Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Curriculum map and overhaul

At the end of last month I attended the 4th annual Northern Primary Languages Show (#NPLS19) in York.  The session I was particularly looking forward to was by Dr Rachel Hawkes, who was talking about vocabulary.  This is my sketchnote from her thought-provoking session:

My main takeaways from Rachel's session were:
  1. It's generally acknowledged that by the end of Year 6 children will have reached level A1 on the Common European Framework.  This requires knowledge of 500 items of vocabulary.
  2. The vocabulary taught should be informed by the words' frequency in the language. (I blogged before about high-frequency language in Spanish and in French.)
  3. Key verbs are crucial.
  4. Vocabulary needs to be revisited frequently is it is to stick.
This persuaded me to take a closer look at my curriculum for KS2 Spanish.  I had a feeling that it included considerably more than 500 words, and wanted to look at the inclusion of key verb forms and the thread of the grammar and structures.

I got some pieces of A1 paper and my new Paperchase markers and set to examining my curriculum.


First observations:

  • The red numbers at the bottom of each sheet are the numbers of new words.  I was interested and surprised to see that once I had added up each year group's totals, it only came to 417 words, 472 if you include the music man unit, which I don't always do.  Children may exceed 500 words by using their dictionaries to personalise their work.
  • There is a good coverage of the verb tener (to have) but with the verb ser (one of the verbs to be) I really only cover the third person singular.
  • The grammar and structures are a bit haphazard now I look at them like this.  For a better 'thread' I'm thinking of moving family and pets from Year 5 into Year 3 to replace food and opinions.  This will help to reinforce gender and to introduce plurals, as well as revisiting tener and llamarse.  The food unit is a big jump into some complex concepts.
  • Weather would be better suited to Year 4, as the language involved is much simpler than other Year 5 topics.
  • There aren't enough question forms.
  • The only time I look at regular verb conjugation is in the music man unit, but, as I said earlier, I don't always do this unit - it's one I keep in my pocket just in case. I need to build in a regular -AR verb earlier on.
This is something I'll continue to mull over during the Christmas holidays.  If you use my scheme and resources, I'd love to hear your ideas and comments.

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