn to write.  One link I followed led me to this document, which is about finding opportunities for children to write.  One of the suggestions is Phrase du jour.  It is suggested that children decide, as a group, what the phrase du jour will be, and that they then discuss together and prepare orally how that sentence will be written.  They then write the sentence individually.  It is also suggested that all the phrases du jour are kept, to show the children's progression in writing over the year.

Later on this afternoon, in Sainsbury's, I was thinking that this could be something that we could adapt for use in the languages classroom.  We always do our bit in Key Stage 2 Languages by reinforcing handwriting, punctuation and other aspects of grammar, and this could be another vehicle for that.  It could also be useful for "bell work", in other words something that children can be doing when they first come into the room, while the register is being done, books are being given out and so on.

The way I currently see it working is that the children copy from the board a sentence comprising words and structures in the target language that the class is working on currently, and possibly a translation of this sentence in English.  The collection of phrases du jour would then become a useful reference tool as well as an indication of the learning and progression that has taken place and the improvements in presentation and handwriting.  It would probably need a separate exercise book that they could keep for the four years of Key Stage 2.

I'd be interested to hear what you think!

Friday, 12 January 2018

¡Mi Madrid!

Today you can hear the first episode in BBC School Radio's new series for Key Stage 2 Spanish - ¡Mi Madrid! 

The 10-episode series was written by Lisa Stevens, who has given a full account of the project on her blog, so please read all about it!

I am honoured to have been asked to be the consultant on the series for the BBC.  I prepared the teacher's notes and have made a translation of each episode to provide as much support as possible for time-poor primary teachers.

Have a listen!  Don't forget that the French series, Radio Labo, is also still available.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

What's in the box? pt.2

A few years ago I wrote What's in the box?, a post with some ideas for using empty or not-empty boxes to stimulate language work.  Today I actually tried it out!!

I've been working on gender of nouns (animals in particular) with my new Y6 Spaniards, moving on to description of these singular nouns using adjectives of colour.  I wanted them to have a go at some descriptions on whiteboards before writing anything formally in their books.  I set up these PowerPoint slides, which show an empty cardboard box.  I asked the children to decide which animal was in the box and which colour it was.  They had to write their description on their whiteboard and hold it up for me to see.  Then I clicked the slide to reveal what was in fact in the box. 

Doing five of these meant that I could spot common errors such as putting the adjective in the wrong place, putting the wrong article, not agreeing the adjectives and so on.  All the children became more confident and faster with their writing the more we did.  It also turned out to be immensely motivating, especially for the boys.  They all seemed to enjoy putting daft colours with the animal words.