Thursday, 26 November 2015

Christmas Balls

In the summer, @dominic_mcg described to me some poetry balls that he had seen.  I found a picture of them and filed it away on Pinterest for a later date.  Then earlier this week I was thinking about things to do with Year 6 over the next couple of weeks, bearing in mind that they have already done most of my Christmas stuff.  I remembered the poetry balls, and while my daughters were in the swimming pool this evening I had a go at making one.

Here are my instructions:

1.  Halve a piece of A4 card.  You'll end up with a piece of card 15cm x 21cm.

2.  Carefully measure and mark out 1cm strips, each 15cm long.  I started out with 21 strips, but found that was too many for one ball.  My ball on the left has 10 strips and the right one has 11 strips.  That's about the right number I think.

3.  Decorate each strip.  I wrote and illustrated Spanish Christmas words from my Spanish Christmas mat.  This will take the children some time!

4.  Using a single hole punch or the Blue Peter "sharp pencil into Plasticine" method, punch a hole in each end of each strip.  This needs to be done with care so that the holes are not on the edges of the strips.

5.  Cut the strips out and stack them in a pile.

6. Put a butterfly pin through the holes at each end.  (Check beforehand the the head of the butterfly pin is not smaller that the hole!)

7.  Carefully fan out the separate strips to make the ball shape.

It would be easy to fix a loop to the head of the butterfly pin with which to hang the ball.

UPDATE 27.11.15

Here's a template (2 to a sheet) to make it easier to make for those who might find the measuring tricky.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


A little while ago on the Languages in Primary Schools Facebook group, we were discussing ways of making traffic-light cards for use in the classroom.  Someone recommended ClassPOPs.  They have been designed by a practising teacher and can be used for Assessment for Learning purposes, for giving answers to multiple choice questions, and much more.  They are double-sided, with A and B on one side, and C and D on the other.

I have purchased 2 sets (they are £6 each), one for each school.  As you can see, I have numbered each of the 30 ClassPOPs in the set.  I used the numbers with Year 5 last week to call on individual students to answer questions.  It made them concentrate very hard!  I have also been using the PowerPoint templates that are available free on the ClassPOPs website to create quizzes for my classes.  Here's an example of one of the slides that I have made for Year 6 Spanish to make them think about gender and word order when using adjectives:

The children have found them easy to use (I have used them with Year 3 upwards) and enjoy using them as well.

Monday, 31 August 2015

More new French books

Earlier this month I spent a week in France, which of course involved a trip to the Espace Culturel at the local Leclerc as well as the local Maison de la Presse.  Some books I purchased, others I photographed for purchase later on or requesting for my birthday.

This book was my best find.  Bonjour by Nathalie Dieterlé is ideal for using with very new learners.  Petit Loup says bonjour to everyone, until he gets tired and his mummy puts him to bed and says bonne nuit.  Then he shouts bonne nuit to everyone.  There is plenty for the children to join in with.

I couldn't decide which of these animal books to get, so I got both!  They have nice short texts about each animal, great for some non-fiction reading.  I'm going to be using the farm animals one with Year 6 over the next few weeks.

I found this one in the Rentrée section of the local Intermarché.  It makes a change from colouring by numbers, and I particularly like this colour by e, ê, é and è.  It will make children really look at the accented letters.

As it was still les grandes vacances, the Maison de la Presse had lots of magazines "Spécial Vacances".  I could have got more of these but was thinking about space in my luggage....  I bought this art one for the article on prehistoric art.  Regular readers may spot a pattern emerging.  I also enjoyed reading the interview with Botticelli, which might suit KS3 and KS4.

This is the first book that I photographed.  It's too complex for Key Stage 2, but would suit Key Stage 3 students who are starting to learn the Passé Composé. It's beautifully imaginative and amusing, with great illustrations.  There is another called "Je suis en retard pour l'école parce que...."
I also liked these Trotro books.  In L'âne Trotro fait du vélo, Trotro experiments with riding his bike with no hands, then no feet.  You can imagine what happens.  L'âne Trotro s'habille is good for simple clothes vocabulary, and children would love to join in with L'âne Trotro répète tout ce qu'on lui dit.  

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Kagan structures for Spanish

There was some discussion recently on the Languages in Primary School Facebook group about the book Cooperative Learning and French, with quite a few group members purchasing it for some holiday reading.  I found the Spanish equivalent (pictured above).  I made notes as I read it and then amused myself on rainy days in Spain by sketchnoting those notes.  I sketchnoted in an A4 sketch book, and so have uploaded the pages to Youblisher for ease of reading.

There are a lot of activities that are transferable to the primary classroom and of course to other languages.  This book has photocopiable resources for carrying out the activities in basic Spanish.

Click on the picture below to take you to the complete sketchnote.

Spanish Cooperative Learning and Multiple Intelligence Activities

New Spanish books

When I returned from 10 days in Cantabria yesterday, my suitcase was quite a lot heavier than it was when I left.  Why?  Lots of new books of course!

I was keeping a special eye out for things that I could use with Years 5 and 6, but that doesn't mean all the others got neglected.

First of all, not a book but a magazine.  It's an ¡Hola! special, full of Top 10s and other lists that will be useful for reading exercises, especially for Key Stage 3.
I'm not familiar with the work of Lara Jones's Poppy Cat, and so didn't recognise her as Lupe in this book.  Inside the sentences are nice and repetitive, and all about what Lupe likes to eat.  It would be easy for children to adapt this.

I work on minibeasts with Year 1, but it's the sort of topic that you can return to in subsequent years in greater depth.  This book (bargain at €3,95!) has pages which give basic information about each insect, and then you can fold out the pages to get much more information.  I'd recommend a look at the rest of the Enciclopeque series.

I've been very conscious this year that I haven't looked at any books with Year 5 and Year 6.  I have found these two non-fiction books which I won't use in their entirety, but which have many useful non-fiction texts.  Every page has some kind of lift-the-flap or fold out page.  They are part of a series of 32 books, covering themes as diverse as the Vikings and the 5 senses.

Year 3's new History curriculum is all about the Stone Age and Iron Age, and my own daughter, who has just finished Year 3, particularly enjoyed learning about cave paintings.  Last week we really enjoyed visiting the Museo de Altamira, a world heritage site and home to some of the most important cave paintings in the world.  I bought this book there.  It's very good, lots of lift-the-flaps and information, and excellent for technical vocabulary about Prehistory.  Again it's part of a series.

I already have a number of books in this series, and bought this one as a branch of the Camino passed through the area that we were staying in, and we passed a number of pilgrims every day.  The Flamenco one will come in handy for Year 2.
Some Spanish handwriting practice books, mainly to show the children.  I have something similar in French, which children always enjoy seeing.
Super Niño is a lovely book for introducing items of clothing with possessive adjectives.  Each page has a cut out, so that with each turn of the page you add an item of Super Niño's superhero clothing to Nina to make her Super Niña.  Only problem is, that leaves you with a picture at the end that some may consider inappropriate for use in school...

I hope you can see all the pictures and words OK - Blogger has been really misbehaving while I've been typing this!